img_0339 clare daly joe higgins ruth coppinger richard boyd barrett and joan collins_

BY-election 2011: ULA is only opposition that can defeat the government parties

Dublin West By-election an opportunity for people to cast verdict on Fine Gael and Labour government of austerity and broken promises

At today’s press conference, flanked by the five United Left Alliance TDs Cllr Ruth Coppinger, the Socialist Party/United Left Alliance TD for the Dublin West by-election set out the key national and local issues which will form the basis of her campaign.

Fine Gael and Labour came to power in February this year on the back of a general election campaign where they promised a fundamental break with the disastrous reign of Fianna Fáil and the Greens.

Almost eight months on we can categorically describe them as a government of broken promises. Rather than being a break from Fianna Fáil they deserve the moniker ‘Continuity Fianna Fáil’ because the strategy of cuts, unfair taxes and impositions and bailouts which began with the onset of the economic crisis has continued without interruption.

The austerity has been applied for three years and more will come in the months ahead of us. No greater obscenity sums up the betrayal of this government than the €3.5 billion it intends, contrary to Minister Noonan’s previous utterances last June in Washington, to hand over to Anglo bondholders in November.

That is a figure that closely corresponds to the at least €3.6 billion the government intends squeezing out of working people and the unemployed in this year’s budget. Can there be any greater illustration of the transfer of wealth from ordinary people to the wealthy?

The intend achieving this €3.6 billion ‘adjustment’ through a combination of welfare cuts, further attacks on our public services, income tax hikes and the introduction of an unjust Household Tax the latter of which is a precursor to fully fledged property and water taxes which together could amount to an average of €1,000 per household.

People in Dublin West, many thousands of whom had to find a home for themselves at the height of the property bubble will rightly ask where is the government effort to assist them. We hope to have Ruth in the Dáil when the United Left Alliance moves its private members bill to outlaw repossessions.

The government cannot fail to realise that the cuts like each previous wave of austerity over the last three years will not be rewarded with economic growth and job creation but at best economic stagnation and the destruction of jobs continuing as the government’s own statistics testify.

The election of another government back bencher in the Dublin West by-election would be interpreted by the government as a green light to carry on with their savage cuts. The election of Ruth Coppinger, as someone who opposes the austerity not just in words but in action through my involvement in a host of campaigns will convey the opposite message.

From the downgrading of Blanchardstown hospital, to cuts in SNAs, the delayed opening of Hansfield train station, the scrapping of Metro West and indefinite postponement of Metro North and the struggle of those whose houses are cracking up with pyrite every injustice, cut, imposition and broken promise heaped on the people of Dublin West has met with an active response from Ruth, the Socialist Party and the United Left Alliance in the area.

Likewise we are preparing ourselves in Dublin West and across the country in the midst of this by-election campaign to build a mass grassroots campaign of non-payment of the Household Tax.

We see ourselves as a catalyst for people power in the communities. If elected Ruth will be a voice in the Dáil for all these struggles. Furthermore Ruth will add her voice to that of her Socialist Party and United Left Alliance colleagues in advocating a positive radical alternative course for Irish society which starts with ending the bailout and taxing the masses of unearned, uninvested retained wealth of the super-rich so that we can invest in services and jobs.

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