August 31, 2014 1 comment

(SEE ALSO on this Blog:  Tax Evasion by Irish Rich    http://wp.me/pKzXa)

Shocking Budget For The Rich and Attacks on U. S. Working Class Proposed by Trump

Bernie Sanders: Republicans step up their assault on working-class America

Last Updated: Monday, October 16, 2017, 13:44

After failing to pass a “healthcare” Bill that would have thrown up to 32 million Americans off of health insurance, a Bill that was more unpopular than the Wall Street bailout, Donald Trump and the Republican leadership in congress are back. Now, they are pushing one of the most destructive and unfair budget and tax proposals in the modern history of our country – a plan that would do incalculable harm to tens of millions of working families, our kids, the sick, the elderly and the poor. The Republican budget, which will likely be debated on the floor of the US Senate this week, is the Robin Hood principle in reverse. It takes from those in need and gives to those who are already living in incredible opulence. Trump and Republican leaders claim their plan would provide a “big league” tax cut for the middle class. Nothing could be further from the truth. According to the non-partisan Tax Policy Center, by the end of the decade, nearly 80 per cent of the tax benefits of the Republican plan would go to the top one per cent and 40 per cent would go to the top one-tenth of one per cent.

While the Republicans want to give a $1.9 trillion tax break to the top one percent, they are proposing massive cuts in programmes that working-class Americans desperately need.

This budget cuts Medicaid by more than $1 trillion over 10 years – which would throw some 15 million Americans off of the health insurance they currently have. Further, this budget does what the Republicans have not yet attempted to do in their previous healthcare legislation and that is to make a $473 billion cut to Medicare, despite Trump’s campaign promises not to cut these programmes.

Poll after poll after poll tells us that the overwhelming majority of Americans do not want congress to cut Medicare or Medicaid and they do not want to provide tax breaks to the wealthy or large corporations.

A recent Pew Foundation poll found that 85 per cent of Republicans and 94 per cent of Democrats want to either maintain or increase funding for Medicare. And 60 per cent of Americans oppose slashing Medicaid, according to a recent Quinnipiac poll.

A recent Wall Street Journal and NBC poll found that only 12 per cent of the American people believe the wealthy should receive a tax cut; while 62 per cent believe the wealthy should pay more in taxes. Why are the Republicans bringing forth such an absurd budget that, in almost every instance, is diametrically opposed to what the American people want? The answer isn’t complicated. Follow the money.


Today, we have a corrupt campaign finance system that enables multibillionaires, along with some of the most powerful chief executives in America, to contribute many hundreds of millions of dollars to elect Republican candidates to represent their views. As a result, the top one per cent has been able to rig the political system to favour them at the expense of virtually everyone else.

Here are just a few examples. The Republican budget would give the richest family in America, the Walton family of Wal-Mart, a tax cut of up to $52 billion by repealing the estate tax – a tax that only applies to multimillionaires and billionaires. But, if you are a lower income senior citizen you and more than 700,000 other families may not be able to keep your home warm in the winter because of a cut of about $4 billion to the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program. This budget says that if you are the second-wealthiest family in America, the Koch brothers, you will see a tax break of up to $33 billion. But if you are a working-class student trying to figure out how you could possibly afford college, your dream of a college education could evaporate along with 8 million other students because of more than $100 billion in cuts to Pell Grants and other student financial assistance programmes.

This budget gives members of the Trump family a tax cut of up to $4 billion, but if you are a low-income pregnant woman you and 1.2 million new mothers, babies, and toddlers may not be able to get the nutrition you need thanks to a $6.5 billion cut to the Women, Infants, and Children programme. What is alarming is that despite this incredible giveaway for the billionaire class, the Koch brothers and their network say that it’s not enough.

When David Koch ran for vice-president under the Libertarian Party in 1980, he advocated not just to cut Medicare and Medicaid, he wanted to abolish these programmes. He didn’t just want to cut taxes for the wealthy he wanted to eliminate all forms of taxation. At a time when the middle class is shrinking and over 40 million Americans are living in poverty, this budget must be defeated and replaced with a plan that reflects the needs of the working families of our country, not just the wealthy, the powerful and large campaign contributors.

Bernie Sanders is a US senator and sought the Democratic presidential nomination in 2016

Guardian Service


Budget 2018- Dáil Eireann Tuesday 10th October 2017  Deputy Seamus Healy:

 Fine Gael, Fianna Fail and The Independent Alliance are determined to Protect the incomes and Assets of the Super-Rich from Fair Taxation at All Costs-That is why the Crises in Housing and Health are set to Continue  after this Budget .Government has ignored calls from ICTU, St Vincent De Paul Society, Focus Ireland, and 31 TDs to Formally Declare a National Housing Emergency. Reasonable persuasion has failed. It is time for Action on Streets.

“Today’s budget is shamefully inadequate, given the extreme crisis in housing and health and the need to restore cuts in welfare, disability provision, public service pay and pensions and many other areas. Some might say today’s budget is a missed opportunity, but not so.

It is, rather, a conscious decision, a conscious and deliberate policy, by Fine Gael, the Independent Alliance and Fianna Fáil to protect the massive increase in wealth of the Irish super-rich from fair taxation and to make further tax concessions to them.

Prudent budgeting does not require limiting of spending to the shamefully low figures in today’s budget. The European Union fiscal treaty does not require it either but it does not forbid extra revenue-raising, provided it is recurrent. Significant additional income could have been raised if the Government was prepared to make the super-rich pay their fair share of taxation.

Here are the facts. On GDP per head, Ireland is wealthier than Germany, the United Kingdom, the United States, France and Italy. Overall, Ireland is ranked eighth in the world. The richest 12 in Ireland have €50 billion in total assets, having gained €6 billion in the last year alone. The top 300 have €100 billion, having gained €12 billion in the last year alone. The financial assets of the top 10% are €37 billion above the peak boom levels of 2006. The top 10,000 of personal income recipients have incomes totalling €6 billion per year, or average incomes of €600,000 per year each, and they have received the full benefit of income tax and USC reductions in the last two budgets and again today. The top 5% of all income recipients, on average incomes of €180,000, have received income tax and USC reductions in the last two budgets totalling €172 million. Today, they again benefit to the full from income tax and USC changes. Today, again, the fabulously wealthy will escape any additional imposition on their massive and growing wealth. In fact, they get €90 million out of today’s budget.

This is a regressive budget. The Society of St. Vincent de Paul in its pre-budget submission correctly stated that Government policy has created an unequal nation. The society stated that the top 1% increased its share of income by 20%, but the share of income of the bottom 50% has fallen by 15%, and one in four one-parent families lives in consistent poverty. Government policy is shameful, cruel and anti-human. It makes the British landlords of old appear like charitable figures by comparison. There is one simple explanation. Fine Gael, the Independent Alliance and Fianna Fáil are determined to protect the Irish super-rich from fair taxation.

