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Sunday, November 30, 2008

Labour's third dimension to Ireland’s political future

David Begg General Secretary ICTU delivered a keynote speech on the economy where he said it wasn’t teachers or public servants for that matter who’d ruined the economy. A deal on pay agreed is a deal and that’s that. The public service wasn’t the wheel that had punctured to bring about the recession. I’ve always had a regard for David particularly because he left the communications workers union to head up Concern and this intrigued me because it is not the usual career path for a trade unionist. He always struck me as someone with a wider and more diverse view as a result. He’s someone I’d trust. He finished with a reflection on the neo liberal right’s triumph of the last 30 years and his doubts as to whether as someone who held social democrat views as to whether he could be wrong, David quoted Donald Rumsfeld when asked if he could ever be wrong said “I once thought that I was wrong but I was wrong to think I was wrong!”

Ciaran Lynch’s speeches are rapidly turning into a conference feature, Ciaran always brings along a prop, the first time I remember him he showed delegates a copy of the beano comparing it to the government’s poverty strategy today he had 3 soft toys emblazoned with letters, the type you give new born child to stimulate learning the alphabet. He drove home the message that ABC means Labours solution would to housing prices be affordable, buyer driven and cheap.

Senator Brendan Ryan nailed the government on the failure to implement the EPSON act. This piece of cynicism has completely shot of the radar. In the euphoria of the Special Olympics of 2003 the government gave a commitment that any child with a disability would have an educational plan that would set how they would achieve their potential. Now it seems Batt O’Keeffe is of the view that these children are an impediment to economic revival. Now wasn’t the Special Olympics that Bertie Ahern got booed at? That attendance was on to something, even then!

One delegate said to me that he’d noticed very little debate, I agree but maybe that’s because the solutions are simple and agreed. Last week Labour Youth released a statement calling for the bank’s to be nationalised, and now it seems to make more sense. Yes it may be the end of capitalism as I knew it and for my kids sake I won’t shed a tear. It’s an inferred compliment to Labour that FF has tonight issued press statement’s in opposition to Labour’s stand. Last week FF could rest assured in the knowledge that FG would back them and the greens on banking and if anything would cut even harder than what FF & the Greens were going to do. Labour will become a handful and take them for granted at your peril.

I lsitened to Eamon Gilmore on radio and his speech came across very well. Last year Eamon's first confernece was sadly cut short as his nother died. It was appropriate that he referred not just to her but her generation's values when he spoke tonight. the thing that struck was when he said he never thaought he was poor even though he was reared on a widows pension that got him a leaving cert and through college. I don't beleive as many childen are now so lucky, but that's not a parent's fault.

Good to meet up with Cllr's Keith Martin, Westport, Jan Rotte, Lismore and his wife Catherine, Des Cullen, Cavan and Ingrid O'Brien New Ross. Well done to Graham Ó Mhaoinaigh who was elected to the National
Youth Council over the week-end.

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