In the past éirígí has generally avoided singling out individual parties among the Stormont Coalition for criticism – choosing instead to address the collective actions and responsibility of ALL members of that Coalition in implementing Westminster’s austerity programme.
However, following the publication of the draft Stormont budget (largely agreed by Sinn Féin and the Democratic Unionist Party) it would be simply wrong not to highlight Sinn Féin’s abject failure to protect the interests of the most vulnerable in our society and indeed the interests of the working class generally.
The DUP has never claimed to be a radical or left-wing party. Sinn Féin, on the other hand, consistently presents itself as both radical and left-wing.
Far from being a radical all-Ireland party with radical all-Ireland policies, reality demonstrates Sinn Féin to be a partitionist party implementing conservative and reactionary policies.
That party’s endorsement of the Stormont budget proves the point beyond any doubt. As Sinn Féin leaders in the Twenty-Six County state present their party as a bulwark against austerity, their leaders in the Six Counties are actually implementing austerity. It is a party which selfishly seeks to sit in power for power’s sake, and not for the sake of making positive, meaningful change to the lives of the people which it claims to represent.
In the 26 Counties, Sinn Féin has made opposition to austerity their major campaign platform, promising to protect the vulnerable and the interests of Ireland, rather than accepting the demands of the Troika.
In the 26 Counties, Sinn Féin’s recent electoral growth was largely based on its apparent opposition to the Dublin government’s programme of austerity, including the slashing of public spending and public services, the raising of new and existing taxes and the targeting penalising of ordinary workers and the less well-off.
In the 26 Counties, Sinn Féin have been the most vocal critics of the Irish Labour Party whom they accused of selling-out the working class by implementing budget cuts designed and imposed by the Troika.
In the 6 Counties, well…. that’s where we see a totally different Sinn Féin, a party that too often accedes to demands of the British political establishment.
In the 6 Counties, Sinn Féin is a party that refuses to defend public services, that agrees to cuts to public services and embraces the privatisation of public services, a party whose ministers have closed dozens of schools.
In the 6 Counties, Sinn Féin is a party that sells out the working class by agreeing to and implementing hundreds of millions of pounds of budget cuts at the behest of the Tory Party in Westminster.
Sinn Féin in power in the Six Counties has much more in common with the Irish Labour Party in power in the Twenty-Six Counties than either would prefer to admit.
Joan Burton, Irish Labour Party, “we have little choice but to observe the conditions of the troika.” – Martin McGuinness, Sinn Féin, says cuts are, “Best deal possible”
Perhaps, they should both merge as one party and abandon their pretext of protecting working class interests, of being radical and of being left-wing.