Dáil debates

Thursday, 9 May 2013

10:50 am

Photo of Clare DalyClare Daly (Dublin North, Socialist Party) | Oireachtas source

There is a certain tragic irony in the situation that as we sit here this morning, homeowners in Priory Hall are before the courts down the road, as Dublin City Council seeks to get out of the responsibility of paying temporary accommodation for families who had the misfortune of purchasing a home in Priory hell. These families have lived on the knife-edge for hundreds of days in insecure accommodation while continuing to pay a mortgage on buildings that are only fit to be knocked down. It is ironic that 100 years ago in this city, James Connolly, the former leader of the Tánaiste's party, fought against tenement buildings. Now, on his watch, homeowners are being treated like evacuees, paying money for properties that are death traps and a health hazard. Is it not ironic that James Connolly campaigned against William Martin Murphy and Independent Newspapers, as the mouthpiece of the employers? On the Tánaiste's watch, the new William Martin O'Brien and Independent News and Media, get a bailout of €60 million at the taxpayers' expense. It is a real case of history repeating itself but this time around, the Tánaiste, who claims to stand in the legacy of Connolly, is on the wrong side of the barricades.

It must have been pretty nauseating to take a lecture from Fianna Fáil about workers' rights and bus workers' rights but it was even more nauseating to hear his response. He could have been Bus Éireann management; he could have been Fianna Fáil when they were on his side of the House. I ask the Tánaiste to explain the journey he has made onto the side of IBEC. The nation was treated to the views of IBEC earlier in the week when that organisation told us it wanted an end to austerity because it had gone far enough. This sounded good until one read the small print. What IBEC was actually talking about was making sure there would be no austerity for its members. IBEC said, "By all means, continue with the austerity on hard-pressed homeowners, fleece them for a home tax, go after them for a water tax." When low and middle-income earners had nothing else to give, IBEC said: "Do not go after the high-earners." Instead, it argued that the Government should go after public sector workers once again. It was ably assisted in that argument by his party colleague, Deputy Howlin, the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform.

On what planet is the Tánaiste living? Maybe it is the one where people like David Begg, who is on €140,000, puts forward the prospect for the unions to be realistic.


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