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This proposal is a blatant attempt to whip up racial prejudice to divert our attention away from real problems like a crumbling health service, overpriced houses and prefab classrooms. All of these are the fault of government, not the small number of Irish children whose skin happens to be a different colour to other Irish born babies.
They want us to think the problems in the maternity service are caused by overcrowding as a result of 'too many babies'. But there has been a dramatic fall in the number of births in Ireland over the last twenty years. For example, there were 16,604 less births in 2000 than in 1982. The crisis in the health service is a result, of cut-backs, underfunding, and ward closures. 40% of births take place in 3 hospitals.
One of our busiest hospitals, the National Maternity in Holles Street, experienced a cut in income of 594,000 Euro between 2001 and 2002, which led to cut-backs in medicines, staff and heating. This referendum will do nothing to solve these problems. What is needed is cash for hospitals, not huge grants to rich horse owners. The government's plan, in the Hanly report, is that 10 more maternity units in nine counties will be closed.
Instead of blaming the greedy, selfish ruling class and their pals in Leinster House, we are supposed to take out our frustration on people with a different colour skin or a different accent. Even more unpleasantly, we are supposed to take it out on babies!
Our rulers get away with so much because they keep us divided. In the North they played Protestant off against Catholic, in the South Bertie and his friends want to play off White against Black. Instead of getting together with other working people to win improvements, we are supposed to be happy if we can blame someone worse off then ourselves. The bosses criminalise immigrant workers because they want a cheap and obedient workforce to do the less desirable jobs. This only benefits the rich, who care about nothing but their profits. An open immigration policy would benefit all Irish people because of the taxes those legal immigrant workers could be used to increase the budget for housing, education and health.
The best way to stop immigrants being used as a low pay workforce is to recruit them into our unions and win decent conditions and the 'going rate' for all workers. Sadly, because of capitalism, all children are not equal. A child born to a wealthy business owner has a much better start in life than one born to a shop assistant or security guard. The government wants to make this even worse. It wants to leave some children with no constitutional rights whatsoever.
It is a nasty proposal. You can send the government a message that we won't scapegoat the children of new arrivals so he can take the heat off his corrupt friends. Vote NO on June 11th.
The Workers Solidarity Movement is an anarchist organisation. We are working for a society based on economic equality and direct democracy. We want to end the division of people into bosses and workers, rulers and ruled; and create a socialist society where everyone affected by a decision can have a say in making that decision. For more information write to us at WSM, P. O. Box 1528, Dublin 8 | http://struggle.ws/wsm