Big parties back savage cuts, says left alliance


EFFECTIVE OPPOSITION to welfare and spending cuts will come only from a strong left-wing presence in the Dáil, the United Left Alliance (ULA) has said.

The grouping said the three largest parties – Fine Gael, the Labour Party and Fianna Fáil – had all signed up to an agenda of “savage” spending cuts to bail out the banks.

Any apparent disagreement between the parties was an “illusion”, said Dublin West Socialist Party-ULA candidate Joe Higgins.

“Neither party represents any change in current policy, which is focused on cutting the livelihoods of workers, the unemployed and social welfare recipients to fund the bailout of the banks,” said Mr Higgins.

Joining him at a photocall outside the headquarters of Anglo Irish Bank in Dublin yesterday, Dún Laoghaire People Before Profit-ULA candidate Councillor Richard Boyd Barrett said it would make no difference whether Fine Gael formed the next government by itself or in coalition with the Labour Party.

“All the parties support the plan to continue sinking money into the banks, which will sink the Irish economy. The ULA are the only ones that have been absolutely consistent in our opposition to the bank bailout from the start.”

Dublin North ULA candidate Councillor Clare Daly said it was clear the Labour Party had accepted the austerity agenda. “It is effectively Fine Gael light. Fine Gael proposes cuts and extra taxes of €6 billion per year. Labour are only a little way behind at €4.5 billion.

“Fine Gael plans to axe 30,000 jobs in the public sector with Labour putting the figure at 18,000,” she said.

Separately yesterday, the Workers’ Party reiterated its demand for a referendum on the bank bailout and the EU-IMF deal.

Party president and Dublin Mid West candidate Michael Finnegan said that he had first called for a referendum last October.

Mr Finnegan reiterated his view that it was a “fundamental importance that democracy prevails and that Irish people are consulted on this supremely important issue”.

Mr Finnegan called on the trade union movement, community groups and all organisations affected by the fallout from the crisis to support the demand for a referendum.

The Workers’ Party has six candidates running in the general election – three in Dublin, one in Cork North Central, one in Waterford and one in Meath West.

Mr Finnegan said the electorate had been sold down the river by the political and business establishment and the future for them and their children has been decimated in order to rehabilitate zombie banks and voracious developers.

“Why is a full generation of Irish people being beggared to please international bankers and faceless bureaucrats in Brussels?” he asked. Mr Finnegan said the EU and the IMF were “acting to protect the interests of the largest German and French banks”.