The President of the Workers’
Party, Michael Finnegan, has said that the government should not forget the meaning of the term “social welfare”
in its quest to find money to fund the banking bailout.
Mr. Finnegan said that
social welfare existed as a safety net to protect people from severe poverty and to safeguard the social fabric of the nation
as a whole. He warned the government against seeing social welfare recipients
as a soft touch while those with massive wealth were left off scot-free because they are powerful and capable of defending
The Workers’ Party
President said that the reason the social welfare bill is so high is because of the huge number of people who have lost their
jobs and having already suffered a huge drop in income, they should not be targeted a second time because of their vulnerability.
“The best way to
make savings on social welfare”, said Mr. Finnegan, “is to get people back to work and the best way to get them
back to work quickly is for the state to engage directly in job creation because it does not have the luxury of being able
to wait on business to feel the economy is strong enough for them to create jobs”.
“There are plenty
of things that need to be done in this country. There are 100,000 families who
need to housed, there are schools which need to be repaired or upgraded. In the past in times of high unemployment public
works were always a means of giving people employment, there is no reason why this couldn’t be done again. A state construction company should be established or else local authorities funded to build houses directly.
Any cost involved in doing this will be recouped very quickly because these workers will be paying tax and those housed will
be paying rent. In addition any major project of this type would be an investment
in the future of our country in itself”.
“No doubt the government
and business will dismiss this as socialist dogma, but it is in fact commonsense” said Mr. Finnegan.
Issued 5th November 2009