15 November 2008
The meeting of the National Executive Committee of the Communist Party of Ireland that took place on 15 November condemned the budget introduced by the Fianna Fáil-dominated Government. It is clear that the Government is attempting to make working people, the poor, the sick and pensioners pay for the growing crisis in the Republic. This is similar to the policies adopted by governments in the major developed capitalist countries around the world.
The party welcomed the resistance shown by pensioners that forced a retreat by the Government in relation to medical cards for people over seventy, and it called on the labour movement to fully support the demonstrations around the country called by the teachers’ unions. The party noted the strong resistance shown by pensioners and others to the cuts while the leadership of the trade union movement could manage only to call for a meeting with the Government to discuss its concerns. It is clear which approach produced results.
Mass mobilisation is the only weapon working people have to get their demands heard and the only means of forcing a retreat by the Government. The party also pointed out that there is an absolute necessity for the building of people’s coalitions to defend the hard-won social gains and provisions made by working people over many decades because of the attacks contained in this budget and because it is clear that the assault on workers’ living standards will continue.
The CPI expressed its regret that the labour movement in the Republic once again agreed to accept the “transitional agreement under Towards 2016” and that it continues to be locked in to the dead-end strategy called “social partnership.” As this crisis deepens and the Government’s assault on working people mounts, more and more workers will come to see that this close identification with the Government and its anti-worker policies will have to be challenged if we are to defend ourselves.
The CPI also called for an end to the stalemate in relation to the Northern Ireland Executive, pointing out that the vacuum and the deep frustrations at the community level might be filled by those forces that would like to return to failed methods of struggle, which have created so much division in the past. The party called for the immediate transfer of all powers that have been agreed and for the political foot-dragging by the DUP to be exposed as it callously uses the present stalemate as part of its election strategy for the forthcoming European Parliament and local elections. The party once again called for the transfer of full fiscal powers in order for the Assembly and the Executive to deal with the growing economic crisis in Northern Ireland.