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Confidence in the Government: Motion (Resumed) [Private Members] (Continued)

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 786 No. 2

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Deputy Dessie Ellis: Information on Dessie Ellis Zoom on Dessie Ellis Tá áthas orm deis a bheith agam labhairt ar an rún tábhachtach seo. Last week the Dáil heard that, despite everything we see around us, the economy is getting better. It is certainly not getting better for the ordinary working person. We were told hard choices had to be made. It seems the hardest choice faced by the Members opposite was how far to go with their waffle about seeking change or taking the risk of opposing unfair measures. The Cabinet certainly did not make hard choices in the run-up to this budget, and the naive hope that Labour Party Deputies would oppose the budget was quickly dashed. The Government chose to target those who do what it seems to be incapable of doing, namely, those who care, who think not of themselves but of the people they have dedicated to serve and who give dignity and love to no matter how hard it may be. These carers make hard choices every day. They have been through it. Meanwhile, the Deputies who wrangle over their supposed difficulties with these cuts will saunter through the halls of the "Tá" lobby like well-dressed and overpaid sheep.

  James Connolly wrote in The Re-conquest of Ireland that those who are not driven by greed are the most exploited in society. He was writing about women but he could easily have been writing about carers. His words were written under British rule in the Ireland of 1915, but he remains relevant today. He went on to write that the Irish woman was a cheap slave to the Irish capitalist. It is galling to see the words written by the founder of the Labour Party ringing so true about that party's current policies. Carers were exploited for their kindness and love to save the State some money and now they are being used as a scapegoat. The people are told that the Government had no choice. The arrogance of this Government and its members is shocking. We raise real issues about the effects of these cuts but the only response is deflection and dismissal. I am sick and tired of being told that impressing the troika is the big issue, that serving its interests is paramount and that the only way to succeed is by making cuts to the most vulnerable. Maintaining any semblance of society or community is irrelevant as long as we are the best boys in Europe for going along with a terrible deal nobody else would accept.

  I met a woman at the carers' protest who has six children, of whom two have intellectual disabilities. This woman will lose €98 per month from her children's allowance. A survey by the Irish League of Credit Unions found that 1.8 million people are left with €100 or less at the end of the month. I can guarantee this woman is in that group. Where does she stand now? The Government is throwing people into poverty and grinding down those who are already there. When we challenge Ministers and Government Members on these unfair cuts, they simply respond that it was a choice between respite care and core pay, as if there is no untaxed wealth in this State other than in the accounts of the low-paid or as if social welfare payments are the only expense to the State. Sinn Féin put forward costed measures which add up, despite the lies of this Government. I am sure the backbenchers learned their memo on how to attack our budget proposals but I doubt many of them actually read our submission. Unfortunately, we had to read the Government's budget, and it made for scary reading for anyone who has any understanding of justice. We put forward fair and progressive measures that would have generated many times more revenue for the State than the paltry €26 million cut from carers, but the Government did not listen. I know that the poor, the disabled, the young, the old, the unemployed and the debt-ridden are its targets, but it is still jarring when this is presented so clearly in the budget.

  I am disappointed by the Labour Party members with whom I have worked on Dublin City Council and who still call themselves socialists. Are they slaves to their middle-aged, out-of-touch leaders who have mulled over their wine for too long and have bedded themselves in a lust for power? They have betrayed their cause, their people and their legacy as members of the party of James Connolly in its centenary year. The Tánaiste famously stated that it was Labour's way or Frankfurt's way, but he did not even believe it when he said it. It is time he recognised that the people did not vote for the Labour Party we see today. The Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, Deputy Rabbitte, admitted that lying is what he does in an election because anything goes to get into power and there are no principles. Is that what Labour Party backbenchers believe? If so, they do not deserve our confidence. The time for dancing was when the band was playing. Now it is time for the Labour Party to stand up in support of this motion.

Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources (Deputy Pat Rabbitte): Information on Pat Rabbitte Zoom on Pat Rabbitte It falls to me to bring this damp squib to an end.

Deputy Peadar Tóibín: Information on Peadar Tóibín Zoom on Peadar Tóibín Is that the Government?

Deputy Pat Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte Zoom on Pat Rabbitte I apologise that I did not hear the debate because I have only now returned to Leinster House. I suspect I know the song very well, however.

Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh: Information on Aengus Ó Snodaigh Zoom on Aengus Ó Snodaigh Does Deputy Rabbitte know the song "Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire"?

Deputy Pat Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte Zoom on Pat Rabbitte I am glad to see that Deputy Tóibín is back with us.

Deputy Peadar Tóibín: Information on Peadar Tóibín Zoom on Peadar Tóibín Present and reporting for duty.

Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh: Information on Aengus Ó Snodaigh Zoom on Aengus Ó Snodaigh He never went away, you know.

Deputy Pat Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte Zoom on Pat Rabbitte I am sorry I missed Deputy McDonald, in particular, but I think I know the text very well.

Deputy Mary Lou McDonald: Information on Mary Lou McDonald Zoom on Mary Lou McDonald He should.

Deputy Pat Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte Zoom on Pat Rabbitte Sinn Féin clearly had a number of eager little beavers with social science degrees working away on scripts over the last two days for this parliamentary farce that they know very well is going nowhere.

Deputy Mary Lou McDonald: Information on Mary Lou McDonald Zoom on Mary Lou McDonald Does Deputy Rabbitte practice his pomposity?

Deputy Pat Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte Zoom on Pat Rabbitte Sinn Féin knows what it is about, I know what it is about and it knows that I know what it is about.

Deputy Gerry Adams: Information on Gerry Adams Zoom on Gerry Adams What are you about?

Deputy Pat Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte Zoom on Pat Rabbitte It is exploiting the circumstances for any advantage it can garner. This has nothing to do with governance, bringing forward solutions, putting people back to work or protecting sections of the community. It produces endless rhetoric without a single policy to be found. There is a soundbite for everything and a policy for nothing.

Deputy Peadar Tóibín: Information on Peadar Tóibín Zoom on Peadar Tóibín Is the Minister speaking about himself?

Deputy Pat Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte Zoom on Pat Rabbitte The policies it has published have more holes than a colander.

Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh: Information on Aengus Ó Snodaigh Zoom on Aengus Ó Snodaigh We heard that one before.

Deputy Pat Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte Zoom on Pat Rabbitte I watched Deputy McDonald on television with the Minister of State at the Department of Finance, Deputy Brian Hayes, when she could not account for the missing €750 million. It does not matter that her party cannot produce an alternative budget, however, because its aim is to exploit the mood of the people for electoral advantage.

Deputy Dessie Ellis: Information on Dessie Ellis Zoom on Dessie Ellis Deputy Rabbitte did that before the election. He has no principles whatsoever. He is a political somersaulter.

Deputy Pat Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte Zoom on Pat Rabbitte It tried to do the same thing with the fiscal treaty so that it could get 50% of the coverage. It learned a lesson from the experience.

Deputy Mary Lou McDonald: Information on Mary Lou McDonald Zoom on Mary Lou McDonald We learned how pompous Deputy Rabbitte can be.

Deputy Pat Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte Zoom on Pat Rabbitte At the end of the process it was exposed as not having a single positive proposal to offer the Irish people. If the people had followed Sinn Féin's example on the fiscal treaty, where would we be now?

Deputy Peadar Tóibín: Information on Peadar Tóibín Zoom on Peadar Tóibín They are emigrating now.

Deputy Pat Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte Zoom on Pat Rabbitte We would be in worse circumstances than the unfortunate people of Greece. That is the fundamental division in this House. In the current economic climate, Sinn Féin has embarked on creating as much mayhem as it can in the hope it will get some support for that. I do not believe it will.


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