29th May 2003
Social Partnership used as tool to silence dissent on social and economic matters
In an angry contribution to the debate on the National Economic and Social Development Office Bill in the Dáil yesterday evening, Sinn Fein spokesperson on Employment, Arthur Morgan T.D. tackled the Government over the failure of social partnership to deliver any real improvements to the lives of the disadvantaged. Deputy Morgan said:
"This Government has used social partnership as a tool to silence dissent on social and economic matters, to silence dissent in the face of wide ranging cut-backs in health, housing, education and a deterioration in the quality of life of the working people of this state.
"We must see social partnership for what it has become. The government brings the voices of the disadvantaged to the table, pays them lip service and then delivers nothing. Government policy is then justified on the basis that the Government has "consulted with the social partners".
"Social partnership has allowed the government to evade accountability for its failure to deliver.
"Social partnership has widened divisions in Irish society. It has done nothing to tackle disadvantage. The current agreement Sustaining Progress represents a poor deal for Irish workers and the low paid. It offers nothing on real issues facing workers ? health, childcare, education.
"The prosperity that has been created is the prosperity of big business and multi national companies. Through the years of the boom they have exploited workers and maximised profits. The ordinary people have not prospered, for what is prosperity when you cannot access a bed in a public hospital, when your child attends an over crowded dilapidated school, when you have little hope of ever owning your own home. Let us face facts once and for all, and admit that social partnership has delivered nothing for ordinary people.
"The PD's and their cohorts in big business are probably laughing at this very moment at the gullibility of those ordinary people who took social partnership at face value and who did not realise that it is all just a con. The smug right-wingers who make up the PD/FF cabinet are laughing because they have duped the ordinary people into believing they are being consulted on socio-economic issues.
"The workers of this State must overthrow the economic tyranny that this government is perpetuating." ENDS
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