Sinn Fein Weeks in Review
27 November -4 December
Sinn Fein leaders attend inaugural meeting of Constitutional Convention
On 1 December Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams, Deputy Leader Mary Lou McDonald and the North’s Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness attended the inaugural meeting of the Constitutional Convention. Gerry Adams full remarks can be found here http://www.sinnfein.ie/contents/25165
Mr Adams said that although Sinn Féin were `disappointed’ at the way the government had limited the initiative, he commended the Taoiseach and the Tánaiste `for proceeding with it’ and said that Sinn Fei would `work with all delegates to achieve the full potential of this Convention’.
He also welcomed the adjustments to the process which include the requirement that the Convention give ‘appropriate regard’ to the terms of the Good Friday Agreement. He said he remained `hopeful that the unionist parties will yet see the value of taking part’ and would continue to try to persuade them to participate.
He said Sinn Féin `welcomed the proposal to convene the Convention’ and that the 1937 Constitution `was written in the aftermath of partition, a bloody civil war and in the context of a very different society’ and was for `a state newly emerging from British colonisation’.
Mr Adams said that `centuries of foreign domination had almost destroyed the Irish language and culture. Seven million of our citizens had fled overseas. British policy ensured that the vast majority of citizens were impoverished and except for agriculture and the Lagan basin, most of the island had little industrial infrastructure.’
He added that some 75 years after the 1937 Constitution was produced, `and though Ireland is still partitioned, the Good Friday Agreement has created a new all-Ireland dynamic, all-Ireland institutions, and a new political and constitutional imperative’. Last week the Good Friday Agreement Committee, including representatives from all of the Oireachtas parties and independents, had travelled to East Belfast and met community and political leaders from loyalist working class areas, Mr Adams said, and that on the following Wednesday `another delegation of Oireachtas members visited Maghaberry prison’.
Pointing out that Unionist leaders regularly visit Dublin, Mr Adams said that `co-operation across this island is now commonplace’. However, he added, `in the days of austerity and Troika governance citizens are asking where are our rights?’ and were demanding more accountability, transparency and wanted equality: `Neither gender or race, age or disability, sexual orientation or class, or creed or skin colour or location should be used to deny citizens their full rights and entitlements’.
He said `the right to a job; to a home; to a decent standard of education and health, and to equality in the Irish language should be enshrined in our constitution.’ And added, `Sinn Féin is for a constitution which reaches out to our neighbours and the children of the diaspora scattered around the globe.’
He asked why Irish passport holders should not have a vote in Presidential elections, and said that Sinn Féin `is for a constitution that embraces all of the citizens of this island especially those who feel themselves to be British’. He called for `a constitution which builds reconciliation between Orange and Green’ and was `part of shaping a new Republic for the 21st century’.
Sinn Fein MPs and TDs in London
On 27-28 November Sinn Fein MPs Pat Doherty and Michelle Gildernew were in London for a series of meetings, as part of the party’s regular engagement at Westminster and wider.
Pat Doherty attended a packed event organised by the All-Party Parliamentary group on Irish in Britain in Portcullis House. Over 200 people attended from a range of Irish community organisations, together with cross-party MPs. Mr Doherty said he was `delighted’ to be present at an important opportunity to meet representatives and discuss concerns and issues. Hosted by group chair Chris Ruane MP, the meeting also heard British Secretary of State Theresa Villiers and Labour Shadow Secretary Vernon Coaker. During the discussion a number of issues were highlighted from the floor including the need to deal with the outstanding issues from the Good Friday Agreement, such as a Bill of Rights and a comprehensive method of dealing with the past. Issues of the diaspora role in the constitutional convention and the right to vote in elections were also raised. Pat Doherty commented that the discussion had hit on some of the `key issues’ and said that Sinn Fein would continue to raise these matters in discussions with the British and Irish governments.
The following day Pat Doherty met trade union representatives lobbying over concerns with the public sector pensions bill, and attempts to reduce pension provision. Representatives of NIPSA, the PSC union, Unite and others were in Westminster to speak to MPs. Pat Doherty said that both he and colleagues in the Assembly would continue to discuss and work with the trade unions over the concerns, and the ongoing impact of the British government’s austerity policies.
On 28 November Michelle Gildernew MP was also in London where she met Parliamentary HIV/Aids group chair Pamela Nash, in advance of World Aids Day on 1 December. Ms Gildernew stressed the need to ensure that education and awareness on the issue remained on the political agenda.
