15 September 2015
By Elaine Murphy
Sinn Féin TD Jonathan O’Brien has strongly criticised the Labour Party for entering into a voting pact with Fine Gael ahead of the general election.
The Cork North Central TD said that he was not surprised by the arrangement, stating the pact mirrors the behaviour of the Labour Party in government as they capitulated to every one of Fine Gael’s regressive, right-wing economic policies.
Deputy O’Brien said the voting pact means that a vote for Kathleen Lynch is actually a vote for the implementation of more Fine Gael policies after the next election. It is a vote in favour of the continued persecution of ordinary people.
“The Labour Party’s Kathleen Lynch TD has stood-over every action of this government. Over the last four years, she has supported the austerity agenda and a consensus for cuts that have wreaked havoc in communities across the northside.
“Kathleen Lynch has helped to prop-up a government that has been viciously attacking the welfare of ordinary people. They cut child benefit over and over. They cuts lone parents allowance. They cut the respite care grant. They introduced water charges. They have allowed the housing waiting list to top 100,000 all while turning a blind-eye to people languishing on trolleys for the want of a hospital bed. They broke every promise they made on entering coalition.
“Kathleen Lynch, by supporting this voting-pact with Fine Gael, is essentially asking the people of the northside to endorse every nasty thing that they have done while in government. She is asking them to support policies that have pushed people into poverty. She is saying that it is alright to implement policies that leave struggling parents to decide whether they will pay a gas bill or manage frightening back to school costs.
“The Labour Party and their general election candidates are making a very clear statement with this voting pact. They are saying that their party now firmly stands for protecting the wealthy, dismantling the welfare state and ensuring that ordinary people shoulder the costs of ring-fencing the elites within our society.
“The people of this constituency expected Kathleen Lynch and the Labour Party to be watchdogs against the worst of Fine Gael’s policies. Instead Deputy Lynch and her colleagues quickly morphed into Fine Gael’s lapdogs in government. Now they will adopt the same role on the campaign trail.
“When she knocks on doors she will be asking the people to return a Fine Gael-led government. She will be urging voters, who have suffered great hardship, to re-elect Enda Kenny as Taoiseach.
“The Labour Party is no longer a political organisation in its own right. Through their lack of courage and conviction they have been reduced to a canvass team for Fine Gael. It is a sad reflection of the state of Labour under Joan Burton and Eamon Gilmore before her.
“Rather than trying to convince people to vote for Fine Gael, Kathleen Lynch should go to every door in the constituency and apologise to the people for abandoning them following the 2011 general election. Then she should leave the job of governing to those who actually care about the interests of ordinary people.”