[Sinn Fein]

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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