Sinn Féin MLA Jennifer Mc Cann has hit out at the cost of the bail out of the Anglo Irish Bank and said it will have consequences for people living in the North as well as the South of Ireland.
Ms Mc Cann who chairs the Committee for Finance & Personnel said,
"At a time when working class people from all over Ireland are being told that they will face cuts to their jobs, public services and welfare benefits, we see government injecting up to 34 billion Euro into an already defunct bank.
This will impact on people living in the Six Counties also, as many of the small and medium sized businesses here who are already facing financial difficulties due to lending practices by banks, depend on trade and business opportunities working on an all-Island basis.
Ordinary workers in the First Trust Banks in the North will lose their jobs and a possible fire sale of land due to NAMA taking on £3.35 billion of the North’s bad debt will see the economy weaken further.
The austerity measures and savage cut backs introduced in the South in their plan for economic recovery have only brought more unemployment and greater hardship for the most vulnerable in society. Cuts in public services and lack of investment in the SME sector will have the same consequences here." CRÍOCH
Speaking in the Dáil today after the total cost for the bank bailout scheme was revealed to be up to €49 billion Sinn Féin Finance spokesperson said this day will be remembered as Black Thursday.
Deputy Morgan said the reality is that Ireland is facing a Greek style crisis.
Deputy Morgan said:
“We have been told that the €34.3 billion figure is the ‘worst-case scenario’, but we must remember that all aspects of the Government’s banking strategy have been the worst case scenario up to now. When the Minister for Finance told us two years ago that the worst was over, the worst hadn’t even begun.
“When, according to the Finance Minister, the worst was over the cost of the overall bank bailout of nearly €50 billion hadn’t even surfaced. Indeed, when Brian Lenihan first proposed nationalising Anglo Irish Bank in January 2009, he estimated that it would cost €4.5billion. Government policy is like watching economics for slow learners. It takes them years to decide anything and when they do, it's the most costly and worst option.
“The impact that this bailout will have on the Irish deficit is enormous. Almost every cut that is being made is to fund the Government’s failed banking policy. Where will the growth come from to bridge the chasm between what the Government is spending on the banks and what they are taking in? The bill for this bailout will bankrupt the country. The reality is that Ireland is bust and faces a potential Greek-style crisis.
“No matter what language the Government tries to hide behind, the fact is that the taxpayer has to pay for the Anglo debacle – it is public funds being pumped into these banks and it is public services and welfare that is being ruthlessly cut to try and bridge the gap in the public finances. Our government's banking policy makes the mistakes in Iceland look tame.
“Today will for ever more be known to the Irish people as Black Thursday.” ENDS
Full text of Deputy Morgan’s speech follows:
Projecting the cost of the Anglo Irish bailout as €29.3 billion is completely sly when admitting in the same breath that the final cost will most likely rise to €34.3 billion, in the event of further losses.
We have been told that the €34.3 billion figure is the ‘worst-case scenario’, but we must remember that all aspects of the Government’s banking strategy have been the worst case scenario up to now. When the Minister for Finance told us two years ago that the worst was over, the worst hadn’t even begun.
When, according to the Finance Minister, the worst was over the cost of the overall bank bailout of nearly €50 billion hadn’t even surfaced. Indeed, when Brian Lenihan first proposed nationalising Anglo Irish Bank in January 2009, he estimated that it would cost €4.5billion. Government policy is like watching economics for slow learners. It takes them years to decide anything and when they do, it's the most costly and worst option.
Concerns about the Government’s ability to pay for the banking bailouts have pushed Irish State borrowing costs to record levels. Because of the financial impact of the guarantee, the borrowing, the recapitalisation of the banks – Ireland’s debt is now being serviced at a record Irish and EU high of 6.8%.
The prospect of the Government taking a majority shareholding and control of AIB is now inevitable and has been since the outset of this crisis. AIB should have been nationalised two years ago, as advocated by Sinn Féin. Swift and decisive action two years ago to make this move would have dealt with credit streams to SMEs and households, and it would have stabilised the banking sector.
The impact that this bailout will have on the Irish deficit is enormous. The Government’s goal to come back within the Stability and Growth Pact by 2014 has been blown out of the water. Today’s estimates will mean the Government has less money to spend and will have to introduce an even tougher Budget in December. Almost every cut that is being made is to fund the Government’s failed banking policy. Where will the growth come from to bridge the chasm between what the Government is spending on the banks and what they are taking in? The bill for this bailout will bankrupt the country. The reality is that Ireland is bust and faces a potential Greek-style crisis.
Bondholders lent private money to private banks, not to the State. They did not lend the money for infrastructural investment, they did not lend the money to create jobs- they lent their money for a high return. The Government warn that cutting Anglo’s bondholders would kill demand for Irish sovereign debt. The opposite is true as record-high sovereign spreads show. The open-ended exposure to private liabilities across the banking system drives up sovereign yields. While the State continues to promise it will fund Anglo’s bondholders, the prognosis for financial institutions and the State’s own sovereign debt remains uncertain
Why should we socialise the losses of the financial sector? Why should we inflict pain on our people for the failings of capitalism, liberal markets and unbelievably greedy bankers and speculators?
