Dáil debates

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Electoral Representation (Amendment) Bill 2010: Second Stage


2:30 pm

Photo of Martin FerrisMartin Ferris (Kerry North, Sinn Fein)

To return to the main object of attack, we could be here until the cows come home, going over the many reasons the electorate ought to be given an opportunity to cast its verdict on the current situation in the country that has left many people in an extremely bad way with regard to jobs, mortgages and making ends meet whether they are in employment or not. Indeed since we were here last week there have been more large-scale job losses which underline the fact that while some countries, including apparently our nearest neighbour, are demonstrating signs of recovery, we are still in the midst of a severe crisis. That crisis is part of a global downturn, which may or may not have run its course, but its impact has been massively exacerbated by the gross incompetence of financial and property speculators and the blind eye, indeed the encouragement, given to them by the main Government party. It is clear that this Government has neither the imagination nor the will to do what is necessary to turn things around so that if the overall economic situation improves we will be able to take advantage of it rather than as we are at present, burdened with a massive debt incurred by those responsible for almost bringing the country to its knees. The measures taken with regard to the banks and property mean that even if the economic situation improves we will still be left with the bill for those who were involved in speculation and this will greatly affect the ability of this country to take advantage of any upturn.

NAMA and the banks' bailout mean this Government has shifted the burden for the financial crisis away from those who were responsible for creating it and placed it on the shoulders of the ordinary people who have been presented with a multi-billion euro bill, as well as also having to pay the price in reduced wages and cuts right across the public services from hospitals to schools. It also means the Government is committed to an austerity programme. There is neither the means nor the desire to take measures that might stimulate and encourage growth in the many areas of the economy that are still healthy or have the potential to be developed in order to create growth and employment. The taxpayer has bailed out the banking system. These same banks are in the process of repossessing and by extension, evicting misfortunate people who are victims of the grotesque methods adopted by the banking system, developers, speculators and the political elite in this State.

The only means to reverse that situation is to remove this Government from power and to replace it with one that will reverse the current strategy and radically revise the manner in which the banks and property developers have been treated so it is they and not the ordinary people of the country who pay for the mess that they created and which will free up the resources required to pursue a more positive approach. The only means to do that is through a general election, whenever that comes. Naturally, Fianna Fáil and the Green Party wish to postpone the day of reckoning for as long as they can and that includes their refusal to call the by-elections in Dublin South, Donegal South-West and Waterford. Not least of their worries is that losses in all of those three constituencies would place the survival of the Government in jeopardy and make it less likely that it will run its full term. However, as I said earlier, that is not a valid excuse for not going ahead with those elections and I reiterate my call for them to do so. I reiterate my call to Fine Gael to move the writ for Dublin South. That will at least give the voters in those constituencies the opportunity to cast their verdict and hopefully speed up the removal of this Government from office. I call on the House to support this Bill.


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