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Taoiseach must replace Ministers for Inequality - Ó Snodaigh

5 July, 2004

Sinn Féin TD and spokesperson for Justice, Equality and Human Rights, Aengus Ó Snodaigh, has called on the Taoiseach to remove both Michael McDowell and Willie O'Dea from their respective ministerial positions in the Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform. Deputy Ó Snodaigh made his call after weekend comments by Junior Minister Willie O'Dea.

Deputy Ó Snodaigh said, "Michael McDowell recently made known his nonsensical view that social equality would lead to a feudal society. Yesterday, his ideological twin Willie O'Dea made the same anti-equality argument in slightly different words when he maintained that equality would lead to poverty. On this issue the positions of the two government parties are truly indistinguishable.

"It is absurd and totally unacceptable that the two Government Ministers tasked with increasing equality in Irish society are actively preaching and practicing the exact opposite. Nowhere else in the democratic world would this be acceptable. The Taoiseach needs to either remove these two wholly unsuitable people from their positions or in the interests of honesty have their department renamed the Department of Injustice and Inequality, because under their stewardship that is what it has become.

"The reason for the governing parties' poor electoral performance on June 11 was precisely because the majority of people are sick and tired of the inequalities in healthcare, education, housing, and employment. Mr. Ahern would be well advised to take this message from the people seriously and use the upcoming cabinet reshuffle to oust the two right-wing ideologues who preach the survival of the fittest above all else." ENDS

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