First, tax and USC relief on the top 10,000 income recipients should be withdrawn, giving a saving of some €10 million. Instead, a higher marginal tax rate should be imposed on all individual incomes over €150,000 per year. A wealth and assets tax must be imposed on the super-rich while protecting small property owners. Skilled Department of Finance accountants will have no difficulty in sourcing three times the revenue the State is collecting solely by extra taxes on the super-rich. For example, the wealthiest 12 would hardly miss €1 billion out of the €6 billion they have gained in the last year alone and the top 10% of financial asset holders would hardly miss €1 billion from the €35 billion above what they had at peak boom levels in 2006. These measures would transform the Government’s ability to spend on housing and health, but the Government and Fianna Fáil are protecting the super-rich.


Housing and Homelessness


Today is world homelessness day. The proposals in this budget in respect of housing are scandalous. The Government’s policy of relying on developers and the market to solve the housing emergency has been a disaster for families, yet this policy is continued in today’s budget, again showing the support by Fine Gael, the Independent Alliance and Fianna Fáil for the rich and powerful in our society. There is no change in housing policy in this budget. Not a single addition house will be built as a result of the budget proposals. The Government is persisting with its disastrous housing policy and, outrageously, it is continuing to evict families from their homes into a horrendous housing crisis through the banks it itself owns, Allied Irish Banks and permanent tsb. The Government policy of reliance on the market has created a housing emergency, rising homelessness, rising non-affordability and rising rents. The conscious decisions by successive Governments to outsource house building to a profit-dominated, land-speculative, developer-led market has created homelessness and deaths on our streets. The market system has failed and is entirely dysfunctional. Hundreds of thousands of citizens are affected and large numbers of children are being damaged.


Over 90,000 families languish on local authority housing waiting lists, a figure that has doubled since 2005.More than 20,000 families are on housing assistance payment schemes. This is a disaster for the families and a bonanza for the landlords. Families are paying rent to the local authority and significant top ups to landlords and at the end of the week, the families do not have two cents to rub together. An illness, a death, a first holy communion or a confirmation can drive them into debt and into the hands of moneylenders. Many more thousands are homeless. Currently more than 8,000 people, including some 3,000 children, are homeless. Many more are homeless who are sleeping on couches or doubling up with relatives. The proposals for housing in the budget are cruelly inadequate. We must have a housing policy change. We need a declaration of a national housing emergency. We must stop the voluntary surrender of homes, the so-called voluntary sale of homes, repossessions and evictions. We need a major, emergency, local authority social and affordable house building programme. This would be a win-win situation for all with additional jobs, less social welfare payments and more income tax. We also need to repeal the law that allows vulture funds and purchasers to evict sitting tenants.

The only explanation for the housing debacle – as I have already said – is the determination of Fine Gael and the Independent Alliance, supported by Fianna Fáil, to put the interests of the Irish super-rich above all else. These parties have opposed the formal declaration of a national housing emergency. Under the constitutional articles in respect of private property, the formal declaration of a housing emergency by the Oireachtas would enable legislation to be passed that would end evictions, freeze rents and provide for the compulsory purchase of land and buildings. The Government has already used emergency legislation to confiscate private property through the Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest Act 2015, but when the property interests of the super-rich are at stake, the Government refuses to act.

National Demonstration/People Power

Through mass action on the streets, we forced the Government to retreat on water charges. We must do the same on housing. I will be calling a meeting of the 31 Deputies who voted in support of my amendment to the housing Bill last December. That amendment called for the declaration of a housing emergency. I will ask Deputies to call a national demonstration to force a change in housing policy. The Government has ignored the calls made by the Irish Congress of Trade Unions, Focus Ireland and other advocacy groups to declare a housing emergency and to build sufficient public homes to rapidly reduce homelessness and the local authority waiting lists. I will ask all those bodies to join a national demonstration. Reasonable persuasion has failed. The Government has refused to listen and the time for talking is now over. It is time to take action.

Health Services

What does the Taoiseach’s republic of opportunity look like for people who need to use our health services? It means 675,000 people on hospital waiting lists. Today, there were 514 people on hospital trolleys. In my town of Clonmel, in 2011 there were 750 people on trolleys in South Tipperary General Hospital – the year the last Fine Gael and the Labour Party Government came to power – and in 2017 that figure will be 7,000 people. We have huge waiting lists for various services. Urgent cases in urology services will be called in 48 months. That is four years. People are waiting two years for audiology services, anything up to four years for orthopaedic services and up to two years for cataract operations. Families waiting on assessments for children who have a disability, and who by law are entitled to assessment within three months of referral, are now being told they must wait for two years. Home helps and care assistants are run off their feet providing the 45 minutes of care in people’s homes. It goes on and on.

Today’s budget made no mention of the funding for the Sláintecare programme. We have been told that to provide the same level of service in 2018 as in 2017, including the requirements for demographic changes, would cost €900 million. Today, the health budget was allocated €685 million.

Disability Services

The disability community is bitterly disappointed tonight as its 643,000 members have been sidelined again with a very minor increase of around €15 million. There was no mention whatsoever of the ratification of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. To add insult to injury, in today’s budget we were told that the Taoiseach’s media quango, which was supposed to cost the State nothing – zilch – is going to cost €5 million. This will be used to spin, to gild the lily and to tell us half-truths. The health service also has a pay apartheid where young nurses are paid less than colleagues who work alongside them while doing the same work.

Mental Health Services

The mental health services remain the Cinderella of the health service. A Vision for Change, published way back in 2006, is still not funded, resourced or staffed. Community-based teams are a shadow of what they should be under the Vision for Change programme. There are not enough nurses, medical staff or paramedical staff. In my county of Tipperary, services have been completely decimated with inpatient services transferred to Kilkenny and to Ennis. The community-based services, which were supposed to be of Rolls Royce standard to compensate for the transferred inpatient services, are a shadow of the previous services. They are under-funded and under-staffed.

Mental Health Reform said tonight that “We are deeply concerned that essential mental health services will not be in place for people in mental distress who need them, and that new developments including expanding access to out-of-hours mental health services will not be possible”. They are deeply disappointed that a promised €35 million has transpired to be only €11.3 million. It was pointed out recently that a €65 million increase would be needed to maintain existing services and to provide for demographic changes.

Social Welfare

While any increase is welcome, the social welfare increases are paltry. An increase of €5 per week will not come into effect until the last week of March 2018. These increases will be wiped out by already announced and future increases in electricity, gas, rents, bin charges, health insurance, car insurance and cigarettes.

The treatment of children in this budget is absolutely despicable and an insult. There is no child benefit increase at all. There is a €2 per week increase for the dependent child allowance. This is in the context of 3,000 children who are homeless and 132,000 children living in consistent poverty. This is 11.5 % of the total child population.

Indeed, Barnardos stated tonight that these increases are unacceptable. We should have done a lot more for the children of the nation who we are supposed to look after, given that one in four one-parent families lives in consistent poverty. The organisation, One Family, stated tonight that it is disappointed with the proposals and that much more must be done to lift one-parent families out of Government-created poverty.


State Pension – Women – Age

There were two other areas in the social welfare budget that the Government should have addressed as a matter of urgency. It has been asked to address these matters urgently by Members on all sides of the House. I refer to the State pension for women who took time out to look after and rear families and now find themselves with zero or reduced pensions. It is time to ensure that the changes introduced by Deputy Burton when she was leader of the Labour Party are reversed and that those women get proper State pension payments. I refer also to the age at which pension entitlements accrue. It has gone to 66 and will go to 68. There is even talk of it going to 70. That should be reversed and the age should revert to 65. If individuals want to work beyond 65, it should be optional. Certainly, however, the pension age should revert to 65.


