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17 December 2009 Edition

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Make your voice heard, fight the cuts!

The Social Welfare Bill unceremoniously rushed through the Oireachtas in recent days is a despicable piece of legislation that attacks the incomes of the most vulnerable in society.
Widows, the disabled and carers are targeted, as are lone parents and young unemployed people who have been targeted by particularly savage cuts.
The legislation gives effect to the government’s war on the poor initiated by Brian Lenihan’s Budget. People affected by the cuts are also bearing the brunt of a range of other cuts that will further embed societal inequality – cuts to funding for educational disadvantage, Drugs Task Forces, community support services, and Family Resource Centres.
The impact of the cuts to Jobseekers’ Allowance and the lack of support for retraining and employment creation will drive tens of thousands of young workers to emigrate. These cynical cuts are designed for that very reason. The Government hopes to export its young unemployed, just as successive Irish Governments have done when faced with the consequences of their failure and the failure of those who have wealth in this country to sustain economic growth.
But there is another option and that is to fight back. This is a time for young people in particular to make their voices heard. The government is throwing their future away. Now is the time to take a stand. The government has calculated that young people won’t do that. They think young people won’t vote  – they hope they will emigrate. They need to be proved wrong.
The consequences of Budget 2010 particularly on poorer communities, will be absolutely devastating as will the consequences for the economy as a whole.
The challenge for the Government was not only to fix the economy and the public finances but also to protect society.
It has failed to protect citizens that rely on welfare or are struggling on low pay. It has failed to provide any vision or plan around employment.
Is has offered a recipe for despair and division, a recipe for further unemployment and a strategy that will drive people into poverty and debt.
At Christmas time it is particularly nauseating to witness a Government inflict this kind of pain on its citizens.
Now is the time for people to say enough is enough. People who live on welfare, people who struggle on low pay now need to stand up for themselves and for each other.
Voices across Ireland must now be raised in unity to fight these latest attacks on the fabric of our society and to demand that this Government goes.

Everyone at ‘An Phoblacht’ would like to take this opportunity to wish all our readers and sellers a Happy Christmas and best wishes for 2010. The next issue will be out on 7 January 2010.

An Phoblacht
44 Parnell Sq.
Dublin 1