Privatisation – the rip-off of public resources


Throughout the world, public services have been under attack for the past twenty years. Forming a central plank of the capitalist globalisation agenda, ‘privatisation’ and ‘competition’ are the seemingly unchallenged dogma of modern capitalism. The levels of privatisation which have taken place worldwide are absolutely mindblowing. During the 1990s alone over $900 billion worth of public assets were transferred into private hands. Globally this agenda is pushed by the World Bank and the World Trade Organisation (WTO). The basic theory by which these bodies operate is that all decisions should be made on the basis of profitability alone.

Striking Bus Drivers or Climate Warriors? Notes on Ireland’s Eco-Transport Struggles


Could climate change become a catalysing force for radical social transformation in Ireland? Recent struggles around public transport in Ireland prompted me to think along these lines. Last weekend, Dublin Bus and Bus Éireann workers went on strike over plans by the National Transport Authority to tender out 10% of public routes to private operators. A few days earlier, SIPTU’s banner at Liberty Hall had been unfurled to state: ‘Say No to Privatisation; privatisation results in fare increase, reduced services, a threat to free travel, a bad deal for taxpayers and job cuts’. SIPTU and NBRU members and strike organisers have emphasised the damage privatisation will do to society, primarily concentrating on the loss of community services and the race to the bottom in bus drivers’ terms and conditions [1]. The striking workers deserve our support and their claims should be taken seriously. This is definitely the case when the regime media adhere to a deeply unimaginative line, loudly declaiming traffic disruption to an imagined city of angry consumers and silently accepting the hollowing out of public services [2]. At the same time, however, we also need to think about what’s not being said, about the words that don’t make it on to the papers or the banner.

Colm McCarthy's Fire Sale of Semi-States


The former chairman of the Special Group on Public Service Numbers and Expenditure (otherwise known as ‘An Bord Snip Nua’), UCD economist Colm McCarthy, is currently heading another cutting group, the Review Group on State Assets, which is looking into the fire-sale of state firms.

State enterprises such as the ESB, An Post, Irish Rail, Dublin, Cork and Shannon airports, (all owned by Dublin Airport Authority) 10 port companies, the VHI, TG4, RTE, Eirgrid, CIE, Bord na Móna, Bus éireann Expressway, Bord Gáis, HRI, RTÉ, utilities (like water and refuse collection, where provided through local authorities), and Coillte are being looked at.

Anger as Cork health workers fight on two fronts ...


Cork hospitals are under attack with major cuts planned ... Meanwhile Beacon Medical Group's planned 'Co-location' hospital in Cork draws closer. It would seem like high-time to call in the union and put manners on a few people but where is SIPTU's Joe O'Callaghan?

Sicko ... Coming Soon to Cork?


Sicko is the name of the new Michael Moore film exposing the US health service for what it is – a profit hungry machine that puts money first and people second. In the good ol’ US of A, if you don’t pay when you get sick then it’s tough luck. Beacon Medical Group is our very own Irish version of Sicko. They are the spearhead of Mary Harney’s new ‘co-location’ plan for the hospital service in Ireland and in January they submitted a proposal to build a large ‘private’ hospital on the grounds of Cork’s University Hospital (CUH) in Wilton.

An Post Staff to be Dumped in Deregulation?


An Post workers have been on the receiving end of a series of substantial blows which have held down pay rates and undermined rights with regard to status. The late 1970’s and early 1980’s saw strikes and protests by the workers to improve conditions, but recent years have seen management back on the offensive. The latest attack comes in the shape of “deregulation”, just another word for privatisation. If it isn’t stopped it’s going to impact on all of us for the worse.

The privatisation Aer Rianta


The state company which runs Cork, Dublin and Shannon airports is to be broken up if the government get their way. As it is one of the most profitable state firms, what is the reason for this privatisation? Is it good for air travelers, for airport staff, for the ordinary taxpayer, or just for a few rich friends of the government?

Dublin bus routes to be sold off


There is nothing wrong or "inefficient" in subsiding public transport. It's a lot cheaper to provide regular, dependable and affordable (or free!) buses and trains than to have even more car usage. More cars on the road means more road building, more road repairs, more traffic jams and more air pollution.

Bosses want to privatise buses and trains


= more profits for the bosses
= traffic jams, pollution and crap service for travellers
= worse pay and conditions for workers

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