Sunday, March 8, 2009

Nationalise the Corrib Gas instead of targetting social welfare recipients

Sligo éirígí activist Gerry Casey has accused the Fianna Fáil led administration of trying to target the least well off in our society to pay for their failed economic policies and the greed of their cronies in the banking and development industries. He has called on them to nationalise the Corrib Gas field and all other natural resources and to cease their plans for cuts in social welfare payments and services.

Casey was speaking as it emerged that the Department of Social and Family affairs are currently examining a number of options to cut social welfare payments and make it more difficult for claimants to receive assistance.

Casey said: “The administration’s response to this economic crisis has not been to make those responsible for it pay but to instead make workers and the less well off carry the burden. Following their attack on the pay of public sector workers, it has now emerged that they have moved on to looking at ways to cut social welfare allowances and to make it more difficult for people to claim the assistance they need.”

He added: “This is a stark reminder of where Fianna Fáil’s priorities lie. Oil and gas reserves potentially worth €500 billion have been discovered off our coast in the Corrib gas field and elsewhere. The wealth generated from these fields could be used to fight this recession, to secure Irelands energy requirements for years to come and provide much needed funding for essential public services whose budgets and resources are currently being slashed. This is particularly relevant in the context of the current cutbacks in health and education, both locally and nationally. The most recent being the loss of seven primary school teaching posts in County Sligo and proposals to slash the budget of Sligo General Hospital by €7 million.”

“The state has squandered millions upon millions of euro in policing operations to try to suppress peaceful opposition to the shameful give away of these valuable natural resources from the Corrib gas field to Shell. This includes €325,000 last year in overtime alone to just five Gardai. However, instead of discussing plans to nationalise these valuable natural resources, they have decided to discuss how they can target the most vulnerable in our society, those reliant on social welfare payments. This is despicable and must be resisted at all costs.”

He concluded: “I am now challenging Fianna Fáils local deputies Eamonn Scanlon and Jimmy Devins to explain why their administration refuses to nationalise the Corrib Gas which could be used to benefit all the people in this state. They must also explain how they can justify the current plans by their administration to target social welfare recipients which will cause real hardship and widespread poverty.”