Labour’s attack on Fine Gael as the ‘party of austerity’ is cynical and opportunist

In a statement today the United Left Alliance said that the electorate must put a real opposition into the next Dail who will stand up to the coalition for cuts. The Alliance accused the Labour Party of being cynical and opportunist is its attack on Fine Gael  as the ‘party of austerity’ and cuts.

The Alliance said that the current squabble between Labour and Fine Gael is about who will  take most off  ordinary families.  Fundamentally neither party represents any change in current policy which is focused on cutting the livelihood of workers, the unemployed and social welfare recipients in order to fund the bail out of the banks. Rather than a policy divide the real divide is about the number of cabinet seats each party will have.

Joe Higgins MEP and Socialist Party /ULA candidate in Dublin West said:

“Labour’s opportunism and cynicism is breathtaking. The reality is that the Labour Party has accepted the parameters of the EU/IMF austerity itself and proposes cuts that are also savaged, unjust and will further damage the economy.

What is the reality? Fine Gael Propose cuts and extra taxes of €6 billion this year – Labour is 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. Fine Gael intend to impose a new site tax that is a home tax – Labour likewise.

In attacking Fine Gael for its proposed cuts, the Labour Party is being utterly dishonest. This is a desperate attempt to try and win support by tapping into the anger among the big majority over the savage attacks on living standards to pay off the banks bad gambling debts. But while pretending to be the champions of ordinary people, the Laboure Party is cruelly deceiving them in covering up its own ageanda of cuts and stealth taxes.”

Cllr Richard Boyd Barrett People Before Profit/ULA candidate for Dun Laoghaire said

“Both Fine Gael and Labour will continue the attacks on ordinary people. Neither is committed to reversing the cuts and tax hikes in the Budget. Neither is committed to scraping the Universal Social Charge. We should not forget that both parties facilitated the government in passing this draconian budget. Both parties are fundamentally committed to taking money from the public to bail out the banks. Neither is committed to taxing the real wealth in the country.  The idea of a balanced government has no meaning when both parties are committed to cuts.

The best way to stop the Fine Gael agenda of cuts is to put a real opposition in the Dail who will stand up to Fine Gael and mobilise the public in a widespread campaign of opposition to cuts.

Todays poll shows that Labour is on the slide.   Labour have failed to offer a real alternative and increasingly the electorate are seeing through the rhetoric.  Until it refutes the IMF Labour will remain locked into the coalition for cuts.

A key issue facing the electorate is jobs.  Neither Fine Gael and Labour have policies which will lead to a serious assault on unemployment. Neither have given a commitment to refute the IMF deal and use the Pension Reserve Fund to invest in jobs. There is a crying need for investment. For every billion invested we can create up to 12,000 jobs. Labour has not committed to the demand of Unite the Union for a €15 billion  investment programme.

In the next Dail the ULA will offer principled and determined opposition to all of those who would seek to inflict further pain on PAYE workers, the unemployed and the poor.”