Greens urged not to cave into establishment pressure to sign up to a regressive and conservative PfG

Hollywood glitz can’t mask a bad deal for people and climate

TDs from People Before Profit and RISE have urged the Green party members not to cave to establishment pressure by signing up to a regressive and conservative Programme for Government.

Richard Boyd Barrett TD said: “The driving factor in the historic vote on February 8th was the demand for radical change to address crisis’ in housing, health, climate and the cost of living for workers and families. This Programme for Government fails utterly to achieve any of this. It is nothing but a rehashed version of failed policies of Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil with a light green gloss. All the Hollywood glitz in the world cannot mask that fact.

“For example, on housing instead of breaking from the failed policy of relying on private developers and selling off public land it recommits to the Land Development Agency (LDA) which is nothing more than a vehicle for the privatisation of public land. The targets for social housing output are desperately inadequate and a continuation of existing policy and there’s also nothing concrete, tangible or radical to address the lack of affordable housing for working families and the extortionate cost of rents.

“There is also nothing in this for workers and ordinary families in terms of addressing low pay, the high cost of living and unaffordable childcare.”

Bríd Smith TD said: “Despite the spin the actual gains on key environmental issues are largely illusory in the PfG. It is clear that privately built LNGs using conventional gas will not be affected. It’s clear we will see nothing like a 7% CO2 cut in the lifetime of this Government nor really any challenge to the agri food policy that is determined by the interests of the Lary Goodmans and large corporate entities. Incredibly, the programme actually accepts the crazed plan for data centres that will burn up any increase in our renewable energy output while it is quietly accepting of the privatisation of our national  renewable energy resources by leaving its development to private finance and investment just as our national retrofitting schemes will be dependent on private companies for delivery.”

Gino Kenny TD said: “What is needed for this country to deal with historic overcrowding in our hospitals and have the capacity to deal with a potential second Covid wave is a single tier National Health Service where people can be treated based on their medical need and not their ability to pay. This pandemic has exposed the huge weaknesses and gaps in vital public services in health. We are overly reliant on private for-profit providers in our general health system but also in providing early childcare and elderly care. This fragmented, fractured privatised system has failed and must be changed.

“Already we have seen today that a number of hospitals across the country have no spare capacity because of non-Covid related healthcare returning. The decision to allow the extra capacity that we had be returned to the private sector is madness. It is also unbelievable that the government, having secured the services of amazingly brave healthcare staff, who answered the Call for Ireland, decided to give these workers essentially hire and fire’em contracts designed so that they could be thrown on the scrap heap whenever the government decides.”

Paul Murphy TD said: “The pressure being placed on the Greens to vote for a bad Programme for Government is incredible. It’s been reported today that Lorna Bogue was suspended as a member at the start of May for openly opposing the opening of coalition talks with Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael.

“Regardless of the pressure applied, the deal remains a bad deal for workers and for the climate. Grassroots Greens should resist that pressure in the knowledge that there is an alternative – to join with the eco-socialist left in campaigning for real climate action and to fight for a left government which would implement a socialist Green New Deal.”