It is demanded of us that the economy be hamstrung by pay-cuts, jobs losses and privatisations AND that it service a now increased level of debt. Reducing incomes while increasing debts only raises the risk of default, hence yields continue to rise. A crucial, yet widely ignored point from Standard & Poors when downgrading Irish debt is that the austerity measures have depressed activity and tax revenues. This slash and burn approach does not work and only increases both the budget deficits and the interest rates on Government debt.
No matter what language the Government tries to hide behind, the fact is that the taxpayer has to pay for the Anglo debacle- it is public finds being pumped into these banks and it is public services and welfare that is being ruthlessly cut to try and bridge the gap in the public finances. Our government's banking policy makes the mistakes in Iceland look tame.
Feeding the opportunistic bank bondholders is killing economies in trouble. If an economy doesn’t grow but tries to pay back huge debts, it will turn into a debt-servicing agency, which hollows out the productive marrow of society. The Government has placed international bondholders above every man, woman and child in this state, on this, the worst day for our economy in history.
The reality is that the Irish Government’s credibility is being contaminated by the banks. Our banking system is in a crippled state and this is having a serious impact on our Irish sovereign debt. The markets want growth and anything that strangles growth scares them.
The State’s own sovereign debt has become tied to our banking institutions: the most recent increases in interest rates on Irish state bonds are directly linked to the uncertainty surrounding Anglo Irish and Ireland’s ability to pay for Anglo’s debts.
Ireland will fill economics books of the future with tales of pathetic -and corrupt- economic management. Those who run our country recklessly fuelled the boom with disastrous consequences and now, in the bust, they are making things considerably worse. The problem for us is that the very people who didn’t see the bust coming and cheer-led the country over a cliff are the same people in power now.
Sinn Féin’s reaction
In advance of the 2007 general election, Fianna Fáil told the electorate that the economy was fine- that it was built on solid foundations- when it was clear that this was not the case. Today Fianna Fáil, and especially the Taoiseach Brian Cowen, are lying to the public when they say that nobody was warning of the pending economic crisis- they do this to hide their own culpability in the financial and banking crisis we are facing presently.
Today the bill for the bank bailouts has escalated to €50 billion. This government has done more to ruin this state's future in one day than any other single body, institution or group has ever done. We are being deliberately sabotaged by a government that also has the neck to go out and defend, arrogantly, what it has wrought upon the people of this state for generations. This was a home grown crisis, fuelled by the culture of greed and corruption of successive Fianna Fáil governments, it was the dismantling of regulation by the Government coupled with their pro real-estate policy that brought this financial and banking crisis to fruition.
Today, Sinn Féin has tabled a motion of no confidence- no confidence in the very Minister entrusted with the financial security of this State, the Minister who has led Ireland on a trajectory of perpetual debt for generations to come and the person who will savage public services for the people of this State in December.
Sinn Fein TDs have placed a motion before this House which reads as follows:
“That Dáil Éireann,
expressing its serious concerns about revelations in RTE Freefall Documentary on Monday 6 September 2010 that Bank of Ireland Chairman Richard Burrows and Chief Executive Brian Goggin were informed by Anglo Irish Bank Chairman Seán Fitzpatrick and Chief Executive David Drumm that Anglo Irish Bank was insolvent and requested a takeover of the Bank;
Noting that immediately following this meeting Bank of Ireland management then contacted Allied Irish Bank and both banks immediately sought a meeting with the Minster for Finance Brian Lenihan;
Further noting that following these meetings the Minister introduced the Credit Institutions (Financial Support) Bill 2008 (the Bank Guarantee) on the 30 September 2008 claiming in the Dáil that the purpose of the Guarantee was to deal with liquidity or cash flow issues within the Irish Banking system;
Deplores the fact that the reality of the situation in Anglo Irish Bank was not revealed to the Dáil by the Minister before the passing of the Guarantee;
Noting that due to the financial impact of the guarantee and the subsequent borrowing and the recapitalization of the banks that the State's debt is now being serviced at a record Irish and EU high of 6.8%;
noting that the estimated cost of the Government’s banking policy has continued to spiral out of control;
Noting that new estimates for the capital and recapitalisation costs of Anglo Irish will reach €34.3 billion and that the total cost of the bank bailout will reach €49.3 billion
has no confidence in the Minister for Finance, Deputy Brian Lenihan.”
What would SF do?
