4 December 2008 Edition

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Mála Poist

Cuireann An Phoblacht fáilte roimh litreacha ónár léitheoirí. Scríobh i nGaeilge nó i mBéarla, 200 focal ar a méid. Déantar giorrú ar litreachta más gá. Cuir do litir chuig [email protected]
An Phoblacht welcomes readers’ letters. Write in Irish or English, 200 words maximum. Letters may be edited for brevity. Send your letters to [email protected]. No attachments please

Fianna Fáil’s twisted ‘patriotism’

AM I alone in questioning Fianna Fáil’s interpretation of patriotism?
Is it patriotic for government Ministers to earn an annual income of up to and over €250,000 when the average industrial wage is €38,000?
Is it patriotic that the car park of Leinster House is currently filled with new Mercedes-Benz,BMWs, Volvos and Audis?
Is it patriotic that government Ministers preside over departments and state bodies that travel by first or business class when the rest of us fly budget?
Is it patriotic to let Donegal, Cavan, Monaghan and Leitrim languish a moment longer from the economic and social effects of partition?
Is it patriotic for a government to refuse to show any humility whatsoever in the face of an economic recession that is mostly of its own making.
Is it patriotic to put a popular vote on a European Treaty to an electorate and then completely ignore their view when the result means having a difficult conversation with your European partners?
Is it patriotic to withdraw support and services to the most disadvantaged in society and increase taxes on working families least able to afford them? Surely not.
Patriotism for me means to have an empathy with my people and to want the very best for them as well as myself. It means justice.
It means fairness. It means picking someone up when they have fallen down. It means delivering economic and social policy that just makes sense.
It means getting a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work.
It means developing enterprise and employment so that all our people can get out and work. It means having a vision and a plan for a better tomorrow whilst doing the very best you can today.


Laughable Labour not the alternative

THE Labour party has recently stated that it is the only viable ‘third choice’ in Irish politics. This is laughable from a party that has sold out the principles that were once held so dear by James Connolly. The current Labour Party leadership are far removed from the working class people that they purport to represent. As they sit in the Dáil and the European Parliament in their expensive suits, they have forgotten the assembly lines and factory floors from which they draw their votes. They have distanced themselves from the unions; often criticising and condemning legitimate workers’ demands and are so out of touch with the people that they originally supported the Lisbon Treaty, only changing their tune when they were handed a resounding defeat.
As we enter an economic recession, isn’t it time the people were given a genuine alternative? The future is up to us. Sinn Féin can provide the choice that they need.


Devastating education cuts

RTÉ television’s Question & Answers programme on Monday and in particular comments by the Minister for Education would make you believe that the cutbacks in the Budget would hardly have any effect on our children.
The Minister was allowed a free run on this subject and I hope that due to another Minister (Defence) getting a rough ride a few weeks ago that the Questions & Answers has not gone soft on Government spokespersons.
The Minister was not challenged about government  promises made in 2002 of class sizes of under 20 for all children under nine or the fact that in 2007 classes of 24 children or less were promised by 2010.
Because of the Budget, over-crowded classes will become even more packed. Parents do not believe the spin that there will only be one extra child in each class.
Only last week in our local school there were four extra children per class due to one teacher being absent. Many schools I am sure have more.
Another cutback in last month’s budget will see free school-books for poor children go. This beggars belief. Is it any wonder that the government is crashing in the opinion polls when this is the type of cutback being proposed?
I listened to the Fianna Fáil activists on Questions & Answers claiming that recent education protests were about teachers, not children. But the fact is that people are protesting about children in the most overcrowded classes in Europe; about children with no English who from next year on will have no English teacher; about children who won’t have a teacher next January because government will not pay a substitute; about poor children who won’t have books next year; about special needs children who won’t have resources; about children who won’t have computers despite being told they have been born into a knowledge economy; about children in rundown, dilapidated schools.
I trust the next time a Government Minister comes on Questions & Answers show that they are questioned  a lot harder that the Minister for Education was on Monday night last.
Dublin 22


An Phoblacht
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