Economy

On Their Nastiness and Ours - TV3’s People’s Debate with Vincent Browne & the water charges

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We woke this morning to the shocking news that “Gardaí were called to Clontarf Castle in Dublin last night where a recording of TV3’s People’s Debate with Vincent Browne was taking place” [1]. We are informed that the television debate “descended into chaos as two Government ministers were jeered at by anti-water charge protesters” [2]. According to the Minister of State and Labour party TD Áodhan O Riordáin, it was “nasty stuff” [1] [2].
 

We are winning the water war

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Our upcoming show of strength in Dublin on August 29th is going to be an absolutely huge gathering of people from all over the island to deliver a wholehearted 'No' to the Fine Gael/Labour government's plans to establish water charges.

"People should pay for the water they use" is a refrain we often hear from some suited up professional liar in the Dáil but it totally ignores the fact that we already pay for our water to the tune of 1.2 billion euros per year. How else would water come from our taps when we open them?

"We need infrastructure investment!" these politicians say. Yes, we do. So shouldn't the government be directing hundreds of millions of taxpayer money into repair, upgrade and maintenance work instead of setting up a company that has caused more leaks than it has fixed? Remember, when there is a water leak, Irish Water don't fix it, your local county council does.

A Non-Exhaustive List of Facts about Denis O'Brien

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The wealthy and their media would like us to be forgetful.

Here is a non-exhaustive list of facts about Denis O’Brien...

Denis O’Brien is a media baron.

Europe Forged in Crisis: The Emergence and Development of the EU - discussion with the author

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"Although the EU is not new, and its role in determining the economic and political development of Europe is both substantial and well established, critical analysis of the EU is sorely lacking. Most of what is written on the EU is uncritically liberal and focuses on diplomatic and legislative detail. What little critical literature exists often simply interprets the EU in terms of the function it plays for neoliberal globalization. When analyses of the EU go from what it does to the larger questions of what it is and why it exists, analysis often becomes completely un-rooted."

 

Europe Forged in Crisis: The Emergence and Development of the EU - discussion with the author Oisin by Workers Solidarity on Mixcloud

 

Save on Child Care: Smash the Patriarchy!

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Child-care in Ireland is so expensive because it is so undervalued. Only through care-workers’ collective withdrawal of labour will those who rely on us realise how vital our work is.

Across the European Union, childcare costs around 12% of a family’s income, but in Ireland, it accounts for over 35% [1]. Where does that money go? With most childcare employees on minimum wage, it isn’t going to ordinary care workers. At a protest outside Leinster House in February, 2015, the Association of Childhood Professionals estimated that there are around 25,000 people in the early childhood workforce on an average pay rate of less than €11 an hour [2].

We defend Public Transport! (Of Irish Rail and EU Privatisation)

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As Iarnród Éireann’s contract for operating train services is due to expire in 2019, the National Bus and Rail Union claims that it will vehemently oppose any move towards privatisation [1].

In recent months, the EU Commission has been pressing for changes which would see Irish Rail opened up to tenders from competitors [2]. The successful operation of the Luas by French company Veolia has convinced EU officials that there would be sufficient demand by other investors for the rail contract [2].

Irish Water fails EUROSTAT – we advance

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Eurostat, the EU statistics agency, will likely decide today that the Irish State’s spending on Irish Water will stay on the exchequer balance sheet. Since Irish Water has failed the market corporation test, money spent on it will be included in the annual deficit and national debt (as measured to meet EU austerity targets). This decision is likely to hold until 2017 [1]. It follows a European Commission report earlier this year which questioned whether Irish Water was ever likely to be self-funding.
 

Education for Emigration: 2015

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A letter accompanied a recent dole payment. It advertised a ‘networking and interview day for Irish Teachers DIRECTLY with UK schools’ (emphasis in original). The exclamation mark in the letter’s heading – ‘Teaching Opportunities in the UK!’ - illustrates neatly how readily, even enthusiastically the Irish state is prepared to export Ireland’s young people in order to preserve the status quo.

Greece votes OXI against austerity in referendum

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The plans of the EU leadership for an engineered 'soft coup' are in tatters given the likely size of the OXI victory. They won't be able to pretend its a society 'divided down the middle'. The opposition leaders they hoped would head up a caretaker government are instead now under pressure to resign as it appears every district in Greece is voting NO.

The Real Social Cost of the Rich's Debt Write-Offs

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The vast sums of our money that the state gave to Denis O’Brien are hard to understand. None of us are ever likely to see one million, short of winning the lotto, never mind 336 million, the amount written-off when O’Brien acquired Siteserv Group, Topaz Group and Beacon Private Hospital.

But here is a comparison that helps put the real cost in context. It’s been reported this week that a number of rape crisis centres may have to close because of escalating cash difficulties. These are caused by the loss of €240,000 in core funding. The state funding body Tusla explicitly claimed that the cuts had to happen in order to to make the best use of limited resources.

The three debt write-offs the O’Brien companies got are the equivalent of 1,400 years worth of that core funding. If Catherine Murphy’s Dáil allegation about the preferential interest 1.25% rate he was given are correct then that cost us 30 millions a year, which is around 125 years core funding for every year the loan is not repaid in interest terms alone.

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