Ó Caoláin - Sinn Féin to challenge Government inside and outside the Dáil
Speaking prior to a meeting of Sinn Féin's five TDs in Leinster House today, the party's Dáil leader Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin said they were planning to challenge the Fianna Fáil/Progressive Democrats Coalition on "their litany of deceptions since they took office". He also accused the Government of "complacency" and "incompetence". Deputy Ó Caoláin said:
"There is a growing public anger at the incompetence and duplicity of this government. The health service is limping from crisis to crisis with the appalling situation in Accident and Emergency departments demonstrating that the National Health Strategy and Fianna Fáil's pre-election promises have been reduced to pipe dreams.
"The School Building Programme has left pupils, teachers and parents in over 250 sub-standard schools with nothing but the vague promise that their plight might be addressed some time in the future.
"People with disabilities have had to take to the streets to protest yet again at cuts which have halted the progress made in recent years and there is still no ease in the housing crisis.
"In the face of public anger at all of this the Coalition has displayed complacency and arrogance, content to rely on their numbers in the Dáil to force through their flawed programme.
"Sinn Féin will hold this government accountable for their litany of deceptions since they took office. The cuts they imposed in the Budget are now being felt throughout the country. We will campaign both inside and outside the Dáil to demand that hospital waiting lists are dramatically reduced; that children are no longer educated in overcrowded and substandard schools; and that there is a fairer distribution of the obvious wealth that exists in this country.
"We will also use this session to robustly challenge the government on the cynical and underhanded tactics it has used to allow Shannon Airport to become a military staging post on the way to war in Iraq. They have displayed a complete disregard for Irish public opinion and their futile attempt to deceive the public about the true nature of the military machine, which they are facilitating, has only served to expose their dishonesty. We will be urging people to support the National Anti-War Demonstration in Dublin on 15th February, to uphold Irish neutrality and independent foreign policy and to urge a peaceful resolution of the present international crisis.
"The Government has insulted people's intelligence and we are determined to call them to account." ENDS