Later she spoke at an evening meeting on the issue of Palestine, following a successful lobby of Parliament organised by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign. Ms Gildernew reiterated the party’s position for a just peace for the Palestinians, and condemned the recent escalation of conflict which had resulted in 150 Palestinians and 5 Israelis killed. She urged an end to the blockade of Gaza. Also on the platform were Labour MPs Jeremy Corbyn and Richard Burden and Green MP Caroline Lucas as well as Palestinian and Israeli speakers.
Ms Gildernew also attended an event to raise awareness of cardiac deaths in young people, organised by the campaigning group CRY. Meeting people who had lost sons and daughters, the Sinn Fein MP pledged to continue to support the efforts of the group in highlighting the devastating effects of the condition.
Irish community engagment
On 30 December Sinn Fein TD and diaspora spokesperson Sean Crowe was in London to meet a number of representatives of Irish community organisations and to visit some of the city’s largest Irish Centres. Mr Crowe visited the London Irish Centre in Camden and said he welcomed the opportunity to speak with the director and staff about the huge range of social, cultural and educational services and events offered at the Centre. He later visited the Hammersmith Irish Centre and hosted a lunch for representatives of groups including the Federation of Irish Societies, the Aisling Project, the lobby group Votes for Irish Citizens Abroad (VICA), Council of Irish Counties Associations and the All-party Irish in Britain Parliamentary Group.
Deputy Crowe said it had been an `extremely useful’ engagement, to listen to the wide range of issues of importance to the groups and promised to continue with the engagement in the coming year.
The Sinn Fein TD also spoke the following day at the Latin America 2012 conference at Conway Hall.
Sinn Fein MP hosts book launch on McGurks’ Bar bombing
On 4 December Sinn Fein MP Paul Maskey was in London in advance of the launch of a new book `The McGurks Bar Bombing: Collusion, Cover up and a Campaign for Truth’ in Westminster.
Mr Maskey, co-hosting the event on 5 December, with SDLP MP Alastair McDonnell, will be joined by Collin Wallace and Ciaran Mac Airt, the author of the book.
On 4 December 1971, loyalists from the Ulster Volunteer Force planted a no-warning bomb at McGurks, a family-run bar in North Belfast. Fifteen Catholics were killed, and seventeen injured – the biggest loss of life in an incident in Belfast throughout the 1969-1994 conflict, and the biggest single loss of civilian life until the Omagh bomb in 1998. Mr Maskey said the families of the dead had `campaigned tirelessly to get to the truth of what happened, and who was behind it’ and said that the book `tells their story’ and is written by a grandson of one of the victims.
The meeting takes place on Weds 5 December, 12.30pm, Room C, 1 Parliament Street. More information is available at www.mcgurksbar.com Mr Maskey will also attend a reception at the Irish Embassy and a briefing on the development of the peace process in the Basque country.
United Ireland position never been stronger
On 29 November speaking at a meeting of the party in County Tyrone, Sinn Fein Assembly member John O’Dowd said that nationalists and republicans have `never been in a better or stronger political position since partition’.
Mr O’Dowd said that at the weekend during a DUP conference `Peter Robinson’s big idea was to secure the future of the Union was to arrogantly brand nationalists and republicans as unionists. In the same speech he claimed that the DUP were reaching out to the Catholic community. Tell that to the people of Carrick Hill, or Ardoyne where Nelson McCausland has sought to justify sectarian behaviour and unwanted anti-Catholic parades’.
He added `The reality is of course that the reason Mr Robinson seeks at every turn to proclaim the security of the union is very simple. He knows that the political and demographic reality is that a united Ireland is inevitable. If political unionism is so confident of its position why the fear of a Border Poll? Why the fear of having to go out to the people and argue the merits of the unionist position in rational, logical, non-sectarian ways?’
He said that `In the next number of weeks the census figures will be published. I have no doubt that those figures will demonstrate very clearly the constitutional trajectory that we are set on. Nationalists and Republicans have never been in a better or stronger political position since partition.’
He concluded `Unionists can only exercise power with our consent. Unionist majority rule is a never coming back. The physical border has been eroded. We have a sense of ourselves and are confident about building a new future based on equality and unity. It is not nationalists or republicans who seek to cling to outdated ideas or seek to arrogantly impose our vision on others. We are confident in the rationale behind our arguments and of the absolute logic of Irish reunification.’
