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Fine Gael’s anti union and anti worker stance raises serious questions for the Labour Party – Doherty

25 March, 2010 - by Pearse Doherty TD


Reacting to the comments made by Fine Gael Deputy Alan Shatter on the public sector strike action being taken by officials in the Passport Office, where he encouraged the Government to sue the unions, Sinn Féin Senator Pearse Doherty has asked the Labour party to confirm their intentions to enter coalition with Fine Gael.

Senator Doherty said Fine Gael’s focus on the Union and the Workers rather than the Government shows that they are no different than the Government and that industrial disputes are likely to continue under a Fine Gael led Government.

Senator Doherty went on to describe Dinny McGinley’s call on Irish people born before 1949 to apply for British passports as more nonsense from Fine Gael.

“Workers on this island have the right to engage in industrial action to pursue equitable working pay and conditions for themselves. It is a right that has been fought hard for. What the public are suffering as a result of the passport office action is unacceptable, but the fault for it lies with solely the government.

“If proper leadership was given by both the Government and the Unions then this issue could be resolved without delay. This needs to happen as a matter of priority.

“Sinn Fein has called on the unions to refine their actions to ensure the discomfort is focussed at the government and not the public, by doing things such as refusing to take payment for passports issued – but we support the union workers’ right to take action.

“Fine Gael’s focus on the Union and the Workers rather than the Government shows that they are no different than the Government and that industrial disputes are likely to continue under a Fine Gael led Government.

“Alan Shatter’s comments urging people to sue the state and the state to sue unions are to be expected from a party that said it would fire 15,000 public sector workers when it enters government, but there is now an onus on the Labour Party to come out and state their intentions on whether they are willing to go into coalition with such a party.

“Are the Labour Party willing to prop up such an obvious vehemently anti-worker party? Are they willing to jump into bed once again with a party that opposes the fundamental right of a worker to strike? These are the hard questions the Labour Party needs to give answers to. How can a party, funded through a political fund of a trade union, with good conscience forgo a political partnership with a party that undermines their entire constituency?”

Responding to Fine Gael’s call on people born before 1949 to apply for a British passport Senator Doherty said:

“This is yet more nonsense from Fine Gael. Rather than tackle the Government on the policies that have caused the industrial action at the passport office they would rather call on Irish people to declare themselves as British subjects undoing Irish history in the process.” ENDS

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