Sinn Féin proud to stand for people’s rights – Ó Caoláin
Speaking on the dissolution of the 30th Dáil, Sinn Féin Dáil leader Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin, said the party was proud of its record in defence of people’s rights and its role in bringing an end to the Fianna Fáil/Green Government.
He called on all parties to make clear to the international community that the EU/IMF deal is not acceptable and will be ruinous for Ireland.
Deputy Ó Caoláin said:
“On behalf of the Sinn Féin Teachtaí Dála I welcome the dissolution of the Dáil today. It is long overdue.
“All deputies receive calls to their Dáil offices from members of the public. Often they are the old, the sick and the vulnerable. Yesterday my office received one such call from an elderly man whose blind pension was cut in the Budget. He had one simple message: ‘Give us a voice.’
“We all must listen to him and to countless others like him.
“On this day when the Dáil is dissolved the cut to the minimum wage comes into effect. That’s just one of the ways the least well off in our society have been forced to pay for the disastrous decisions made by the outgoing Government.
“People are being impoverished so that Government can throw money into the banking black hole. €873 million was cut from social welfare in the Budget. Yet only yesterday Anglo-Irish, the zombie bank that is being propped up with Irish taxpayers’ money, paid out €750 million for a maturing bond despite the fact that the debt is not covered by the State guarantee.
“We in Sinn Féin are proud of the part we have played in the 30th Dáil in defending people's rights and in holding to account one of the worst Governments ever seen anywhere.
“Sinn Féin played a key role in finally removing this Government, through exposing the full extent of its contacts with Anglo-Irish Bank executives.
“We have stood firm against the Consensus for Cuts.
“We have stood for the democratic rights of the people of Donegal South West, going on to win the by-election there. The election of Pearse Doherty set in train the events that have now resulted in the fall of this Government.
“We have stood against the IMF/EU deal.
“Today I call on ALL parties in this General Election to make clear to the EU and the IMF and the wider international community that this deal is not acceptable, not affordable and ruinous to the Irish economy and to the Irish people. It was negotiated and imposed by a discredited Government and it must be set aside.
“At the start of the 30th Dáil we stood against the Lisbon Treaty and warned that it would reduce economic and political sovereignty. We were proven right. The ‘Yes’ parties in this Dáil urged people to vote ‘Yes’ for jobs. Where are those jobs now? In Australia?
“This General Election will be about what we and the other parties stand for. The most critical issue is employment. We cannot protect and create jobs without strategic investment to develop infrastructure, foster enterprise and enhance public services. Sinn Féin has put forward a plan to do just that.
“We need to protect our public services – they are the people's services – health, education and social welfare supports for all who need them. We need to stop the attacks on the incomes of families struggling to survive.
“And we need political reform. We need politics based on commitment not careerism.
“We need a vision and a strategy for an Ireland of Equals, a United Ireland.
“Sinn Féin in the days and weeks ahead will be setting out our proposals in detail and we look forward to the debate.
“We are confident that we will return to the next Dáil with a greatly strengthened mandate to serve the Irish people.
“More importantly, the Irish people need a new Dáil that will put the people’s interests first.
“I will conclude with words from the Democratic Programme for the First Dáil Éireann. Dúirt an Clár Oibre Poblachtánach:
‘Is mian linn an ceart, an saoirse agus cothrom do chách a bheith mar bhuntacaí rialú na tíre...
‘We declare that we desire our country to be ruled in accordance with the principles of Liberty, Equality and Justice for all.’
“Now let the people decide.”