The general secretary of the ICTU, David Begg, has warned the Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, that the EU-ECB-IMF Troika is using Ireland as a “social laboratory” for testing its economic policies. He pinpointed the fact that “all the talk of reform” ignored the actions of the banks that had sparked the crisis in the first place. “It occurs to a lot of people that reform is for the little people: it is not for the powerful.”
The social model that he claimed was at the heart of what he termed “the European project” was being “torn asunder” by the same neo-liberals whose appetite for deregulation had led to the present crisis. Describing Ireland’s banking and sovereign debt as an “unspeakable burden for us,” he warned that the Republic faced a “social catastrophe.”
He pointed out that the troika’s “economic laboratory” was using Ireland to test its economic policies—policies that were not “evidence-based.”
Thus far the official response throughout Europe had been to penalise working people by trying to cut wages and undermine protections that had been built up over many years.
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“The fact of the matter is that the drive behind this seems to be purely ideological. There is no economic or fiscal reason for making these changes to people’s incomes.”