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2 April 2012 Edition

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Fine Gael, Labour and Fianna Fáil in trouble An Phoblacht Editorial

• Enda Kenny, Eamon Gilmore and Mícheál Martin

» Household Charge an unjust disaster » No Government strategy to beat the recession » More fiscal power surrendered to EU » Corruption tribunal indicts Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and Labour politicians May 30: Vote NO to the Fiscal Austerity Treaty

THIS Easter marks the 96th Anniversary of the 1916 Easter Rising. The Rising saw the coming together of nationalists, republicans, language activists, trade unionists and the women’s movement in the cause of Irish freedom. It is a template for republicans today as we seek to build alliances in the cause of a united Ireland based on equality and social justice.

It is important to note that the ideals of the 1916 leaders are the antithesis of the poverty of vision displayed by the Irish political establishment of 2012.

The manner in which Irish politics has been blighted by corruption for decades was laid bare in the final report of the Mahon Tribunal which revealed that politicians from all the Establishment parties – Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and Labour – took bribes from developers, perverting the planning process for profit.

While the corrupt relationship between businessmen, bankers and politicians has by no means been confined to Fianna Fáil, it is clear that the leadership of that party in particular has been mired over a 30-year period in this corrupt culture.

The current Fianna Fáil leadership is now busy disassociating itself from Bertie Ahern, Pádraig Flynn and other Fianna Fáil figures directly implicated in Mahon. But Fianna Fáil leader Mícheál Martin, a senior member of Ahern’s Cabinet, and several of his Dáil colleagues have serious questions to answer regarding their actions at that time.

The same political establishment whose corrupt practices have been exposed by Mahon are seeking to force people to pay the unjust Household Charge to fill the coffers of banks which contributed in a major way to the destruction of the Irish economy.

The campaign to impose it has been led and driven by arrogant Fine Gael ministers, supported by the Labour Party. Fianna Fáil also supports the imposition of this unjust charge and seeks only to extend the deadline for payment.

The Household Charge is unfair and unjust. Hard-working taxpayers have to pay the same as wealthy high-fliers: €100 may be small change to Enda Kenny, Eamon Gilmore and Mícheál Martin but it means a lot to people already struggling to pay their mortgages and everyday bills.

The widespread public resistance to this indiscriminate, flat-rate tax is a reflection of citizens’ anger. Government attempts to impose it through scaremongering and bullying has been an utter shambles. The charge should be scrapped immediately.

The same bullying approach by the political establishment will be evident again, over the next few weeks and months, as they attempt to coerce voters into endorsing the Eurozone Austerity Treaty on 31 May.

This treaty seeks to surrender what limited fiscal power remains in the hands of Irish people to unelected officials in Brussels. It is anti-growth and anti-jobs and if ratified will place an economic straightjacket on Ireland for decades and lead to further austerity, more unemployment and more emigration.

Sinn Féin will lead the campaign against ratification. We will oppose more austerity and the further erosion of Irish sovereignty and argue for a democratic, egalitarian Europe of sovereign nations.

Sinn Féin will stand up for the interests of citizens and for the realisation of the vision of the leaders of 1916 – a free and independent Ireland built in the interests of its citizens, not those of banks and EU bureaucrats.

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