Labour has a choice to make
Madam -- Willie Kealy's analysis (Sunday Independent, November 4, 2012) of the Labour Party's demise on the rock of the Croke Park deal is really an over-estimation, and I am sure that before that fateful day, the party will have been well and truly holed by more parochial issues. For example, the commitment made to students, the pledge made to the people of Roscommon regarding their hospital, and who will forget the election poster 'Fine Gael -- Every Little Hurts', where fair and balanced taxes are promised, child benefit is protected and jobs and growth are a priority.
The truth is that Labour in Government has presided over a Budget that has already imposed greater percentage losses on those with low incomes through welfare cuts and indirect taxation than those on the highest incomes, attacked those with special needs and defended the pensions of bankers, semi-state CEOs and ex-Taoisigh and cabinet ministers.
There is an irony, however, that on Saturday, November 24, the trade union movement will lead an anti-austerity march through the city of Dublin. No doubt members and leaders of unions such as Impact, Siptu and Unite will be in attendance. I would argue that the people on this march will be the same people who previously, protested against similar cuts that were being imposed by the then FF/Green party. Remember them? People who believed and trusted Eamon Gilmore. These unions are affiliated to the Labour party, a party that appears to be well able to dole out austerity while its leader earns more than the Swedish or Finnish heads of state.
Labour in its centenary year now has a choice to make. Does it engage with its affiliates in the trade unions and with Fine Gael and cut and tax those high earners in both the public and private sector respectively -- who will not be at any march organised by any union -- or does it continue with soup kitchens, poverty and lies?
Danny McHugh, Chairperson,
Bobby Burke Branch, Labour Party,
Tuam, Co Galway