There is need for an immediate exit strategy and the way to do this includes:
• The creation of a State bank by nationalising AIB & BOI
• To nationalise the positive assets, including the deposits and performing loans, of AIB and BOI & transfer into the new State Bank
• To allow the banking guarantee to lapse
• To allow the remaining assets of AIB, BOI and Irish Nationwide to be divided up between the bondholders of those institutions;
• To secure all deposits in the State bank, given that all activities at the bank are under sovereign guarantee
It is becoming increasingly clear that the Government will bankrupt the state if we continue to repay the bondholders. Bondholders must be cut loose. Allow the guarantee to lapse. The taxpayer has no obligation to repay both senior and subordinated bondholders at Anglo on the grounds that:
(a) The terms of these securities allow for the possibility of them not being paid back if the bank is insolvent (this is why banks get to count these securities as part of their regulatory capital).
(b) None of this debt matures until 2014 at the earliest
(c) These bonds will no longer be covered by a state guarantee.
All banks are to varying degrees zombified i.e. they are unable or unwilling to provide credit to the economy. We must, therefore, transfer the deposits into a new, single, State bank where their deposits would be safe and thus reopen credit streams.
Through public ownership the State will be in a position to directly control finance and ensure that credit is injected into the real economy. Scarce public funds should not be used to continue to bailout bondholders from their own reckless behaviour. It is time the Government accepted that the current strategy to restore our banking has failed.
Ireland and Europe operate under a financial system called capitalism. That system prescribes that if a business venture fails then the loss arising falls on the shoulders of the investors. These were private investors investing in private enterprises. Why are you changing the rules in this case when it benefits your cronies?
An exit strategy from the current debt crisis is imperative and a new system of public banking must be established.
A Plan for Deficit Reduction
An economic policy that is reduced to focussing solely on saving banks and reducing a deficit, without any attention to the growth side, is doomed to failure. The Government have commit to put in whatever capital is necessary for splitting Anglo in two and its subsequent recapitalisation, today’s figures peaking at a whopping €34.3billion, but the economy outside the banks is being grossly neglected.
The government claims that the overriding priority is reduce the public sector deficit to the Maastricht Treaty limit to 3% of GDP by 2013/14, and that massive cuts to spending will achieve that. Sinn Fein disagrees on all counts.
Our overwhelming priority is the economy, restoring growth, reversing the tide of business bankruptcies, getting people back into work and restoring funding to our schools, hospitals and investment in our infrastructure. These are the polices that will actually secure deficit reduction, as tax revenues rise and welfare outlays lowered as people are brought back into employment.
The deficit is a symptom of the crisis- not its cause. The deficit appeared precisely at the time of the recession. Before then the Exchequer annual returns were in modest surpluses. But government policy has exacerbated that deficit, producing the highest in the Euro Area at 14.3% of GDP. The underlying deficit, excluding the extra money that can always seem to be found for bank recapitalisations, is still an enormous 11.6% of GDP.
Government policy is a complete failure even in its own terms. No reputable international or domestic agency, IMF, OECD, EU or the ESRI believes the 2013/14 target will be met and most forecast the deficit will rise further in the short-term.
All these agencies concede that the prospects for reducing the deficit are dependent on the levels of growth achieved over the medium-term. This is the real determinant of the deficit. The bitter experience of the last two years is that cutting spending has weakened growth and therefore led to a wider deficit. A pro-growth strategy is required to revive economic activity and narrow the deficit over the medium-term. This would include investment in growth-enhancing education, R&D, infrastructure, health and childcare.
Brian Lenihan assured us at the time of the last Budget that €4bn of cuts would be the ‘last big push’ required to ensure stabilisation of the economy and government finances. Now it is claimed that further cuts of at least €3bn will be required, because the domestic crisis deepens. This is the madness of repeating a policy which has already failed.
The cuts have failed in their stated objective. The opposite course is actually required. Just as lower government spending sharpens the downturn, lowers tax revenues and increases welfare outlays, so increased government spending can do the opposite. That is the way to close the deficit-through government investment.
The continuing problems of the economy here are entirely home-grown.
The Government provides money to financial businesses in previously unimaginable quantities. But there is no control over the use of money, no safeguarding of the essential economic functions and no accountability for the damage that has been done.
Sinn Féin deputy Chair of the Health Committee Michelle O’Neill MLA has welcomed the announcement by the Health Minister, following the suggestion from Carál Ní Chuilín at the joint Health and Justice Committees meeting, that the Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority (RQIA) is to investigate the western Trust’s handling of the Donagh abuse case.
Speaking from the Assembly today Ms O’Neill said;
“I welcome the announcement from the Minister following Carál Ní Chuilín’s suggestion that the RQIA be brought in to investigate the handling of the Donagh abuse case by the west Trust. I look forward to receiving the terms of reference of the review, which needs to be open, transparent and comprehensive.
We particularly welcome the fact that this review will run in parallel with the ongoing review announced by Justice Minister David Ford.
The RQIA Review has been instructed to liaise closely with the Justice Department as many of these issue overlap between both the Health and Justice Departments.
Sinn Féin stated at today’s joint sitting that victims and survivors of abuse in Donagh must be at the core of both investigations and their views must be fully taken on board.
We must collectively work to ensure that there can be no repeat of this kind of trauma caused to victims in the future.” CRÍOCH
Sinn Féin members and supporters in Dublin Mid West have unanimously selected Eoin Ó Broin as the party’s candidate for the upcoming general election. The convention, at the Clarion Hotel on Wednesday September 29, was attended by over 50 people.
