A poll has confirmed the demand of the people of the 26 Counties for a political renewal following Wednesday’s humiliating vote by the Dublin parliament to cede control of economic decision-making to the European Union and the International Monetary Fund.
According to the latest MRBI for the Irish Times, approval for the coalition government has now hit a historic low of 8%, while support for Sinn Fein has doubled to 15%. Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams remains the second most popular leader in the State, second only to Labour leader Eamon Gilmore. The poll’s findings are in line with another carried out earlier this month by Red C for the Irish Sun.
On Wednesday, the Fianna Fail leadership, still refusing to hold court-ordered by-elections and surviving only through back-room deals with independents, forced its backbenchers to support the 85 billion euro bailout loan deal. The vote ensures the 26-County state surrender key fiscal powers to the EU and IMF until the loans are repaid.
The money will largely be used to sustain Ireland’s imploded banking system as well as plug the gaping hole in the annual budget deficit.
As the coalition faced accusations of treachery and betrayal, more government figures have said they are planning an early retirement.
Minister for Transport Noel Dempsey today followed Minister for Justice Dermot Ahern by announcing that he will quit politics at the next election. Prominent backbencher Beverly Flynn (formerly Cooper-Flynn) -- the subject of several ethics scandals, and daughter of the controversial former Minister and EU Commissioner Padraic ‘Pee’ Flynn -- also announced she was stepping down.
Sinn Féin Deputy Leader Mary Lou McDonald today called on the Taoiseach, Brian Cowen, to immediately come clean on the implications of the new planned EU bailout fund for Ireland.
She said EU leaders are now using Article 48 of the Lisbon Treaty to push through their new bailout fund and there are serious concerns about the implications of this approach for Ireland.
“Ireland’s experience of this fund to date has been that they are screwing us with exorbitant interest rates.
“They are now threatening new, strict conditions being attached to future financial assistance.”
Speaking in Cork today Gerry Adams said Sinn Féin now offered the only real alternative to “the failed conservative political consensus”.
“The Budget, cuts to social welfare and the minimum wage, the IMF/EU bank bailout — all would have been rejected by the people if they had their say,” he said.
“We need a General Election. But let nobody think that Fine Gael or Labour offer any kind of alternative.
“Both these parties are committed to implementing the Government’s cuts agenda. Both want to sack thousands of public sector workers.
“Only Sinn Féin proposes a better, fairer way to reduce the deficit and deal with the banks.
“Our alternative seeks to stimulate the economy, protect and create jobs and reform the tax system.
“We say any cuts should be targeted at the top of society — beginning with the salaries of Government Ministers, TDs, Senators and top civil servants.
“Here in Cork and throughout the state, people are responding in growing numbers to Sinn Féin’s message that there is a better way.”