Unions urged to stage a 24-hour general strike against cutbacks
TRADE union bosses have been called upon to stage a 24-hour general strike against austerity.
The United Left Alliance (ULA) said the Irish Congress of Trades Unions (ICTU) should organise a national stoppage next March to coincide with the next payment of promissory notes for the former Anglo Irish Bank.
Criticising Ireland's failure to join six countries across Europe in a general strike against cuts earlier this month, TDs urged the public to take to the streets of Dublin this Saturday for a pre-budget demonstration.
The ULA's Clare Daly said: "The protest on Saturday is a magnificent start but we have to go much further if we are to stop this government's cuts, one protest is not enough.
"The Irish unions have been too silent in resisting government cuts.
"The close links between the tops of the unions and the Labour Party have held back the resistance for too long.
"I'm calling on ICTU to back the call for a national stoppage on the day of the Anglo promissory note payment."
Joan Collins TD warned there was a mood of resistance against cuts to the most vulnerable in society, including the old, the sick and those on social welfare, with thousands joining protests in recent weeks.
Richard Boyd Barrett TD said within weeks Ireland would be hit with its sixth austerity budget since the onset of the crisis.
"With each successive budget, social suffering has increased, while the economy has deteriorated," he said.
"The government's strategy is hurting without working.
"We need to cancel the odious bank debt and instead invest in a sustainable future, that's why we're calling on everyone to join the protest this Saturday."
Elsewhere, Joe Higgins TD said the policy of austerity was causing economic disaster on a huge scale.
"The past five years we have seen an unimaginable transfusion of resources from the working class of this country to the bondholders, the speculators and the bankers in the financial markets of Europe and further afield," he said.
"The spinelessness of the Labour Party can be seen in their preference to impoverish workers rather than squeeze the rich even a little more."