Clondalkin Sinn Féin Cllr Matthew McDonagh welcomed everyone to the event saying that, ‘having worked with Eoin since the start of the year I am delighted to endorse him tonight.’
Former Dublin Mid West general election candidate and current economic advisor to the party Joanne Spain chaired the event and also endorsed the new candidate saying that, ‘Eoin has played an important role in developing Sinn Fein economic policy in recent years.’
The night’s main speaker was North Belfast MLA and Junior Minister Gerry Kelly. The Belfast politician said that political growth in Dublin is ‘central to Sinn Féin’s project of building a united and equal Ireland.’ He also spoke of his experiencing of working with Eoin in Belfast from 1995 to 2006 saying that, ‘Eoin was a hard working councillor with a keen intellect and a first rate political debater.’
Speaking before the formal election proceedings Eoin Ó Broin told the Convention that, ‘Sinn Fein is the only party offering a real social and economic alternative to both the failed policies of the Fianna Fail-Green Party government, and the pro-cuts agenda of Labour and Fine Gael.
‘Our party has detailed costed proposals on job creation and tax reform. We are opposed to the government proposal and opposition acceptance of cutting €3billion from public expenditure in this December’s budget. As with the previous budgets, these cuts will lead to a further contraction of the economy and more loss of jobs.
‘In November we will be launching our own budget alternative arguing for a stimulus package to create jobs and help hard pressed working families.’
Speaking about the forthcoming election contest in Dublin Mid West Ó Broin said:
‘Sinn Féin has a real chance of winning a Dail seat in Dublin Mid West in the forthcoming election. The three sitting government TDs are all vulnerable, having blindly supported policies which have led to 450,000 people on the dole, billions of euro wasted on Anglo Irish Bank, and public services unable to meet the needs of local communities.
‘People want change. They want real policies that can generate employment, prosperity and equality for all. Neither this government nor the Fine Gael-Labour opposition can provide that alternative, wedded as they are to the failed economic consensus that caused the recession. Sinn Féin is the only real alternative, working hard on the ground and with radical and credible policy solutions to the problems the country is currently facing.’ ENDS
Eoin is a member of Lucan Sinn Fein and lives in Clondalkin Village. He is a member of Sinn Fein's Ard Comhairle (governing body), writes a regular for the party's paper An Phoblacht, and is involved in the development of the party’s European, Economic and Housing policies.
A Sinn Fein activist for 15 years. Born in Dublin he lived in Belfast for 11 years where he was National Organiser for Sinn Fein Youth from 1997 to 1999; elected to Belfast City Council in 2001; and Sinn Fein’s Director of European Affairs from 2004 to 2007. Eoin was also the director of the party’s campaigns against the Lisbon Treaty in 2008 and 2009.
Eoin has a Masters Degree in Irish Politics from Queens University Belfast and currently works for a national housing charity. He is also the author of two books, a history of the conflict in the Basque Country (2003) and Sinn Féin and the Politics of Left Republicanism (2009). He is currently working on a third, A Better Ireland - Arguments for a New Republic, which will be published in 2011 by Pluto Press.
Eoin's priorities for Dublin Mid West in the coming election are jobs, housing, public services, community services and community safety.
Transport Minister Conor Murphy today launched the consultation process for an ambitious Traffic Masterplan for Belfast city centre entitled ‘Belfast on the Move’.
It aims to substantially reduce traffic levels in the city centre and provide more road space for public transport, pedestrians and cyclists.
The Minister said: “Belfast city centre has been transformed in recent years with major regeneration and retail redevelopments. A thriving city centre needs a transport system that not only encourages the use of more sustainable transport to reduce congestion but also enhances the environment for those who shop, visit, work and live in Belfast city centre.
“Around 30,000 vehicles per day travel through the city centre on the streets either side of City Hall. About 60% of this is through traffic, with no final destination in the city centre causing needless congestion. This Traffic Masterplan for Belfast aims to substantially reduce those traffic levels and provide more road space for public transport, pedestrians and cyclists.
“My vision is to achieve a city centre where access by public transport is given a much higher priority, and to create a safe street environment tailored to the needs of pedestrians rather than the private car. Over 40% of households in Belfast do not have access to a private car and therefore rely on public transport. For the city centre to thrive, people need to be able to access goods and services swiftly and efficiently and public transport will play an increasingly important role in this as non essential traffic is redirected away from the central area.
“The Belfast on the Move proposals will promote a safe, sustainable and efficient transport system within Belfast City Centre. ”
The proposed ‘Sustainable Transport Enabling Measures’ will require the redistribution of available road space in the city centre in favour of public transport, pedestrians and cyclists. Improvements will be made to the road network to the west of the central area to provide an alternative route for northbound traffic. The longer term objectives of the Masterplan are to remove through traffic from the streets around City Hall so that it can be linked directly to Donegall Place and to improve public transport by facilitating cross-city bus routes and future Rapid Transit routes.
