The Socialist 7 December 2011
Con-Dems pile on the misery: ‘Enough is enough’
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Ireland: Resist latest austerity attacks
The Fine Gael/Labour coalition government in the Irish republic announced yet another austerity package on 4 December, amounting to a €3.8 billion (£3.27 billion) cut, to deal with its financial deficit caused by the banking failure and the capitalist recession. This attack on living standards is part of a €12.4 billion package of austerity measures planned over the next four years.
Taoiseach (prime minister) Enda Kenny while being "painfully aware" of the country's high unemployment rate (14.5%) claimed that there was no alternative but to cut more public spending and increase taxes in order to plug the £16 billion budget deficit.
This latest tranche of austerity measures is on top of the previous savage cuts imposed on the working and middle classes by the previous Fianna Fáil/Green Party government dancing to the tune of the European Union (EU) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) - part of a €24 billion banking bailout last March. In this budget €1.4 billion will be slashed from education, health and welfare spending, including a reduction in child benefit, disability benefit and fuel allowance. Some families will be €1,000 a year worse off as a result. University student charges will also be increased as will VAT.
Last month in the Dáil (parliament) Socialist Party TD (MP) Joe Higgins attacked the government's "savage austerity cuts on ordinary people's living standards" which will "plunge society deeper into economic crisis".
Joe went on to describe the catastrophe imposed on the Greek people by austerity measures three years ago. Then it was falsely argued by capitalist politicians and bankers that if the Greek people accepted these cuts, recovery would be on the way. Joe further rounded on the Labour Party which, while claiming to represent ordinary people, "slavishly submits to the diktat" of the capitalists.
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