Sinn Féin - On Your Side

Government reshuffle all image no substance

29 September, 2004

Speaking during the debate on the Cabinet Reshuffle in the Dáil today Sinn Féin Dáil group leader, Caoimhghin Ó Caoláin TD said: "What we have been presented with here today is a change of faces. It is a shuffling of the deck of cards. This is still the same Fianna Fáil/PD Government that has been in office for seven long years.

"This has been the longest drawn out Cabinet reshuffle in history. It has been a summer-long effort on the part of this Government to take the focus off the miserable failure of its policies and to fill the media with endless speculation about who will be in and who will be out.

"This reshuffle is about change of image. I do not believe it is about change of substance but I hope I can be proved wrong and that the Government will deliver on some its broken promises. I remind the Taoiseach of what he said after the EU and local elections in June: "We lost this election, there is no doubt about that. Sinn Féin won it."

"If the Government delivers on some of its broken promises because they fear the rise of Sinn Féin I say well and good. All the more reason for people to continue to support Sinn Féin.

"On the other hand this reshuffle has increased the power in Cabinet of the PDs. This is the party that believes inequality is a good thing for society. The Tánaiste and PD leader is to take over the Health portfolio, and will be in charge of one of the most inequitable health systems in Europe. I predict that the names Hanly and Harney will become synonymous.

"The facts of this Government's failures speak for themselves. The criticism of their policies we voiced earlier this year have been fully vindicated. Only this week we have seen the Comptroller and Auditor General's Report exposing how public private partnerships will end up costing the taxpayer more for the building of schools. We have seen how Minister Coughlan's cuts in Rent Supplement are causing real hardship. And we have seen the ESRI and Combat Poverty reports highlighting the fifth of our people living in poverty.

"This is a prosperous country. It is a small country. There is sufficient wealth in our society to ensure that no child should want for any of the basics of life and should be able to look forward to a full and rewarding future. The lack of vision, the incompetence and the conservatism of successive Governments in this State have robbed generations of children of their birthright. But Ireland is changing and this Cabinet reshuffle is a mere blip on the screen. The Sinn Féin deputies in this House are proud to be on the side of real change and to be among those on this island who are building a United Ireland of Equals. " ENDS

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