Unions Call For Dublin Mass Demo

Ireland's congress of trade unions has called for a mass demonstration against the "harshest budget since the foundation of the State", this Saturday.

Speaking today, Jack O'Connor, President of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU) said the incumbent Government has promised the harshest budget since the foundation of the state as its "parting gift" to the people of Ireland.

Mr O'Connor said the recent bailout and financial crisis was the result of allowing speculators, bankers and developers to run riot, pillaging and ruining the economy.

"We are told the impending draconian budget is essential to convince investors in the bond markets to lend us the money to run the country. This is exactly the same as what we were told last year when a cut of €4 billion was inflicted. The proof of the pudding is in the eating. It doesn't work."

Mr O'Connor said that by including "useless" banking institutions in the credit guarantee scheme in 2008, the Government had "mortgaged the future" of everyone who lives in Ireland.

The ICTU president said that the stern budget was to placate the bond markets, but this strategy hadn't worked in the past.

"The bond buyers don't care whether we eat caviar for the next four years or starve to death. They are only interested in knowing how we are going to grow our economy so that we can pay them their money back. That cannot happen without a credible plan for investment and measures to promote domestic demand, instead of cutting it," he said.

Mr O'Connor's comments come in stark contrast to yesterday's recommendations from the International Monetary Fund, who recommended gradually reduced dole payments and a drop in the minimum wage in a new position paper approved by its lead negotiator in Ireland.

The measures, which also advocate that more resources be given to Fás, are contained in an IMF staff position note posted on its website yesterday.

Also this morning, Minister for Transport Noel Dempsey said the rescue package being applied for by the Government was "contingent" on the budget being approved by the Dáil on December 7th.

Speaking on his way into a Cabinet meeting at Government Buildings Mr Dempsey said "We don't have the luxury of time".

"We asked for assistance, we were given that assistance on the basis that we were going to produce this four year plan, that we were going to produce a budget, and that that budget would pass."


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