This week stood out for me more than most. I had the honour of having dinner with Rev Jesse L Jackson snr who was on a whirlwind tour to promote the Equality and Rights Alliance Roadmap campaign for a better equality and human right infrastructure in Ireland. I wasn't alone at the dinner as the steering group from ERA and Rev Jackson's support team were also there. Along with the dinner and his speech at the Dublin Castle conference centre the following day he helped enormously to raise the ERA profile.
The downside of all of this was reading the manifesto pledges from the political parties and finding no mention of the inequalities in Irish society and further any mention on how to fix the injustices that prevail. The Labour party was the exception to all of this.
Fine Gael manifesto
It seems that political parties will look at the economy and the health service, political reform of the Seanad/Dail and major things that affect the treatment of citizens but be completely blind to the inequality experienced in a number of key areas that are particularly relevant for the more marginalised in society. Poverty has been made worse by Fianna Fail/Greens budget cuts and they have created a society based on cronyism and the support of the party faithful, Reducing the minimum wage and trying over all to force down the wages of the lower paid is an absolute disgrace and politicians who signed up for this have no morality or integrity. Quote from the Rev Jackson.. “ The budget is a moral document”
Edit 17th February 2011 Davenport Hotel workers today were taken off roster for refusing to accept nearly a €1 less than they are currently getting on the old minimum wage. This is just the start.
Think about that line "The budget is a moral document" and then justify the cuts to carers, the minimum wage, social welfare, without commensurate taxes on the higher paid and those who can afford it, and most of all cutting out waste and duplication in the public sector Quangos, while leaving the Taoiseach still on a higher salary than President Obama.. A root and branch in depth look needs to be taken at how our taxation and social service system works because broad brush cutting is producing larger and larger numbers of socially deprived, trapped in poverty and more and more dependant on reducing state aid. What a waste of talent and a recipe for emigration, poor health and squalor.
Edit Monday 21st
The ERA full comparison of all the parties including the lack of equality policies in the FG manifesto