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Joan Burton has betrayed the men and women of 1916 – Mary Lou McDonald TD

3 April, 2015 - by Mary Lou McDonald TD

Sinn Féin Deputy Leader Mary Lou McDonald has accused Joan Burton and the Labour Party of betraying the men and women of 1916.

Speaking at an Easter Commemoration in Arbour Hill in Dublin today Deputy McDonald said;

“It was James Connolly who said that ‘the cause of labour is the cause of Ireland and the cause of Ireland was the cause of Labour’.

“For him socialism and national self-determination were two sides of the same coin.

“He lived his life fighting against injustice and inequality. He died to establish a republic in which the people were sovereign and citizens would be ensured fundamental rights. He rejected the elites and the great and good. He stood with the workers against the bosses.

“He put himself on the frontlines of a struggle to build a new republic.

“It is clear that the Labour party of Connolly and 1916 is not the Labour party of Joan Burton and 2015.

“The cause of labour in 2016 is ministerial positions, special advisors pay and golden pension pots.

“Twenty-two men were responsible for €26 billion debt. Bankers, establishment parties and developers brought this state to the verge of economic collapse.

“And the party that claims to be the party of Connolly took the debt and passed it to the citizens.

“This is not the actions of the party of Connolly.

“They cut Illness benefit, the treatment benefit scheme, the diet supplement scheme, fuel allowance and Household benefit. They cut the telephone allowance, increased retirement age, cut the bereavement grant, cut child benefit and the one parent family payment.

“These are not the actions of the party of Connolly.

“They implemented the water charges, and property tax regardless of ability to pay. They reduced workers’ rights and promoted low pay and casualization of labour.

“These are not the actions of the party of Connolly.

“These are the actions of a labour party that is out of touch and out of time. Joan Burton and the modern day Labour Party have betrayed the men and women of 1916.

"Rather than acknowledge the that the Labour Party has sold out the ideals of 1916 and the principles James Connolly, Joan Burton resorts to pathetic & deflective attacks on Sinn Féin and Irish Republicans.

"She is fooling nobody.

"The latest of these ridiculous attacks, carried in today's papers, sees Joan liken Sinn Féin to the regime in North Korea.

"The Labour Party would know a great deal more about North Korea than Sinn Féin. Eamon Gilmore and Pat Rabbitte were prominent members of the Workers’ Party at a time when that organisation fostered extremely close links with the regime in question.

"If Joan Burton is genuinely concerned with the authoritarian nature of the political system in North Korea, then she should look closer to home for targets at which to aim her criticism.

"She should ask her former Ministerial colleagues about the time they spent cosying up to that dictatorship instead of embarrassing herself by making grossly inaccurate statements about Gerry Adams and Sinn Féin.

“Joan Burton this week said that the republic and republicanism does not belong to any one group, to any one set of people, or to any one political party. She is right. It does not belong solely to Sinn Féin and any other party.

“Republicanism and the rising belong to all the citizens of this nation that support equality and national self-determination. It belongs to the people who are struggling to unite the nation, to deliver equality and to build a fair recovery. The present day incarnation of the Labour Party, led by Joan Burton, has done little to unite the country and they are willing partners with Fine Gael in delivering crushing poverty and deprivation through the implementation of brutally regressive right-wing policies

“The legacy of the rising will not be gifted to a small elite who have driven the country to its knees or a government that has kept us there.

“The guardianship of the proclamation’s vision for a republic built on the cornerstones of equality and fraternity belongs to those, from all walks of life, who stand against austerity and fight for a fair recovery and a more inclusive Ireland.

“That is a responsibility that does not allow for the ‘running with hare and hunting hounds’ approach that the Labour Party has adopted in government.

“Easter is a time for renewal and reflection. A time to recommit ourselves to the cause of all our patriot dead. We will all be judged not by our rhetoric but by the actions we take in power to deliver the republic of Connolly and Pearse.”

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