Left Government Needed – Not A Return Of FG/FF

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People Before Profit say, Left Government, not return of FG/FF, needed to learn lessons of Covid-19 crisis and bring about the fundamental change we need

Fine Gael/Fianna Fáil policies “dangerously undermined” health and other essential services and resources prior to Covid-19 crisis

In a statement Richard Boyd Barrett TD for People Before Profit, responding to the latest moves by FG/FF to establish a government said that, “a left government, not a return to power of FG/FF, is needed to learn the lessons of the Covid-19 emergency and bring about the sort of fundamental social, economic, and environmental change that it demands.

Deputy Boyd Barrett said that “decades of FG/FF rule prior to the Covid-19 outbreak had “dangerously undermined the capacity of our public health service and other key public resources and promoted a for-profit economic model that was now a real obstacle to tackling the current health emergency.”

Deputy Boyd Barrett urged all parties and independents of the left to renew their efforts to achieve a left government in Ireland and avoid repeating mistakes of the past by propping up an FG/FF government.

Deputy Boyd Barrett pointed to the fact that Ireland had among the lowest levels of ICU, hospital beds and GP cover in Europe entering into the Covid-19 crisis and a two tier semi privatised health system which significantly weakened the capacity of our health services and health workers to cope with emergencies of the sort now gripping the country.

Richard Boyd Barrett said: “A return of FG/FF to power will not only fail to give effect to the demands for change in the general election, it would also mean returning parties, whose misguided policies degraded the capacity and resources of the public health system and other key services which we need so badly in the crisis we now face.

“For example, prior to the crisis Ireland had 3.4 ICU beds per 100,000 of population whereas the EU average was 11.9.  Even Italy whose health services, are now overrun, had over 12 and countries like Germany had 34, a figure that rose to 50 as they prepared for the crisis.

“Despite having a huge pharmaceutical and medical equipment industry in this country, because it is run purely for profit, we are scrambling around for PPE for our health workers, lack sufficient ventilators and have failed to implement the sort of testing regime that we needed with now tragic consequences in our nursing homes.

“It is also, unbelievable, and frankly obscene that because much of our health service and vital health supply lines are run for profit, that we are now involved in protracted negotiations over money with private hospitals, consultants and private industry to secure the capacity and supplies urgently needed to save lives.

“We appeal to other parties and independents of the left to renew efforts to bring about a left government and the genuinely radical change that this government crisis confirms we urgently need rather than make the mistake of once again propping up FG/FF

“A left government that truly learned the lessons of the current emergency would, for example immediately establish a single tier national health service and bring all the private health and industrial capacity needed to resource that service, under public control.  It would also take the sort of truly radical measures on housing, climate change, childcare and workers’ rights that this government refuses to because of its addiction to the market system.”