Speaking in the Dail today during a debate on the forthcoming European Council meeting, Richard Boyd Barrett TD for the People Before Profit Alliance, challenged the Taoiseach to tell his European counter-parts that the EU-IMF austerity programme was inflicting immense suffering on the most vulnerable and least well-off sectors of Irish society and robbing the country of the means necessary to stimulate growth and create jobs. Deputy Boyd Barrett asked the Taoiseach to tell his European counter-parts that vulnerable and less well-off sectors of Irish society that were protesting against cuts to their services, supports and incomes were entirely justified in doing so, and were unable to understand why they were being asked to pay-off the private gambling debts of bankers and speculators. Deputy Boyd Barrett referred to plans for protests currently being organised for the visit of the EU-IMF delegation to Ireland in July (Saturday July 16th) and asked the Taoiseach to tell his European colleagues that those who would be protesting were entirely justified in doing so.
Deputy Boyd Barrett said: “Will the Taoiseach tell our European counter-parts that the EU-IMF deal and the demands of the European authorities that ordinary workers and the vulnerable in our society should pay the gambling debts of banks, speculators and the super-wealthy was grossly unfair and worsening the economic crisis?
Will the Taoiseach tell his European counter-parts that the parents of special needs children are terrified that their children will not have the special needs assistants and other supports that they need to provide them with the education the need – and that those parents are desperately fearful for the future of their children? Will the Taoiseach tell the European Council that low-paid workers who have already had their incomes savaged by the Universal Social Charge are terrified that if their incomes are further cut because of the EU-IMF’s demand that the JLC and ERO protections of their pay and conditions should be dismantled, they will be unable to pay their bills and survive in the coming months?
Will the Taoiseach tell his European friends that their demands for cutting the incomes of low and middle income families are crushing demand in the economy and resulting in more job losses – rather than aiding economic recovery as the Taoiseach falsely claims? Will the Taoiseach tell the European authorities that their austerity programme is leading to brutal health cuts that mean A&E’s are being closed across the country, and that as a result people would die trying to reach hospitals that were too far away and were overwhelmed already with people lying on trolleys for days. Will he tell them that more people would die on waiting lists for vital operations as a result of the cuts he was imposing to ensure the bankers and speculators who caused the economic crisis were paid and protected? Will the Taoiseach tell the European Council that tens of thousands of people on Council housing lists would now never get a Council home of their own because his government had instructed local councils to cease building council houses and instead lease properties off developers, banks and NAMA, so that they in turn could pay-off speculating, French, German and British banks?
Will he tell them that it is an outrage that public assets that belonged to the people of Ireland were to be sold in order to pay-off the gamblers who had crashed the Irish economy? Will the Taoiseach tell the European Council that ordinary people in this country do not understand why they are being asked to suffer while the super-wealthy and speculators were protected, and that they did not understand how sucking money out of the pockets of ordinary people who spend their money in the economy and putting it in the vaults of German, French and British banks, could possibly aid economic recovery when it was clearly making the economic crisis worse? Will the Taoiseach tell his European colleagues that Greek people who were protesting against the sale of their services and assets, or Irish citizens who were fighting to protesting to protect their children’s future or their local hospital services were entirely right and justified in doing so? Will the Taoiseach tell the European Council that those victims of austerity – special needs parents, low-paid workers, communities losing hospital services – who are planning to protest during the forthcoming visit to Ireland of the EU-IMF delegation when he will be told what more austerity he must impose on vulnerable sectors of our society, are entirely right and justified in doing so?”