5-12 December 2012
Finucane public inquiry `more necessary than ever’ — Adams
Speaking in response to the publication of the de Silva report on 12 December, Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams said he wanted to `commend the family of Pat Finucane for their courage and diligence in pursuing this case’. He said `everyone already know’ what the de Silva review into the killing of Pat Finucane in February 1989 concluded: that there was collusion by British state agencies.
He said that British Prime Minister David Cameron `sought to use the review as a pretext for denying the family a public inquiry – a commitment that was made by the British government at Weston Park in 2001’. This, he said was `not acceptable to the family or to Sinn Féin’ and should not be acceptable to the Irish government either.
He added that the information provided by Desmond de Silva was `a damning indictment of British state collusion in the murder of citizens’ and revealed some of the extent to which this existed.
He concluded: `It does not diminish the need for a public inquiry. On the contrary it makes such an inquiry more necessary than ever.’ Earlier on 9 December, Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams spoke at the unveiling in west Belfast of a mural to Pat Finucane, and he described him as a `remarkable, extraordinary and courageous Irishman.’
Meanwhile, Sinn Féin West Belfast MP, Paul Maskey was in London for the report, having read it prior to the Commons statements. He said that its conclusions only served to `reinforce the need for a full Independent Public Inquiry’.
Mr Maskey said Sinn Fein `fully support the demand by Geraldine Finucane, Pat’s widow, and her family for a full Independent Public Inquiry into Pat’s murder. The revelations in the de Silva Report released today only serve to reinforce that position.’
He added `We were all aware that there was collusion in Pat’s murder as borne out by the fact, confirmed in the de Silva Report. Earlier, Sinn Féin Assembly Member Alex Maskey said he has been told by Desmond de Silva that loyalist attempts to kill him would be referred to when de Silva released his ‘review’ into the Pat Finucane murder tomorrow. The South Belfast MLA said he did not expect `any new revelations in my case as the British government has continued in their cover-up of collusion on this issue’. He added that de Silva `never even contacted me during his so-called review other than to tell me he was going to refer to my case’.
Mr Maskey said he would `only be satisfied if the full truth about the level of collusion that took place between the British state and loyalists death squads was to be revealed’. He said that the British government `have obviously tried to gloss over the collusion that took place in the Pat Finucane murder with the de Silva report’. He said he supported the Finucane family in their demand for a public inquiry into Pat’s murder and concluded `it is only then the truth of the level of collusion in Pat’s killing and the incidents regarding myself will be revealed.’
Loyalist violence `completely unjustifiable’
On 11 Sinn Féin MLA Gerry Kelly stated that the ongoing protests, violence and intimidation over the flags issue `must end now before somebody is killed’.
Mr Kelly said `these protests over the democratic decision taken by Belfast City Council need to end now before somebody is killed. For the past week we have seen intimidation, rioting, road blockages and attacks on elected representatives’ homes and offices.’
He said that the previous night had seen 15 masked men attack a PSNI car `throwing a petrol bomb into the vehicle while the PSNI officers were still inside and a bar in Armagh was attacked, windows smashed and fireworks thrown inside’, which he said was `completely unjustifiable’.
He added `there were 43 illegal protests last night alone with some once again turning into violence’, and said it was `clear that the ongoing protests are being used as cover by loyalist paramilitaries to intimidate those who do not agree with the democratic will of those elected to Belfast Council’.
He said that there was strong concern that `paramilitaries are moving these protest ever closer to interfaces’ and demanded `they must end’. He concluded that there could be `no more excuses’ and urged Unionist politicians and community representatives to `use all of their influence to see that they are brought to an end.’
Failure of leadership of political unionism
Earlier on 8 December Gerry Kelly had already pressed the leadership of political unionism, following another night of riots and trouble after the `so-called peaceful protest’ in Belfast that day. Mr Kelly said political unionism had `failed’ and had `sent muted words and mixed messages which has seen loyalism come on to the streets and a continuation of road blocks, riots and intimidation for nearly a week now’.
Referring to the attacks on Belfast City Hall and Alliance party members’ homes and offices, he said there had been `death threats against elected representatives and many protests turning violent’. He said that the previous night some 600 people, including many children `were trapped inside Newtonabbey council as loyalist burnt cars and rioted with clear paramilitary involvement’.