The Masterplan sets out the phased proposals which include:
· Northbound through traffic re-routed from Great Victoria Street onto Hope Street and Durham Street with south bound traffic continuing to use Great Victoria Street. Grosvenor Road will become one-way westbound and College Square North one-way eastbound.
· The redistribution of existing road space will provide extensive bus priority measures for use by public transport, taxis and cyclists.
· The delivery of 20 new controlled pedestrian crossing points; about 2.6km of new bus lanes which will also accommodate cyclists and taxis; 340m of new dedicated service bays; 1km of new dedicated cycle lanes and over 40 additional dedicated disabled parking bays.
Sinn Féin Senator Pearse Doherty has today called a motion of no confidence in the Minister for Finance Brian Lenihan in the Seanad. However the vote could no go ahead as the Cathaoirleach of the Seanad, in what Senator Doherty described as an act of political protectionism refused to recognise a formal seconding of the motion.
Senator Doherty said:
“I called this vote on the morning that we heard that the total cost to taxpayers for the bank bailout is going to be somewhere around €49 billion. I believe that the Minister for Finance has walked the country into the biggest financial meltdown in the history of the state and for that he needs to be held to account.
“The Cathaoirleach of the Seanad, in an act of political protectionism firstly refused to accept my motion of no confidence and subsequently would not allow the vote to go ahead despite a formal seconding.
“It is clear that the Cathaoirleach and Seanad leader Donie Cassidy were doing their utmost to protect their party colleague, however the reality is that this is not about whether he is a nice guy or how hard he works, it is about taxpayers footing the bill for his mistakes. The buck stops with the Minister and his government.
“People are suffering. They have borne the brunt of cutbacks and bank bailouts while those who caused the mess get off scot-free. Brian Lenihan and his government are directly responsible for this mess. I have no confidence in the Finance Minister and nor do the people. He and his government should do the right thing and walk.” ENDS
Sinn Féin Dáil leader and spokesperson on Health & Children Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin has criticised Health & Children Minister Mary Harney for agreeing with Northern Health Minister Michael McGimpsey to suppress the North-South Feasibility Report on Co-operation in Health which was completed in 2009.
Deputy Ó Caoláin, who is raising the issue today at the Good Friday Agreement Implementation Committee with the Minister for Foreign Affairs Mícheál Martin, said:
“On 14 September in the Assembly the Minister for Health, Social Services and Public Safety, Michael McGimpsey, stated that he and the Minister for Health & Children Mary Harney had agreed not to publish nor to take forward the North-South Feasibility Report on Co-operation in Health.
“This study recommends much more extensive co-operation in health services, including providing specialist surgical procedures on an island-wide basis, surgery that people at present have to leave Ireland to access.
“The report also calls for the development on a joint basis of a service for those organ transplants that are less common and may require the critical mass of the combined population on the island to be sustainable.
“These and other proposals would make a real difference for patients and improve our health services. While co-operation is taking place, there is much more that can be done and the Irish Government should be pressing for this.
“Instead, Minister Harney seems to have happily agreed with Minister McGimpsey to suppress this report. The report should now be published and its recommendations should be implemented.” ENDS
Sinn Féin Dáil Leader Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin has tabled a motion of no confidence in Finance Minister Brian Lenihan after the Financial Regulator estimated that the cost of the bail out of Anglo Irish Bank will be up to €34 billion.
Speaking this morning Deputy Ó Caoláin said:
“It is our belief that Minister Lenihan withheld information from the Dáil when he asked for support for the original bank guarantee scheme.
“It has since been revealed that Anglo Irish Bank was insolvent at the time and the bill for the bailout is now set to be between €29 and €34 billion.
“Sinn Féin has no confidence in the Minister for Finance and we have tabled a motion to that effect this morning. I am calling on both Fine Gael and Labour to support this motion and facilitate a debate on the matter by allowing time for it to be debated.” ENDS
Sinn Féin Senator Pearse Doherty has tonight opposed the extension of the bank guarantee scheme.
Speaking in the Seanad Senator Doherty said that the Government needs to get the message – their policy of bank bailouts and cow-towing to the wealthy elite has failed. With almost half a million people unemployed they need to start bailing out the people and not the banks.
Senator Doherty said:
“Two years ago today the Government put in place the Bank Guarantee Scheme. It was introduced by a government who knew the true extent of the problem but who deliberately misled TDs. This was followed up by the terms and conditions of the scheme which Sinn Féin vehemently opposed.
“The Government’s actions over that period two years ago have led to billions of euros worth of debt which will not just rest on the heads of this generation, but will be a millstone around the necks of many generations to come.
“Brian Lenihan famously said during his deliverance of last year’s budget that 'the worst is over'. I would warrant that Brian Lenihan is very much eating his words as today’s live register figures have shown that there are still almost half a million people who are out of work. The state is haemorrhaging jobs left right and centre. Emigration is the only way out for many. Far from addressing these problems the Government tonight want us to yet again sign up to bailing out the banks.
