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Ó’Domhnaill and Keaveney slammed for supporting public sector pay cuts

18 December, 2009 - by Pearse Doherty TD

Sinn Féin Senator Pearse Doherty has slammed fellow Donegal Senators Briain Ó’Domhnaill and Cecilia Keaveney for voting in support of the Financial Emergency Measures Bill which will implement cuts of 5% to the lowest paid public sector employees.

Speaking following the Seanad vote on the Bill Senator Doherty said:

“In Donegal there are 20,658 public sector employees earning less than €20,000 per year, with a further 6,437 earning between €20,000 and €30,000. This cut of 5% will devastate public sector employees in Donegal two thirds of whom earn less than €20,000.

“I had called on Senators Ó’Domhnaill and Keaveney to stand by the people of Donegal and reject this unfair piece of legislation. However, most unfortunately for the public sector workers of Donegal, both Senators towed their party’s line. Shame on the both of them for supporting these unfair and unnecessary measures.

“Sinn Féin opposes the cuts to those in the public sector earning under €100,000. In our pre-Budget analysis of the economy, we showed where money could be raised to both stimulate the economy and reduce the deficit without touching people in this wage bracket. Instead we targeted the high earners on over €100,000.

“Unlike FF, the Greens, FG and Labour, we value greatly the contribution made to the functioning of our society by every public sector worker – from the nurse, to the teacher, to the fire fighter. The economic mess that this state is in was not caused by workers on the average industrial wage, be they private or public sector. Yet they have already suffered the most for it.

“This is the group that took out the huge mortgages and that are the highest privately indebted people in Europe. The government wants them to go back to living on 2004 wages, with 2009 debts.

“We also oppose targeting this group, because it will not help the economy. We are an economy heavily reliant on consumption taxes and the Minister has just taken money from most of the spenders in the state. The domino effect of this will be to reduce spending in our shops, restaurants and other businesses. So more jobs will be lost. It will have a deflationary effect on the economy.

“Finally, we opposed this measure because we believe it is the first step in a government led depression of wages across the state. Which means, now they have broken the public sector and its unions, they can target the private sector through a reduction in the minimum wage. Big business has been lobbying hard for this pay cut for years now – they have their own employees in their sights.” ENDS

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