Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Donegal VEC Controversy - Who is "shafting" who?

Donegal Vocational Education Committee (VEC) held its Annual General Meeting (AGM) meeting on Monday (May 17) in order to appoint people to boards of managements of VEC schools and other VEC committees within the county. In the aftermath of that meeting, Fianna Fáil councillors have been up in arms, with Burtonport based Cllr David Alcorn accusing other politicians of “shafting” them. Fianna Fáil councillor Dessie Larkin, obviously distraught at the loss of the Chair to Fine Gael and a reduction in positions for Fianna Fáil representatives, described it as a “dark, dark day for Donegal VEC”.

In response, éirígí Tír Chonaill spokesperson Micheál Cholm MacGiolla Easbuig accused Donegal Fianna Fáil councillors of having “warped priorities”. He claimed they were more concerned about securing appointments for themselves than about cutbacks in education and the increased poverty and hardship their party is inflicting on working class communities.

MacGiolla Easbuig said: “There are half a million people unemployed on this island, more than 21,000 of them here in Donegal. Thousands more have been forced to emigrate in order to find work. In the case of young people, they have been hounded out by the savage social welfare cuts that were targetted at them making it virtually impossible for them to survive on the dole in their own country."

éirígí's Micheál Cholm MacGiolla Easbuig

"The priorities of these Fianna Fáil politicians are truly astonishing. I dont recall these same Fianna Fáil reps complaining about low paid workers and social welfare recipients being “shafted” by their party when incomes and access to essential public sevices were being slashed. I dont recall them describing successive budgets as “dark, dark days” for working people.”

He added: “These same politicians have supported some of the most savage cutbacks imposed since the foundation of this state. Cuts in pay, welfare, child benefit, early childcare supplement, home help, school transport, school book schemes, the scrapping of the Christmas bonus, new prescription charges and increased fuel costs have all lead to a sharp decline in the living standards of welfare recipients and working people. As a result, poverty levels have increased significantly. Cuts in essential health and education services have also contributed greatly to this hardship and suffering.”

“As this hardship is being imposed in order to bail out the banks and to maintain the wealthy lifestyles of the political and business elite, there is no mention from these Fianna Fáil politicians of people being “shafted” or of 'dark, dark days'."

"Indeed, while these Fianna Fáil reps have been whining on local radio stations and to anyone else who will listen to them about their “shafting”, they have completely ignored the savage cuts that their administration have imposed on teachers, on the parents of pupils and on the education sector as a whole. For people who want so badly to be appointed to boards and committees dealing with education, they are strangely silent on the real and pressing issues facing parents and those providing education for our children.”

“While the Dublin government cutbacks have already caused immense suffering for working people and the less well off in society, unfortunately more hardship is inevitable if this administration gets their way. As next winter approaches, more and more families will fall deeper into poverty and will find it much harder to heat their homes and to adequately nourish themselves. Thats the reality of what Fianna Fáil cuts mean to those on low incomes.”

Fianna Fáil Cllr Dessie Larkin

He concluded: “What we will sadly see, is that increasing numbers of people will fall ill and die directly as a result of Fianna Fáil policies. But, that doesn't concern these Donegal Fianna Fáil councillors. They have more pressing matters such as complaining about positions on the VEC to worry about!!!”

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