23 May 2017
By Bryan Smyth
Solidarity TD Mick Barry this morning said that the mood in the country is to extend workers’ rights not to restrict them, and that yesterday’s comments from both candidates in the Fine Gael leadership contest showed that the Fine Gael party is “increasingly out of step with the views of the people they govern”.
Mick Barry TD “Leo Varadkar (Dublin) was calling for a ban on strikes at lunchtime and by teatime Simon Coveney (Cork) was chiming in in support. Hostility to the principles of trade unionism may be part and parcel of the Fine Gael DNA but they are seriously out of kilter with the public mood on this issue.”
Deputy Barry said that Mr Varadkar’s attempts to row back somewhat on his comments last night could not disguise the Thatcherite intent of his proposals made earlier in the day.
He said that the two candidates want to restrict the right to strike for precisely those people who were being lauded 24 hours previously for “getting up early in the morning”.
He said that it was interesting that Mr Varadkar had singled out air traffic controllers and tram drivers as examples of the type of groups whose right to strike should in his opinion be restricted: “Ronald Reagan picked a fight with US air traffic controllers at the start of his union busting drive in the 1980s. William Martin Murphy singled out tram drivers for his assault on trade union rights in Dublin in 1913. Mr Varadkar may want to follow in the traditions of Ronnie Reagan and William Martin Murphy but I don’t think trade unionists or the country as a whole are going to buy it.”