IRSP Spokesperson Michael McLaughlin attended today’s protest in Letterkenny opposing cuts in the health service in the Donegal town. Speaking afterwards Mr McLaughlin said:
“In a recruitment drive and show of solidarity the Irish Republican Socialist Party joined the people of Donegal today to protest against proposed cuts to services at Letterkenny General Hospital. It is with great dismay that the IRSP learned of plans by the Health Service Executive [HSE] to drastically cut health services for people in the West and North-West of Ireland.
“In a document delivered to the HSE by consultants Mott McDonald, we see a blueprint for drastic cutbacks to health services across the North-West. The proposed measures range from redundancies and the non-renewal of contracts for up to 1,000 staff members, to the closing of hundreds of beds and even the possibility of complete hospital closures. Ironically, the report also acknowledges that government policy thus far, designed to save money in aspects of the health service, has actually had the opposite effect, something that is quite indicative of the level of incompetence of our political elites.
“But to put these proposed cuts down to sheer incompetence alone is entirely missing the point. What we have here is a conscious policy on the governments behalf to attack the living standards of the people of the North-West, something which must be set in its proper context. When we consider these cuts in the context of billions worth of tax incentives for developers during the boom, low corporation tax, the wholesale giveaway of our natural resources to a transnational corporation, the recapitalisation of private financial institutions with our money, it is clear there is a right-wing agenda at play here. What we have, in effect, is socialism for the rich and capitalism for the poor.
“We in the IRSP encourage the working class people of Ireland to take to the streets to fight back against these proposed cuts. However, it is also important to remember that any reversal of these cuts amounts to little more than a stop-gap measure. While Irish society continues to be underlined by capitalist economics and the unsustainable profit motive, we will always be faced with a political administration determined to reflect this in the political sphere. This means, on a practical level, that whenever the economy inevitably contracts it will be the working class and vulnerable who suffer the most, as the elites in our society enact all possible measures to save the system that directly serves their interests. The people of the North-West know this all too well and this latest attack on our health services is just another example of this fact.
“Let it be made clear, these cutbacks cannot be considered in isolation, they are not just a health issue but a political and economic issue as well. What is needed is a fundamental uprooting of the current status quo, one characterised by an elite class in Irish society controlling this nation and its affairs in their interests alone, to the detriment of the lives of the majority. We need an all-encompassing re-evaluation of what democracy means, and what the results of it may be. Who better to administer society in working people’s interests than them themselves? The only long-term and sustainable solution is a Workers’ Republic, where the Irish people as a whole are in control of their resources, their services and the whole political, economic and social affairs of our country.
Mr Mc Laughlin concluded, “We urge people to take to the streets, and to begin the fight back. If our political elites and their system won’t give us what we need, and what are entitled to, then we must cast them aside and take it for ourselves.”