“There are simple steps that should be taken immediately with regard to the banks.
· First of all the guarantee scheme should be scrapped.
· Create a state bank by nationalising AIB and Bank of Ireland.
· Nationalise the positive assets, including the deposits and performing loans, of AIB and Bank of Ireland and transfer into a new State Bank;
· Allow the remaining assets of AIB, Bank of Ireland and Irish Nationwide to be divided up between the bondholders of those institutions;
· Default on repayments to senior and subordinated bondholders of Anglo Irish;
· Guarantee all deposits in the State bank.
“This Government told us that to get credit flowing we need to bail out the banks. They told us that to address the deficit we need to cut public spending. They have been proved wrong and now the people are paying the price.
“The Government needs to get the message – their policy of bank bailouts and cow-towing to the wealthy elite has failed. With almost half a million people unemployed they need to start bailing out the people and not the banks.
“Fianna Fáil have not learned their lesson after two years. It’s clear that they are not going to learn their lesson. In order to get this country back on track they should be booted out of office. They have no mandate for their bailouts or their cuts. They should call a general election now.” ENDS
Speaking in the Seanad this evening Sinn Féin Senator said Pearse Doherty supported a motion which called for supports for older people who are coming to the end of their lives.
Senator Doherty said:
“It is one of the great scandals of our health and social services that far too little has been done to provide support for older people in particular to live and to die at home, if that is their wish, instead of in nursing homes and hospitals. And now we find that the improvements that have been made are being cut back.
“The measures proposed in this motion are things that should have been done over the past decade when the Government was boasting about the health of the public finances. We know now how they squandered those finances and created the economic crisis. And it is the old, the infirm, the sick, the disadvantaged and the marginalised that are paying for the crisis, not the people who caused it. It’s a false economy because their savage cuts are taking billions out of the economy and depressing it further.
“The Government has operated the same type of false economy with regard to healthcare and social services.
“Rather than provide the supports for terminally ill people to remain at home, in the community or in hospice care, Government neglect means that their lives end in acute hospital wards – often crowded wards. This is distressing for them and for their families. It lacks the dignity and comfort which could be theirs in more appropriate settings, and, if we want to look at it in purely economic terms, it is far less cost-effective in the long term.
“The Government should accept this motion and implement the Quality Standards for End-of-Life Care in Hospitals.” ENDS
Speaking in the Dáil today on the Credit Institutions (Eligible Liabilities Guarantee) (Amendment) Scheme 2010, Sinn Fein Spokesperson on Finance Arthur Morgan said an exit strategy from the current debt crisis must be established along with a new system of public banking.
He said Sinn Féin is vehemently opposed to the extension of the bank guarantee.
Deputy Morgan said:
“The bill to be footed by the taxpayer for the Government’s banking strategy looks like it could now run beyond €30 billion. The Government’s strategy of creating stability through the bailout of our banking institutions has failed.
“The taxpayer is once again being asked to provide yet another lifeboat for the banks. The critical issue that must be addressed is whether the banking system, with the aid of this guarantee can turn itself around, transform into a system that services the domestic economy by providing the credit much-needed by businesses and households and whether placing this burden on the taxpayer is warranted. The answer is no.
“The Government should not be allowed to extend this guarantee scheme for another three days never mind another three months. Sinn Féin will not support any measures designed to throw the economy into further disarray. Sinn Féin is vehemently opposed to extending the guarantee.
“An exit strategy from the current debt crisis is imperative and a new system of public banking must be established. Sinn Féin’s believes that a State bank should be created by nationalising AIB & BOI. We should nationalise the positive assets, including the deposits and performing loans, of AIB and BOI, and to transfer these into a new State Bank.
“We must allow the banking guarantee to lapse and allow the remaining assets of AIB, BOI and Irish Nationwide to be divided up between the bondholders of those institutions
“And we should guarantee all deposits in the State bank.
“In September 2008, we would have wound down Anglo. We would have burned the bondholders. We would have moved Anglo’s deposits to other, stable banks and that would help them with their new capital requirements. We would follow through with that very same policy now by abolishing the bank guarantee extension.
“On the second anniversary of the original bank guarantee; two years in which the people of this State have been crippled under the strain of a broken banking system, the Government once more signed the taxpayer up to a further blank cheque for the banks. The banking crisis is quickly becoming a sovereign-debt crisis because this prolonged guarantee puts us all on the hook.” ENDS
The Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Workers Rights Martin Ferris TD has strongly criticised Government employment policy. The Kerry North/Limerick West TD was speaking during a Private Members debate in the Dáil this evening.
Ferris claimed that the Coalition was happy to preside over a negative austerity programme that was condemning hundreds of thousands of people to the dole and emigration in order to save a small clique of incompetent speculators and failed bankers.
Deputy Ferris said:
“The fact is that this state has been virtually dragged to its knees by a small number of incompetent greedy financial and property speculators. A so-called Golden Circle were able to gamble recklessly on the future of the Irish economy and of every Irish person simply because of their political connections and political protection.
