Rúnaí ginearálta éirígí Breandán Mac Cionnaith has called on the establishment parties at Stormont to let the British government do its own dirty work in relation to the stripping of public services.
Mac Cionnaith was speaking after the Six County executive announced it had agreed a budget after weeks of prevarication.
He said: “If the political parties at Stormont, particularly those who claim to be left-wing, are genuinely opposed to the cuts being demanded by the British government, they should refuse to administer them and join the rest of us on the streets in a campaign of resistance.
“A failure to let the British government do its own dirty work and, worse, deciding where best to implement the cuts can only lead working people to conclude that what has happened over the last number of weeks at Stormont has been nothing but meaningless posturing.
“Despite the spin being put on Stormont’s draft budget, it is clear that the Six County executive has totally failed to challenge the British government assault on working class communities and on the most vulnerable in our society.
“Instead, the Six County executive has acquiesced with the British government in administering massive cut-backs. In essence, all that the Stormont executive has managed to deliver today are further attacks on public service workers and further decreases in household income values for the vast majority of families across the Six Counties as a result of increased domestic rates and the introduction of new stealth taxes.
“It is also clear that essential social care services for the elderly and infirm, such as homecare and occupational therapy, will be extremely vulnerable to further cutbacks.
“Education for our young people is clearly under attack, with the schools’ budget being particularly hard hit, and university students will inevitably face increased fees resulting in many being excluded from third level education.”
Mac Cionnaith added: “Asset-stripping is a main plank of the Stormont executive’s budget, which opens the door to the future privatisation of public services.
“This budget will come as absolutely no surprise to anyone who has observed the impotence of the Six County executive since its establishment.
“In their Programme for Government 2008-2011, all the Stormont parties agreed to implement £1.65 billion [€2 billion] of cuts in public expenditure. That was followed in March of this year by the announcement of another £360 million [€420 million], bringing the total cuts which Stormont had agreed to £2 billion [€2.4 billion], even before the impact of this present budget, with its additional £4 billion of cuts, takes effect.
“Despite an economic recession affecting greater numbers of people than officially admitted, the Stormont parties continue to collude in concealing both their own ineptitude and the full extent of that crisis from the population.
“On the day that this budget was published, unemployment figures in the Six Counties again rose to 58,500 people. Not included in that official figure are another 40-50,000 people who are also seeking work but are not entitled to Job Seekers Allowance. That means that 100,000 are currently seeking jobs in the Six Counties – a real but unpalatable fact that the Stormont parties will not even publicly admit. In that context, Stormont’s aim to create 4-5,000 jobs barely even addresses the problem.”
The general secretary continued: “Stormont’s economic agenda is clearly designed in Britain and implemented without question by the establishment parties in the Six County executive.
“éirígí has consistently pointed out that, as the British government introduced widespread cuts across all public sector services, Stormont would dutifully follow suit through ‘modernisation agendas’, ‘health service streamlining’ and ‘investment incentives’.
“For working people in the Six Counties, the result of this budget will be a massively negative impact on housing, employment, health and social services, with continued community disintegration and reduced services for the ill and vulnerable and further financial pay-offs to companies through the privatisation of public services to provide jobs with rock-bottom wages.
“Stormont cannot and will not provide any alternative.
“The increasingly obvious signal is that a new political, economic and social order is required right across Ireland to bring radical, meaningful and effective improvement to the lives of working class people. Stormont is a clear impediment to that.”
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