Dé hAoine, Deireadh Fómhair 01, 2010

Jail the Bankers and Politicians, Not Protesters


Cathaoirleach éirígí Brian Leeson has said the arresting and charging of the protester who drove a lorry into the gateway of Leinster House exposes the stark contrast between the Twenty-Six County state’s treatment of bankers and those who dare protest against the bank bail-outs.

Joseph McNamara drove a cement mixer emblazoned with the slogans “Anglo Toxic Bank” and “Sack All Politicians” up to the gates of Leinster House on Wednesday morning and abandoned it, causing consternation among the establishment politicos attempting to enter the building.

Leeson said: “The speed with which this man was arrested and charged stands in stark contrast to the treatment of the bankers and wealthy business elite responsible for the economic crisis.

“He is not the first to be charged for opposing the bail-out of Anglo Irish Bank and others, the cost of which, according to the Central Bank, is now set to rise to a massive €50 billion [£43 billion]. In May, seven éirígí activists were arrested and currently await trial for offences relating to a protest at the headquarters of Anglo Irish Bank. Yet not one person has faced charges for their role in the banking crisis, further evidence that the institutions of this state act only in the interest of the business class.”

Leeson continued: “Ironically, the charging of this man coincided with Twenty-Six County finance minister Brian Lenihan’s announcement that a further €10-15 billion [£9-13 billion] is to be pumped into Anglo Irish Bank, Allied Irish Bank and Irish Nationwide Bank. According to Lenihan, he has ‘no choice’ but to do so and to slash even more than the previously suggested €3 billion [£2.6 billion] of cuts in the upcoming budget.”

“Lenihan’s claim that he has no choice but to impose these cuts is untrue. He could impose a wealth tax on the business elite and he could nationalise our oil and gas, a move that would bring tens of billions of euro into the public purse.

“However, true to form, Fianna Fáil have no intention of making the rich pay their fair share. Instead, they have taken a deliberate decision to make working class communities, low paid workers, social welfare recipients and the public health and education systems they rely on suffer in order to maintain the lavish lifestyle of the wealthy political and business elite in this state.”

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