By Ciarán Connolly
Monaghan Labour attend Anti-Austerity March

The Monaghan Labour branch attended the Anti-Austerity march that took place in the Dublin on November 24th. Organised by the Dublin Council of Trade Unions, the event brought almost 20,000 people onto the streets to give voice to their growing frustration and anxiety over Ireland's perilous financial commitments to bondholders and bankers and the European financial system. Though it was organised by the trade union movement it was open for community groups and volunteer organisations to attend and it is testament to just how deeply the cuts are biting that so many groups from all over the country felt they had to make the trip to the capital to make sure their voices were heard.

The Monaghan Labour branch does not accept that the current form of austerity being pursued by the government is the only option available. The targeted cut that the EU/IMF want does not dictate how the target is achieved. That is a political decision and this means that the government gets to choose who pays the price. Low and middle income earners must be protected in the next budget and there are carefully prepared and economically verified proposals from other groups on how this might be achieved in a fair and balanced way. Groups such as the Irish Congress of Trade Unions, Claiming Your Future and the Campaign for Labour Policies have come up with alternatives to the recent reductions to the incomes of low and middle income earners. These should be given careful consideration as austerity is nothing more that a form of slow economic and social suicide. It depresses demand in the economy which means the small businesses which provide so much employment around Monaghan are suffering. The Fine Gael led government can and must do better to keep these businesses open and to close the increasing gap between the rich and poor of this county and this country.