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Enda Kenny challenged on public services

20 February, 2011 - by Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD

Speaking from his Cavan/Monaghan constituency on the final Sunday of the General Election Sinn Féin Dáil leader Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin said that a Fine Gael-led Government would devastate public services and he challenged Enda Kenny to spell out exactly how many front-line posts he would abolish.

Ó Caoláin said:

“Fine Gael has pledged to get rid of 30,000 jobs in the public services while campaigning on the slogan 'Let's Get Ireland Working'. Just as farcical as this slogan is their claim that such a number of jobs can be axed without adversely affecting vital services to the public.

“I challenge Enda Kenny to spell out exactly how many fewer nurses, teachers, fire-fighters, gardaí and local authority workers will be let go.

“We all agree that inefficiencies in the public services must be addressed but abolishing 30,000 posts goes far beyond dispensing with excessive bureaucracy. It would devastate public services, plunging our health system into deeper crisis, increasing class sizes in our schools and preventing local authorities from providing their services to communities, including the maintenance of roads and protection of the environment.

“Fine Gael says these posts will go as a result of 'natural wastage' and voluntary redundancies, but the fact remains that after this process there will be 30,000 fewer jobs and 30,000 fewer people to provide services which the public need and for which they are paying with their taxes.

“The Labour Party is pledging to dispense with 18,000 public service posts. Are Enda Kenny and Eamon Gilmore going to sit down and haggle about a figure somewhere between the two? This is no way to plan for the public service needs of the people.

“Sinn Fein's alternative involves capping public service and semi-state salaries at 100,000 euros, implementing efficiency measures and planning public services on the basis of need, protecting front-line jobs and enhancing services where necessary.” ENDS

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