The year just starting could be a pivotal year in the politics of this country and indeed of the entire European Union. This was the new year message of Michael Finnegan, president of the Workers’ Party as he addressed party activists in Dublin today.
“It is sadly evident that both the Irish Government and the EU leadership are still singing off the same failed economic songbook. Patently the policies that over the last five years led to massive bank failures, sovereign debt crises, huge unemployment and growing poverty cannot now lead to global economic recovery” stated Mr Finnegan.
“Similarly” continued Mr Finnegan “national and international governments and political elites are completely wedded to the failed policy of “austerity”. Austerity, or economic cutbacks have never succeeded in reversing economic collapse and certainly will not do so in the present crisis.”
“In Ireland, in Greece, in Portugal we can see the real and human cost of austerity. Weekly thousands are being dumped on the dole queues; public health services are being slashed to the bone; education provision for the most disadvantaged is being stripped away by subterfuge; and many families have to make life and death choices between food and utility bills.”
“The 2012 budget, introduced in early December 2011, very clearly showed the priorities and class bias of the present government. The people on the lowest income, with the least resources, were hit most severely. Large families, single-parent families; families living in designated disadvantaged areas were hit most singled out for economic attack. Even the media outlets of the bean baron Sir Tony O’Reilly could identify a dozen cuts and/or tax hike directly affecting families coming into force on January 1st. The very fact that the cabinet agreed to cut the disability benefits to teenagers and young people shows the uncaring mentality of the coalition. The fact that this particular cut has been suspended, while most welcome, is merely an indication of the government’s instinct for self-preservation.”
“The Workers Party knows that many families and individuals are in a state of despair and desperation because of the pressures they now face. They know they have been abandoned by the political establishment. Families can clearly see that neither the former failed FF/PD/ green Party coalition nor the present Fine Gael/Labour coalition are protecting or defending their interests. The fat-cat bankers and speculators who bled this country dry are still in their mansions with their inflated salaries, pensions, or else swanning about with impunity in some Caribbean tax haven.”
“The Workers Party also knows that simultaneously there is great anger, resentment and a desire for justice and fair play amongst the vast majority of the public. Our hard earned money should not be used to bail out failed bankers whether they are in Ballsbridge or Berlin. The IMF/EU/ECB should not deny children with learning disabilities their SNAs when neither the children nor their parents ever saw the good life during the Celtic Tiger illusion.”
“The government” concluded Mr Finnegan “must be forced to change its policy. The government must meet the needs of the Irish people, not the diktats of the troika. The anger, disgust, and resentment of the people must be felt on the streets, on the picket line, and in the political clinics of the government TDs and ministers. The Workers Party, with our decades long tradition of fighting with and for workers, the unemployed, local communities and special interest groups, are determined that 2012 will be the year of the peoples’ fight-back. The Thatcherite budget 2012 must be reversed and the promised savagery of the next three budgets must never be allowed to happen.”
January 1st, 2012