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Coalition of the heartless leading the gutless – McDonald

12 December, 2012 - by Mary Lou McDonald TD


In a hard hitting speech on her party’s motion of no confidence in the government this evening Sinn Féin Deputy Leader Mary Lou McDonald described the government as the a coalition of the heartless leading the gutless.

Deputy McDonald said;

“This Fine Gael /Labour coalition, is a coalition of the heartless leading the gutless.

“The self-righteous bleating of Fine Gael is rivalled only by the snivelling submission of the Labour party.”

Full text of Deputy McDonald’s speech follows:

On the first day that this Dáil met we were urged by two young, first time government deputies to hang out our brightest colours to welcome the election of Enda Kenny and Éamonn Gilmore as Taoiseach and Tánaiste, and to embrace the new ‘historic moment’ that the Fine Gael/Labour union represented.

The naiivité of those deputies is one thing. The calculated cynicism of their senior colleagues is quite another.

Twenty months in and two budgets on, that cynicism is writ large.

The promise of the democratic revolution was patent nonsense.

Indeed so many of the promises made during the last election and on the formation of government, have been dumped as Labour and Fine Gael adopted the failed policies of their predecessors.

We now realise that this government is actually Fianna Fáil, in all but name.

Different personalities but the same bad political choices, different voices but the same message.

‘We will not have the word defaulter written across our forehead’ – so said Enda Kenny. So the bondholders are paid in full, banks and bankers are propped up, no deal on the debt, no deal on the Anglo promissory note.

The government of tough decisions meekly submits to the will of the big boys at EU level, and the Troika.

High rollers in the public sector, high earners across the economy, the wealthy are all unashamedly, unapologetically protected. Same old same old Fianna Fáil.

The middle classes have been abandoned by this government; left struggling with unmanageable debt, loss of income, loss of hope. The government it seems couldn’t be bothered to shape policy and budget decisions in favour of middle Ireland.

The low paid fare no better. The changes to the PRSI income disregard in the latest budget screams out the government approach. Protect the rich and screw the rest. Same old same old Fianna Fáil.

Deficit reduction is to be achieved by hammering citizens of modest means, by cutting the meagre supports that are afforded to the sick, the elderly, the disabled, the children.

This is toxic stuff – maladministration. It is incompetent, it is the Labour and Fine Gael echo of Fianna Fáil.

Sinn Féin moved this motion of no confidence in the government because confidence in this administration has now run out.

You should go.

Never mind the re-shuffle signalled by an Taoiseach – just reshuffle yourselves out of office and allow a fresh election in which the electorate have a chance to return a government that will actually protect the common good, defend the collective interest, stand up for citizens and lead from the front.

Twenty months in office and it is clear that you are incapable of any of this.

The government slaps itself on the back for dealing with the economic crisis in ‘as fair a manner as possible’ – to borrow the words of the self-congratulatory amendment you have tabled to our motion.

Last night Ministers Howlin and Varadkar extoled the virtues of their government, it was pretty nauseating stuff. The two boys are clearly not in touch with reality.

The truth is that this government is not interested in fairness. That’s what all the evidence tells us.

The government lives in a bubble, occupies a parallel universe, has a distorted sense of reality.

This Fine Gael /Labour coalition, is a coalition of the heartless leading the gutless.

The self-righteous bleating of Fine Gael is rivalled only by the snivelling submission of the Labour party.

Senior ministers make all the noises about fairness, about understanding the hardship endured by carers and the pressures that parents are under and the rights of children. Joan Burton was at that last night as she introduced her welfare cutbacks. All noise, empty rhetoric, meaning nothing.

When it comes to it you have no problem punishing carers – you will rush through a cut to their respite grant. When it comes to it, all the solemn promises made to children mean nothing – you cut child benefit again, you cut the back to school clothing and footwear allowance again.

The family doesn’t really matter – not to bleeding heart Labour or conservative Fine Gael. Protecting families and family values can be invoked and dispensed with as you see appropriate and as you deem politically advantageous. That’s how you operate.

We are on to you now.

Let me tell you the parents, the carers, the mothers, the women of Ireland see you as you really are now.

And it is not a pretty sight.

A grey, cabal of pompous ego trippers, who beat their chests and lecture us about all the tough decisions you have to take.

People with no clue of what it takes to care for and love a chronically sick child or a profoundly disabled child. With no respect for carers. With no regard for what a loss of €325 means to a carer.

People who cut jobseekers, tax maternity benefit, cut services, heap charges on the ordinary citizen and brazenly defend the very well off.

People who are not worthy to govern because you are so hopelessly out of touch.

Last Friday I thought of the last crowd in government – the utter disgust and despair that they engendered.

They came to my mind as I listened to the parent of a child with spina bifida. A mother who cares for that child 24/7, who tends to that beloved child, who does a service to her family and the state.

That mother cried on the steps of this parliament. Bitter tears of frustration, of impotence, of anger.

When the mother of a spina bifida child is reduced and degraded to tears outside this place then that is the clearest evidence that you must go. This far and no further, enough is enough.

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