Austerity for another 10 years if Government does not change policies - alliance claims

Talk of income tax cuts is ‘double speak’ with property tax rises and water charges

 Cllr Ruth Coppinger with members of the Anti Austerity Alliance demonstrating on O’ Connell Street today.Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

Cllr Ruth Coppinger with members of the Anti Austerity Alliance demonstrating on O’ Connell Street today.Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

Sat, Dec 14, 2013, 18:14

Ireland faces at least 10 years more of austerity unless there is a change in economic policy, the Anti-Austerity Alliance has warned.

The group marked the ending of the EU/IMF bailout with a demonstration at O’Connell bridge in Dublin, hoisting a banner declaring “Troika Departed, Austerity Grounded”.

Alliance member and Socialist Party Cllr Ruth Coppinger said there would be a decade or more of the “same economic misery for the majority of people” if the Government continued on the same course.

The troika will continue to monitor developments and the EU “will effectively have control of the purse strings”, she said.

Ms Coppinger also accused the Government of “complete double speak”. At one level “they are talking about tax cuts while this year they’ve doubled the property tax and they’re going to introduce water charges”.

The Anti-Austerity Alliance has applied to register as a new political party for the purposes of standing in the local elections and has selected 40 candidates to date, about half of them from the Socialist Party.

It was formed originally to campaign against the household charge and property tax.

Ms Coppinger, a Mulhuddart, west Dublin-based councillor, said “we’ve had a lot of guff about how heroic people have been and at the same time they’re snatching money out of their pockets, taking medical cards away and threatening teachers if they veto a further reduction in their pay and conditions”.

Brian Leech, who will stand as a candidate in Tallaght,said Ireland had the highest emigration in the EU, one-third of under 25s were unemployed and the level mortgage arrears were increasing.

Beaumont-Donaghmede candidate for the alliance Michael O’Brien said the EU had introduced numerous powers to veto any change in economic policy.

“Investment in Ireland is at an all-time low; domestic demand has collapsed because of austerity; and debt at 125 per cent is still unsustainable,” he said.

“None of the growth forecasts made in the last few years have ever been achieved, so this debt will remain and Ireland will come under pressure to reduce it through more savage cuts and austerity.”

Bernadette Rynne, a nurse and one of four Alliance candidates in Dublin West said Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Brendan Howlin had described the 2011 general election as a “democratic revolution but we had nothing of the sort”.

She said “Labour totally betrayed us after that election by doing exactly what Fianna Fáil did before them, making us pay for a crisis we didn’t create”.