Dáil debates

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

12:00 pm

Photo of Joe HigginsJoe Higgins (Dublin West, Socialist Party)

-----and grasping bankers, imprisoning a generation of young working people in monstrous mortgages and negative equity. When that greedfest inevitably choked on its own excess, it treacherously connived with the EU, IMF and ECB to save the skins of the major European banks that had their snouts deep in the feeding trough that was the Irish property market where they slurped as frenetically as any Fianna Fáil developer or big Irish banker.

For this, and the crash that inevitably resulted, we see the savage attacks on the living standards of our people, which this nominee for Government intends to continue. They attack public services and steal from the disabled and the poor. A revolution would overturn and reverse all that. However, this nominee for Taoiseach proposes to confirm and reinstate the discredited programme of a discredited Government. The poisonous cocktail of austerity, concocted by the witch doctors in Brussels and Frankfurt because of the sickness of the European financial system, is to continue to be force-fed to the Irish people by this new proposed Government. Therefore, a vote for Deputy Kenny for Taoiseach is a vote not for revolution or change, but for counter-revolution and more of the same. It is a vote for monstrous cuts in the living standards of workers and the unemployed, including the hated universal social charge which should be labelled universal anti-social charge, for wholesale privatisation of public assets, notwithstanding the disastrous consequences of previous privatisations such as Team Aer Lingus and Telecom Éireann, for blatant new tax burdens on ordinary people, including a water tax and home tax and for a health service held to ransom by profit seeking private insurance companies.

The first paragraph of the first chapter of a proposal for Government that would be honest would try to answer the question: "Why should the Irish people have their economic life-blood drained to salvage the tens of billions of euro gambled and lost by private speculators in private deals for private profit in Irish property? By what moral code does a Government justify placing that millstone on our people?" We will put that question to them again and again until it is answered.

This is not the first time an Irish political establishment responded to an Irish and Europe-wide crisis by sacrificing its people. Nearly 100 years ago, the forebears of today's speculating European financiers and their political clients plunged into war in a vicious competition for markets, raw materials and profits. The Irish Parliamentary Party of the day will forever be remembered in infamy for its campaign to dragoon a generation of youth to feed the insatiable appetite of the imperial war makers. Today, by sacrificing our people, our services and our youth to feed the equally insatiable appetite of the wolves in the European and world financial markets - faceless, unelected and unaccountable - first Fianna Fáil and the Greens, then Fine Gael and Labour play an equally shameful role as the Irish Parliamentary Party. It was a great Irish socialist, James Connolly, who, in opposition to that conflict, called for a torch to be lit in Ireland that would, "not burn out until the last throne and the last capitalist bond and debenture" was burned. How deeply ashamed James Connolly would be today that the Labour Party he founded marches into Dáil Éireann to become part of a Government that will burn not the bondholders, the speculators or the grasping big bankers but the Irish people, the working class, the unemployed, the poor and the low and middle-income workers.

The Socialist Party and the United Left Alliance rejects the right wing programme proposed by Deputy Kenny. We reject the rule of the financial markets, which is causing such crisis and suffering among our people. We demand instead that they be brought to heel and brought into public ownership and democratic control in Ireland and Europe to be used instead as vehicles of major public investment to create projects that would quickly see tens of thousands of people returning to work from the tragedy of standing in the dole queue. The incoming Government will have a crushing majority in this Dáil. It should not think from this that its economic programme of savage austerity will go unchallenged. It certainly will be challenged in this Chamber and it should be remembered that we in the united left will facilitate the mobilisation of worker power, people power and community power to defend the living standards of the vast majority of people, who are attacked by this programme, to defend their livelihood and to oppose new and unjust stealth taxes.

Tá mé glan in aghaidh an rún go dtoghfaí an Teachta Kenny mar Thaoiseach. Is náireach an láé nuair a thagann iarrthóir d'oifig an Taoisigh os comhair na Dála agus mar clár oibre aige caighdeán maireachtála lucht oibre na tíre a bhascadh chun fiacha ollmhóra príobháideacha lucht speiciléireachta agus na bainc a íoc. Is feall uafásach é seo ar muintir na tíre. Tá sé mímhórálta, mícheart agus míchóir; agus déanfaidh sé an géarchéim eacnamaíochta níos measa. Má bristear caighdeán maireachtála oibritheoirí ar pháíseal agus ar meán phá, nó má tógtar airgead as liúntaisí daoine bochta, is amhlaidh go raghfaidh an líon daoine dífhostaithe i méid. Ar bhonn eacnamaíochta agus ar bhonn mhóralta, tabharfaidh an Páirtí Sóisialach agus an Comhaontas Chlé síordúshlán don Rialtas seo. Beimid ag táirgeadh mar mhalairt forbairt ar cúrsaí eacnamaíochta ar bhonn infheistíochta phoiblí, seachas bheith ag brath ar lucht an rachmais. Beimid ag glaoch ar ghnáth daoine a gcumhacht fhéin a úsáid.

As Members meet today, they also should remember the magnificent movement of opposition and the sacrifices of ordinary people throughout the Arab world against their horrific dictatorships. Irish working people will wish to support them and Members will return to further discussions in this regard in the days ahead.


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