DONNELLY HITS BACK AT BRADY FOR ‘NEGATIVE CAMPAIGNING’
Speaking in response to the announcement by the newly formed Social Democrats that the party would be willing to go into coalition as a minor partner with Fine Gael, Sinn Fein candidate for the upcoming election, Councillor John Brady, has said that “the last thing the people of Wicklow need is another Fine Gael TD in the form of Stephen Donnelly.” Deputy Donelly has responded by calling Cllr Brady’s remarks “fundamentally dishonest”.
“The social democrats allegedly came into being as a left leaning party claiming to offer the electorate an alternative to the current coalition. However, when they had the opportunity to align themselves with similar minded parties through the Right2Change initiative they refused. Now they are saying they will support Fine Gael in a future coalition arrangement,” said Cllr Brady.
“It is absolutely clear now that Stephen Donnelly and his crew are willing to break their word before the election even takes place. Donnelly wants to support a government party who have given tax breaks to the rich, refused to invest in public services, overseen a surge in rural crime and refused to address a spiralling housing and homeless crises. In 2011 three Fine Gael TDs were elected to this constituency, all three of them along with the Labour party TD and Stephen Donnelly himself supported the decision to reduce services at St Colmcille’s Loughlinstown; the consequences of which are now being played out in the corridors of St Vincents.”
Councillor Brady went on to suggest that Stephen Donnelly and the Social Democrats need to look up the definition of Social Democracy: “Fine Gael have made it clear that their priority if returned to office would be to abolish the Universal Social Charge to benefit the rich; effectively reducing tax revenue by an astonishing four and a half billion euro, monies that could be used to invest in the very public services which have been battered by Fine Gael, Fianna Fail and Labour. Policies like these are the antitheses of social democracy yet Stephen Donnelly is obviously prepared to support Fine Gael on this and other issues including the continuance of Irish Water; which Donnelly has previously said should be abolished.
“A vote for Stephen Donnelly and the Social Democrats is quite clearly now a vote for Fine Gael which threatens a return to the failed unfair and destructive policies of the last five years. Wicklow deserves to benefit from a fairer recovery, the last thing we need is another Fine Gael TD in the form of Stephen Donnelly.”
Hitting back, Deputy Donnelly told Wicklow Times, “The claims being made are, in my opinion, fundamentally dishonest, and do not befit someone seeking election to national parliament. The Social Democrats have no intention of propping up any government, regardless of who leads it. We have laid out an ambitious vision for Wicklow and for Ireland, championing a vibrant, inclusive society, backed by a strong economy that supports Irish businesses. We have launched a detailed manifesto, laying out our priorities for the next ten years.
“There are many reasons not to go into coalition with Fine Gael. There are just as many not go to into coalition with Sinn Féin, Fianna Fáil or Labour. The Social Democrats have stated that we are not ruling anything out. Why? Because we are focused on getting as many of our candidates elected as possible, in order to champion a stronger, fairer, more prosperous and more equal Ireland. Because we are not a party of protest. Because if we all believe we are too pure to do business with anyone else, then nothing will ever get done.
“The policies laid out by the Social Democrats include protecting the tax base in order to invest, and to protect Ireland against future global economic shocks – shocks that are looking more and more likely to hit us. Eliminating the USC, as FG propose, would wipe E4bn to E5bn off the tax base – we believe this should instead be invested in supporting business, in communities, in housing and in public services like healthcare and education. We advocate putting money back in people’s pockets by reducing the costs of living, in areas like childcare, insurance, water charges and energy.
“Cllr Brady’s claims are hollow, as everyone knows. Voters in Wicklow aren’t interested in this sort of negative campaigning – they want to know what each party’s vision and priorities are. We in the Social Democrats have laid out ours, and they are being very well received in Wicklow – perhaps Cllr. Brady should do the same.”