“Now the rest of us are forced into a situation where we are supposed to accept the dragging down of a whole society in order to pay for the criminal incompetence of these people. It is no wonder people are angry.
“There are now 450,000 people on the live register, bringing the standardised unemployment rate to 13.7%. As these figures threaten to reach half a million people, even with rising emigration, this Government’s focus remains on the future of a bank with no prospects but ignorant of the future of people with endless prospects.
“Fundamental changes are needed. Trickle-down should be supplanted by public investment-led growth, large-scale public investments in areas vital to our future such as infrastructure, research and development, education and training.
“Investing in job creation to tackle unemployment now will pay dividends well into the future. Sinn Féin advocates taking revenue from the pension reserve fund on a once off basis and implementing the revenue raising proposals set out in our Budget 2010 pre budget submission in order to fund our job creation proposals.
“To put the current economic situation in perspective: Our youth jobs proposals costed at €1.3 billion would create at least 50,000 jobs. If the €25 billion that is being pumped into Anglo Irish bank, the bank that operated a €8.2 billion LOSS for the first half of this year, was diverted into Sinn Féin’s job creation package, our proposals could support nearly 1 million jobs.” ENDS
Speaking after the Government voted down motions to hold the three outstanding by-elections today Sinn Féin Senator Pearse Doherty accused the Government of once again running scared of the people.
Senator Doherty said:
“The Government is once again running scared of the people by refusing to hold three long overdue by-elections.
“It is my belief that the Government is acting illegally and in breach of the constitution and they will face me in court on October 18th if the writ for the Donegal South West by-election is not moved and passed by the Dáil beforehand.
“I have taken my case because the Government has denied the people of Donegal South West their democratic rights for over fifteen months now. It has been 482 days since the vacancy arose and the Government’s only response has been to extend this delay until next year.
“That is an insult to the people of my constituency. We want the election to take place at the earliest opportunity – not at some stage in the future when the Government decides it suits them best.” ENDS
Sinn Féin Dáil leader Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin has called on the Government to hold the three outstanding by-elections in Donegal South-West, Waterford and Dublin South this autumn.
Speaking in the Dáil, Deputy Ó Caoláin said:
“In refusing to hold these by-elections a Government without a mandate is denying democracy to the people of three constituencies and to the people of the State as a whole.
“This Fianna Fáil/Green Government has no mandate for its savage cuts to public services, no mandate for the bank bail-out and no mandate for NAMA.
“Fianna Fáil was elected on the basis of the lie that their economic policies would prolong the Celtic Tiger and that the property madness would end not in a crash but in a soft landing. The Greens were elected on the basis that they would lead the Irish people into the promised eco-friendly land of political purity. Instead they led them into bed with the corrupt and bankrupt Fianna Fáil party.
“There was much attention three weeks ago on the Taoiseach’s state of health on a particular morning. I hope it is good today. But politically, there is no doubt that he and his Government are staggering and reeling and their days are numbered.
“A few days after the now internationally famous radio interview the Taoiseach said, dismissively, that the Donegal South-West by-election would take place some time in 2011.
“My party colleague Sinn Féin Senator Pearse Doherty quite rightly described the Taoiseach’s comment as an insult to the people of Donegal. It is now nearly sixteen months since this seat became vacant and the Government has blocked every attempt to hold a by-election.
“Senator Doherty has taken this Government to the High Court to try to ensure that they accord to the people of Donegal South West their right to full representation. The people of Dublin South and Waterford have the same right and we call for the holding of the three by-elections this autumn.
“One of the major flaws in the Constitution is that it has no provision for by-elections to be held within a reasonable time of the vacancy arising. Instead the power is in the hands of the Government of the day and can be delayed indefinitely according as the political expediency of the Government demands. It is another abuse of democratic principles that serves to increase people’s disillusion and cynicism about politics.
“These motions come before us on the day figures confirm that there are over 440,000 people are unemployed in this State. The Government can take no credit or comfort from the fact that there were 5,400 fewer people signing on in September than there were in August. That shows the success of one Government policy – its emigration policy.
“Emigration is rampant and our graduates are looking abroad for meaningful employment because this is one of the few states the few in Western Europe trying to get out of recession without an economic stimulus package.
“Emigration is nothing new to the people of County Donegal. Under landlordism and British rule, under the Free State and even under the Celtic Tiger that county suffered higher than average unemployment, Government neglect and the forced emigration of its young people.
“Waterford has suffered the loss of long-standing quality industries, including Waterford Glass, a national flagship enterprise that should never have been allowed to close.
“And Dublin South, like the rest of our capital, has a high number of young unemployed people.
“If the Government is prepared to stand over its savage cuts then let them face the people in the three by-elections this autumn.” ENDS
Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness MP today met former US President Bill Clinton in Derry this afternoon.
