There is an alternative – Adams
Sinn Féin held a protest this evening (Tuesday 29 November 2011) outside the Dáil in Kildare St to highlight and oppose the proposed budget next week. Speaking to several hundred people Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams TD said: “Since it came to power last February the Fine Gael/Labour government has blamed every bad decision, every u-turn in pre-election promises on the last government. But this government has chosen to implement the same bad austerity policies of the last coalition government.
“Next week’s budget will be Fine Gael and Labour’s budget. They can blame no one else. In the last fortnight the media has been dominated by a stream of planned Ministerial leaks about the likely cuts they plan to put into next week’s budget.
“Among these have been cuts to child benefit, an increase in VAT, a hike in prescription charges, increases in home heating fuel, the closure of community nursing homes and much more.
“Tonight Sinn Féin is proposing a private members motion defending current levels of child benefit and other social welfare payments, in particular those impacting on children.
96,000 children are living in consistent poverty in this state and 19% of children, over 200,000 are at risk of poverty. It is unacceptable that Fine Gael and Labour are about to impose a budget that will make this dire situation worse.
“All of these cuts will hit low and middle income families hardest. And will any of this create jobs and reduce unemployment? No! According to the government’s own figures unemployment levels in four years’ time will be almost equivalent to where they are today. Where is the hope for citizens? If emigration were not taking place at the rate of up to 50,000 a year unemployment levels would in fact be significantly higher in four years’ time.
“Government policy is not working. Next week’s budget will not work. The government’s deflationary policies are not working. Flat taxes are not working. Not investing in the economy and expecting exports to lift all our boats is not working. The accumulation of three years of austerity has not fixed the economy but more importantly, it has pushed many families into poverty. And this Government says it plans four more years of the same. And it will do all of this in breach of election promises and other commitments made by Fine Gael and Labour.
“Remember last March when Labour asserted that reform begins with the banks and it committed to ‘tearing up the blank cheque policy on banking that has undermined our very sovereignty’?
“Yet three weeks ago the government gave more than €700 million to unguaranteed bondholders in Anglo and plans to hand over another €1.2 billion in January.This government also promised an end to cronyism but recent reports confirm that it’s still jobs for the boys at the top as Fine Gael and Labour appoint over 20 people with connections to both to senior positions on state bodies and within the judiciary.
“And Labour specifically pledged that the choices it made would be fair. Tell that to the thousands of students who protested in recently Dublin over broken promises by Eamon Gilmore and Ruairi Quinn; or the families in mortgage distress; or those who have lost their jobs and see no hope of employment because of the policies of this government.
“There is an alternative. There is a different and fairer way to end the recession. Sinn Féin spelt this out in our pre-budget submission. It is focussed on economic recovery based on fair taxes, investing in jobs, debt restructuring and growing the all-Ireland economy.
“Sinn Féin’s pre-budget submission is about protecting public services and those on low and middle incomes. We have shown that this can be done through taxing wealth, eliminating wasteful public spending, stimulating the economy, and tackling exorbitant salaries in the public sector.”