Questions Ahern must answer
Only time can tell if the Dublin Government's decision to seek a
change in status for EU funding is a case of one step forward or
two backward. They have portrayed the step towards a
regionalisation process as a positive one and Sinn Féin more than
any other party has been an advocate of regionalisation in the
However the late inclusion of Kerry and Clare in the list of
counties still qualifying for Objective One Status smacks of
stroke politics and political opportunism.
Ever since the entry of the 26 Counties into the EU in 1973 the
approach of successive Dublin Governments has been the same. They
have sought to maximise the amount of EU funding flowing into the
economy regardless of any negative consequences or of the need
for a long term approach.to the effects this funding could have.
£6 billion payoff
The approach year in year out was to maximise the funding take
and play down any of the scares that funding might be decreased
In 1992, the whole campaign behind the decision to sign up to the
Maastricht Treaty and effectively move economic sovereignty to
the EU Central Bank in Frankfurt was based totally on the fact
that £6 billion would flow into the 26-County economy if the
people voted yes.
Now Bertie Ahern and his cabinet have taken the first faltering
steps towards recognising the need for a regional development
approach to the Irish economy.
Basic building block
Irish Republicans more than any other political grouping are in
favour of an empowered decentralised democratic regional
economies in Ireland. One of the core themes in Republican
economic philosophy is the belief that the community is the basic
building block in any economy.
Ahern must now be made to consider creating empowered local
government in Ireland. He must move to devolve economic power to
regions. He must put the community in control of their local
Development not dependency should be the philosophy adopted
towards the EU funds. Will they aid long-term economic
development or will they perpetuate economic dependency? In the
case of CAP funding they have created a dependent farming
community who now cannot exist without further subvention.
In their submission to the EU Commissioner Monika Wulf-Mathies
the Dublin Government stated that ``a revised regional structure''
will be needed to implement the plan. If the Dublin Government
really wants to make regionalisation be a positive experience
they have a lot of work to do.
Unions have a role to play in peace process
Sinn Féin National Chairperson Mitchel McLaughlin set an
important precedent last weekend when he was the first national
Sinn Féin official to be invited to speak at a SIPTU trade union
Speaking on ``Building the peace process through political action''
McLaughlin told the delegates at the Dublin Public Sector
Regional Conference that ``The Trade Union movement has a vital
role to play in ensuring the issues of economic equality and
justice'' are placed on the wider political agenda.
IBEC's employment plan19work.html
Sinn Féin have always believed that it is possible to create full
employment. The employers' group IBEC, in a labour market policy
paper, maintained this week that they too want full employment.
However the proposed IBEC route is a very different one to that
of Sinn Féin's. IBEC support Mary Harney's action plan of
coercing the unemployed into make work schemes and want the
IBEC also want the proposals for a minimum wage dropped along
with the working time time legislation and other progressive
It is possible that the IBEC proposals could create full
employment. However it would be an economy of exploited workers -
a form of modern slavery. It's time for IBEC to go back to the