He added that `orchestration between political unionism and violent loyalism’ had been seen `many times before when they did not get their way’. However he added `times have changed’ and that Belfast was `a shared city [which] needs to represent all sections of the community that live in it and not have one identity stamped over all others’, adding `unionism needs to accept the need for, and the reality of, equality’.
He said `unionist politicians calling for the protests to be suspended and not called off all together while pressing for an increase of flag flying days at Stormont, set alongside the burning of the Irish tricolour by masked men outside the City Hall, is not showing leadership and will not de-escalate the situation.’ He concluded: `we need to see much more from unionist political leaders at all levels of representation across the north. They must exert themselves by standing firmly against the ongoing situation and taking real and meaningful steps to end the violence and intimidation on our streets.’
Sinn Fein condemn death threats
On 11 December Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness said that all threats against democratically elected representatives should be `withdrawn immediately’.
This followed news that both Edwin Poots and Jeffrey Donaldson had both been informed of death threats against them. Mr McGuinness said that the treats against them and their families were `wrong and should be withdrawn immediately’. He said there was `no justification for this type of intimidation from any grouping or organisation’. He said they were `the latest in a series of threats against elected representatives since the beginning of the loyalist protests against the decision of Belfast City Council over a week ago.’ He concluded `threats remain against other representatives. Each and every one of these need to be lifted immediately.’
Border poll will make sense of the census
On 11 December 11, Sinn Féin MP Conor Murphy said that the way to cut through the latest census figures regarding the constitutional position of the North is to hold a border poll.
The Newry and Armagh MP said it was `very clear is that there have been significant changes since the 2001 census both regarding identity and religious persuasion. There will be claims and counter-claims of what this represents when it comes to the constitutional position of the North and what the population are for or against.’
He added `The way to have a definitive result for that question is to hold a border poll. The mechanisms within the Good Friday Agreement make allowance for that to happen. Nationalists and Republicans are confident about building a new future based on equality and we see a united Ireland as the best way of ensuring equality for all.’
He concluded `We are confident in the rationale behind our arguments and of the absolute logic of Irish reunification. If Unionists are confident in their own arguments for retaining the union then they will have nothing to fear with a border poll.’
Among its findings, the census saw a narrowing of the gap between the protestant and catholic populations, at 48 per cent and 45 per cent respectively. Those identifying as `British’ were 40 per cent, with those identifying as either `Irish’ or `Northern Irish’ at 25 per cent and 21 per cent respectively.
British government should stop blocking Bill of Rights
On 10 December Sinn Féin MLA and Junior Minister Jennifer McCann urged the British Government to stop blocking a Bill of Rights for the north of Ireland.
Speaking ahead of a Parliament Buildings event to celebrate International Human Rights day she said it wsa `important for us to ensure the Human Rights of all are protected’.
The Good Friday and St Andrew's Agreements `provided the basis for a comprehensive Bill of Rights to reflect the particular circumstances of the North, and to ensure that mutual respect for all traditions will be taken forward in legislation’, she said, adding `equality and social justice have to be at the heart of any democratic society and it must respect the human rights of all of its citizens’.
She said that `to date, while there has been years of consultations, we still don't have a comprehensive Bill of Rights. Politics on the island of Ireland have been transformed and it is time that the British Government stopped blocking a Bill of Rights.’
1-9 January 2013
Sinn Fein urge end to unjustified violent protests
On 8 January Sinn Féin Assembly Member Gerry Kelly continued to press for the loyalist protests over the issue of the democratic decision by Belfast city council to fly the union flag on designated days, to come to an end. Mr Kelly said that reasons given by loyalist and unionists for the flag protests and associated violence `don’t stack up’.
Mr Kelly said the protesters and unionist/loyalist representatives had `stated that this is about more than the flag but is a chipping away at their British identity, as Mike Nesbitt has phrased it’. He added that `the trappings and the symbols within the City Hall and indeed throughout the North put paid to that claim. The place is coming down with symbols representative of Britain’.
He said `We had the same claims during the marching season when challenges by residents on a handful of contentious marches was an attack on their parades. This despite the fact that thousands of such parades take place each summer, indeed all year, without any objections.’ He added, `That claim of an attack on unionist culture during the summer whipped up considerable tension and ended in violence. We also have claims of neglect, social exclusion and poverty within working class unionist areas. I accept this is the case but statistics don’t tell lies and 36 of the top 40 most deprived wards in the North are in nationalist areas. We need to deal with all social deprivation wherever it is.’
