Analysis from Workers Solidarity 1 (1984) of the National Plan that was put forward to get Ireland out of the 1980's recession.

The much talked about National Plan is now available for all to see. The State has made it clear who is going to pay for the present crises - the PAYE workers, the unemployed and the poor. A particular vengence has been preserved for public sector workers, who at the moment seem to be the governments favourite scapegoat.

On the Dole
Unemployment Benefit and Children's Allowances are to be taxed, food subsidies are to be wiped out altogether, local authority rents are to rise. All this will obviously affect the less well off.

As regards tax the much alluded to (by the government) burden on the PAYE sector has hardly been lightened. The government has shed crocodile tears for us. The 1% levy which was supposed to be temporary in the first place will be removed "as soon as resources permit". We are still left carrying the can while the farmers and bosses got off scot free.

There is no mention in the plan of the £500 million in profits which multinationals took out of this country last year. No attempt to tax it or any other profits is being made. The farm tax, on the admission of the farmers expect to be paying less in 1986 than they do at the moment. Another case of the government giving into the rich and powerful.

If you are unemployed you are likely to stay that way. On the plans own admission the government only expects enough jobs to absorb any increases in the labour force to be created. Those of us already on the dole can stay there. The state refuses to accept responsibility for creating real jobs. It will offer you more training schemes or 'part-time work at scab wages. We are all to be encouraged to set up our own businesses. Thus the responsibility for creating jobs ( and causing unemployment ) is thrown back onto the unemployed and away from those who actually create it in the first place.

There is to be no new recruitment to local authorities and health boards. This adds to the general ban already operating in government departments. As well as less jobs services are inevitably going to get worse. We can expect less nurses, less teachers etc., etc... as cuts become the order of the day.

Public Sector
Underlying the whole plan is the belief that Irelands lack of competitiveness is due to high wages. Again the responsibility is thrown onto workers for creating the countries problems. Public sector wages are going to stand still. The government have declared war on public sector workers. The workers must respond in an appropriate manner.

Interest Rates
On the plans own admission whether it works or not depends on American interest rates. If they rise the amounts we have to pay back to U.S. banks will increase. Thus the governments book balancing may not be worth the paper its written on.

This underlines the extent to which this country's fortunes are tied up with international capital and banking. The idea of national solutions to the recession is ridiculous in light of this. Capitalism is an international system which does not recognise national boundaries.

Fight Back
This plan is clear in its intention to cut the living standards of working class people. We must fight it wherever the government attempts to implement it. The lead must come from the public sector which is most heavily under attack. The workers there must resist rationalisation and cut backs. The miners have shown this can be done.

Thanks to Mark Harrison who transcribed the article for us from the PDF file of Workers Solidarity No1 published Nov 1984