Turning to education, while the reduction in the pupil-teacher ratio from 27:1 to 26:1 is welcome, we continue to have the second largest class sizes in Europe. Only the UK has larger class sizes. The average pupil-teacher ratio in Europe is 20:1, which shows how far we have to go. School communities and parents will be deeply disappointed that the capitation grant has not been increased. There is huge pressure on parents to make payments to schools, to run cake sales and draws and to otherwise support schools. Capitation payments must be increased.


The mark of this budget is the fact that AIB and permanent tsb, two banks which we, the people, bailed out, will now be tax free for another 21 years. That is absolutely unacceptable. As someone else said, this is a budget of bits and bobs. There is nothing substantial in it for ordinary families or, indeed, public services. It is a budget for the wealthy at the expense of public services, those who are homeless, those seeking housing and those who are patients in our hospitals.”


Seamus Healy T.D.

Tel 087 2802199




Almost 22,000 Irish People Have Incomes Between 200,000 Euro and 2 million Euro Per Year!!!-Minister for Finance

They All Got The Same Tax Relief as a Person receiving 70,000 Euro per annum in the last two budgets

According to the Sunday Independent Rich List, the estimated wealth of the country’s 300 richest people has increased by over €12bn to €100.03bn on last year’s numbers. The Richest 12 gained 6 billion of this.It was was a Tax Free Gain



But why did they not tell us before that 3,334 persons in the private sector earn more than the current salary of top RTe earner Ryan-Tubridy on Euro 495,000?

PQ Reply By Minister For Finance Michael Noonan to Seamus Healy TD

After Budget 2012


Between Euro  200,000 per year and over 2million per year   Number of Income Recipients=    21,864

Top 10,000 have average income of 595,000 per year

Top 10,000     Total Income per year= €5.959Billion   Average Income per year   €595,900

Number earning over   0.5 million= 3,334

Number earning over  €1 million=657

Number Earning over  €2 million=120




Extracts from Irish Independent 29/06/2017

Tax cuts for hard-working families will trump social welfare increases in next year’s budget, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has indicated.. . 

The Taoiseach is “determined” to find money for tax cuts in the next budget but is “not sure” if it will be possible to increase weekly payments for people with disabilities and carers.. . . 

However, in the clearest sign yet of his plans for Budget 2018, Mr Varadkar said the Government would “find some space to increase the take home pay of two million people who work really hard in this country, who get up every day, go to work, pay the taxes that make everything else possible”.. . . 

Mr Varadkar also revealed that the Government was considering cutting current public spending in certain areas to free up cash. The Taoiseach questioned whether existing spending programmes represent the best use of resources.. . . 

“If 1pc or 2pc of that could be re-allocated, we would have another billion. This is the hidden ‘fiscal space’.. . . 


The worth of the 300 wealthiest people in Ireland has hit €100bn, following a bumper year for property, bonds, stocks and other assets.

The greater part of the wealth of the these ultra-rich is usually in investments or financial assets. This means that there no tax of any kind on over 50 billion of these assets

According to the Sunday Independent Rich List, the estimated wealth of the country’s richest people has increased by over €12bn to €100.03bn on last year’s numbers. The total was boosted by some significant gains in the tech sector.

According to estimates, well-invested portfolios of wealthy individuals were up by 8pc or more last year, with the MSCI World Index, a global measure of stock exchanges, up 8.15pc by the end of 2016. Several asset classes grew more than this, particularly some tech stocks. 

Of the top 300, the top 12 has as much wealth as the other 288!!!

The Top 12 have more than  50 billion in assets !!!!!

Surely they could be required to pay a few billion to the state in tax each year?


Worth of Ireland’s top 300 wealthiest soars above €100bn

Significant gains for the super-rich in Sunday Independent Rich List

According to estimates, well-invested portfolios of wealthy individuals were up by 8pc or more last year’ Stock photo

Samantha McCaughren Business Editor, Sunday Independent

April 2 2017 2:30 AM

The worth of the 300 wealthiest people in Ireland has hit €100bn, following a bumper year for property, bonds, stocks and other assets.

According to the Sunday Independent Rich List, the estimated wealth of the country’s richest people has increased by over €12bn to €100.03bn on last year’s numbers. The total was boosted by some significant gains in the tech sector.

One of the most noteworthy performances came from Limerick brothers John (26) and Patrick (28) Collison, the founders of payments company Stripe. Last year, their wealth was estimated to be €1.38bn. But both brothers became billionaires in their own right since then, when Stripe’s latest fundraising gave the company a $9bn (€8.4bn) valuation. The Collisons are believed to now hold at least 12pc each, making John the youngest self-made billionaire in the world.

Others to have joined the list of billionaires include Eugene Murtagh of insulation maker Kingspan, which has enjoyed a share price increase of more than 25pc since early 2016. His holdings are now worth around €900m, while he has other assets.

Paul Coulson, chairman of packaging giant Ardagh, also saw a significant boost to his wealth following the flotation of the company on the New York Stock Exchange. His stake is now valued at €1.5bn, significantly higher than the previous estimate.

The Mistry family top the rankings once again, with a total wealth of €15.4bn. Pallonji Mistry (87) is a reclusive Indian tycoon with an Irish passport, and is married to Dublin-born Patsy Perin Dubash.

The wealthiest Irish-born individual is Denis O’Brien, a shareholder in Independent News & Media, publisher of this newspaper. His wealth is estimated to be €4.9bn.

There are 12 new entries, including James Murphy, whose health and beauty products company Lifes2Good sold its hair business to US corporation Church & Dwight for €150m.

According to estimates, well-invested portfolios of wealthy individuals were up by 8pc or more last year, with the MSCI World Index, a global measure of stock exchanges, up 8.15pc by the end of 2016. Several asset classes grew more than this, particularly some tech stocks.

While 2017 got off to a good start, concerns are emerging about the impact US president Donald Trump’s policies will have on the world economy.


Ireland gains 5,000 millionaires in 2016 as asset values rise-Wealth Report 2017

Looking specifically at Dublin, the report shows that the city is now home to a third of Ireland’s millionaire population, at 28,200, and 1,060 multimillionaires.(below)

But  Bertie’s Boom-time  Adviser and Progressive Democrat Founder, Gerard Howlin,  Advocates INCREASED TAXATION of the OLD and the LOWLY PAID-Irish Examiner (further down)

Number of Irish Millionaires Increases by 5,000 in 2016

Fiona Reddan    Irish Times

Last Updated: Wednesday, March 1, 2017, 00:01

Almost 5,000 Irish people became millionaires last year, thanks to a combination of rising asset and property values.

And the rich are going to continue to get even richer – according to the Wealth Report 2017 from estate agent Knight Frank, which says some 24,900 more Irish people will be millionaires by 2026.

According to the annual report, there were 83,100 dollar millionaires – with investable assets of more than $1 million (€950,000), excluding their homes – in Ireland last year, up by 6 per cent on 2015.

