An Alternative Programme for Ireland, 2020-2025
The Programme for Government which has recently been agreed between Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and the Green Party has come against the backdrop of an alarming global crisis. The global economy is predicted to contract by 3% in 2020, and the Irish economy is set to contract by 10.5%. The current government estimates that the economy may have contracted by 21% in April. Just under 30% of the adult population are currently classed as unemployed.
Meanwhile, the challenges which existed prior to the epidemic have not abated – Ireland’s total failure to prepare for or mitigate the looming climate crisis, and the 100,000 people on the country’s housing lists, to name just two. Ireland, almost unique amongst developed countries, has never developed real, added value, industries which provide decent jobs, and has never built a comprehensive welfare state.
Unfortunately, the Programme for Government which has been announced fails in any meaningful way to tackle these enormous challenges. It substitutes meaningful changes to democratize our economy with handouts for private business. Its housing programme continues to rely on profit-driven private developers, and its environmental programme is limited to agreement on targets, with no detail on how these will be met – or how meeting them will be done in a way which is socially just.
These limitations mean that, for the incoming Fianna Fáil – Fine Gael – Green coalition, the recovery from the crisis our country now faces will inevitably be one of austerity, or failing public services, and of unemployment and precarious work. This must be resisted. As with the 2008 banking crisis, austerity is not the only option. Indeed, far beyond its devastating social consequences, austerity has been a key factor in why the real Irish economy, and the wages of workers, have never recovered from the 2008 crisis.
The Workers’ Party’s Alternative Programme for Ireland (available to download here) sets out an alternative to this austerity, and to the ‘Business As Usual’ approach of the incoming FF-FG-Green coalition.