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“Public services are the people’s services” – Ó Caoláin

10 February, 2011 - by Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD

Introducing the section of the Sinn Fein General Election Manifesto ‘There is a Better Way’ on Public Services, Sinn Féin Dáil leader and Health & Children spokesperson Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin said:

“The purpose of Sinn Féin’s proposals to stimulate jobs and growth and to repair the public finances is to ensure that quality public services can continue to be provided and can be developed and improved.

“Our public services are now under severe attack because of the wrecking of our economy by the outgoing Fianna Fáil-Green Government and its predecessors.

“Health and education services are being cut back savagely. It is those who do not have private means to fund healthcare and education for their families who are hit worst by the cuts.

“Healthcare and education and housing are basic rights. They can only be delivered equitably to all our citizens when we address fundamental inequalities in Irish society. That is what Sinn Féin is about.

“The public services are the people’s services. Sinn Féin deplores the efforts to demonise public servants, to blame them for the economic crisis and to pretend that slashing public services is the way to recovery.

“Fine Gael’s election slogan is ‘Let’s Get Ireland Working’ yet they want to get rid of 30,000 workers from the public service. They claim they can do this without adversely affecting front-line services. That is nonsense - but presumably the Labour Party is prepared to accept it.

“Sinn Féin believes that we must restore the ethos of public service. Successive Governments have colonised the upper echelons of the public services and the semi-state bodies with grossly over-paid executives. Their standards are set not by service to the people but by competition with high fliers in the private sector.

“Therefore Sinn Féin would cap all salaries in Government, in the public services and in semi-state bodies at €100,000 per annum. The savings would be diverted to front-line services.

“Sinn Féin is committed to:

• A new universal public health system for Ireland that provides care to all free at the point of delivery, on the basis of need alone, and funded from progressive taxation. We would fund health in the context of reformed taxation and a progressive economic strategy.
• Fewer bureaucrats, more frontline health workers.
• An end to the two-tier health system and to public subsidies for private healthcare. Invest all health funding in the public system.
• A return to free education. End the system where schools are reliant on voluntary contributions from parents by raising the capitation grants to cover the real cost of running a school.
• The creation of 500 new teaching posts and the reduction of class sizes to 20 pupils per teacher.
• Transform the rural postal network to make rural post offices a ‘one stop shop’ for a range of services including postal services, banking services, council services and citizens’ information.” ENDS

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