The number of multimillionaires with over $10 million jumped by 160 to 2,760, while 50 Irish people entered the hallowed realm of the “ultra-high net worth” (over $30 million). That club now has 890 members.

There were, however, no new Irish billionaires last year, with the figure staying static at five. In the 10 years between 2006-2016, the number of Irish with “ultra-high net worth” grew by 25 per cent.

Looking specifically at Dublin, the report shows that the city is now home to a third of Ireland’s millionaire population, at 28,200, and 1,060 multimillionaires.

Some 370 ultra-high net worth individuals now live in Dublin, up by 6 per cent on last year, and this figure is expected to grow by 30 per cent to 481 by 2026 .


As a comparison, Paris has 110,900 millionaires, Berlin has 32,800, Brussels is home to 34,700 millionaires, while Buenos Aires has just 15,400.

Overall, the study shows there was a modest rise in the global population of ultra-wealthy people in 2016, reversing last year’s decline. The data is compiled by market research firm New World Wealth.

However, it is not just the rich that are seeing their situation improve. Figures from the Central Bank show household net worth increased by 3.9 per cent in the third quarter of 2016, with average Irish household wealth now standing at €141,427, largely on the back of rising house prices.

GERARD HOWLIN: Our tax base is too narrow to support our spending profile

Irish Examiner   Wednesday, March 01, 2017

With income tax we are dangerously out of kilter with the tax norms of countries we want to emulate, writes Gerard Howlin

“YOU can’t have a champagne lifestyle on a 7-Up budget son” was well-meant but astringent advice given years ago by a builder, who was doing a job for me. I had lost the run of myself, and he administered a dose of reality.

I can testify that he did a good job — a job that lasted. Regrettably, the days of being addressed as “son” are past. OAP status is still far away, but it’s eerily nearer now than the first flush of youth.

Interesting then to see that from today Simon Harris, the health minister, is reducing prescription charges for over-70s with a medical card by 50c per item from €2.50 to €2 as promised, and the monthly maximum regardless of the number of items from €25 to €20. That’s more like 7up than champagne for sure. And what sort would you be, if you begrudged it? It’s not like the health system has the money, but that doesn’t seem to matter. It will benefit 390,000 people 50c at a time.

From next week, a €5 per week increase in the old age pension kicks in for all pensioners, regardless of income. It’s interesting to look at the difference in tax paid by the old, compared to under-66-year-olds.

Dr Donal de Buirléir of publicpolicy.ie points out that on €20,000 a single pensioner pays €535 less in tax per year. That excludes PRSI, because they don’t pay any. For a married couple over 66, on a joint income of €36,000, the differential rises to €4,716. Their income is effectively tax free.

It’s not champagne, but it’s a lot of return in terms of State services, from health to public transport, all of which require investment, and which the old depend on more. In fact, it’s exorbitant largesse, from a State that can’t afford it. Regrettably, it’s not exceptional asymmetry in our out-of-kilter tax system.

In other news, it seems those of us who paid our water charges are to be refunded. Bizarrely, no consideration is being given to seeking a refund from us to the State, of the €100 hand-out for a “water conservation grant”. This, with new regulations for pint-sized apartments which will be building blocks for future slums, were signature initiatives from former environment minister, Alan Kelly. He is gone, but the debris remains.

It seems we aspire to public services on a par with European norms, but unlike those other countries, we won’t pay a water charge. Fine Gael made a bags of it in government. Fianna Fáil, in opposition, baulked. The entire response was led by a brilliant, but destructive campaign by the Left. They pulled Sinn Féin into line first. Fianna Fáil wasn’t far behind and now it’s the new normal.

It doesn’t add up though. Being a tax haven for the old is a lovely idea. The notion of ‘free’ water is an enjoyable hallucination, but the fact is that our tax base is unsustainably narrow.

Property tax is another Irish giveaway. It was frozen until 2019. Michael Noonan wanted to clear the political runway for successful electoral take-off before polling day, and took an increase off the table. Local authorities, which provide local services, including for the homeless are left without adequate funds. In addition, councillors usually, though not always, further reduce the tax by applying the up to 15% leeway, they have locally.

Then, astonishingly last Christmas, those most prominent in the campaign against water charges, in coalition with several who left their palm prints on reductions in an already modest property tax locally, turn up as Santa Claus in Dublin’s Apollo House, fulminating about those left homeless on the streets. It was the point at which stupidity passed into hypocrisy. It invested new levels of indifference into the refrain of “hey, hey, we won’t pay”.

But all of that is just the small part of the iceberg visible above the surface. The bigger deal is that in the wonderland that is our tax system the top 50% of tax payers pay 96% of personal tax. And top, so you are clear, is everyone earning over €30,000 a year. The remaining 4% of personal tax is paid by 21% of income earners. Extraordinarily 29% who earn, pay nothing. It’s crazy!

Sure, those who pay nothing earn very little. But those who earn very little, depend most on services which in the future, like the recent past, will be the first and hardest hit in a downturn, because our tax base is too narrow to support our spending profile. As with water charges, and property tax, so with income tax we are fundamentally and dangerously out of kilter with the tax norms of countries whose spending habits and service levels we want to emulate.

Last Friday night at the Irish Tax Institute, its president, Mark Barrett, issued a prophetic warning when he said: “We cannot run a country in which a few companies are too big to fail, or in which too few people bear the burden of taxation.”

He quoted the IMF which advised us that “the tax base is essential to minimise the impact of potential shocks and to withstand the upcoming demographics-driven expenditure pressure on the health of public finances as well as to safeguard the current welfare system”.

The minister for finance was sitting beside him. On his watch the percentage of income earners who pay no tax has risen from 12% to 29%. Our take on corporation tax, which is at 15% of exchequer income, is at or above average European levels, is dangerously out of kilter too. The top 10 companies pay fully 40% of it.

Admittedly, a water charge was attempted but it has been aborted. Property tax has been frozen. And then there are the recesses of our Vat system where, astonishingly, half of goods and services successfully elude any charge. More importantly than any single specific is a creeping return to the culture that led to the crash.

That’s all before serious, but imminent, talk on public sector pay. It’s the largely ignored backdrop to what I predict will be angry talk about subsidies for public transport this week. And that’s not to mention what other affront will emerge from an inefficient health service, hostage to vested interests, but which paradoxically is relatively well-funded. It won’t stop demands for more money, in return for precisely no reform though.

‘Equal’ is the preferred Sinn Féin word. ‘Fairness’ is the one Fianna Fáil likes. Further left, there is an entire scrabble set of them. Overheard from Fine Gael’s internal conservation are ruminations about social justice and inclusiveness. As of today, some who are perfectly capable of paying, will pay 50c less for every prescription item. There is €5 for everyone in the audience from next week. Swathes of the population are excused from obligation. It’s unsustainable and uncompetitive. The algae is blooming on the pond again.


So You Thought Huge Salaries Existed Mainly in the Public Service !! None of the Top 10,000 Income Recipients on an average income of 595,000 Euro per year work in the Public Service.

But now it is revealed:

 Fat Cat Irish Private Bankers earned a total of €50million in pay and bonuses in one year-Irish Mirror

European figures show 26 Irish bankers earned an average of €1.9million each in 2015.

