Saturday, April 11, 2009

Not my Kids! Not this time!

Not my Kids! Not this time!

On the 19th March Sinn Féin held a meeting at Wynns Hotel in Dublin. This meeting was hosted by Mary-Lou McDonald and put forward the Sinn Féin argument that NOW is the time to alter the economic debate in the 26 counties and force the government to take action on Irish unemployment.

The importance of this message can in my opinion not be overestimated. It is the biggest single issue that will impact on the lives on ordinary working people on this island and Sinn Féin must be at the forefront of demanding a republic and a government that puts job creation strategies and job retention at the top of the political agenda.

Too much time lately has been spent on analysing the banking crisis and budget deficit (yes I know these are important), but in the meantime unemployment has grown at a frightening rate, with little or no action being taken to address it. This must now change.

I have many relatives who are living in England and other countries around the world because they, or their parents, like millions before them, were both forced out of Ireland by the fact that there were no jobs here. I heard many stories growing up of how my family’s friends and relatives would one day return home. They had never wished to live in another country, but they had felt they had no other choice. Needless to say most of these family friends and relatives never returned home and many are now buried under foreign soil.

But surely things have changed? The Celtic Tiger was good for me and my family and I, like many many others, believed the south was no longer the poor man of western Europe. We were joining on equal terms with France, Germany, Denmark, Holland etc. and the days of forced emigration were over. The one comment I kept on making was “Isn’t it great that our kids will never have to leave Ireland to find work. Thank god those days are gone!”

Yet, it appears I may have spoken too soon.

In my class yesterday, I asked anybody who knew somebody who had lost their job to raise their hand. Over two thirds of the class did and it ranged from family friends, to uncles, to brothers, sisters and parents. I looked at these kids and I wondered what chance will you have? I think everyday about my own kids and ask the same question. Will my own kids feel they have no choice, but to leave this country? Will I, like millions of parents before me watch my own children leave and end up seeing them and my grandchildren a couple of times a year, if I am lucky.

Well, the answer to that is NO, not if I can do anything about it. The title of the Sinn Féin meeting at Wynns hotel was right. Now is the TIME FOR ACTION.

The proposals put forward at the meeting were correct. We must work with the trade unions, community groups and other like-minded political parties in order to mobilise the people of Ireland to create an ALIANCE FOR JOBS. We must demand that job creation and retention is the government’s first priority. We must demand that the mistakes and wrongs of the past are not repeated. We must demand a future for our kids, which means they will not have to leave their home, their family and their friends because this country has failed them.

But for me I have one thing to say to this government,



  1. I agree 100%. the party must go out and work with other groups to push for more jobs and job retention. However, how can we do this when the media won't put us on the TV and other parties do not wish to work with us.

  2. Anon I think the media is not going to help us, so we need to help ourseleves by being visible and active inour areas. It is clear that SF is no longer a sexy product for the dublin media and we now have to fight our corner even harder to get media coverage.

    In terms of workig with other groups etc I would say it is going to be up to local groups to set the agenda here. we need to call meetings and invite other groups along. i think theissue of jobs is one where we can do this.