Speaking after a meeting with the former President Mr McGuinness said;
“Today’s visit by President Clinton is a welcome move that will help add to the attempts at bringing greater economic investment to the north. It comes ahead of the economic summit for the north due in Washington next month. It also comes after our meeting yesterday with the British Chancellor George Osborne.
The Executive's agreed Programme for Government states that we must develop the economy in a way which promotes equality and targets objective needs.
Now, more than ever, that is our challenge.
To this end we have the shared objectives of building the economy and tackling disadvantage. We need to ensure that those most in need benefit from economic growth.
The lack of fiscal powers at the Executive limits our ability to tackle the economic crisis. Without the necessary tools we are simply reduced to redistributing a smaller pot of money.
We have good friends in the US administration who are willing to aid us in building the economy.
We need movement from the British Government to secure investment and the fiscal tools to promote recovery on an all-Ireland basis.” CRÍOCH
Commenting after the rejection of the appeal by the PSNI Chief Constable today to provide the relevant Stalker/Sampson Report papers to the families and legal teams of those killed in the 1982 shoot to kill cases Sinn Féin spokesperson on Truth Francie Molloy said;
“It is now time for the legal wrangling to end; the PSNI must accept the latest court ruling and provide the relevant Stalker/Sampson papers to the families legal teams.
As we approach the 28th anniversary of these shootings it is past time that the loved ones of those murdered have their inquests completed.” CRÍOCH
Speaking after attending the rally outside Leinster House today in opposition to cutbacks Sinn Féin spokesperson on Social Protection Aengus Ó Snodaigh said Sinn Féin is the only voice in the Dáil that is opposing cutbacks with both Fine Gael and Labour signed up to cutting €3billion out of the economy annually for the next three years.
Deputy Ó Snodaigh also announced that he had a motion passed at the Oireachtas Committee on Social Protection this morning which called on the Minister not to cut disability or one-parent payments for CE scheme workers in the upcoming budget.
Deputy Ó Snodaigh said:
“Sinn Féin TDs and Senator today joined with thousands of others protesting outside Leinster House at the billions being pumped into Anglo Irish Bank and the programme of cuts which the Government is planning to introduce in the budget.
“As the Dáil returns today Sinn Féin is the only opposing to the policy of cutbacks as both Fine Gael and the Labour Party have signed up to cutting €3billion out of the economy, not just this year but for the next three years up to 2014.
“During this Dáil term we will continue to give voice to those who will be the target of this Government’s cutback policies. Just this morning I had a motion passed at the Oireachtas Committee on Social Protection which calling on Minister Ó Cúiv not to cut disability or one-parent payments for CE scheme workers in the upcoming budget. I hope the Minister will take heed of this motion.
“Sinn Féin does not buy into the rhetoric that there is no other option but to slash and burn our way out of recession and we have shown how billions of euros can be raised to invest in an economic stimulus plan that would reduce the deficit while building sound economic foundations for the future.” ENDS
Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Enterprise, Trade and Innovation Arthur Morgan TD has said the drop in the live register figures announced today is a reflection of the Government’s emigration policy rather than a serious attempt to create employment.
Speaking today Deputy Morgan said:
“Unemployment is the true barometer of economic success and the labour market figures tell their own story. Unemployment is rampant and in the absence of jobs being created people are being forced to leave Ireland in search of work.
“Today’s decrease in the live register by 5,400 people is a reflection of the Government’s emigration policy rather than a serious attempt to create employment.
“It is no surprise that emigration is rampant and that our graduates are looking abroad for meaningful employment as Ireland is one of the few countries in Western Europe trying to get out of recession without an economic stimulus package.
“The Government will commit to put in whatever capital is necessary for splitting Anglo in two and its subsequent recapitalisation, but the economy outside the banks is being grossly neglected.
“Where are the resources for job creation? This Government will announce jobs plans and initiatives but they will not invest the resources that are necessary to actually create the jobs. People cannot come off the Live Register or stay in the country on the back of a jobs announcement.
“The Government may take today’s figures as a positive turning point as we enter a new Dáil term, but today’s figures are the reflection of the Government’s strategy of exporting its people.” ENDS
Speaking at the return of the Dail, Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams said the Government was out of ideas and out of time and should call outstanding by-elections.
He announced a major Sinn Féin rally in Dublin on 4th December to pressurise the Government in advance of the budget.
Gerry Adams said:
“This government has no mandate for what it’s doing. Half a million people are unemployed, health services are being shut down across Ireland. Despite serial announcements there is no strategy to get Ireland back to work or begin economic recovery.
“This government is out of ideas and out of time. They need to stop running away from the people and to call the three outstanding by-elections.
“It is time we got rid of this terrible government. Sinn Féin won’t let them off the hook. Pearse Doherty takes the government to court on October 18th to demand that the Donegal South West by-election goes ahead.
“We will keep them under pressure in the Oireachtas.
“Sinn Féin is calling on people across Ireland to take to the streets of Dublin on 4th December to pressurise the government in advance of the budget. It’s time to make a stand.” ENDS