FG and Labour support for Bill a ‘betrayal’

The Irish Times – Tuesday, January 25, 2011

FG and Labour support for Bill a ‘betrayal’

CHARLIE TAYLOR

ALLIANCE OF LEFT: OPPOSITION PARTIES have been sharply criticised for considering backing the Finance Bill ahead of the general election.

Fine Gael and Labour have been accused of “falling over themselves” to help the Government to rush the Bill through without it being properly considered.

At a press conference in Dublin yesetrday, the United Left Alliance said backing the Bill was a “cynical betrayal” of the public.

The alliance was formed last October, and its components include People Before Profit, the Socialist Party and the Workers and Unemployed Action Group.

The group, which is fielding at least 19 candidates in the election, said the Bill should be abandoned and its main provisions made the centrepiece of election debates.

“What Labour and Fine Gael are at is to ensure that the infamous and unjust EU-IMF programme is passed by Fianna Fáil so that they can pretend to avoid direct responsibility for its passage but then claim they have no option but to implement it,” said Clare Daly of the Socialist Party, who is to run in the Dublin North constituency under the ULA banner

People Before Profit’s Richard Boyd Barrett, who is to stand in the Dún Laoghaire constituency, was equally as scathing.

“The Finance Bill gives legal effect to a brutal Budget which is going to inflict terrible suffering on working people and the vulnerable in our society.

“It is unacceptable that the Opposition can say they are against such a Budget and criticise the Government for it, and yet at the same time express a willingness to facilitate passing it.”

Dublin Socialist Party MEP Joe Higgins, who is to run in Dublin West, said it was a “grotesque betrayal for the Labour Party in particular to co-operate in any way with the Bill’s passage.

“Labour and Fine Gael want Fianna Fáil to be seen to do the dirtiest deed, which is to put this savage measure through and then to wash their hands of it if in government by saying they can’t change it.”

The alliance said it may field candidates in up to half of the 43 constituencies and was “extremely confident” that up to nine would be elected.

“We are offering an entirely different alternative to the other political parties who are imprisoned within the financial markets system,” Mr Higgins said.

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