Poor are getting poorer and rich are getting richer under current government – this is why public protest is escalating, says People Before profit TD
Richard Boyd Barrett TD, People Before Profit Alliance will table a motion in Dail Eireann this evening on reducing poverty and inequality. The motion can be read here: PMB Deprivation Feb 2015
At a press conference today, People Before Profit TD and member of the steering group of the Right2 Water campaign announced details of a motion which be debated in the Dail this week, which calls for the abolition of water and property charges and other regressive taxes and cuts to deal with rising poverty and deprivation.
Deputy Boyd Barrett was joined at the press conference by John Douglas (General Secretary of Mandate), Louise Bayliss (Spark), & Ruth Coppinger TD, (Socialist Party).
The motion is co-signed by: Clare Daly, Paul Murphy, Ruth Coppinger, Joan Collins, John Halligan, Mick Wallace, Maureen O Sullivan, Tom Fleming & Thomas Pringle.
The Dail motion authored by Deputy Boyd Barrett catalogues the dramatic rise of poverty and deprivation across a number of groups in Irish society, including, lone-parents, children, the elderly, low-paid workers and other vulnerable groups, and outlines how this situation has worsened under the Fine Gael/Labour government.
The motion further outlines how the recent increases in poverty, deprivation and homelessness for a huge cohort of citizens have taken place at the same time that that household wealth and corporate profits in the country as a whole have increased, but that this increased wealth remains concentrated in the hands of the very wealthiest in Irish society.
The motion calls for the abolition or reversal of recent budgetary measures that have been regressive and contributed to growing poverty and inequality, calling on the government to replace these measures with taxes focused on the top income earners, wealth and profits.
Specifically, the motion calls for: the abolition of water charges, property taxes and the USC for those earning less than the average industrial wage. It further calls for the reversal of cuts affecting lone parents, cuts in child benefit, cuts in Job Seekers Allowance for those under 26, the household benefits package, fuel and telephone allowance, rent allowance, respite care grant and prescription charges. It also calls for an emergency programme of council house construction.
Deputy Boyd Barrett said: “The poor are getting poorer and the rich are getting richer – It’s a fact! That’s why there is so much public outrage and why unprecedented numbers of people have been taking to the streets in protest. This motion is an attempt to re-focus the debate on the unacceptable and shocking poverty, deprivation and unfairness that have resulted from the policies and priorities pursued by this government.
Over the last few weeks there has been a very conscious attempt by government and media to deflect debate away from the substantial issues that have driven unprecedented numbers of people out onto to the streets in protest over recent months. The debate has become about the protesters rather than about the injustices and hardship that have driven people out to protest.
Regressive and unfair decisions made by this government have contributed directly to increasing poverty and deprivation, while at the same time protecting the interests of the very wealthiest in our society.
This government has consistently blamed the bad situation they inherited and the troika for austerity and suggested that they had no alternative. In reality, choices this government has made have made a bad situation worse for the most vulnerable and least well-off people in Irish society, while thoroughly insulating to people at the very top.
The grossly unequal and unfair distribution of economic pain for the many alongside the outrageous concentration of wealth in the hands of the few must be exposed and challenged. If the government fails to address these issues, the protests we have seen on the streets in recent months will continue and they will escalate.”