Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Sinn Féin back ICTU rallies against spending cuts

Sinn Féin leaders from across the country have clearly demonstrated their support for the ICTU protests planned for the 6th and 24th November. Marting Ferris has spoken out strongly against Labour TD Costello's criticism of the planned action and Gerry Adams made the below statement.

The battle lines are being drawn very clearly for the struggle that is about to commence. A massive programme of cuts is being planned for North and South of the border and Sinn Féin must stand clearly with the forces who wish to see us defend the interests of the weakest members of society. Be they those in receipt of welfare benefits, health care etc. Or those workers who are fighting to defend jobs, pay and conditions.


Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams has called for people in the north to show their support for our public services by attending rallies organised by the Irish Congress of Trade Unions in Armagh, Ballymena, Belfast, Derry, Magherafelt and Newry this Friday, November 6th.

Mr Adams said:“The Irish Congress of Trade Unions National Day of Protest on Friday will give people from across Ireland the opportunity to demonstrate their opposition to cuts in public services.

“The focus in the north the will very much be on planned cuts to the health service, including job losses and the closure of hospital beds. The British Treasury is demanding ‘efficiency savings’ of £700 million over the next three years.

“The reality is that it will be the most disadvantaged, whose life expectancy is already significantly lower than others, who will be most adversely affected these cuts.

“Our priority is the defence of front-line public services and to tackle health inequalities and ensure that vulnerable people, people living with disadvantage and poverty, and those most at risk are protected.

“The Executive is facing very real challenges in meeting the efficiency targets demanded by the British Treasury.

“I believe that there are steps we can and must take to defend public services, and already Sinn Féin Ministers in the Executive have taken steps to ensure that key public services such as water and public transport remain under public control. “Sinn Féin have led the demand for greater all-Ireland working across the Health Service and I believe this could deliver substantial savings that could be channelled into sustaining and developing front-line services. Ending duplication and maximising the scale of economies could release millions back into service delivery. I also believe that the proper implementation of the Investing for Health Strategy can deliver huge savings.

“It is time to mobilise, agitate, educate and politicise for real change. These rallies are an important part of the campaign to defend public services that must continue beyond Friday.”

The rallies in the North are being held at 1pm in Armagh (Hospital); Ballymena (Diamond); Belfast (City Hall); Derry (Custom House Street, off Guildhall Square); Magherafelt (Diamond)l; and Newry (City Hall).

And in the 26 Counties in Dublin, Cork, Galway, Limerick, Waterford, Sligo, Tullamore, and Dundalk


  1. both Sinn fein and ICTU have been saying for a while now if you keep on cutting money out of this economy you will keep on reducing aggregate demand. The result will be further and further reductions in demand.

    And look whats happened - a drop of over 17% in recipts, the deficit spiralling out of control.

    Brian Cowen said tonight in leinster house that this cannot continue. He is right about that but its a pity he'll pick the wrong option.
    and rather than carting himself off to offaly he'll stick with his crazy cruel cuts.

  2. TASC, a progressive think tank, has quite a few articles on the cuts. Here is one such article that explains through Classical economic terminology why the 26 county government's slash and burn policies will hurt the entire economy (and of course the poorest the most:)


    Michael Taft, at Notes from the Front, discusses these issues in detail:


    It's all well and nice that SF and Gerry Adams have come out in support of the ITCU. This is where SF should be. But where the feck is the overall economic analysis embedded in the support for the ITCU? This is where SF has to provide its bona fides and lay out a new leftist course for Ireland. (Progressivist policies may alieviate the worst excesses of Neo-liberal Capitalism (NLC) at the moment but a Progressive doctrine does nothing to change the beast, and we will just revisit the crisis in a few years again. At the very best, Progressive doctrine may reform the beast but this only slows down the rate of crises - it doesn't get rid of them.

    We have to ask ourselves why the 26 county government is pursuing such policies. Are they dozers? Do they not know they will be deflating the economy and slowing growth while at the same time increasing our debt payment burden relative to this deflation policy that cuts tax income?

  3. No, they are not dozers and yes they do know what affect delfation will have on the economy. So why do they do it? I can only think of two reasons (anyone with other ideas, please write up). They are ideologically bound by their NLC doctrines, and they are punting the issues into the future in the hope that the global economy somehow drags Ireland along in its wake and the problems just dissipate.

    FF has run an implicit NLC doctrine for over a decade now. At the core of this doctrine is the stated belief that by making a few people very wealth and a few more relatively wealthy that this wealth will "trickle" down to the ordinary citizen and everyone's well being will improve. FF created the illusion of wealth distribution through this doctrine by three means, imo. Through large public works, such a motorways, by-passes and so on the government redistributed tax intakes into the economy to the tune of billions, and they made some construction company owners very, very wealthy.

    Secondly, through zoning and tax laws, FF, and their wingnut partners the PDs, artifically inflated the property market in Ireland; while at the same time they passed legislation cutting the regulators off from the banks. This created the conditions for the creation of the spontaneous rich homeowner (ie one who had bought a home before 1990-1994?) to suddenly and without any economic effort realise huge equity gains on their homes. This could only be accomplished by loose and cheap money provided through debt/loans with barely any discretion to lending standards. In other words, FF created a property ponzi scheme. NAMA , falling home prices, and unemployment are the result.

    Thirdly, FF has pursued a course of privitisation of public revenue streams. They have done this in order to lessen the tax intake from the uber and just plain wealthy; while at the same time making gargage hauliers, public road works owners and the such millionaires. The idea is that wealthy people pay far less for such services as a proportion of their total wealth than they would do through taxation (plus they have handy and legal tax dodges in property and pension laws, to name two legal tax evasion schemes). Of course, poor and middle class people pay a far higher proportion of their income than they would do so through tax. This policy has also had the added benefit of allowing the government to claim we must cut front line services now. Yeah, they've distributed so much tax wealth in the past (and don't get me started on cost over runs), and have neutered so many revenue streams through privitisation that cuts seem to make sense on the surface.

  4. As for punting, FF are pros (on the long finger in local terminology). FF has done its quantitative demographic homework. It knows to within a few percentage points in every constituency who will be affected by their policies. They are obviously willing to jettison any pretence to representing poor working class people, and possibly to lower income middle class people. (Capitalist doctrine holds these types of people to be losers anyway.) The fact that the ECB (European Central Bank) is allowing FF to account for this byzantian scheme through an SPV (special purpose vehicle) shows how much the NLC doctrine has affected the core of European thought. This scheme simply allows the debt and costs of NAMA to be hidden from ordinary citizens. Out of sight, out of mind. Any economic recovery, however feeble, will be touted as a success by FF. If they can maintain the high cost economy in the meantime, they ensure their core wealthy base, and those who rely on these individuals and companies, will come out voting in large number comes the next GE. Hell, they may even pull off enough votes from the bling addled masses to get back into government.

    It's no longer good enough to say that FF policies (or parties who pursue such policies in 6 counties) are bad. We must say why they are bad. We must say how we'll make better policies that are grounded in economic logic and therefore can be assessed by the average citizen.

    If we are to pursue tranformative political-economic policies, we must begin, right now, to get the basis of analysis out into the public sphere. (Actual policies, of course, must wait for elections.)

  5. Has anyone read the Communist Party's new document
    An Economy For the Common Good.it is a very good read and one of the best documents I have read in a long time.Cost e 4.50