Build a Workers' Alternative to This Government of Liars and Cheats

by Stephen Boyd
Socialist Voice October 2002

BERTIE AHERN and Mary Harney were euphoric when they were re-elected in May, but only five months on, they have been brought back down to Earth with a crash.

People are angry because Fianna Fail and the PDs lied about the state of the economy and the public spending cuts to get re-elected.

People are angry because the interim Flood Tribunal Report has officially stated what they knew all along - that Ray Burke and his Fianna Fail mates are corrupt. People are angry because Bertie Ahern appointed Ray Burke to the third highest political office in the state when he knew he was corrupt and they don't believe his crap about looking up every tree in North Dublin.

The Flood report has reignited people's anger at the corruption in Irish politics and Ahern is refusing to answer questions. This time he won't be able to hide behind the Celtic Tiger boom.

The 300 million in cuts McCreevy has introduced since May will be at least trebled in his December budget, as economists predict up to a 2 billion shortfall in public finances. 350 jobs are being lost every week in manufacturing industry, and tens of thousands of other jobs are at risk because of the decline in the US economy and the government's privatisation plans. Fine Gael and Labour are no alternative - if they were in government they'd be introducing cuts as well.

The union leaders have treated these liars and cheats as partners for the last 15 years, and where has it got us - 64 workers in Peerless Rugs having to campaign for over a year just to get decent redundancy money, some partnership.

Thousands of workers came out on solidarity protests with the Peerless Rugs and Irish Glass workers on 4 October. The anger expressed by many demonstrators that day was not just about redundancy payments, but about corruption, the health crisis, low pay and rising unemployment. Trade union activists need to collectively organise in campaigns to reclaim their unions, and break them away from the farce of social partnership. Our unions were built to defend workers' rights, and to fight for an increase in living standards, not to increase the profitability of multinational companies.

The media are speculating that Ahern may have to go if the government loses the Nice referendum, but getting rid of one individual is not enough, we need to get rid of the whole government. More than this we need an alternative, the workers' movement needs to build a new political party to represent its interests. The Socialist Party will be part of the building of such a party and the election of more Socialist Party TDs and councillors will be a big step towards its creation.




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