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Ó Caoláin urges defence of Irish sovereignty and rejection of Austerity Treaty

8 April, 2012 - by Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD

Speaking at the Dublin Easter 1916 commemoration at the GPO, Sinn Féin Health & Children spokesperson Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD called for the rejection of the Austerity Treaty in the forthcoming referendum. 

He said:

“The 1916 Proclamation declared ‘the right of the people of Ireland to the ownership of Ireland’.

“Today the right of the people of Ireland to the ownership of Ireland is denied by the continuing partition of our country and by the selling out of our economy to the International Monetary Fund, the European Central Bank and the European Commission. Our people are being forced into unemployment, emigration, poverty and increased social division in order to pay to international bank bond-holders a debt that the people did not incur.

“Last year the electorate of this State gave Fine Gael and Labour an unprecedented electoral mandate. It was a mandate to undo the disastrous legacy of the outgoing Fianna Fáil regime – including the outrageous impositions of the Troika, the unlimited bank guarantee and the totally unjustified pledges to un-guaranteed Anglo-Irish Bank bondholders.

“Far from removing or even loosening the Fianna Fáil straitjacket, this Coalition Government wants to make it permanent by signing up to an Austerity Treaty that will tie this and future governments to a narrow, rigid economic doctrine, condemning our people to more long years of economic stagnation, unemployment, poverty and emigration.

“I want to make a call here at the GPO, where James Connolly commanded in 1916, to the leaders of the Irish trade union movement to oppose this Austerity Treaty and to campaign against it. Many trade unionists have already pledged opposition to the Austerity Treaty and we commend them for that. But others have so far failed to do so. I call especially here today on the leadership of the largest union, SIPTU, to join the campaign against the Austerity Treaty. The SIPTU leaders have a clear choice – represent their members and represent trade unionists across Europe who oppose austerity or join with the Parliamentary Labour Party in acting as a mud-guard for Fine Gael. 

“We in Sinn Féin have already commenced our campaign against the Austerity Treaty and I urge everyone here to play their part. Bring the message to every door in Dublin and ensure a massive ‘NO’ vote on 31st May. Let us assert, in the words of the Proclamation, our ‘right to national freedom and sovereignty’. Reject this Treaty, reject austerity, there IS a better way.”

Referring to the Household Charge, Deputy Ó Caoláin said:

“The people have voted with their feet on Hogan’s Household Charge. We will continue to oppose the charge and to defend local government against this latest assault by Fine Gael and Labour. They are trying to blame those campaigning against the Household Charge for the funding crisis in local government. But, make no mistake, that crisis has been caused by the Government cut to the Local Government Fund in Budget 2012 and their linking of local government funding to the inequitable and uncollectible Household Charge.

“We want to see viable and equitable funding for local government and we will always defend local democracy. I commend the Dublin Sinn Féin Councillors for the stand they have taken in fighting for local government services, especially for the housing needs of the people of this city.” 

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