McLellan pledges to hold Government to account
Speaking this evening on the motion for the Programme for Government Sinn Féin’s TD for Cork East Sandra McLellan said that it was her intention to put forward proposals that are credible, to stand up for what is right for the ordinary person and make this Government work for the people, not for vested interests.
“As a woman with a family I am acutely aware of the fact that not only are women totally underrepresented in politics but also that we have borne the brunt of cutbacks and austerity measures foisted upon us by the previous Government. Last week marked the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day and it is in that spirit that I am making a commitment to use my time as a TD stand up for women and to drive forward issues that are relevant to women in Ireland today.
“This political system is totally out of date and removed from the ordinary person. We need to put people-power back on the agenda. We need to make sure that this government works for the people and not for vested interests.
“The politics of cronyism is alive and well. Our political system is dominated by middle-aged, middle-class men in suits working for other middle-aged, middle-class men in suits. We need real and radical reform to bring politics back to what it is supposed to be – a system that works for the people and is run by the people.
“People the length and breadth of this state are suffering. Unemployment is sky-rocketing. 100,000 people will be forced to emigrate in the next two years in search of work.
“In my own constituency unemployment is growing rapidly. Towns like Youghal, Mallow, Mitchelstown and Cobh are ghosts of what they once were. Whether it is Titex in Youghal or the beet factory in Mallow, jobs are being haemorrhaged left right and centre and urgent action needs to be taken.
“This new Government must make the creation and retention of jobs its number one priority. The Programme for Government is quite vague in this regard and in truth does not offer much hope for the hundreds of thousands who have found themselves out of work and struggling to cope with rising costs.
“We in Sinn Féin have put forward our proposals for job creation and I am asking Fine Gael and Labour in particular to take these proposals on board. Our fully costed proposals have the potential to create 160,000 jobs. We would do this through a variety of measures including investing in a jobs stimulus fund, unleashing the potential of growth sectors such as agri-food and constructing essential infrastructure.
“We have shown that there are solutions and there are ways to get Ireland working.
“The people have put their faith in this new Government to get the economy back on track, to make a change. However change will not be achieved through a change of faces. Real change can only be achieved through policies which work for the people.
“Fine Gael’s flawed policies of cuts; privatisation and attacks on the public sector are reminiscent of the very worst of Fianna Fáil’s disastrous tenure in Government. The Labour Party unfortunately is now part of that coalition for cuts.
“We in Sinn Féin have pledged to use our position in opposition to hold the Government to account and we will do so as we have done in the past. We will provide a voice for those who have been let down by the political elite and we will continue to put forward our radical alternative and to stand up for the people.” ENDS