Savage 16 cuts -

reject ahern's government of the rich

The Minister for Social and Family Affairs Mary Coughlan has made effective the "savage 16" cuts worth 55.8 million euro announced in the book of estimates. This is despite the Government finances being 500 million euro more than what was expected.

By Stephen Boyd

Representatives of Community Welfare Officers (CWO) have met 13 voluntary organisations to discuss plans to stop these cuts being implemented. The CWO's stated that these cuts would "result in homelessness and in children with emotional and social needs losing creche places." There is absolutely no justification whatsoever for these cuts. The decision by this Government to launch this attack on the most vunerable in society shows up their naked right wing agenda.

At the same time as they are denying rent allowance to new applicants which may result in 4,000 people being made homeless they are giving big business 634 million euro a year tax cut!

The "savage 16" cuts come on the back of the jailing of 22 working class anti-bin tax protesters. The campaign against the bin tax continues and a major confrontation will begin in the next few weeks in South County Dublin. The South County Dublin Council are introducing a tag system for refuse collection at the beginning of February. The anti-bin tax campaign will fight this attempt by the Council to introduce non-collection and to force this hated tax on workers who are already overstretched.

The bin tax, the privatisation of public services, the "savage 16" cuts are not just being implemented by this Government to try and "save" money. These policies reflect their political ethos. They want to destroy the public sector because they believe that private companies can do the job better, and also because they believe that these public services should make profits for their rich capitalist friends. But Fianna Fail and the PDs are not alone in supporting this neo-liberal agenda - Fine Gael and Labour are no different.

The "savage 16" cuts, stealth taxes, jailing of bin tax protesters, favours for big business and the exposure of even more corrupt politicians has deepen the anger and discontent in society. It will be against this background that Bertie Ahern will have to fight this years local and European elections, and be judged by the voters. During the Dail Budget debate Joe Higgins, Socialist Party TD said: "Ordinary people will have an opportunity in the coming months, however, to show the Government what they really think. I hope they will take the opportunity to drive from the council chambers and the European Parliament the representatives of Fianna Fail and the Progressive Democrats who preside over this regime of the rich, which operates for the rich".

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This article is from the January 2004 edition of Socialist Voice. Back issues are available here.