Sinn Féin - On Your Side

Clr. Gerry Murray Co Mayo. Resolution 134.

18 February, 2006

This year 2006 marks the centenary of Michael Davitt's Death, Michael Davitt was the Founder of the Land League and it could be argued that the Land Question in the 1880's marked the beginning of the end of the British Empire. As we reflect on Davitt's life and times you realise that this current Government is completely at odds with every single value and principle that Michael Davitt Stood for. And nowhere is that more evident than in this Government's ongoing obsession with privatisation and the mistaken belief that the deregulation of our essential services is a cure for all ills.

Last week an old age pensioner and farmer contacted me because Eircom refused to give him a phone line, despite the fact that the nearest pole was 700 yards away. I contacted Eircom and the reason they gave me was that the cost of the land line was too expensive. I appealed to the Independent regulator and they upheld Eircom's decision.

When Eircom was privatised cast Iron guarantees were given to the People of Rural Ireland that each household would have a phone line. These guarantees were enshrined in Irish and EU law and became known as the Universal Service Obligation.

We now have a situation where Eircom is refusing to fulfil that obligation and many people through out Ireland are now being denied a basic phone service. Meanwhile the Government have refused to intervene citing that it is a matter strictly for Eircom and the Independent regulator. In short they have put the corporate good before the common good.

Keeping our essential services in Public ownership is not about ideology, it is about equality, and it's about delivering equality for all of the people of this island.

The same is applicable to our Natural resources, and I commend the Rossport five not just for their campaign in relation to the pipeline, but also for their campaign to secure Public ownership of all of our natural resources.

Michael Davitt fought against Landlordism, but he also fought against the servant boy mentality that sustained and maintained it, that servant boy mentality is still alive and well in this country, and can be found just down the road in Government buildings, as Senior Ministers pander to the every whim of their corporate sponsors.

Sinn Féin was totally vindicated in relation our critical analysis of Public Private Partnerships, and I have no doubt that we will be vindicated in relation to the stance we are now making on this particular issue, and I believe that the day is not too far away, when Sinn Fein will be in a position to take our essential services and natural resources back into Public ownership on behalf of the people of this country.

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