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Economic reconstruction beyond COVID-19 must not become a proxy for austerity – Kearney

1 May, 2020 - by Declan Kearney

Sinn Féin National Chairperson and Junior Minister Declan Kearney has extended May Day solidarity greetings to Irish workers and the labour movement across the island on behalf of Sinn Féin.

Declan Kearney said:

“Every year on May Day, the labour movement in Ireland and across the world mobilises for May Day rallies to celebrate the struggle for rights and remember the sacrifice of those who campaigned and battled to achieve economic equality and social justice.

“This year will be very different due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

“We will not march through Belfast and Dublin. We will not gather together to remember the struggles and victories of workers in song and prose.

“However, those struggles, and victories are perhaps more to the fore of our minds than ever before.

“The global pandemic opens the potential for a new debate about the importance of our community’s social capital and its role in shaping the future.

“We rightly applaud our health workers on the frontline against Covid-19, as well as our postal workers, delivery drivers, dock workers, refuse collectors, public service workers, bus drivers, retail workers, and many more.

“Many citizens are increasingly appreciating the value of the labour of all these unsung, everyday heroes. Never again should that labour be taken for granted.

“The struggles for fair and decent wages, an end to precarious and insecure work, the right to collective bargaining and other economic and social rights, assume an even sharper priority.

“It means guaranteeing the community and community interests of ordinary working people. Economic reconstruction beyond Covid-19 must not become a proxy for a new era of austerity.

“On this May Day we need to reflect on developing strategies to ensure society does not return to the old status quo of neoliberal policies, which have widened the gap between rich and poor and decimated public services, including our health services north and south.

“On behalf of Sinn Féin, I extend solidarity greetings to all workers in Ireland and internationally this May Day weekend and pledge our party’s ongoing commitment to building support for a new economic model in a new Ireland, as envisaged by James Connolly and Liam Mellows.”

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