Article from the Jan 2005 issue of the Socialist , newspaper of the Socialist Party, Irish section of the CWI
'Socialist' Bertie fleeces the Old Sick and poor
by Michael Murphy
On 11 January there were 365 people on trolleys in hospitals throughout the country as the A & E crisis continued unabated. The following day incredibly this figure rose to 422 people. As a result many patients needing surgery have had treatment cancelled due to the enormous pressure on hospital staff due to beds shortages.
One woman in Stoneybatter in Dublin's North Inner city told the Irish Times that she earns Euro300 as a temporary clerical worker. She is on medication for life having had two kidney transplant operations. She is not entitled to a medical card. She is paying Euro85 per month (over Euro1,000 a year) for medication after the government raised the drugs repayment threshold by Euro7 in the recent budget and Euro15 in the last year. If she ends up in A&E which she does regularly, this costs Û55 up from Û45 on last year. If this woman does not take these drugs she will die. That is the reality of the government's economic decisions and mis-management of all aspects of the health service.
Pensioners in the Dun Laoghaire / Rathdown County Council area received an unwanted Christmas present courtesy of the Council and the government when they learned their bin tax waiver was to be abolished, thereby forcing them to pay every time they put out their bin. Even if they were to only put out their bin twice a month, it would cost Euro160 per year which will take a big chunk of the paltry Euro12 a week increase they got in the budget.
In the same week that these stories were being exposed it was revealed that Euro6.4 million of tax payers money was paid by the government between 2003 and 2004 to National Toll Roads (NTR) because it didn't want NTR increasing tolls in that period. Compare the treatment meted out to the old, sick and poor, to the generosity of spirit shown to the "poor" NTR directors who run a very profitable company, which is getting more profitable by the day due to the unpredicted volume of traffic passing thorough its toll plazas. Results for 2004 haven't been released, but in the first six months of last year profits were up 63% to Û8 million. Their daily pre tax profit is Û44,000! Hardly a company in need of investment but that didn't stop Bertie & Co handing over our money while hospitals and schools are massively under resourced.
The above examples expose Bertie Ahern's claim to be a socialist as a sickening lie. His "brand" of socialism doesn't extend to working class people lying and in some cases dying on hospital trolleys or those pensioners and others being forced to pay more and more stealth taxes.
The Socialist Party stands for genuine Socialism, a society where the resources and wealth created by working class people are use for the benefit of all not to line the pockets of the super-rich like Bertie is so keen on doing.