11 June 2009 Edition
DÁIL NO-CONFIDENCE MOTION: Sinn Féin TDs tell Fianna Fáil and the Greens...
This government should go
THE Fianna Fáil/Green Party Government should pack its bags and go, Sinn Féin Dáil leader Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin told deputies as republican TDs backed the no-confidence motion tabled by Fine Gael on Tuesday and voted on on Wednesday.
Brian Cowen and John Gormley should resign and face the people in a general election, the Sinn Féin TD said.
“The people very clearly have absolutely no confidence in this Fianna Fáil/Green Government. They have shown that by their overwhelming vote last Friday in the local and European elections.
“This is a disastrous Government and with no mandate. They have no political authority to govern and no competence to govern.
“400,000 unemployed people and their dependents demand that this government should go. The many thousands of workers whose incomes have been hit by pay cuts, short-time working and unfair levies demand that the Government should go.
“People hit by savage cuts to public services in health and education demand that this Government go.
The Cavan/Monaghan TD said that the coalition of corrupt politicians, property developers and bankers brought the economy to its knees and they will not and cannot lead it into recovery. “They should all be turfed out,” he thundered.
People have not punished the Fianna Fáil/Green Government because a global recession has hit Ireland, Ó Caoláin said. They have done so because they know the recession is worse here as a result of the disastrous policies pursued by Fianna Fáil and the PDs for over a decade and the disastrous decisions made by Fianna Fáil and the Greens over these past two years.
TOTALLY OUT OF TOUCH
“This is a government totally out of touch with the people. A couple of weeks before the election, Finance Minister Brian Lenihan claimed that social welfare rates in this state are ‘far more generous than those in other countries’ and suggested that they are a disincentive to work.
“His suggestion is an insult to the tens of thousands of people dependent on social welfare who are struggling from week to week.
“Minister Lenihan should try living on the €204.30 per week Jobseeker’s Allowance! Or, better still, he should try living on €100 per week, the new rate for unemployed people under 20, after the Fianna Fáil/Green Government’s savage budget cut to Jobseeker’s Allowance for young people.
“Thousands of people are joining the dole queues every month thanks to the disastrous policies of this government. But instead of coming up with a real job-retention and job creation strategy, Minister Lenihan is preparing to cut social welfare on the spurious basis that unemployed people don’t want to work because welfare payments as so generous. They are to have more hardship inflicted on them to spur them on to find jobs that do not exist.”
The Sinn Fén deputy said that policies pursued by Fianna Fáil-led government since 1997 have led us to where we are today.
“Minister of State Dick Roche claimed on radio today that no-one in political life objected to the total dependence on the construction boom and the property bubble which is so clearly responsible for the depth of the recession in this state compared to other EU states. Minister Roche’s claim is completely false.
“We in Sinn Féin stand on our record in that regard. In November 2003, at the Construction Industry Federation conference, then Minister for Finance Charlie McCreevy actually asked for advice from the assembled developers and property speculators on housing policy.
“I stated at the time that the Government, in tandem with the same developers and property speculators, was directly responsible for the spiralling price of houses. It was at the behest of the Construction Industry Federation that the Government gutted Section V of its own Planning Act 2000 which required 20% of new developments to consist of social and affordable housing.
“The housing policy of the Fianna Fáil-Progressive Democrats government was totally market-driven. As a result, we had massive local authority waiting lists and even people on above average incomes could not afford a home. Between 1998 and 2003, the price of a new house in this state rose on average by 177%!
“But in terms of policy, nothing has changed. The recent Budget actually slashed the funding for the provision of social housing by local authorities. The Government has learned nothing from the failures of the past decade. It acknowledges no fault on its own part and that is absolutely galling and infuriates people up and down this country.”
Ó Caoláin pointed out that, as well as mounting an assault on low-income to middle-income earners, this Fianna Fáil/Green Government is imposing savage cuts to public services that will have extremely damaging long-term consequences.
“The Irish Nurses’ Organisation and SIPTU have already indicated to the HSE that it will not be possible to run the public health service in the context of the recruitment embargo as announced by Government.
“Waiting lists and A&E queues are as bad as ever and will worsen with the massive cuts in jobs in the public health service.
“The Government has repeatedly claimed that one of the factors that made us an economic success story was a young, well-educated workforce. Yet what have the Government done to education? They have cut €30 million from the school building programme. This is on top of the education cuts already introduced, cuts which hit the most vulnerable, such as children with special needs.
“The cut in the school building programme is pure folly in terms of education, in terms of public spending and in terms of employment.
“Children will continue to be taught in overcrowded and sub-standard classrooms. There are 1,400 schools on the school building waiting list; 100,000 additional pupils will enter primary school over the next decade – where will they be accommodated?
“The Government should be increasing and front-loading the Schools Building Programme as part of a job creation strategy, as proposed by Sinn Féin in our comprehensive employment retention and creation document ‘Getting Ireland Back to Work’.”
And Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin didn’t relent as he lambasted the Government as one that is “bankrupt not only in finances but bankrupt in policies, bankrupt in skills and bankrupt in ideas
“It is time for you all to pack your bags and follow the Taoiseach out the back door.”
UNCERTAINTY: Dole queues get longer