Senator David Cullinane – Public services - Ard Fheis 2012
Public services are under a sustained attack. Schools are losing teachers and class sizes are increasing. Patients are lying on hospital trolleys.
Accident and Emergency Wards are being closed in local hospitals.
Beds are being lost and waiting times for treatment are increasing. Front line staff in hospitals, schools and local authorities is being reduced in numbers.
In my own County in Waterford our regional hospital has seen a major reduction in funding. In the last twelve months alone we have lost 3 operating theatres, 25 in-patient beds and 6 paediatric beds.
Community Nursing units up and down this state are being closed and are not being replaced. We are told by Fianna Fail, Fine Gael and Labour that all of this is unavoidable.
It is the price we have to pay to restore our public finances. These are the same parties whose boom and bust policies ruined our economy and devastated the lives of many citizens. Policies which has led to massive unemployment and forced emigration.
There is a better way. There is a fairer way. We in Sinn Féin are for strong public services that deliver for its citizens. Schools that are properly funded and resourced. Hospitals that have the capacity to meet our health care needs.
We want to see a fair and progressive taxation system that provides for world class public services. We are in favour of a modest wealth tax that will raise €1billion.
We are in favour of a third rate of tax of 48% on individual income over €100,000. This raises €400m. We are in favour of standardising all tax reliefs and the lower rate of 20%. This raises €1billion. We want to see the end of the taxpayer and citizens funding private health and education.
Cutting and hacking away at our public services is not a solution to our current difficulties. We need a strategy for growth and investment and for getting people back to work. Not one that sees less money for schools and hospitals and less nurses, doctors and teachers. Ireland needs a strong economy with strong public services. We in Sinn Féin are building that Ireland.