OVER THE last weeks two facts emerged which sum up Ireland as we enter
2003. The first was the tragic and completely preventable death of a baby
during birth. The second was a survey that revealed that Ireland is the most
'globalised' country in the world!
The death of baby Bronagh Livingstone, in an ambulance on the way to Cavan
Hospital happened because the maternity unit in Monaghan Hospital had been
closed down. This is a disgusting indictment on the state of the health service
and the treatment of women in this country.
was a terrible tragedy. It is a brutally graphic illustration of the fact that
in general, working class people are second-class citizens in Ireland
Incorporated! This government wasn't prepared to put money into essential
services because their overwhelming concern is to help big business and the
rich get richer and they don't care if it is at our expense.
people of Monaghan have been campaigning for the restoration of their
hospital's maternity unit and other services which have been cut. This campaign
warned that it was only a matter of time before a death would occur.
McCreevy's Budget, price hikes have hit us all. Electricity, gas, travel, motor
tax, TV licenses, have all gone up. Inflation is driving up the cost of food
and clothes. Now the government is threatening to introduce a €1 per item per
item prescription charge on all medical cardholders as well as a €200 a year
the government has to offer people is cuts in public services, tax increases
and price hikes. It's time to follow the example of the people of Monaghan.
Their campaign to stop the run down and possible closure of their local
hospital should get the full backing of the unions.
a national scale, similar campaigns should be organised which are linked to a
more general trade union led campaign to fight all of the government attacks.
partnership may be on the verge of collapsing. The union leaders should bury it
and get back to their real job of ensuring that working class people have
quality public services that are properly funded.
does this have to do with 'globalisation'? Quite a lot actually. Globalisation
means the freedom for big business to do whatever it wants to in order to
maximise it's profits and privileges. Is it more important that big business is
given a tax break of over €1 billion over the last year than to use that money
to invest in essential services? According to the government yes! Super profits
are more important than people’s lives.
the same vein, notwithstanding that working people created the 'Celtic Tiger',
as soon as a change in the capitalist economy threatens profits and the
governments finances, they off load the burden on to us through cutbacks,
countless price hikes and a squeeze on pay. Living standards and certainly
quality of life are going backwards.
the last ten years successive governments done everything in their power to
sell off Ireland for the benefit of domestic and international big business. In
general the trade union leaders stopped this gravy train, but only long enough
so they could climb on board. Their inaction at price hikes, cutbacks and
privatisations is a disgrace. It is time to challenge 'capitalist globalisation'. In countries such as Italy, Spain and Greece working class people have already taken successful action to defend their living standards.
The logic of capitalism during economic crisis is
to attack again and again the living standards of working class people. People
are increasingly coming to the realisation that the idea that Ireland was going
to become a modern, democratic and prosperous place for everyone when it is
owned and controlled by the likes of Ahern, Harney, Dermot Desmond and multi-national capitalism was a fraud. They represent a minority. If working class people get organised, we have the power to change this country, to end the abuse of power and the domination of profit. In order to do this we need to get active in the struggle for socialist change.
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