He said `Education or the failure of it in working class unionist areas has also been brought into the mix. For years Sinn Féin has highlighted the fact that working class protestant boys are being failed by educational arrangements, which Unionist representatives have fought vehemently to retain, namely ‘selection’. All these reasons given for unionists discontent just don’t stack up. What we haven’t heard from unionists is mention of equality and mutual respect. If symbols and cultural expressions are to be treated equally then unionists must recognise that we are coming from a time when it was all one-sided. That is no longer the case. There needs to be a discussion on how people’s Irishness or Britishness and those of other national identities can be respected and valued.
He concluded: `We can make a start to that discussion with flags but it is far wider than that and takes in the Irish language and the Loyal Order parades. Republicans and nationalists are open to that discussion, are unionists and loyalists?’
Dublin protest opposed
On 9 January Sinn Féin Deputy Leader Mary Lou McDonald urged the organisers of the Loyalist protests due to take place in Dublin this weekend to reconsider their plans.
Deputy McDonald said the flag protests, North and South, should come to an end and the democratic decision of Belfast City Council should be respected.
Speaking this afternoon Deputy McDonald said `the decision of Belfast City Council to restrict the flying of the Union flag was a democratic decision that must be respected by everyone. It is a compromise decision that allows the Union flag to fly on 17 designated days a year. It should be noted that the Irish tricolour is not facilitated at all.’
She added, `Belfast is no longer a Unionist dominated city. Belfast is a shared city. Flags and emblems must reflect that reality. The protests and violence that has flared has been orchestrated by the UVF but it was stoked by Unionist politicians who put out 40,000 inflammatory leaflets in the wake of this decision.’
She concluded: `These protests must stop and the democratic decision of Belfast City Council respected. The organisers of the protest due to take place in Dublin this week need to reconsider their plans. This is nothing more than a publicity stunt designed to stoke tensions in Dublin. It will do nothing to change the decision of Belfast City Council. In the event that the protest goes ahead I would call on all Dublin people and others in the city to avoid any confrontation with the protestors.’
Sinn Fein leaders give New Year message
The New Year began with messages from Sinn Fein leaders Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness. The Sinn Fein President said that Ireland was undergoing `huge changes’ and that the peace process had enabled `an entire generation to live without conflict’.
He said the imposition of austerity policies by governments in Dublin and London was `stifling Irish economic growth, causing severe hardship for families and creating poverty’.
Sinn Fein, north and south, had `pointed to a better, fairer way forward that is about protecting public services and families on low and middle incomes, fair taxes, investment in jobs, and growing the all-Ireland economy’, he added.
On the peace process, he said `could be the year of reconciliation’ as the next stage, and should `address, comprehensively, issues such as respect for identity, symbols and culture. It requires political, civic and community leadership'.
He said that unionist politicians had misrepresented this as a ‘chipping away at everything British’ in the North, which was `a dangerous falsehood’. He said the north of Ireland, in reality was `no longer a unionist fiefdom and must reflect Irishness and Britishness with equality of treatment as envisaged in the Good Friday Agreement’.
Mr Adams said that equality meant the `freedom to purse political objectives peacefully and democratically’ and in the coming weeks Sinn Féin would be launching a campaign to secure a border poll, as `part of the Good Friday arrangements’.
He said that the `current qualified and conditional claim by Britain on the North will change when a majority of citizens vote to end the Union’ and added, `Sinn Féin wants to see a border poll held in the upcoming period’, which meant `building support for a poll and for a vote to end Partition’.
He concluded: `the economic and political dynamics of the 21st century point to greater co-operation and harmonisation. Common sense and the logic of history, argue for the peaceful re-unification of our country. I believe it is possible to persuade a majority of citizens that the division and partition of the past can be replaced by a future based on unity and equality — an agreed Ireland and a pluralist, inclusive and modern republic.’
Meanwhile, Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness MLA said that he hoped 2013 `would see the seeds of reconciliation among and between all our people grow’.
He said he was `pleased that we overcame significant challenges and successfully advanced important developments, including sign off on the Long Kesh/Maze site, and real progress in attracting new investment and jobs in the north. However, the world wide economic crisis has also left many of our citizens jobless and driven many employers to the wall. I am absolutely determined that the efforts of the Executive will intensify next year to protect existing jobs and create new employment.’
