Monday, 24 August 2015
Wicklow Sinn Fein launch a series of Public Information Meetings “A Fair Recovery is Possible”
In response to the continuing imbalance in the so-called national economic recovery. Sinn Fein candidate in the upcoming General Election Councillor John Brady, sets out why he has decided to host a series of public meetings over the coming weeks
“We are constantly been assured by Fine Gael and labour that the country is on a path to economic recovery, but the hard facts on the ground clearly demonstrate that whatever kind of recovery exists; the vast majority of citizens are not seeing any of benefits”.
Councillor Brady describes how government policies are simply not delivering for hard pressed families and those on lower and middle incomes.
“Unemployment is still stubbornly high at around 10% which does not take into account the half a million (mainly young people) who have emigrated because of a lack of opportunity. The unemployment rate amongst the young is twice the national level at just above 20%. The housing crisis has spiralled out of control while the on-going chaos in the health service has seen a continued increase in the numbers of people on trolleys and waiting lists. In education, class sizes in our schools are the largest we have seen in decades while students with special needs are often deprived of access to crucial services”
Speaking in relation to tax and revenue, Councillor Brady is critical of the government’s regressive budgets;
“Simply put, the only way to invest adequately in job creation and to provide essential public services such as Health, Housing and Education is through the tax system. As it stands the Irish government takes 31% of Gross Domestic Product in taxation. Compare that to countries like Britain, France, Germany and Belgium who take between 39 and 46 percent of their GDP in tax revenue. The coalition have failed to generate the necessary revenues because they have employed a failed economic model and introduced a number of regressive budgets. The coalition have focused on cuts to spending that have adversely affected lower and middle income families while at the same time they have adopted a tax policy that disproportionately favours individuals and multinationals that enjoy higher incomes and profitability”.
Councillor Brady expresses concern that the government is ignoring warning signs in the same way Fianna Fail did just before the recent economic crash;
“The government have adopted a ‘Trickle Down’ economic model. This approach is supposed to result in delivering improvements at the top end which eventually trickle down to the benefit of all. The reality is quite different and the policy has been widely discredited. The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) is the world’s leading economic think tank. It has declared that trickle down economic policies have had a major negative impact on economic growth; the organisation claims that only an increase in taxation on wealthier sections of society alongside more favourable tax policies directed toward the lower 40% can halt the growth in income inequality. This assessment has been backed up by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) who released a report in June of this year stating that trickle down economic policies are one of the main causal factors leading to the damaging cyclical ‘boom and bust’ periods that have become a hallmark of contemporary economic society. However, the Irish Government have demonstrably ignored these warnings in the same way the previous Fianna Fail government ignored economic warnings leading to the worst economic recession in the history of the state”.
According to Councillor Brady, the situation in Wicklow reflects the situation nationally;
“Sinn Fein are not manufacturing these reports, they are conducted independently and reflect what Sinn Fein have been saying for years. Today, we are witnessing a so-called recovery benefitting a small section at the top of our society with no sign of much improvement for the vast majority on the lower and middle rungs of the economic ladder. The situation in Wicklow can be seen as a microcosm of what is happening nationwide. This year alone there has been an 18% increase in the numbers of people presenting as homeless. All over Wicklow hundreds of adults and children have nowhere to call home while hundreds more are facing the prospect of eviction. Almost 11,000 people in the county are currently out of work with little hope of employment opportunities on the horizon, while Health service facilities for Wicklow residents are virtually non-existent. Sinn Fein believes that a fair recovery is possible, one based on equality, sensible public service spending, rational revenue raising initiatives and logical redistributive policies”.
Councillor Brady finishes by inviting people to attend the various meetings taking place across the county in the coming weeks;
“These public meeting present an opportunity for us to reach out to the wider Wicklow public and allow me to explain directly what we mean by a fair recovery and how we believe it is possible to deliver. Moreover, these meeting will give me a chance to listen to the concerns of groups and individuals who are struggling in the present and worried about the future. The meetings also lend an opportunity for citizens and businesses to share their experiences in a way that can be of benefit to all. With a focus on devising initiatives that can be specifically formatted to cater for the needs of the broader Wicklow community, my hope is that these open meetings will provide a platform from which we can launch a determined effort to lobby local TD’s and the government to change their failed economic approach before it is too late”.
Dates and Venues. All meetings commence at 8pm.
Aughrim, Lawless's Hotel, Wednesday 2nd September
Baltinglass, Germaine's, Thursday 3rd September
Wicklow Town, The Grand Hotel, Friday 4th September
Bray, The Wilton Hotel, Tuesday 8th September
Roundwood, The Old School House, Wednesday 9th September
Arklow, The Arklow Bay Hotel, Thursday 10th September
Rathvilly, The Phoenix Centre, Tuesday 15th September
Blessington, St. Kevin’s Hall, Wednesday 16th September
Kilcoole, The Community Centre, Thursday 17th September
Tinahely, Murphy's Hotel, Wednesday 23rd September