Enda Kenny and Fine Gael have decimated the lives of ordinary people in Cork - Jonathan O’Brien TD
Sinn Féin TD for Cork North Central has said that the policies implemented by Enda Kenny and Fine Gael have decimated the lives of ordinary people in Cork.
He said that Mr Kenny’s election campaign message is both patronising and insulting.
Deputy O’Brien was speaking as the Taoiseach was visiting Cork City this morning.
“Enda Kenny is in Cork today asking ordinary people to keep the recovery going. Sadly, the idea of a recovery is not being felt in many of the communities across this city that have, over the last 5 years, borne the brunt of Fine Gael’s regressive, right-wing policies.
“The policies implemented by Enda Kenny and Fine Gael in government have decimated the lives of ordinary people in Cork City. To many, Mr Kenny’s campaign message is downright patronising and insulting. He is campaigning as though he has not been power since 2011.
“His policies have delivered an unprecedented housing crisis in which 15,000 people and their dependents, across city and county, are waiting for social housing. Thousands of people are in mortgage distress and families are struggling to pay sky-high rents in the private market. Rents in this city are increasing at a frightening rate. Throughout all of this crisis, Fine Gael has simply refused to build social housing.
“Fine Gael and the Labour Party created the conditions which allowed for a 63% increase in the number of people sleeping rough in Cork City. 41 people were sleeping rough on our streets in December.
“Fine Gael’s approach to the health service has been to undermine its viability through a purposeful strategy of underfunding, under-resourcing and under-staffing. This has led to patients, many very sick and elderly, being left on trolleys at Cork University Hospital and the Mercy Hospital. This is happening day in and day out. There were 31 patients lying on trolleys in Cork City's hospitals last night.
“Under Mr Kenny, this government has cut supports for the most vulnerable in our society while ring-fencing the wealth of the most well-off. They systematically set about shredding the social safety net that is used, by any civil society, to catch people when they fall behind. Fine Gael and the Labour Party introduced €1.09b worth of cuts to the Social Protection budget in the years 2012-2014.
“Enda Kenny’s whole agenda, during his time as Taoiseach, has been to create a two-tier society. In Fine Gael’s Ireland, due to increasing underemployment, low wages and zero-hour contracts, holding a job is a not even a guarantee that you won’t fall into the poverty trap. There is a cost of living crisis in this state that has been fostered by the government parties.
“I don’t think that the values followed by Fine Gael in government are shared by the vast majority of Cork people. The people I meet, on a daily basis, are compassionate and they hold a deep desire to see some common decency and fairness from those in power. They care about the people who are sleeping in doorways on Patrick’s Street and those caught up in the hospital chaos.
“A Sinn Féin led government would not turn its back on people in Cork who are crying out for a fair recovery. We have a plan to deliver sustainable economic growth and to invest in our critical public services. Sinn Féin wants to elect three TDs in Cork City to help make that vision a reality. If the people of this city want change, they have to get out and vote for it.”