Saturday 20 January 2018

Begg: Austerity will leave people ‘scarred for life’

Martin Frawley in Belfast

UNION leader Dave Begg has called on the government to make a substantial social investment in jobs - claiming irrefutable evidence that after five years austerity is not working.

Speaking at the Ictu biennial conference in Belfast today, its general secretary Mr Begg said with 26 million people out of work across Europe a whole generation of young people would end up “scarred for life” without more investment.

He said that the powers that be in Europe are slowly starting to realise that we have reached the tipping point.

“Austerity is a type of penance after the party except that most of us were not invited to the party” said Begg.

“Now is the time for us to demand nothing less that reflation of the European economy”, he said. 

Mr Begg also condemned the “boorish behaviour” of the bankers as revealed in the ’Anglo Tapes’ published by the Independent.

“The banks made losses but the people have to pay for it”, he said.

Siptu president Jack O’Connor warned that this is not just a recession but a “systemic crisis and it’s far from over”.

O’Connor said that there will not be the “remotest possibility” of growth if the government persists with what he called “one-sided austerity”.

He called on the Labour Party to consider more taxes on the wealthy.

Meanwhile, Tánaiste and Labour leader Eamon Gilmore will not be able to address delegates tomorrow morning as planned.

The Tánaiste told Ictu that he had to attend critical EU budget negotiations in Strasbourg at the same time.

Outgoing Ictu president, Eugene McGlone had earlier accused the Labour Party of cutting unions adrift.

An Ictu spokesman said that the cancellation was not taken as a snub and was just due to unfortunate timing.

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