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Real Programme for Government should be put before the Dáil – Ó Caoláin

24 September, 2008


Sinn Féin Dáil leader Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin has said the Programme for Government produced by Fianna Fáil, the PDs and the Greens after the General Election last year has now become a dead letter given the economic recession and the demise of the PDs. He called on the Government to put before the Dáil and the public their real programme. He said the people were being made to pay the price for a decade of Government that "put greed before need" and that in the new Dáil term Sinn Féin would "resist tooth and nail the threatened cuts to vital public services".

The Sinn Féin Dáil leader said:

"The Dáil returns for its autumn session in hugely changed economic circumstances but they are circumstances which were predictable. We in Sinn Féin were among those who warned repeatedly that over-reliance on the construction sector and Foreign Direct Investment would lead to widespread unemployment with the inevitable fall in grossly inflated house prices and with a global slump. These two factors have now coincided and the jobless numbers are growing by the week.

"Already the people are being made to pay the price for a decade of Government which put greed before need. The Government failed to harness prosperity to upgrade public services to the standard needed to deliver for all citizens equally and efficiently. Our Health and Education systems are bursting at the seams and it is people on lower incomes who suffer most as a result of these sub-standard services.

"This is a very serious situation for our Health Services because as unemployment grows, so does the number of people below the very low income threshold for medical card qualification. The Government should end all subsidies to the private health business, including the private hospital co-location scheme, and plough those funds back into the public system.

"Throughout the past year the Fianna Fáil/PD/Green Government and the Health Service Executive have presided over cuts in our health services. Long forgotten is the promise of Minister Harney and HSE Chief Drumm that these cuts would not affect patient care. Sinn Féin has been monitoring these cuts over the summer and in the coming Dáil term we will resist tooth and nail further threatened cuts, especially in Health and Education.

"It is very clear now that the Programme for Government produced by Fianna Fáil, the PDs and the Greens after the 2007 General Election is a dead letter. The Taoiseach who negotiated Bertie Ahern it is now gone and the PDs are on the way out. Therefore I challenge this administration to put before the Dáil and the public their real Programme for Government. The 2007 Programme is now no more than a mask to disguise the real Government Programme of Cuts." ENDS

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