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“Scrap the budget – scrap the government”

30 November, 2010 - by Pearse Doherty TD

Sinn Féin TD Pearse Doherty has this evening delivered his first speech to the Dáil having been elected in last week’s by-election in Donegal South West.

During the course of his speech Deputy Doherty said he has been given a clear mandate to oppose the Government’s ‘anti-people’ budget and called on them to resign from office and call a general election.

Deputy Doherty said:
(Full text of speech follows)

“Scrap the budget – scrap the government”

“Ní bheidh Sinn Féin ag tabhairt tacaíocht don rún seo atá os comhair an Tigh anocht, in áit sin beidh muid ag cur leasú chun tosaigh go scorfar an Dáil agus go gcuirfear an Buiséad ar athló. Is mian liom an leasadh seo a chuir chun tosaigh anois.

“Tá mé iontach bróduil go bhfuil mé anseo mar Teachta Dála i gcuideachta mo chomhleacaithe, na TDanna amháin atá ina bhfíor bhfreasúra pholaitiúla i dTeach Laighean.

“Ba mhaith liom mo mhíle buiochas ó mo chroí amach a chuir in iuil do mhuintir Dhun na nGall Thiar theas as a muinín ionam ionadaíocht a dhéanamh orthu sa Dáil. Is mór an onóir í.

“Tá sáinordú iontach soléir tugtha domhsa, sé sin, cuir in eadan an bhuisead fianta seo atá pleánailte ag an rialtas, buisead atá frith dhaoine agus atá ag dul a ghearradh seirbhíisí poiblí, iocaíochtaí leasa shoisialaí. Tugadh sainordu dom fosta cur in eadan an IMF agus iarraidh orthu a soc a choinneail amach as gnaithí na hÉireann.

“Tá mise anseo mar go bhfuil clár oibre agam agus ag Sinn Féin chun Éire níos fearr agus níos córa a thabhairt chun cinn.

“Tá sé soilear ón rúin atá curtha chun tosaigh ag Fine Gael san Dáil anocht go bhfuil siad díreach cosúil leis an rialtas, na bíodh dabht ar bith agaibh faoi sin.

“Dá mar fíor pháirtí freasúrach iad bheadh siad ag iarraidh go gcaithfidh an buiséad seo sa bhruscar, agus bheadh siad ag brú clár oibre radacach chun tosaigh nach mbeadh dírithe orthu siúd atá ar an ghanchuid cheanna féin, agus ag tabhairt ar na sabhair sciar chothrom a íoc. In áit sin tá Fine Gael ina sui anseo anocht ag caibideal, ní hé an buiséad a chuir ar athló agus toghcháin a scairteadh , in áit sin ta siad ag iarraidh an buiséad a thabhairt isteach go gasta sa dóigh is go bhfuil siad réidh leis roimh Nollag! Masla do na ghnáth dhaoine a chaithfeas úalach an bhuiséid uafasach seo a iompar.

“Sinn Féin will not be supporting the motion before the house tonight and will instead be moving an amendment calling for the immediate dissolution of the Dáil and for the budget to be postponed. I wish to move this amendment now.

“I am very proud to be joining my fellow Sinn Féin TDs today in what is the only real political opposition in Leinster House. I wish to extend my sincere thanks to the people of Donegal South West for putting their faith in me to represent them in the Dáil. It is a huge honour.

“I have been given a very clear mandate to oppose the savage anti-people budget that this Government is planning, to oppose cuts to public services and social welfare and to oppose IMF interference in Ireland.

“The platform on which I stood was one which advocated a better, fairer way for Ireland and I believe that Sinn Féin is the only party putting forward a constructive alternative in the Dáil.

“Fine Gael, as part of the consensus for cuts have nailed their colours to the mast in terms of where they stand with this budget. Any real opposition party would be pushing for this budget to be scrapped. They would be pushing a radical agenda which does not target the least well off and that makes the wealthy pay their fair share.

“Instead Fine Gael sit here tonight discussing a motion which calls for the government, not to scrap their budget and call an election but rather to bring it forward so we can be done and dusted before Christmas. How insulting to ordinary working people, those without work and those reliant on public services who will inevitably bear the brunt of this unfair and unjust budget.

“This is the type of stale elitist politics that the people are sick to the back teeth of and it is exactly the type of politics that has got us where we are today.

