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PDs share Fianna Fáil record of privilege for the wealthiest - Ó Caoláin

29 September, 2006


Sinn Féin Dáil leader Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin has said it is ironic that the future of the Fianna Fáil/PD administration now hangs in the balance over an issue relating to the links between politicians in Government and wealthy business people, given the fact that the PDs "fully share the Fianna Fáil record of granting privilege to the wealthiest in Irish society".

Deputy Ó Caoláin said, "Once again we see the Progressive Democrats posing as the moral guardians of Government. The future of the Fianna Fáil/PD administration now hangs in the balance over an issue relating to the links between politicians in Government and wealthy business people. The Taoiseach, of course, has questions to answer about his own relationship with the donors in the case of the money he received in Manchester.

"However, it is ironic that the PDs are in this position given that they fully share the Fianna Fáil record of granting privilege to the wealthiest in Irish society. The Tánaiste Michael McDowell has described inequality as good for the economy. He and his PD colleagues have fully supported, implemented, and in some cases initiated a whole range of Government polices that rewarded privilege and acted against the public interest. These include:

· Public contracts for private developers and property speculators that have seen the public purse ripped off. A prime example is the purchase at over twice the market value of the Thornton Hall lands for the Tánaiste's proposed super-prison.

· The unbridled control of the housing market by land speculators and the building industry with house prices beyond the reach of people on above-average incomes. The shredding of Part V of the Planning and Development Act and the failure to provide social and affordable housing.

· Massive tax breaks and the allocation of land at public hospital sites for the developers of private for-profit hospitals. This is in the context of a grossly inequitable health service that limps from crisis to crisis.

· The privatisation of Eircom to the benefit of multi-millionaires such as Tony O'Reilly and at the expense of many thousands of conned small shareholders and with the result that we have a sub-standard telecommunications infrastructure in the hands of a private monopoly.

· The privatisation of Aer Lingus, despite the experience of the disastrous Eircom privatisation.

"All of these are valid reasons for the entire Fianna Fáil/PD Government to resign and for a General Election to be called. And the sooner the better." ENDS

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