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In Common Cause against Austerity. A realignment of Irish Politics – Gerry Adams

23 October, 2013 - by Gerry Adams

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD speaking tonight at a rally in the Mansion House which was also addressed by Trade Union leaders from the United States and Ireland, has called for a realignment of Irish politics.

Mr. Adams also said there has been a failure of leadership in the Labour Movement.

The Sinn Féin leader described the austerity policies of the government as “despicable” and said they are “causing enormous difficulties for families.”

The theme of the conference is ‘In Common Cause against Austerity.’

Commenting on the rights of workers Gerry Adams said: “Companies are tearing up agreements with workers, arbitrarily paying them off or denying them wages or redundancy payments. It is a truism that there are employers who do not believe in wasting a good recession.

For right wing elites a recession is an opportunity to drive down wages; sack workers; hire others at cheaper rates; cut overtime payments; demand longer hours for less, and ignore the trade unions…

Workers must have the right to collective bargaining and we must redouble our efforts to force the Irish government to legislate for this.”

Gerry Adams called for a realignment of Irish politics and said there has been a failure of leadership in the Labour Movement.

Last week the government again targeted the most vulnerable in our society by attacking the elderly, the young and the sick.

Austerity works for the wealthy and the elites – the financiers, the bankers and developers. Austerity is not working for working families. Our task must be to oppose it at every opportunity. North and South.

That means building alliances on social and economic matters with others in Ireland and abroad, who share our opposition to austerity.

It means working to secure real change - including a realignment of Irish politics.

At a time of great challenge for Irish workers who are facing relentless austerity and attacks on basic social protections, there has been a failure of leadership in the Labour movement.

Some of this was clearly engendered by the years of Social Partnership when the focus of trade unions became primarily about servicing the needs of particular sectors.

Some of this is also because some trade unions place too much trust in the Labour Party leadership. The trade union movement needs to get back to basics. It needs to get back to activism; to organising, to campaigning, to recruiting, to agitating for the rights of workers, including unemployed workers, the poor and demonstrating across all employment sectors.

The Irish Labour movement, with others, needs to provide radical principled leadership at this time.

The vast majority of Irish people want a society that is based on values of social justice, fairness, equality and decency.

I firmly believe that this can be achieved if we work together. This means trade union activists, community activists, individuals, political parties, like Sinn Féin, and independents of like mind joining together in common cause against austerity.

It means developing viable alternative policies to meet the economic and political challenges of today and tomorrow.

It means raising issues relating to the Good Friday Agreement, equality issues, the border poll, and democratic issues alongside social and economic matters.

It also means pushing anti-sectarian strategies and working with disadvantaged communities across this island, including loyalist communities.

All of us need to be clear what side we are on.

It means working with others toward common short term goals and building longer term partnerships with those citizens who share our vision for a new Ireland”.

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