Fat cat Irish bankers earned a total of €50million in pay and bonuses in one year.

European figures show 26 Irish bankers earned an average of €1.9million each in 2015.

The names and companies have not been released but this group was given €14.7million in pay and benefits before sharing an added €37million in bonuses and shares.

Their sky-high salaries were revealed by the European Banking Authority – a leading London-based regulator.

All financial companies must tell the EBA how many staff are paid more than a million per year.

Figures showed the highest paid earned nearly €20million in salary and shares between them while another two, whose roles were not specified, amassed just over €3million.

A further eight investment bankers made €14.3million between them and another eight working in asset management companies shared €13.1 million.

(Executives of State Owned Banks are not included in the above as their remuneration is capped at 500,000 Euro)



“Of course, much of this wealth generation is coming at the top end: Some 169,000 Irish people were in the top 1 per cent for global wealth in 2016, up by 6 per cent on 2015. In addition, some 7,000 Irish people became dollar millionaires last year”

3.1 per cent, or 110,000 people, now fall into the +$1 million (wealth) category, up from  2.6 per cent, or 91,208 people in 2014.


Rise in financial assets (€3.3bn) and in  housing assets (€1.9bn) in 3 months!!- Central Bank Report Q2 2016 

As the Richest 10% of households own 53.4% of total assets (and probably a higher percentage of Financial Assets), This means that the value of shares, bank deposits, bonds, insurance policies held by the richest 10% increased by at least 1.65 Billion Euro in 3 months. These Financial Assets of the Richest 10%  are now almost 37 billion Euro above PEAK BOOM LEVEL (CSO Institutional Sector Accounts)

Not a penny tax is payable on these financial assets

Fiona Reddin, Irish Times Last Updated: Tuesday, November 22, 2016, 12:52

Household wealth in Ireland is growing at the sixth fastest pace in the world, according to the seventh annual global wealth report from Zurich-based bank. The total wealth of Irish households rose by $38 billion to $770 billion (€ 725 billion) in 2016, up by 5 per cent on 2015. (Top 10% of Irish Households own 53.4% of all Irish household wealth-Central Bank)

This means that Ireland now has a 0.3 per cent share of global wealth. Back in 2000, we had a share of 0.2 per cent and wealth per head of $91,525.

Ireland is in sixth place in terms of both change in total household wealth (+5.2 per cent) and change in wealth per head (+4 per cent). That puts up behind only Japan (19.3 per cent), New Zealand (14.1 per cent), Hong Kong (8.1 per cent), the Czech Republic (6.8 per cent)and Indonesia (6.4 per cent).

Of course, much of this wealth generation is coming at the top end: Some 169,000 Irish people were in the top 1 per cent for global wealth in 2016, up by 6 per cent on 2015. In addition, some 7,000 Irish people became dollar millionaires last year.

This pace of growth means that, in 2016, wealth per adult in Ireland stood at $214,589 (€202,208), up by 4 per cent or €7,745 from 2015.

Irish median wealth

“Median” wealth indicates the middle wealth value, which is the level that represents more people (as average is swayed by the high net worth). In Ireland it is $80,668 per adult. Irish adults have debt of $50,762 per adult. Ireland’s household wealth previously peaked in 2007 at $222,823, before falling to $176,881 in 2011.

In comparison, wealth per adult in the UK is $288,808, with debt of just $48,893 and median wealth of $107,865. The US has wealth per adult of $344,692, debt of $56,793, and median wealth of just $44,977.

The richest European country is Switzerland, where the median wealth is $244,002, debt is $143,364 and wealth per adult is $561,854.

Rising house prices are behind the resurgence in Irish wealth, which may be why so few of us have yet to feel an uplift. Property accounts for 60 per cent of our wealth ($156,509), compared with 47.6 per cent in the UK, 58.9 per cent in Germany and 28.3 per cent in the US.

According to the Credit Suisse survey, almost a third of Irish residents (31.8 per cent) have wealth of less than $10,000; 23 per cent lie in the $10,000-$100,000 range; 42.2 per cent have wealth of between $100,000-$1 million; and 3.1 per cent, or 110,000 people, fall into the +$1 million category, up from up from 2.6 per cent, or 91,208 people in 2014.

There were no new billionaires, however, with this figure steady on 2015 at five. The US can claim 582 billionaires and the UK 434.

Selling down

The survey also points to a reversal in the trend of Irish people selling down their equity holdings. In 2005, some 22 per cent of the country’s financial wealth was held in equities. This slid to 12.7 per cent in 2014 before advancing again in 2015 to 13.7 per cent. This compares with 44.2 per cent in the US and 12.6 per cent in the UK.

Household wealth in the UK declined by $1.5 trillion, or 10 per cent, the report shows, as “a direct consequence” of the Brexit vote. This means that the number of dollar millionaires in the UK fell by 15 per cent.

“The US had a tumultuous end to 2015-2016, with sharp declines in the exchange rate and the stock market following the vote to leave the EU,” Credit Suisse said in the report. “The outlook is very uncertain, both for the economy and household wealth.”

Global wealth advanced by 1.4 per cent to $256 trillion, reflecting lacklustre economic growth. It is expected to reach $334 trillion by 2021, according to Credit Suisse.



Fine Gael and the following others voted for the Finance Bill ( Budget for the Rich):

Mattie McGrath, Michael Lowry, John Halligan, Finian McGrath, Dr Michael Harty, Seán Canney, “Boxer” Moran, Denis Naughten, Shane Ross, Katherine Zappone

Fianna Fáil Formally Abstained

11 Deputies did not vote (not included in formal Abstentions (staon))

Dáil Record of Voting is carried below

Budget For The Rich

The overall effect of the budget is Rich Top 5% of income recipients  on average incomes of 186,000 Euro per year will now Pay 172 million less USC/Tax than in 2015

No Tax was imposed on Financial Assets of individuals which are now well above peak boom level. The shares, bank deposits, insurance policies etc of the top 10% of households are now 35 BILLION above peak boom level in 2006

Hospitals, Schools, Housing , Welfare WILL REMAIN UNDER-FUNDED by the Gvernment’s own admission. Restorations of these public services are the subject of “5 year plans”, medium and long term strategies etc.  For example, there is no commitment to end homelessness (over 6000 in emergency accommodation and still rising) within a year.

There is no provision for further restoration of pay and pensions beyond that set out in the Lansdowne Rd Agreement and FEMPI ACT 2015

Dáil Record

Question put: “That the (Finance) Bill do now pass.”

The Dáil divided: Tá, 58; Staon, 30; Níl, 38.

