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23 July 2009 Edition

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'Slash and burn' approach must be rejected

IF implemented, the ‘slash and burn’ proposals contained in the so-called ‘An Bord Snip Nua’ report to the Irish Government would have devastating social consequences. They have resulted in widespread public anger and a growing determination to resist the proposed attacks on working families, rural Ireland, the lowest paid and the poor.
Teachers groups have slammed proposed reductions in special needs assistants and English language support teachers.
Gardaí say the closure of rural Garda stations would leave vulnerable people more exposed to crime.
The Disability Federation of Ireland said it was “deeply concerned” with the proposed cuts and their likely impact on people with disabilities.
UNICEF Ireland said it was ‘horrified’ by plans to target services for children.
The Irish National Organisation of the Unemployed (INOU) points out that the less well-off in society are being asked to pay for the failings of the Celtic Tiger.
Conradh na Gaeilge has said that the proposal to abolish the Department of Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs, would do untold damage to both the Irish language and the Gaeltacht regions.
Trade unions have indicated that they will resist any attempt to cut social welfare payments, pay rates and jobs.
Meanwhile farming and rural organisations have said they will oppose the proposed scrapping of schemes that are vital to farming and rural communities.
It must be remembered that it was the policies of Fianna Fáil in government which led to the economic disaster that now exists in this country. The collapse in public finances is due to its decision to fuel a property bubble, its decision to cut taxes to unsustainable levels and its neglect of the real economy and the necessity for job creation.
The Irish public knows that the current public finance deficit means that savings have to be made. Earlier this year Sinn Féin published a number of public finance reforms and efficiencies that could save the exchequer approximately €5 billion euro in a 12-month period if implemented.
Yes, we need a more efficient public service. Yes the waste of public money which the government has pursued for years must be stopped. Yes higher paid public servants can cope with a reduction in their wages. But attacking the income and living standards of ordinary citizens and punishing the poor while bailing out bankers and leaving the wealth of a small elite untouched is no solution.
The vast majority of recommendations in the ‘Bord Snip Nua’ report should be rejected by the government. If not the cuts should be resisted tooth-and-nail by workers, the unemployed, and those organisations concerned about the future viability of rural Ireland. In this they will have the full support of Sinn Féin.

An Phoblacht Magazine


  • The first edition of this new magazine will feature a 10 page special on the life and legacy of our leader Martin McGuinness to mark the first anniversary of his untimely passing.
  • It will include a personal reminiscence by Gerry Adams and contributions from the McGuinness family.
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