The proposed programme for government agreed between Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and the Green Party is long on platitudes and aspiration and short on substance or commitment to action. The last 26-County election was a rejection of the Leinster House political establishment. Unfortunately, as history teaches us, merely changing the parties administering the same failed system will never deliver the radical political, social, and economic change that is required to deliver a New Ireland.
Already the commitment to holding a referendum on inserting the right to a home for every citizen into the 26-County constitution has been fudged with only a vague promise to hold a referendum on housing. Similarly, no precise figures are provided for the building of social housing.
Another looming issue is the increasing disconnect with rural Ireland. The stripping of services from rural Ireland over the past number of years have made sustainable communities there even more difficult. Now we are faced with an incoming 26-County administration that seems determined to make rural living unviable. The Green Party has already shown that it has little or no understanding of the needs of rural communities. Now it is set to continue these polices, targeting key rural employers such as Bord na Mona without putting in place any practical or long-term replacements for the jobs that are being lost.
The fact that the Gaeltacht, the islands, and the Irish language are also ignored in this proposed programme for government tells us all we need to know about the priorities of this incoming Dublin Administration. Like their predecessors they are determined to wipe out our language and the communities in which it remains a living language.
We all know too well the abysmal record of Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil when it comes to supporting the most vulnerable in society. We should not forget that the record of the Green Party in government is no better. Their policies, while dressed in the language of environmental protection invariably target those who can least afford their punitive taxes rather than the big multinational polluters. We all support the protection of the environment and recognise the need for action to tackle climate change. However, any environmental policy that comes at the cost of social justice is meaningless. We would also seriously question the ending of any further exploration for natural offshore resources. Who really benefits from such a decision and what is the environmental cost of increasing our dependence on imported gas and oil?
Finally, this new coalition is being heralded as historic and marking the end of so-called ‘civil war’ politics. This is nonsense as nothing has separated either party for decades except a desire to be the dominant governing party. All that has occurred is that the political descendants of parties who interned and executed republicans in the 1920s and 1940s have agreed to share the administration of the 26-County state.
A New Ireland will never emerge from Leinster House or be delivered by such parties. As Sinn Féin Poblachtach have consistently pointed out, such an Ireland can only come about when we dismantle the two partition states imposed on the Irish people 100 years ago. Only then can we build an Ireland that truly reflects the values of the 1916 Proclamation and the Democratic Programme of the First Dáil. We believe that our Éire Nua proposals can create such an Ireland.
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