The Fine Gael/Labour government came to power promising change from the disastrous policies of Fianna Fail and the Greens. They have betrayed those promises completely and are continuing the failed policy of bailing out banks and bondholders, while crushing ordinary people with cut-backs and austerity.
In the general election the People Before Profit Alliance, Socialist Workers Party, the Socialist Party and some left independents established the United Left Alliance (ULA), which won five seats in the Dáil. Since the election the ULA has organised rallies and meetings across the country to form new branches and is building a new grass-roots political force to challenge the political establishment.
Melisa Halpin is the new People Before Profit Councillor in Dun Laoghaire replacing Richard Boyd Barrett on the Council after his election to the Dáil. Melisa is from Blackrock and has worked with Richard and People Before Profit since it was established in 2006.
This government is savagely attacking special needs educational provision. In its election manifesto Labour promised to “support schools, parents and children with special educational needs by ensuring that necessary supports follow a child from primary to second level”, but Ruairi Quinn, Labour Minister for Education, has announced a 10% cut to resource hours allocated to each school.
Labour Minister Joan Burton’s recent remarks, that welfare is becoming a ‘lifestyle choice’ for some people, were disgusting. Labour and Fine Gael want to blame the unemployed for their plight, instead of the bankers, developers and politicians whose greed and incompetence caused the economic crisis.
Last January the council finally agreed to progress the proposals for a public swimming amenity at Dun Laoghaire Baths. But in May, when it came to agreeing the spending programme for the next 4 years, the manager proposed to allocate only €1.5m for the baths. Meanwhile, the Manager also proposed, to spend a €35 million on building a new library headquarters on Moran’s Park.
The Dun Laoghaire Harbour Company has proposed a €250 million redevelopment of Dun Laoghaire Harbour. Incredibly, the plan includes proposals for 300 multi-storey apartments. Clearly, the Harbour Company have not noticed that speculative property development caused the current economic crash. With hundreds of thousands of empty properties and ghost estates across the country the harbour company’s plan for more apartments is totally unacceptable and repeats all the mistakes of the Celtic Tiger era.
Prior to the general election local residents and the People Before Profit Alliance organised protests opposing the removal of the 46a from Monkstown Farm and cuts to the other bus services in the area. Labour and Fine Gael TD’s including Eamon Gilmore and Sean Barrett said they supported the campaign, but once in government they have continued to carry through the cuts, both locally and across the city.
The Government has announced that it will build no more council houses! Delivery of social housing will now be by an extension of the Rental Accommodation Scheme (RAS) and long-term leasing. These schemes will see councils rent houses and apartments at market value from a landlord and use it to house someone from the housing list. The tenant then pays a rent to the council. The length of the lease will be three, five, ten or twenty years.
The HSE is planning to close Loughlinstown Hospital’s 24hr Accident and Emergency Department in November of this year, and replace it with day-time minor injury service. This is part of the plan to cut A&E services at nine hospitals around the country. These cuts have already provoked major protests in Roscommon and Portlaoise.