Rev Jesse Jackson criticises banks bailout
Published 14/02/2011 | 15:51
Civil rights campaigner Reverend Jesse Jackson has criticised the bailing out of Ireland's banks with taxpayer funds while workers were punished with cuts.
The religious leader warned the gap between rich and poor will widen as the country's economic wonder turned into a nightmare.
The activist travelled to Dublin to rally voters to make their mark for equality, human rights and social justice in the General Election on February 25.
But the Reverend maintained Ireland stands at the edge of the freedom struggle, where it can exert much positive influence.
"You can turn your historical pain into immense power," he said.
"You can use your scars to illuminate the way in other places in the world searching for light."
Reverend Jackson, whose great grandfather was an Irish plantation owner and sheriff of Greenville County before the Civil War, believes the Irish and African American struggles for equality and freedom from oppression are intricately linked.
He spoke out as he launched the Equality and Rights Alliance's (Era) roadmap to a stronger equality and human rights infrastructure, which laid out the statutory improvements needed to build a more equal Irish society.
The campaigner inspired and chanted with delegates from Era's 160 organisations and children from Scoil Oilibheir in Blanchardstown, who also sang for the Reverend.
Reverend Jackson warned governments that a budget is a statutory document which speaks volumes about those who prioritise over the vulnerable.
"The budget determines what is important to you," he said.
"In this bailout the people for the most of it who drove us in this hole because of greed or lack of vision and lack of oversight, they are being bailed out and the victims of it are still being left out.
"There lies the inequality and human rights struggle. Now you become the lobby for the locked out. You become a voice for the poor."
But how can Ireland repair the break down of trust between politicians and the electorate, he was asked.
"The simplest answer is to get politicians in you can trust," he replied.
"And that means electing people who will honour the social covenant between you and them."