Saturday, 27 June 2020
Taoiseach a Ainmniú (Atógáil) - Nomination of Taoiseach (Resumed)
Paul Murphy (Dublin South West, RISE)
Today, the new Taoiseach and Ministers will celebrate their elevation to high office. Tomorrow, and in the weeks and months ahead, the Government will become known for eco-austerity, a two-tier healthcare system and a worsening housing crisis, and as a Government which represents the rich, landlords and big business. It will be a hated Government. Remember what issues dominated the election, namely, healthcare, housing and the pension age. Since the election, a pandemic has shown us the weakness of our public health system and the possibility of incorporating in it the private system. Instead of a commitment to build a one-tier quality national health service, the programme for Government contained a positive reference to maintaining private healthcare, a continuation of two-tier health care with better healthcare for the better-off and worse healthcare for the rest.
On housing, the programme continues the reliance on the private sector. It is a continuation of Rebuilding Ireland. It contains commitments for less building of public housing than were in the Green Party and Fianna Fáil manifestos and even in the Fine Gael manifesto. In the words of one of those who negotiated the programme, it will make the homeless crisis worse.
On the pension age, the Government is kicking the increase to 67 years down the road but it is clear that it will not reduce it to 65 years and Fine Gael will continue to push for it to increase to 67 and then 68 years. RISE and the socialist left will not only make speeches of opposition in the Dáil. We will build movements of opposition on the streets and in communities and workplaces to defeat the incoming Government's plans for a massively hiked carbon tax and to demand the building of public housing and construction of an Irish NHS.
Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael entering Government together is not a sign of strength but one of extreme weakness. It is a last ditch attempt by the political establishment to hang on to power. In 2007, before the last crisis, the combined vote of Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael was almost 70%. As this crisis opens, it is less than 45%. There is an enormous space in Irish politics for the building of a mass socialist movement. We will fight for a left Government to implement a socialist green new deal, one based on public ownership and democratic control of the key sections of the economy to transform people's lives for the better and avoid climate catastrophe.