Staon Níl
      Bailey, Maria.       Aylward, Bobby.       Adams, Gerry.
      Barrett, Seán.       Brassil, John.       Barry, Mick.
      Breen, Pat.       Breathnach, Declan.       Boyd Barrett, Richard.
      Brophy, Colm.       Browne, James.       Brady, John.
      Burke, Peter.       Butler, Mary.       Broughan, Thomas P.
      Byrne, Catherine.       Cahill, Jackie.       Buckley, Pat.
      Canney, Seán.       Calleary, Dara.       Burton, Joan.
      Cannon, Ciarán.       Casey, Pat.       Collins, Joan.
      Carey, Joe.       Chambers, Jack.       Collins, Michael.
      Corcoran Kennedy, Marcella.       Chambers, Lisa.       Coppinger, Ruth.
      Coveney, Simon.       Donnelly, Stephen S.       Crowe, Seán.
      Creed, Michael.       Dooley, Timmy.       Cullinane, David.
      D’Arcy, Michael.       Haughey, Seán.       Doherty, Pearse.
      Daly, Jim.       Lahart, John.       Ellis, Dessie.
      Deasy, John.       Lawless, James.       Ferris, Martin.
      Deering, Pat.       Martin, Micheál.       Fitzmaurice, Michael.
      Doherty, Regina.       McGrath, Michael.       Funchion, Kathleen.
      Donohoe, Paschal.       Moynihan, Aindrias.       Healy-Rae, Danny.
      Doyle, Andrew.       Moynihan, Michael.       Healy, Seamus.
      Durkan, Bernard J.       Murphy O’Mahony, Margaret.       Kenny, Gino.
      English, Damien.       Murphy, Eugene.       Kenny, Martin.
      Farrell, Alan.       O’Brien, Darragh.       McDonald, Mary Lou.
      Fitzgerald, Frances.       O’Callaghan, Jim.       Mitchell, Denise.
      Fitzpatrick, Peter.       O’Keeffe, Kevin.       Munster, Imelda.
      Flanagan, Charles.       O’Rourke, Frank.       Murphy, Paul.
      Griffin, Brendan.       Ó Cuív, Éamon.       Nolan, Carol.
      Halligan, John.       Rabbitte, Anne.       O’Brien, Jonathan.
      Harris, Simon.       Scanlon, Eamon.       O’Reilly, Louise.
      Harty, Michael.       Smith, Brendan.       O’Sullivan, Maureen.
      Heydon, Martin.       Troy, Robert.       Ó Broin, Eoin.
      Humphreys, Heather.       Ó Caoláin, Caoimhghín.
      Kehoe, Paul.       Ó Laoghaire, Donnchadh.
      Kyne, Seán.       Ó Snodaigh, Aengus.
      Lowry, Michael.       Pringle, Thomas.
      Madigan, Josepha.       Ryan, Brendan.
      McEntee, Helen.       Ryan, Eamon.
      McGrath, Finian.       Smith, Bríd.
      McGrath, Mattie.       Stanley, Brian.
      McHugh, Joe.
      McLoughlin, Tony.
      Mitchell O’Connor, Mary.
      Moran, Kevin Boxer.
      Murphy, Dara.
      Murphy, Eoghan.
      Naughten, Denis.
      Naughton, Hildegarde.
      Neville, Tom.
      Noonan, Michael.
      O’Connell, Kate.
      O’Donovan, Patrick.
      O’Dowd, Fergus.
      Phelan, John Paul.
      Ring, Michael.
      Rock, Noel.
      Ross, Shane.
      Stanton, David.
      Varadkar, Leo.
      Zappone, Katherine.

Tellers: Tá, Deputies Regina Doherty and Tony McLoughlin; Níl, Deputies Paul Murphy and Richard Boyd Barrett.

Question declared carried.






Funded by an increase of 4% in top Income Tax Rate?



READ ON!!!!!




BUT Despite Ireland being one of the richest countries in the EU, the study reveals we are nearly last when it comes to distribution of wealth, ranking 18th — in the bottom-third of the EU(28) countries along with Greece, Romania, Bulgaria, and Latvia.—Bertlesman Institute Report (GERMANY), Irish Examiner, Sept 16, 2015

Super-Rich Irish Awash With Money

Full Details http://wp.me/pKzXa-n4


TOP 10%  Have increase in Net Financial ASSETS of 35 billion since peak boom level in 2006

Not A Penny in Property Tax Tax is Payable on This huge Gain

But households in negative equity have to pay LPT


Financial Assets are one form of Property

Positive Financial Assets include shares, bank deposits, insurance policies. Negative Financial assets include mortgage debt, credit card debt etc

Financial assets do not include dwelling houses, farms , workshops, business premises-these are fixed assets

Recent Corrected  Figures for Financial Assets of Households (Individuals not companies) have been issued by Central Statistics Office

Institutional Sector Accounts (Financial) 2015 (millions)  Households

Gross Financial Assets    Total liabilities       Net Financial Asets.

2015        363,316              160,459                        202,857

Peak Boom 2006                                                                   132,032 m

The total Gain since peak boom level (2006)           70,825m

Top 10% own 53.8% of all household Assets  (Financial +Fixed)

Assuming they own same % of net Financial assets(they probably Own a higher percentage)

2015              53.8% of 202,857 =109 Billion

2006               53.8% of 132,032= 74  million

NET FINANCIAL ASSETS INCREASE for Top 10% of Households since PEAK BOOM=35 Billion Euro


Why Doesn’t the Government cancel the concession to the super-rich, end the lock-out and re-open the schools?

Income Tax and USC Relief To  High Incomes Over Two Most Recent Budgets Totalled Over  172 Million Euro

Government Concession to Top 5% of Income recipients (110,000 units) with average incomes of 186,000 EU per year  Detailed Calculation wp.me/pKzXa-oM

( Assuming One third of units or c. 37,000 in this high Income bracket  are self-employed- There were 85,000 self-employed with paid employees and 231,000 without employees active in irish economy in 2014)   Stats below show that there are 18% self-employed in workforce (including part-time employees, minimum wage employees etc)



Budget 2017 Tax/USC Concessions to top 5%

                Employee Gain 353 Eu    Self Employed Gain 353+400=  753 eu    (400 is a tax credit)

Top 5 %   Average income 186,000 Eu  Number of Units    110,000                Tot Gain

Employees              73,333               25,886,549

Self-employed               36,667              27,610,251

All                                                 53,496,800


Budget 2016

Employee Gain 902 Eu    Self Employed Gain  902+550+  1452Eu     (550 is a tax credit)

Employees          73,333                 66,146,366

Self-Employed        36,667               53,240,484

All                  119,386,850


Concession To Top 5%  Over  2 Years     All               172,883,650



595,000 euro per year is the average income the TOP 10,000 income Recipients

None of these are Public Servants-ALL IN PRIVATE SECTOR

Assuming all these are self-employed, They received 22.98 Million of The 172 million in tax concessions in last budget

Irish Economy 2014: Number of employees remains below bailout quarter of 2010
By Michael Hennigan, Finfacts founder and editor
May 27, 2014 – 6:08 AM
Email this article
Printer friendly page


All self-employed                                                  318.3

Employees(Including Schemes)                               1,541.2

Schemes                                                                    85.0

Actual Employees                                                       1,456.2

Actual Self Employed +Actual Employees         =        1,774.5

% Self-Employed                                                      =  18%

600 Million in Tax Concessions to Hotel Owners in last Budget   

Full Details http://wp.me/pKzXa-n4




600 million in tax concessions (VAT REDUCTION) given to owners of hotels which have fully recovered in Budget –Jack O’Connor (SIPTU)


Mr O’Connor said: “We utterly reject the assertion that there is no money and that it is a choice between pay increases and services for the public.

