The Greens must reject new austerity in Ireland

The new #Programmeforgovernment for Ireland is not the answer.

Four months after the General Election in Ireland, and following a long phase of negotiations, Fianna Fail, Fine Gael and the Green Party have finally come up with a #ProgrammeForGovernment.

As members of DiEM25 Dublin DSC we have read the new #ProgrammeForGovernment carefully, and we find it largely inadequate, misleading and dangerous.

It is inadequate because it does not get even close to the level of radical change that Ireland would need to address its current deep environmental and social crisis.

It is misleading because the few green “concessions” that are included mainly consist of a repackaging of commitments already made by the previous government — commitments that have not been honoured. For example, the 7% p.a. emissions reductions were already included in the Paris agreement.

Overall, the subtle use of policy jargon throughout the programme also frames seemingly progressive positions in terms of future “consideration”, “examination”, “review”, “assessment”, “committee to be established”, or goals to be back loaded after the proposed term of government.

The fee and dividend compensation that should come with a carbon tax, in order to make it a progressive, redistributive measure, silently disappeared — despite the Green Party championing this system recently during their last European election campaign in May 2019.

On the other hand, everything that appears to protect the vested interests of the Irish establishment (see Corporation Tax) is described in terms of clear “commitment”.

We also believe it is dangerous because it clearly opens the door to a new phase of austerity.

And there is no better way to bury mass consensus for environmental action than trading some marginal environmental promises on the expenses of the most vulnerable.

It is an act of perverse audacity to include expressions such as “Green New Deal” and a “New Social Contract” in a political programme like this one.

There is also a serious problem of lack of credibility with this potential future government. Politics is not only a matter of nice promises included in policy papers, it is above of all about the past records of those who make those promises and the vested interests they represent.

On both of these criteria the two historical establishment parties cannot be trusted, considering that Fianna Fail brought the country to bailout, and Fine Gael has transferred the cost of it to the most vulnerable.

Also, as members of a pan-european movement that aims to reform the European Union, and end the austerity era, let us stress the point that the ambivalent role played by the Irish government during the Eurobond debate (cosigning Conte’s letter to EU commission demanding Eurobonds, and then carefully avoiding being vocal on the issue at national and international level), has definitely not helped Ireland, nor Europe, to find a way out of the pandemic crisis.

For all these reasons we sincerely hope that the grassroots Greens are going to reject this deal, and push their party to work for new elections within a broad progressive coalition that really can bring to Ireland the change it deserves.

We also invite all those who want to contribute to a real grassroots led change, to join DiEM25 and the Green New Deal campaign for Europe!

Do you want to be informed of DiEM25's actions? Sign up here

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