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Household Tax RTE Prime Time 15/12/2011 (mp3)

Environment

Clare Daly (Dublin North, Socialist Party)
As we are sitting here today and tomorrow debating this new legislation, we do so against the backdrop of the necessity for county councils around the country to set their budgets from funding that has been slashed in order to take account of this new tax on home owners. That is an absolute joke. The reason local authorities are being starved of funding is not that we have not paid our fair share of tax but rather that the Government chooses to use our taxes to pay unsecured bondholders and recapitalise banks, and refuses, patently, to ask the wealthy people at the top of society to pay their share so we can have the public services that we deserve and have paid for. Instead, it is choosing – this is a voluntary choice – to make ordinary people pay yet again. One of the messages we need to send out is that the people sitting at home can see this as an opportunity to say “Enough is enough.” We cannot consider this measure in isolation from all the austerity measures and budget cuts that have been implemented over the past while.
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International

· Referendum must be held on summit agreement
· ‘Austerity union’ would be disastrous for people across Europe
· Socialist Party will be to fore in campaigning for a referendum and for a no vote

Socialist Party TDs Joe Higgins and Clare Daly, together with Socialist Party MEP , Paul Murphy, have called for a referendum to be held on the outcome of the European summit, which will entail a significant transfer of power in budgetary matters from the Dail to the European Commission, Council and Court of Justice. The Socialist Party will be campaigning vigorously for a referendum and for a no
vote if a referendum is held.

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Economy

All Labour Party Deputies started their remarks by telling us about the deplorable state of the economy, but its condition was common knowledge when they contested the election and promised to be the guardians of people’s welfare against that backdrop. Over the past few days, all of us have received letters from Barnardos, the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, Social Justice Ireland and others that are hardly the most radical campaigners or mad lunatics begging and pleading with this Government to call a halt to the butchery it has engaged in and to reverse some of the decisions it plans to ram through. If this process is to be meaningful, the Government should take heed. The expression “protecting the vulnerable” has been the most misused phrase in vogue over the past number of days. In reality, it is code for kicking the living daylights out of those at the bottom of society. It is nothing more than nauseating hypocrisy from the Labour Party, in particular, when people had such hope that it would offer something different. In fairness to Vincent Browne, as he spent the week saying, one would be hard-pressed to find a single vulnerable person or group who this Government has not targeted. The Government has gone after every one of them and if that is what protecting the vulnerable means, it is a severe misuse of language.

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