Issue 2 - 2024 200dpi

5 February 2009 Edition

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Brian Cowen's quack medicine

QUACK medicine was dispensed by bogus doctors in the Wild West to gullible patients in the belief that the more bitter the taste the better the cure. This week Taoiseach Brian Cowen has dispensed the quack medicine of massive cuts in public services and punitive levies on workers.
But with no job creation strategy as the dole figures soar to record levels the cure will be worse than the disease. It will actually worsens the public finances that it is supposed to rectify. The bill for social welfare will rise dramatically, more than wiping out the ‘savings’ achieved.
While money is being cut out of incomes of Irish workers, the Government continues to pour billions into the banks with almost no strings attached. We have also seen the nationalisation of Anglo-Irish Bank which was simply a bail out of their property developer friends and which leaves the tax payer to pick up the bill for ever-increasing toxic debts.
Sinn Féin has identified a key source of wastage of public spending in the private companies who are operating on the back of our public services. On Tuesday Health Minister Mary Harney was once again opening another private, for-profit health clinic in County Kildare which was substantively paid for by taxpayers’ money. She had the brass neck to call on everyone to share the pain of public spending cutbacks to finance her friends in the private health industry. And it is this hypocritical approach to our public deficit which has led to the collapse in the partnership talks and has resulted in the Government imposing cutbacks in health and education and public transport and other vital public services.
With the Government’s almost complete obsession with cutting back on public spending, not a single thing has been done for our workers or our small and medium sized firms in the last six months. We have a crisis with Waterford Crystal that the Government has done almost nothing about and our SMEs are still being strangled by the credit drought due to the Government’s failure to put pressure on the banks.
Economic recovery cannot be simply a question of balancing the books. It must also be about producing proposals to get the economy moving again and thereby raising additional revenue. The primary need is for a job creation strategy.

An Phoblacht
44 Parnell Sq.
Dublin 1