“This is an absolutely false dichotomy. The fact of the matter is that the Government made choices in the budget. For example, it decided to continue to gift business in the hotel and hospitality sector with special VAT concessions costing more than €600 million (VAT REDUCTION) per annum at the tax-payers expense. They chose to do so despite the fact that the industry has fully recovered.

Mr O’Connor said the Government was also prepared “ to splurge a further €46 million on gifting for the wealthy through cutting capital taxes”


Minister Noonan: “Tax and USC reductions have been targeted at those on low and middle incomes”

NOT TRUE !!!  

Those over an annual income of 70,000 Euro are getting 146 million  in Tax/USC Relief or almost 50% out of total relief of 300 million in Budget

The 300,000 over 70,000EU per year are getting at least 40 million more in tax relief than the 324,000 in the 30,000 to 40,000 category (average industrial wage 36,500).

A TD is getting an extra 7 euro per week from Jan 1.  A person on average industrial wage(36,500 per year) is getting an extra 3.42 Euro per week,

A person on minimum wage (18,720 per year) is getting Tax/USC relief of 2 Euro per week . 

A rich business person (self-employed) on 200,000 per year is getting 14.5 euro per week from Jan 1

An adult social welfare recipient including pensioners is getting a social welfare increase 5 Euro from March 1 which is equivalent to 4 Euro per week from Jan 1



IRELAND IS RANKED 8th in World. 

BUT Despite Ireland being one of the richest countries in the EU, the study reveals we are nearly last when it comes to distribution of wealth, ranking 18th — in the bottom-third of the EU(28) countries along with Greece, Romania, Bulgaria, and Latvia.—Bertlesman Institute Report (GERMANY), Irish Examiner, Sept 16, 2015



IMF uses Purchasing Power Parity (PPP) as a basis for comparison .                                                 PPP basis is arguably more useful when  Comparing generalized differences in living standardsbetween nations because PPP takes into account the relative cost of living and the inflation rates of the countries, rather than using only exchange rates, which may distort the real differences in income. This is why GDP (PPP) per capita is often considered one of the indicators of a country’s standard of living,[2][3] although this can be problematic because GDP per capita is not a measure of personal income. 



International Monetary Fund (2015)[
Rank Country Int$
1  Qatar 132,870
2  Luxembourg 99,506
3  Singapore 85,382
4  Brunei 79,508
5  Kuwait 70,542
6  Norway 68,591
7  United Arab Emirates 67,217
8  Ireland 65,806
9  San Marino 62,938
10   Switzerland 58,647
 Hong Kong 56,878
11  United States 56,084
12  Saudi Arabia 53,802
13  Netherlands 49,624
14  Bahrain 49,601
15  Sweden 48,199
16  Australia 47,644
17  Austria 46,986
18  Germany 46,974
 Taiwan 46,833
19  Denmark 45,723
20  Iceland 45,666
21  Canada 45,602
22  Belgium 44,148
23  Oman 43,707
24  Equatorial Guinea 43,522
25  United Kingdom 41,499
26  France 41,476
27  Finland 41,109
28  Japan 38,142
29  South Korea 36,612
30  New Zealand 36,136
31  Malta 36,042
32  Italy 35,781
33  Spain 34,861



600 million in tax concessions given to owners of hotels which have fully recovered in Budget BUT. . . 


Mr O’Connor said: “We utterly reject the assertion that there is no money and that it is a choice between pay increases and services for the public.

“This is an absolutely false dichotomy. The fact of the matter is that the Government made choices in the budget. For example, it decided to continue to gift business in the hotel and hospitality sector with special VAT concessions costing more than €600 million per annum at the tax-payers expense. They chose to do so despite the fact that the industry has fully recovered.

Mr O’Connor said the Government was also prepared “ to splurge a further €46 million on gifting for the wealthy through cutting capital taxes”


BUT he gave 172 million to those on average Pay of 186,000 Euro in Last Two budgets

IRISH TIMES: “In Brussels yesterday, Mr Noonan said it was “simply not affordable” to provide the same level of pay increases to all public service staff as those recommended for gardaí.

Mr Noonan said the Garda pay proposals fell within the parameters of the Lansdowne Road agreement.”-Irish Times 11/08/2016

The top 5% of Income Recipients have average incomes of 186,000 per year. These are now paying 172 million less in tax than before budget 2016

Virtually all those in this income bracket are in the private sector. Even TDs are below it. The Taoiseach and Full Ministers are included. The cohort mainly consists of owners of large businesses, GPs and medical consultants, cosulting engineers, big landlords with rental income, solicitors, barristers, vets, auctioneers, bookmakers, race horse owners and trainers  etc


TOP 10% Gained over 6 Billion in the year 2015 alone

TOP 10% Now Own 53.8% of all Household Assets Including 102.5 Billion in Shares, Bank Deposits, Insurance Policies, Bonds and other Financial Instruments

BUT NOT A PENNY IN ASSETS TAX IS PAYABLE ON THESE FINANCIAL ASSETS!!! These are part of the personal wealth of individuals not of Companies

On The Other Hand the Government Gave a total of 172 Million in tax relief to the top 5% of income recipients on an average income of 186,000 over last two Budgets–(SEE  on this Blog:  Tax Evasion by Irish Rich    http://wp.me/pKzXa)

Central Bank Report 2015 says net financial assets (note 1) of households have increased by + 8 –(-4.7)=12.7 Billion in 2015

Net Financial Assets     2015        192,076 m

Peak Boom                       2006       132,032 m

Gain              60,044m     0r by factor of    1.45

Up by almost 50% since Peak Boom level

Net financial assets of households      2015        192,076 m

Net Financial Assets  “Bust”                2008          69,218

Gain                        122 ,8 58 m or by factor of 2.77

These Figures have been corrected routinely by CSO and the verified figures now are:

Institutional Sector Accounts (Financial) 2015 (millions)

Gross Financial Assets       Total liabilities       Net Financial Asets.

363,316                                            160,459                        202,857

The total Gain since peak boom level (2006) is actually        70,825

Top 10% own 53.8% of all household Assets

Assuming they own same % of net Financial assets=53.8% of 202,857 =109 Billion

53.8% of Gross Financial Assets     = 53.8% of 363,316= 195.5 billion

(reality is probably above 109 billion and below 195.5 billion-PH)

NET WEALTH OF HOUSEHOLD= Gross Financial Assets + Gross Fixed Assets (note 2) less Gross Liabilities

TOP 10% or 165,820 Households  own 53.8% of all net household wealth or almost 2 million Euro each  

Total Irish Household Net Worth   595.7 billion in Quarter 1, 2015   up 2.2% over 3 months   19/08/2015

(These are the personal property of Irish PEOPLE, not of banks or of companies etc)


Note 1:  Financial Assets Are shares, bank deposits, insurance policies. and other FINANCIAL instruments and does not include homes, farms, shops, buildings

Financial Liabilities include mortgage balance, credit card debt and other financial debts

Note 2: Fixed assets include homes, farms, rental properties,workshops, commercial properties, yachts, paintings and other NON-FINANCIAL items owned


CSO 2014

The most recent  INSTITUTIONAL SECTOR ACCOUNTS  issued by the Central Statistics Office(CSO) show that the Net Financial assets of Households in 2014 were considerably( c 41 billion Euro) above PEAK BOOM LEVELS in 2006. There is no levy, charge or tax on the vast bulk of these large assets nor has there been as the assets grew over the last 5 years. These assets include shares, bank deposits, Insurance policies etc but do not include homes, letting properties, farms or other fixed assets.Mortgage debt, Credit card debt, and loans held by individuals are negative financial assets. They are subtracted from  gross finacial assets to get the net figure. Consequently the gains of the very rich, those who have net positive assets, have been enormous.

