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1 October 2010

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Fianna Fáil are drunk on power

FIRST it was Taoiseach Brian Cowen’s performance on RTÉ radio - was he hoarse or hungover? Then a Fine Gael TD, the worse for wear, threatening a young Garda, using the ‘mind your manners, we’ll be in power soon’ line. The ‘demon drink’ has been front and centre in political debate. As a man in Ballybough put it to me: “What in the name of Jaysus are they at?” Good question.
Almost half a million people are unemployed. In Dublin, one in eight people are jobless. The state is struggling to borrow money, at very high interest rates, to keep the show on the road. Huge cutbacks have been introduced and there’s more to come in the December Budget. We are in big trouble.
The Government is in the Land of Make Believe, fingers crossed, wishing all of this would go away. It won’t. This crisis is for real and it needs to be faced up to.
No amount of Government spoof or spin can hide the fact that they have chosen bankers over citizens. Allowing Anglo Irish to suck the life out of the economy, cripple services and force the state to borrow at sky high rates is madness.
Citizens are on the receiving end of a very bad deal. The Government has no mandate for this madness. They were elected in 2007 on the promise that the ‘good times’ would keep on rolling - on a ‘trust us, we know what we’re doing’ message. It is now clear that they were not to be trusted.
Having made a hash of the boom time, this crowd are now leading the way to ruin.
So where do we go from here?
To begin with, we need to see the back of Anglo Irish Bank. It needs to be wound down and its toxic debt taken off the state’s balance sheet.
We need to stop hacking away with cutback after cutback to services and welfare payments. Sucking billions from the economy year after year will cause huge hardship and wreck our chance of economic recovery. We need a plan for jobs. This is the absolute priority.
If you listen to many of the other ‘Opposition’ politicians you’ll notice that they are heavy on condemning the Government but very light on offering alternatives. Listen carefully and you’ll hear them say that they’ll do the same things - only differently. Figure that one out!
Sinn Féin is the only party that has not signed up for billions of cuts each year until 2014.
We were the first and most consistent in bringing forward ideas to protect and create jobs.
We’ve argued for years - when it wasn’t fashionable - for a state bank, run for the benefit of families and enterprise and not to line the pockets of the fat cats.
This year, once again, we will make a detailed, costed, pre-budget submission. We’ll argue for fairness, for jobs and services. We won’t run away from the tough questions - on how to raise money, on how to gain efficiencies, on fair taxation.
The crisis is real and gombeen, stroke politics are a huge part of the problem. It’s time for those politicians drunk on power to sober up, to shape up. It’s time for the people to have their say.

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