“This government has absolutely no legitimacy. It has no authority to impose the cuts and tax hikes on working people and the unemployed that we have seen in yesterday’s budget. It has perpetrated this savage attack on ordinary people only a matter of two months before they will be annihilated at the polls.
“Fine Gael and Labour’s vote against the budget should deceive nobody. The reality is that while disagreeing with the details they fundamentally adhere to the €15 billion ‘adjustment’ over 5 years and will attempt to introduce similar budgets in the years ahead. I ask both deputies Noonan and Burton whether their stated opposition to the minimum wage cut for example will be followed through by a repeal of that reduction when they assume power?
“The active opposition to the budget we saw in the form of demonstrations on 27th November and last night outside the Dáil must be sustained and must be escalated.
“In that context the proposal that UNITE trade union will bring to the executive of ICTU of national strike action as the next step in forcing a retreat by the government from their cutback agenda is absolutely critical.
“I say that if UNITE cannot obtain the agreement of other union leaders for such action then an alliance of unions willing to carry out such action must be formed as anything short of strike action will not have the necessary impact.”