He said `all our politicians must unite against the punishing austerity policies driven by the Tory/LibDem coalition in London. Our priority must be to protect the most vulnerable in society; defend public services; and, to support small businesses, employers, and the agricultural industry. I pledge to promote an agenda aimed at developing our local and island economy on the basis of balanced development, despite the limits forced upon us by the denial of fiscal powers by the British Exchequer.’
He added that 2012 `heralded the beginning of a decade of centenary commemorations’ and said he hoped that this era `will become one in which we at last replace division with new human and political relationships, and forge lasting peace and friendship between our communities, and the islands of Ireland and Britain’.
Sinn Fein MPs start new year with renewed London presence
On 8 January Sinn Fein MP Conor Murphy was in London for meetings, followed by Michelle Gildernew MP who will be in London on 16 January to meet MPs in particular in relation to the current ongoing loyalist/unionist violence over the issue of flags.
Meanwhile, Sinn Fein selected longstanding party representative and Assembly Member Francie Molly as the party’s candidate in the by-election to replace Martin McGuinness as MP for Mid-Ulster. F rancie Molloy was the unanimous choice amongst the membership of the party throughout Tyrone and Derry. A longstanding party activists and elected representative as both a councillor and an Assembly Member since 1998, Mr Molloy presently holds the position of Deputy Speaker. Martin McGuinness, in proposing his candidacy said `He will make an exceptional MP and representative for all the people of Mid-Ulster.’
The party is seeking support in the run up to the election for his campaign. For further information please visit: http://www.sinnfein.ie/francie-molloy
Year begins with a worsening of cuts and austerity
On 9 January Sinn Féin MLA Mickey Brady said that the British Tory government decision to cap all benefit increases to 1% will `only force more families into the poverty trap’.
Mr. Brady said the cap was `in effect a decrease in real terms as inflation is growing at an average of 2.8% and this will plunge more people into the poverty trap over the next few years’.
He said this would `have an impact on people solely on benefits but also people who work but are on low incomes’, adding `benefits have always been linked to inflation and this break will undoubtedly signal the end of providing a benefit system as a method of keeping people out of poverty’.
He said the proposed Tory Welfare reform act would `put many more people into the poverty trap and needs to be opposed’. Sinn Féin, he added, were the `only party that has brought alternative measures to the table in offsetting some of the most draconian measures and will continue to work to protect the most vulnerable people in our society.’
Meanwhile, in the 26 counties, Sinn Fein TDs said `2012 was another year wasted on austerity’. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh said the Fine Gael/Labour government `must change its economic policy to one that genuinely protects the vulnerable and gives the domestic economy a chance to recover’.
He said that with emigration is as high as ever, `youth unemployment is among the highest in the EU and we still have no deal on banking debt’. He said current exchequer figures showed `the economy continues to flatline’.
The effects of the budget `will mean more taxes on those already shouldering the burden decreasing their ability to spend while bankers, top civil servants and politicians are still paid too much’, he concluded and added: `the government must the government must change its economic policy to one that genuinely protects the vulnerable and gives the domestic economy a chance to recover.’
Elsewhere at the start of January Dublin South West TD, Seán Crowe, expressed his dismay over the loss of 83 jobs in Johnson Brothers in Ballymount. Deputy Crowe said the job losses were `a dreadful way to start the New Year for all those workers their families’ and said that this particular jobs rationalisation process `seems to be due to a reduction in the volume of goods transported by the company, and reflects on the poor state of our domestic economy’.
He said the government `continues to spin that the worst is over and the economy is recovering but there is little sign of that in Dublin South West or in the wider domestic economy, which is continuing to shrink rapidly’ and concluded: `the government needs to invest in stimulus packages which will not only save jobs but also the conditions to create them.’
On 4 January Sinn Fein Senator David Cullinane accused the government of protecting high earners at the expense of low and middle income earners. He said that ministers intended that `cuts will be the order of the day for this government and we already know that when this government introduces cuts they affect low and middle income earners disproportionately’.
He said that government Minister Hayes `has ruled out increased taxation measures on those who can afford to pay more while letting the ordinary struggling taxpayer know to expect more cuts’. He said the government would `rather cut child benefit and carer’s allowances than introduce a wealth tax or a new income tax of 48% on earnings above €100,000.’