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DM2011: Irish step up action against austerity measures

9 April 2011

The Irish Executive Council is to increase its work with the Irish Congress of Trade Unions to mount "an on-going campaign of resistance to the austerity programme" in Ireland.

The work follows on from a march in Dublin organised by the ICTU in November, attended by 100,000 people, and the publication of 'The People's Voice', a newspaper published by the union group as part of its 'Better, Fairer Way' campaign.

Séamus Dooley, Irish Secretary, said to the Delegate Meeting that the interests of working people had been made secondary when the country's bailout package was negotiated with the International Monetary Fund, the European Union and the European Central Bank. Since then, the new Irish government has accepted the austerity programme.

Séamus Dooley told delegates:

"The terms of the deal thwart any prospect of a genuine national recovery and impoverish Ireland for decades to come. It is wrong that scarce financial resources are being diverted to pay a punitive interest bill and repay bondholders who gambled on Irish banks. That translates directly into cuts in peoples' income and cuts in vital services".

The ICTU argues that jobs are the key to economic recovery and has called for measures to stimulate domestic demand.

Séamus Dooley said that the Irish unions were united in their intention to fight the cuts although there were differences between them about strategy. He said:

"Last November, when Congress took 100,000 people on to the streets of Dublin we were told that we were reckless and irresponsible. We were warned that any form of street protest would be an act of economic sabotage. The terms were apt but they apply no to Irish workers but to those whose greed and avarice have shamefully condemned us to poverty and misery."

Tags: , dm2011, ictu, austerity, march, imf, eu, ecb, government ireland