‘Our day will come’ – Tully
“While today was not our day to lead the government of change, our day will come and we will have the opportunity to not just to put forward ideas for change but deliver change in government.”
That was the view expressed by Cavan Sinn Fein TD Pauline Tully, speaking after the meeting of the Dáil at the Convention Centre last Saturday evening.
“It is very clear that this government does not reflect the type of change that so many people voted for. The State has been run for way too long by two parties who have always prioritised those at the top with workers and families having to pay the price,” she told the Celt, reacting to the formation of the new coalition government.
Deputy Tully contended that many big election issues such as housing, the health service, the cost of childcare and issues around the age at which you can claim your State pension were either “totally ignored or glossed over” in the programme for government.
She predicted: “Under this government, vested interests will continue to be protected and austerity measures will return with increases in taxes and cuts to services signalled after the first year of the Programme for Government, which is in no way acceptable to Sinn Féin. What is needed instead is a growth-led recovery, not more of the same as we experienced the last time that Fianna Fáil were in government.”
Deputy Tully said the new cabinet did not deliver balance from a gender or geographical point of view - “only four female Ministers and huge swathes of rural Ireland completely unrepresented, it is no wonder the Dept of Rural affairs was axed. There is also disappointment that the government didn’t see fit to include a representative from the North among the Seanad nominees. Ian Marshall was a valuable representative in the last Seanad.”
She echoed sentiments expressed by her party leader Mary Lou McDonald that Sinn Fein would provide tough opposition to the new government.
“We will hold the government to account and continue to campaign for the change that so many people desire. Mary Lou will outline our frontbench team later this week and there is huge talent and diversity among our 37 TDs. An effective opposition can achieve change, can bring forward solutions and can force the government to act. This is what we are going to do.”
Deputy Tully set out her top priorities going forward. “We will fight to protect ordinary people from shouldering the burden of this economic crisis. We will champion investment, stimulus and policies that grow our economy and strengthen our society. We will campaign for more affordable homes and good healthcare.
“We will strive for the introduction of childcare that won’t break the bank and the right to retire at 65 with your State pension. And we will pursue the government to begin planning for Irish unity,” she concluded.