Dublin: ‘Unjust, Austerity Measures Being Forced Down Our Throats’: Left Alliance

13 Sep

Left-leaning TDs have warned the Government to expect mass resistance to further austerity measures ahead of December’s budget.

The United Left Alliance (ULA), made up of five TDs, said it will be mobilising a mass campaign of civil disobedience against the planned household charge, claiming the Government had declared war on homeowners.

As the Dail meets on Wednesday for the first time since the summer break, Dun Laoghaire TD Richard Boyd Barrett vowed the group would be an opposition of action and not just words.

TDs Joan Collins, Clare Daly, Joe Higgins and Richard Boyd Barrett from the United Left Alliance

“We believe the key priority is to build a mass movement of resistance and people power opposed to these unjust, economically stupid austerity measures that this Government is trying to ram down our throats,” Mr Boyd-Barrett said.

“So we will be dedicating ourselves in the run-up to the budget to building mass protest and mass mobilisation against austerity policies.”

Socialist TD Clare Daly said the group would strenuously resist the Government’s planned 100 euro temporary household charge, and lead a campaign of civil disobedience.

“All of us as TDs pledge to be at the forefront of a non-payment campaign, a mass campaign of civil disobedience where we intend to make this charge uncollectible,” she said.

Most homes are to face the flat-rate charge from January with the threat of a further 10 euro fine for every month the payment is late.

Ms Daly pledged the ULA TDs would stand behind any household which chooses not to pay the charge.

And Mr Higgins said the United Left Alliance will serve as a catalyst bringing together diverse campaigns and organisations opposed to the “failed austerity agenda”.

NEWS UPDATE: ADDITION:

Irish consumers are still paying almost 20 per cent more than the European average for goods and services, despite a drop in inflation, according to the latest figures from Central Statistics Office (CSO).

The exchequer deficit remained the highest of any EU member state in 2010 according to the Measuring Ireland’s Progress 2010 report published today.

Government debt was at just over 96 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP) up from 25 per cent of GDP in 2007.

Consumer prices fell in 2010 but remained high by EU standards. Ireland was the fifth most expensive EU state in 2010, after Denmark, Finland, Luxembourg and Sweden, with prices 18 per cent above the EU average.

However this represents a considerable improvement on 2009 when Irish prices were 26 per cent above the EU average and second only to Denmark  

The State has remained in recession for the third year in a row with a public balance deficit of 32.4 per cent of GDP, the largest by far of any EU member state. Government debt increased substantially to 96.2 per cent of GDP in 2010, the fourth highest debt/GDP ratio in the EU, having been 25 per cent only three years previously.

Despite this Ireland still had the joint third highest GDP per capita in the EU at 25 per cent above the EU average.

The employment rate at 58.9 per cent was below the EU average and the unemployment rate was the sixth highest in the EU.

In population terms the State had the highest proportion of young people in the EU, and the lowest proportion of old people. Ireland has the lowest divorce rate and the highest fertility rate in the EU, and its population is increasing at a higher rate than in any other EU country.

In relation to education, average class sizes at primary level were the second highest in the EU in 2010, though the early school-leaver rate is better than the EU average. The proportion of the population aged 25-34 that has completed third-level education is the third highest in the EU.

The number of homes built in 2010 was 14,600, back to the level it was at in 1970 and down from a peak of almost 90,000 in 2006.

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