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Tuesday 24 October 2017

Left wing oppose Kenny's election

The strengthened left-wing bloc have opposed Enda Kenny's election as Taoiseach and denounced the coalition's plans to inflict more savage austerity.

The United Left Alliance (ULA) and Sinn Fein also launched a blistering attack on Labour for doing a deal with Mr Kenny's centre right Fine Gael on the first day of the new Dail.

The Socialist Party's Joe Higgins, elected under the ULA umbrella, rubbished claims of a "democratic revolution".

The new administration would implement "almost to the letter" the plans of "the late and unlamented" Fianna Fail/Green regime, he insisted.

Opposing Mr Kenny's nomination, Mr Higgins said Irish people were being force fed a poisonous cocktail of austerity - concocted by witchdoctors in Brussels and Frankfurt - to help Europe's sick banking system.

Comparing the monstrous cuts in living standards to the First World War, he claimed it wasn't the first time Ireland's political establishment sacrificed its people for a European-wide crisis.

Turning to Labour leader Eamon Gilmore, he said the party's founder James Connolly would be ashamed of his pact with Fine Gael and claimed it would burn the Irish working class rather than the banks and bondholders.

"A vote for Deputy Kenny as Taoiseach is a vote not for revolution, not for change, but for counter-revolution and more of the same," he said.

During his maiden speech to the Dail, Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams also singled out Labour.

"By ruling out all other options for coalition, including with those of us on the left, you undermined your own stated aspiration for a Labour-led government and limited the choice being presented to public," he said.

Mr Adams said he could not support Mr Kenny for Taoiseach over agreed coalition proposals to sell off State assets and introduce water charges and property taxes for ordinary households.

The Fine Gael/Labour partnership will simply administer the plans of their predecessors, the Sinn Fein leader said.

While wishing Mr Kenny the best of luck, he warned that his party would provide robust opposition and hold the new Government to account.

Richard Boyd Barrett, of People Before Profit and the ULA, said they would not be backing Mr Kenny for the top job.

The newly-elected TD, representing Mr Gilmore's Dun Laoghaire constituency, berated Labour for signing up to a coalition that will axe 25,000 public sector jobs and introduce water charges.

He claimed the programme for government would "cripple" the economy for years to come and he pledged to support public protests over it.

"The pledge of the United Left Alliance is to support those groups in society who through no fault of their own are now being targeted with job losses, and now being targeted with brutal cuts that will put families under," he said.

Other Independents, including Luke 'Ming' Flanagan also used their first day in the Dail to reject Mr Kenny's proposals for economic recovery.

The Roscommon-South Leitrim TD said just before the general election, most of Fine Gael did not believe Mr Kenny was right for the top job while all of Labour were of the same view.

Newly-elected Independent Shane Ross, a member of a technical group along with Mr Higgins giving enhanced speaking rights, said he was dispirited when he read the programme for government.

He said there was no vision in the deal and that he feared the Irish people were getting another government the same as the last.

"There were so many reviews, there were so many fudges, that we do not exactly know what they're promising at all," he said.

"Except that they will be the government in the next few years and they will stick together come hell or high water."

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