“The measures to be contained in this budget amount to little more than a full-on attack on the least well off and on working people. If anybody thinks that implementing such deflationary and draconian measures will fix the economy they are delusional. If cuts worked we would not be in a position where the IMF and ECB arrive on the scene to run our fiscal affairs.

“The four-year plan which acts as a template for the budget is in the main a list of deflationary actions that will deepen and lengthen the recession. The impact of these measures will contract the economy and the reality is that not one red cent will be used to reduce the deficit; it will all end up being pumped back into the banks. We are about to embark on an insane course of borrowing to fund a failed banking policy. We cannot afford this plan and we cannot afford this government. We need real negotiators in there now to deal with the banks and burn the bondholders. If Fine Gael were serious about changing direction and getting rid of this redundant government they would not be sitting here tonight calling for a rush to be put on this lunacy.

“Slashing the minimum wage and social welfare; reducing the tax band, sacking 25,000 public sector workers; implementing property taxes and water charges; increasing student charges – this is not a recipe for recovery, it is a recipe for destruction. We need to take this government down and scrap these draconian cuts.

“There is a better and a fairer way which does not target the vulnerable and which ensures that those who have the most, pay the most. We in Sinn Féin have shown this way in our pre-budget submission and we are the only party to have done so, so far.

“During the course of the Donegal South West bye-election I met many people who were struggling to make ends meet and to cope with rising costs and government cuts. People like the mother of an autistic child whose special needs pre-school is in danger of being shut down. Like the father of four who was living on a shoe-string and close to losing his job. Like the elderly man who lived on his own and who lost his home-help service, the elderly woman caring for her husband with a heart condition who couldn’t afford medical costs, the young family desperately hoping to be allocated local authority housing in time for Christmas, the first year student having to drop out of college because she couldn’t get a grant. These are the people who the political classes want to make pay for their sins and that of corrupt bankers. These are the people who time and time again are being ignored by those in power.

“These people and hundreds of thousands more like them deserve better than to be treated like mere statistics. They don’t deserve the lies and the greed and the cronyism which has got us into this mess. They need and deserve real leadership and real change.

“Across the country young people from my generation and younger are packing their bags and leaving. They have given up on Ireland because those in political power have long since given up on them. I come from a family who was forced to emigrate in the 60s in search of work. I look around and the same thing is happening all over again. We are losing a generation of talent, energy and enthusiasm. Many of those leaving will never return. This government has not only broken our economy but it has broken up families.

“Emigration is a part of our past – we cannot let it become our future and we can stop it now by looking at alternatives which work, which are credible and which are fair.

“The Sinn Féin pre-budget submission is credible and it is fair. It includes measures such as a wealth tax which would raise €1 billion by introducing a 1% income-linked tax on all assets in excess of €1 million excluding working farmland.

“We propose a third rate of income tax of 48% on individual income in excess of €100,000 and we would end the culture of extravagant salaries for those at the high end of the public sector by placing a cap of €100,000 on wages in that sector. The days of CEOs of public bodies earning in excess of €400,000 must end.

“Our proposals would also see ministers taking a 40% paycut, TDs 20% and reduction in salaries for senators and an end to exorbitant expenses. Savings in public expenditure can be made by dismantling the two-tier public health system and eliminating wasteful public expenditure such as the rental of prefabs in our schools.

“The measures in our Pre Budget submission would reduce the deficit this year by €4.6 billion, but crucially alongside of this we would also implement a job creation and retention strategy by transferring €7 billion from our National Pension Reserve Fund, generating much-needed employment and building our necessary infrastructure. It is through these measures that that the government could introduce a budget which truly protects the most vulnerable and weakest in society, which doesn’t take from low and middle income earners and which ensures that our public services are fit for purpose for those that are dependent on them.

“It is through these measures that we can get our country back to work, harnessing the skills, the talents and the drive of the Irish people to rebuild our economy.

“This government needs to go and go now. They have no mandate for what they are doing and for the budget they about to implement. They have betrayed the Irish people. I am proud to walk into this chamber today and take my seat. I hold core republican values deep in my heart and it is these values that will direct me in the times ahead. I know that no government-supporting politician entered this chamber on their first day with the intention of inflicting pain and suffering on our communities. I know it wasn’t your intention on your first day to be part of selling this country out to the IMF but that is what you have done.

“It is time for us, the people to take back what is ours. It is time for us to show this government the door and start afresh with new ideas, new politics and new leadership.

“The 1916 Proclamation of the Irish Republic declares ‘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.’ This government has sold our future off to the highest bidder. It’s time for us to take it back.” ENDS

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