8 July 2004 Edition
Ministers for Inequality
Both PD Senior and Fianna Fáil Junior Ministers in the Department of Justice, Equality, and Law Reform seem to be in the wrong job as they both decry the concept of equality. Minister McDowell says that inequality is necessary for Ireland's economy while Minister O'Dea claims that equal and just taxation, whereby rich corporations pay at least the same rate of tax as low-paid workers, was "deadly dangerous" and would lead to an "industrial wasteland"!
It is difficult to ascertain if these Ministers' ridiculous right-wing rants, based on anonymous "sources", are meant to be serious contributions to a real debate on the economy or cheap attempts to gain dramatic headlines and divert attention from the causes of the recent electoral setbacks for the PDs and Fianna Fáil.
Giving these supposed Equality Ministers the benefit of the doubt, it is time to seriously consider our economic future. In the PD (and FF?) right-wing model we ignore economic justice and equality and try to compete in a race to the bottom with Developing World economies like Burma and Indonesia to provide the cheapest location for MNCs and accept Developing World public services.
In the alternative model, instead of trying to compete on lowest price, we build high value, advanced R&D-based, indigenous and international industry, which can pay high wages and fair taxes. The acceptance of this more equal approach in countries such as Sweden and Denmark results in a high standard of living spread more evenly among their citizens and a much higher standard of public services than Ireland.
We have a clear choice between high profits, low business taxes and poor public services on one hand and moderate profits, fair taxes and quality public services on the other. Let the people decide.
Cllr Dessie Ellis,
Finglas, Dublin 11.
I refer to the piece on the local election results by Robbie Smyth (An Phoblacht 17 June), in which he reviewed the performance of Sinn Féin in every county with the exceptions of Offaly and Limerick.
This may have given the impression that Sinn Féin candidates did not put forward any candidates in these two counties. Well, the fact is that Sinn Féin candidates did run for Offaly County Council and Tullamore Town Council.
As for Limerick, may I set out the following for the record:
After a very hard fought campaign, Maurice Quinlivan quadrupled the Sinn Féin vote in Ward One of Limerick City Council and was in the running for a seat up to the last count (this got some mention in the national media). Also in Limerick City, Nancy Irwin polled a credible 5% in Ward Two, which had not been contested for nigh on 20 years.
In the Newcastlewest electoral area of Limerick County Council, both Coireall Mac Curtain and Michéal Mac Domhnaill ran for Sinn Féin and almost doubled the party vote, while Noel Hanley broke new ground for the party in the Kilmallock area.
It is extremely disappointing and not a little annoying that such efforts did not even register in the thoughts of the General Secretary of Sinn Féin. The whole thing makes one wonder!