Sinn Féin - On Your Side

Tómas Sharkey Speaks to motion 113

21 February, 2009


Today is an important day in Irish history. Tens of thousands of public sector workers supported by friends, families and retired colleagues are being forced onto the streets to make a bad government see sense. As a teacher and a public servant myself I will be joining my Union and colleagues here in Dublin.

Those responsible for our crisis have tried to set private sector workers against public sector workers. The government did nothing to protect private sector jobs or to ensure they have access to the training and upskilling they will need to get back into employment. If they succeed with cutting wages in the public sector now, private sector workers will be next.

We the workers did not create this crisis so why should those on low and average incomes in the public sector or in the private sector pay for a mess that is of the governments own making?

The government of this state has no interest in doing what is right. If they did what was right they would have to admit that they have made mistakes.

To admit this would take humility. The pride of the Greens and Fianna Fáil does not allow them to admit their mistakes. We are the victims of their egos.

People know what FF has done, they know what they are capable of.

Fianna Fail is not alone in this neglect of the ordinary worker. They have accomplices in Fine Gael and Labour.

These are two parties that, the last time we had an economic crisis, thought nothing of putting a tax on children's' shoes.

FG said it would fire 5,000 backroom staff. Its solution to fixing the economy is to make more people unemployed.

When FG talk about savings, let's not forget that it was their health spokesperson, James Reilly, who negotiated the lucrative deals on medical cards for the doctoring world when he was head of the IMO. That deal is starving our hospitals of staff and beds. FG is as much to blame for hospital closures as Mary Harney.

We are the ordinary workers and we are the ones who will rebuild the economy, lift this country, support those who cannot find work, care for those on hard times, expose the unfairness. but hear this, this time round the economy we build will be one we will be proud of. It will give us public services, schools, healthcare, transport, warm homes, vibrant communities. We refuse to work to put back the collapsed system of fat cats, cronyism and unsustainability. Call it what you will but I call it

"MAKING THIS COUNTRY OURS AGAIN."

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