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Labour Blog

We will make the recovery real in the lives of hard-pressed families - Gilmore

Posted on February 17, 2014 at 11:02 PM

Labour took the decision to go into Government to fix the crisis and to take on the worst economic storm this country has ever faced.

And now, thanks to the patience of the Irish people, we can report that our plan is working.

Jobs are being created again and confidence is growing. We are out of the bailout and able to shape our own future again.

In difficult times, Labour has made choices that mattered. We made the choice to protect core welfare rates. To restore the minimum wage. To put back in place the structures that protect the low paid. To take 330,000 people out of the USC net. Not to increase income taxes. To protect the weekly pension, and to keep the pupil-teacher ratio intact.

We built 2,700 classrooms, creating jobs and giving our children better places to learn. We found the money for a national children’s hospital. And we chose to put up taxes on wealth so that we could avoid higher taxes on ordinary incomes.

On May 23rd, we will all be asked to choose the councillors who will govern our city and county councils for the next five years, and we will choose the 11 MEPs who will represent the Irish people in the European Parliament. These are important choices.

The councillors we elect on May 23rd, will make decisions which will affect every local community. They will decide what will be built, and where it will be built.

And when we think back on our economic crash, and the property bubble that led to it, that bubble had its origins in the bad planning decisions made in council chambers in the 1980s and 1990s. The frenzy of land rezoning. The permissions to building housing estates on flood plains. They can all be traced back to decisions made in the council chamber.

For more than a century, Labour has an honourable and honest record in local government. Labour has an unrivalled record for good, sensible, planning, and the our Party can be proud that no Labour councillor has ever been found to have taken a corrupt payment.

We are now seeing signs of real recovery in Ireland. Recovery is about improving the life chances, and the living standards, and the quality of life of the hard-pressed families whose sacrifices made recovery possible.

That's Labour’s choice. And when Labour makes its choice it stays with it to the end. We made some difficult choices to make recovery possible. And now we are just as determined to make the choices that will make recovery real.

We have been through tough times. And we have had the strength to pull through. We have rescued our country from ruin. So, let us not let up now. We can now build that better, fairer Ireland. No, not overnight, because that is only the stuff of fairy tales. But bit by bit, day by day. Confident. Determined. And united.

Eamon Gilmore

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