THIS week, Sinn Féin will bring forward a motion of no confidence in the Government. It is time for people in Cork to have their say, it is time for a general election.
Over the last two years, the Government’s majority has dwindled and they are now officially a minority government.
This has been a long two years of failings across the board, particularly in tackling housing, healthcare and now the cost of living.
We were already in a poor situation, thanks to the mishandling of the health service and the prioritisation of the private housing market by successive previous governments. This government came in and made a bad situation worse.
Ordinary workers and families in Cork pay a heavy price for these failures.
Last month, average house prices in Cork surpassed €330,000. Rents have risen rapidly and are, on average, now above €1,500. People simply cannot afford this.
Weekly, we see desperate pleas from overworked hospital staff trying to help people in Cork hospitals, we hear of people waiting years on end for basic medical treatment, and we are forced to watch as many of our brightest healthcare workers leave the health service because of work conditions.
In the midst of all of this, the cost of living crisis is now putting families under even more pressure, leaving people crying out for help.
Yet these cries are falling on deaf ears, with the Government still refusing an emergency budget.
It is fair to say that this Government haven’t just fallen short, they have failed miserably.
They have shown no imagination or initiative. They have tried to recycle expensive bad ideas, the very same policies that got us into this mess.
I was very proud to be elected to the Dáil by the people of Cork North Central in 2020. In those two years, I have watched closely as this Government have jumped from crisis to crisis, from scandal to scandal.
I have never seen this Government show the passion, innovation or empathy needed to lead us out of the crises people are facing.
You deserve more than this. You deserve more than a Government happy to tick boxes and make excuses.
You deserve a Government that is committed - committed to improving your quality a life, committed to improving our society and most importantly, committed to righting the wrongs of past government.
This Government are not willing to do that. They fall back on failed policies, failed excuses, and failed ideas.
Tomorrow, we will debate Sinn Féin’s motion of no confidence.
It will be over to TDs to decide whose side they are on.
On the front page of this paper on Saturday, we had a Government TD claiming that Sinn Féin are playing games, that we are wrong in trying to bring about the change people deserve.
People’s lives aren’t a game. People being crippled by the cost of living, by housing, by hospital waiting lists, aren’t laughing and they certainly don’t think this is a game.
People who want change, who want to feel like their Government care, aren’t fools. They see through these attacks for what they are - more attempts to hold onto power and to delay change.
This same Government TD just last week convened a meeting of fellow Fianna Fáil ‘backbenchers’ to discuss the failings by this Government, the fear that they have ringside seats to the worst government in history, and their even greater fear that when you are given your say, you’ll show them the door.
It is time for Padraig O’Sullivan, and for all government TDs in Cork, to ask whether they truly believe that this cobbled together, confused, out of touch government can truly deliver for people in Cork?
These are the clear-cut questions that each TD must answer and stand over.
The ball is in their court. This is the moment.
If they cannot answer this question, then they need to let the people decide.
People are ready for change, they are ready for a Government that puts them first. It is time to give them that.