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Government being dishonest on economic choices – Adams

12 May, 2015 - by Gerry Adams

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD speaking today at the Connolly memorial, opposite Liberty Hall, on the anniversary of the execution of James Connolly said: 

 “Following the calamity of the economic crash under the last Fianna Fáil-led Government, a Fine Gael/Labour coalition assumed office with a huge mandate for political change, but as citizens have learned to their cost, nothing has changed.

 “According to the most recent CSO figures, the top 10% own over half of the wealth, while the poorest 20% owe more than they own.

 “According to the ESRI, only the top 40% of households actually benefited from the last Budget with the greatest benefits going to the top 10%.

“Fine Gael and Labour’s four Budgets have been the most unfair and unequal since the economic crash. There has been a huge growth in social inequality. A third of our children now live in consistent poverty.  Over 1,000 children are homeless in this city.

“Low and middle-income earners have been severely penalised by Fine Gael and Labour. The abolition of the PRSI ceiling, increase in VAT, the introduction of a Family Home Tax and Water Charge have significantly increased the tax bill of ordinary workers.

“The abject failure to do anything practical to alleviate the plight of those in mortgage distress or those struggling with spiralling rents has further increased financial pressure on ordinary families. These are the same damaging policies agreed by Fianna Fáil with the Troika in 2010 and implemented by Fine Gael and Labour since 2011.

“There is a better, fairer way. Sinn Féin advocates a reform of the tax system to ease the burden on low and middle-income earners while also increasing revenue to invest in a fair and just recovery.

“In Government Sinn Féin would do this by:

● Abolishing the Property Tax and Water Charges;

● Reforming the USC to ease the burden on lower earners;

● Ensuring high-earners pay their fair share of income tax;

● Increasing employer’s PRSI to address the deficit in the Social Insurance Fund;

● Introducing a wealth tax to generate funds for investment in job creation.

“Sinn Féin passionately believes that the economy must serve society, not the other way around. We would introduce measures to support and promote small and medium enterprises.

“Citizens are entitled to secure jobs with decent pay and conditions, adequate housing and quality public services. Fine Gael and Labour are perpetuating a lie that it is possible to reduce the overall tax take while increasing investment in frontline services.”

 Mr Adams welcomed the recently published 'Policy Principles for a Progressive Irish Government' published on May Day by the unions affiliated to the Right to Water Campaign.

“We welcome this initiative and look forward to engaging in the debate in the weeks ahead. But debate is not enough. We need to see tangible progress to make change happen.

“Citizens desperately need, for the first time ever in this State, a Government that is neither led by Fine Gael nor by Fianna Fáil.

“More than that, they need a progressive Government that will pursue real and viable alternative policies based on equality not austerity, rights not privilege and that will govern in the interests of the people and not the elites.”

 Commenting on last week’s Westminster election results, the Sinn Féin Leader said Sinn Féin would actively oppose austerity “no matter if it's from a Tory Government in London or a Fine Gael/Labour Party government in Dublin.” 

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