Tory policy has no mandate in Ireland – McDonald
Mary Lou McDonald TD has highlighted the difficult nature of recent negotiations in the North due to the relentless austerity agenda of the British government, supported by Fine Gael and Labour. However Deputy McDonald praised the additional funding for the Executive which was secured by Sinn Féin in order to minimise the devastating impact of Tory cuts.
Speaking in the Dáil today, Deputy McDonald said:
“These latest negotiations were a direct result of the crisis created by the economic and political policies of the British and Irish governments. And the negotiations have been difficult.
“In economic terms, Fine Gael and the Irish Labour Party made common cause with the British Conservative Party in their relentless pursuit of austerity. Like the Irish Government, the Tories have used the cover of recession to cut public services, to cut benefits, and to plan further swingeing cuts to supports for working families.
“The Irish Government through disastrous austerity policies have increased inequality, work poverty, homelessness, the numbers on hospital trollies, and emigration. The British Government is seeking to do likewise in the 6 countries. They are receiving the full support of Fine Gael and Labour.
“So with two governments clearly on the side of austerity and against the rights of victims of the conflict to full disclosure, getting a positive deal was always going to be a challenge. However Sinn Féin stood up for ordinary citizens. We have secured additional monies for the Executive which will help minimise some of the worst excesses of British Government austerity.
“Sinn Féin succeeded in securing £585million over the next four years to support those in need and working families. This is an increase from the Stormont House Agreement that had funds of £560million over six years.
“We have secured in excess of £500million of additional funding to support the unique needs of a society emerging from decades of conflict and division, and an economy that faces the legacy of under-investment and partition.
“Sinn Féin stands for investment in growth and prosperity, for fairness and equality, and for supports and services for those in need. We believe that the continued operation of the political institutions is the best way to build an anti-austerity and Tory cuts campaign, maintain control over our public services, grow the economy, and support those most in need.
“This Agreement will clearly not solve all the issues, but in the face of two unhelpful Governments, it is the best that can be achieved. It has protected the citizens of the North from the full force of Tory cuts and ensured that we currently have working political institutions.”