Yesterday [Friday, May 25] the Campaign Against the Household and Water Taxes held a press conference urging the people of the Twenty-Six Counties to vote NO to the Austerity Treaty on May 31st.
Held under the banner of ‘Councillors for a NO Vote’ the panel consisted of a number local councillors involved with the CAHWT. The meeting was addressed by éirígí Councillor Louise Minihan (Ballyfermot/Drimnagh), Cllr Matt Waine (Castleknock), Cllr Declan Bree (Sligo) and Cllr Hugh Lewis (Ballybrack).
Speaking at the press conference, Cllr Louise Minihan said, “The proposed treaty on ‘Stability, Co-ordination and Governance in the Economic and Monetary Union’ is in reality an Austerity Treaty. This treaty would be more correctly titled the permanent austerity treaty as it seeks to engrain right wing policies across Ireland and Europe.
“Austerity is crippling workers, their families and their communities, right across this state. But all hope is not lost! We have an important opportunity to stand up and say enough is enough by voting NO on May 31st.
“Article 3 of the Treaty requires countries to reduce their ‘structural deficits’ to 0.5%; Article 4 forces countries to pay back debts, that is the bondholders, at an even faster rate. Years of austerity budgets, imposed by the Dublin government, have seen essential public services and vital community and voluntary projects, that are the back bone of many communities, come under sustained attack.
“Funding cutbacks have had a devastating effect on such services, from youth to drugs projects, community childcare to CE schemes.
“In my own community in Ballyfermot, essential local services have had their funding slashed, for example the BCFE crèche, essential for the education of many student parents, will be forced to close its doors in July. Austerity is unacceptable to the Irish working class.
“Local councils will be starved of funds and forced to cut services. They will be under pressure to get costs off their books. They will have to offload services they currently provide and to reduce staff numbers.
“Public services such as bus services, local libraries, and our schools have been downgraded or completely withdrawn. Such attacks on our public services must be seen in the context of the race to the bottom and the right wing golden cow of privatisation.
“Austerity and privatisation are a raw deal for the Irish working class and must be opposed. Anyone looking for an argument against privatisation should look no further then the selling off of Dublin’s publicly owned waste management service to the highest bidder. Privatisation has lead to the disgraceful behaviour of Greyhound Recovery & Recycling, who have put the pursuit of profit ahead of the needs of the community, and have attempted to extort struggling families all over Dublin by demanding increased payments or refusing to collect rubbish.
“The same is planned for water, a core service provided by local authorities for years. The same European bureaucrats who are behind this Treaty have directed that water provision must be taken away from local authorities and charged for, so the Dublin government have set up Irish Water, a centralised company. This would be a social disaster with private companies profiteering from a resource that was previously provided by councils.”
Minihan continued, “A No vote is a vote in defence of workers’ rights, and community and public services. A No vote is a rejection of the failed policies of Austerity that have crippled our communities.
“By voting No on May 31st you are standing up for the People of Ireland and the People of Europe.
“For your Community and Your Country Vote No on May 31st!”
“If you strike at, imprison, or kill us, out of our prisons or graves we will still evoke a spirit that will thwart you, and perhaps, raise a force that will destroy you! We defy you! Do your worst!”
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