Speaking in the Dáil on the Austerity Treaty, Sinn Féin health and children spokesperson Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin has said it “flies in the face of the 1916 Proclamation” and called for a massive ‘No’ vote on 31 May.
“On Easter Sunday the Taoiseach and other Cabinet ministers, as well as Oireachtas members, myself included, stood outside the GPO and listened to the words of the Proclamation. As I speak on the Austerity Treaty today I wonder did the Cabinet ministers hear the same words that I heard:
‘We declare the right of the people of Ireland to the ownership of Ireland and to the unfettered control of Irish destinies to be sovereign and indefeasible.’
“The Cabinet which stood to hear those words now asks us to put before the people for approval a Treaty that flies in the face of the 1916 Proclamation. It is a Treaty that seeks to negate the right of the Irish people to the ownership of Ireland. It is a Treaty that would surrender control of Irish destinies and fetter this and future elected governments, tying them to the failed economics of austerity.
“The people would have expected such surrender from the last Government – it reeks of the dying days of the Fianna Fáil regime. This was the Government that collapsed the economy, built a pipeline to pour public money into the banking black hole and brought in the Troika. All of these things were denounced in no uncertain terms by both Fine Gael and the Labour Party while in opposition.
“But now what do we find? Not only are the billions still being paid out to bank bold-holders, not only is the Troika diktat still firmly in place but we now also have a Treaty that seeks to tie this State to an austerity programme that will prolong the recession precipitated by Fianna Fáil.
“As we speak people are still reeling from the prospect of the latest imposition – water taxes with both a flat annual charge and a charge for use and the threat of cut-off if they do not pay. This has come hot on the heels of the debacle of the Household Charge. Cuts in pay, cuts in education, cuts in health, cuts in social protection, cuts in healthcare , privatization of State assets – this is austerity in action. This is the direct result of the surrender to the Troika and much, much more of this is what Fine Gael and the Labour Party want the people to vote ‘Yes’ to on 31 May.
“Without a blush the Tánaiste and his Labour Party colleagues have dumped their pre-election promise to the electorate. The red flag has been cast aside, the blueshirt hairshirt now firmly in control. Where now is the Labour refrain, heard throughout the 29th and 30th Dáil that taxes should be based on ability to pay and that those who can pay more should pay more? Where now is the warning from the Labour Party of the stealth taxes and charges that would be imposed by Fine Gael?
“Fine Gael received a very substantial mandate last year – but on the basis that they promised change and a new direction. Far from setting a new direction they have carried on with the legacy of Fianna Fáil. To this they have added an air of arrogance and self-righteousness as personified by the Minister for Hardship himself, Phil Hogan, and by the backbench Fine Gael chorus of hecklers who seem to have little else to contribute to this Dáil.”