There is no wealth tax on these financial assets. However there is a wealth tax on homes and dwelling houses (Local Property Tax) irrespective of the income of the owner however low.

Interest and dividends are income and are liable to income tax.



Irish Examiner Sept 16

The growing number of poor people in crisis-hit countries and among young people threatens the existence of the EU, warned the prestigious German think-tank which carried out the study.

Despite Ireland being one of the richest countries in the EU, the study reveals we are nearly last when it comes to distribution of wealth, ranking 18th — in the bottom-third of the EU(28) countries along with Greece, Romania, Bulgaria, and Latvia.

Irish Times Sept 16


“Germany’s Bertelsmann Foundation ranked Ireland 18th among the EU 28 members, below Poland and Slovakia, in a survey of social justice in Europe.

“The foundation cited Ireland as an example of how high GDP per capita did not translate automatically into social justice for the population. “Ireland has a similarly high GDP per capita,similar to Sweden, but ranks considerably below average when it comes to social justice and counts as one of the biggest losers in the country comparison,” the report noted.” (Irish Times)

It is true that public finances are in an appalling state.

But this is because:

1)successive governments have refused to impose sufficiently high taxes on the incomes and assets of the super-rich Irish to pay for necessary public services

2) The current and previous government have agreed that the citizens of the state should pay the 67 Billion Euro which LARGE international investors had lent to privately owned Irish Banks when the banks crashed.(small shareholders were not rescued)

The official statistics on incomes and assets set out below show the obscene wealth of the super-rich Irish at this time. In summary, the top 10,000 income recipients have average declared incomes of 595,000 euro per year each. The financial assets (shares, bank deposits) of Irish households had already climbed back above 2006 boom levels in 2012

From 2010 to 2012 the wealth of the top 300 Irish rich has increased by 12 Billion Euro from 50 Billion to 62 Billion or a gain of 200 million euro each ( Nick Webb,Business Editor, Sunday Independent, March 11 2012)

The overwhelming majority of  the  super-rich are active in the private sector of the economy. 




BUT NOT A PENNY IN ASSETS TAX IS PAYABLE ON THESE FINANCIAL ASSETS!!! These are part of the personal wealth of individuals not of Companies

Central Bank Report 2015 says net financial assets of households have increased by + 8 –(-4.7)=12.7 Billion in 2015

Net Financial Assets     2015        192,076 m

Peak Boom                       2006       132,032 m

Gain              60,044m     0r by factor of    1.45

Up by almost 50% since Peak Boom level

Net financial assets of households      2015        192,076 m

Net Financial Assets  “Bust”                2008          69,218

Gain                        122 ,8 58 m or by factor of 2.77

CSO 2014

The most recent  INSTITUTIONAL SECTOR ACCOUNTS  issued by the Central Statistics Office(CSO) show that the Net Financial assets of Households in 2014 were considerably( c 41 billion Euro) above PEAK BOOM LEVELS in 2006. There is no levy, charge or tax on the vast bulk of these large assets nor has there been as the assets grew over the last 5 years. These assets include shares, bank deposits, Insurance policies etc but do not include homes, letting properties, farms or other fixed assets.Mortgage debt, Credit card debt, and loans held by individuals are negative financial assets. They are subtracted from  gross finacial assets to get the net figure. Consequently the gains of the very rich, those who have net positive assets, have been enormous.

There is no wealth tax on these financial assets. However there is a wealth tax on homes and dwelling houses (Local Property Tax) irrespective of the income of the owner however low.

Interest and dividends are income and are liable to income tax.


The obscenely unequal and unfair distribution of wealth in Ireland (See Further Down)

is  replicated in the Entire Capitalist World 

62 richest have more wealth than 50% of world’s population!

Richest 1% now wealthier than the rest of the world, Oxfam says

blomberg Jan 18

The charity called on governments to intensify efforts to reduce inequality

Oxfam says the richest 1% of the world’s population own more than the rest of the world

The charity called on governments to intensify efforts to reduce inequality

The richest one per cent is now wealthier than the rest of humanity combined, according to Oxfam, which called on governments to intensify efforts to reduce such inequality.

In a report published on the eve of the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland, the anti-poverty charity cited data from Credit Suisse in declaring the most affluent controlled most of the world’s wealth in 2015. That’s a year earlier than it had anticipated.

Oxfam also calculated that 62 individuals had the same wealth as 3.5 billion people, the bottom half of the global population, compared with 388 individuals five years earlier. The wealth of the most affluent rose 44 per cent since 2010 to $1.76 trillion, while the wealth of the bottom half fell 41 percent or just over $1 trillion.

The charity used the statistics to argue that growing inequality poses a threat to economic expansion and social cohesion. Those risks have already been noted in countries from the US to Spain, where voters are increasingly backing populist political candidates, while it’s sown tensions on the streets of Latin America and the Middle East.

“It is simply unacceptable that the poorest half of the world’s population owns no more than a few dozen super-rich people who could fit onto one bus,” said Winnie Byanima, executive director of Oxfam International. “World leaders’ concern about the escalating inequality crisis has so far not translated into concrete action.”

Oxfam said governments should take steps to reduce the polarisation, estimating tax havens help the rich to hide $7.6 trillion. Politicians should agree on a global approach to ending the practice of using offshore accounts, it said.

“Don’t just look at the very bottom, who have nothing, but look at the bottom 50pc – they own almost nothing of the country.These are the facts. This is not opinion. This is Ireland.”-David McWilliams


As the election looms it’s worth looking at the real division of wealth By David McWilliams

To View Charts paste this link into browser:


A little while ago, I presented a programme on RTÉ called ‘Ireland’s Great Wealth Divide’. The aim of the documentary was to highlight the significant and persistent divide in wealth that exists in Ireland. The reason it is an important issue to highlight is that even when the economy recovers, the benefits will not be evenly – or even remotely evenly – spread and this wealth divide has significant, long-term ramifications for the health of the society.

At the time of screening, there were some people who, like climate change deniers, continued to express the opinion that the wealth divide in Ireland was not a big deal and that it might be overstated.

This is not the case, and in the past few weeks, two other major studies – one by TASC and one by the OECD – have added to the canon of work proving that the divide in wealth in this country is a serious issue and that in the past few years, the divide between the income of those at the very top and those at the bottom has also increased.

This divide is important, because if people get left behind they may give up hope. Having wealth or having even a meagre stake in society changes the way people view themselves and the way they view the future.

For example, consider this one experiment involving a group of poor American families. Some of the parents were given a small savings fund, which was to be set aside for their children’s university fees when the kids grew up.

The kids were then assessed for cognitive reasoning every two years and, by the fourth year, the children whose parents had the small education fund were performing better in all tests than those who hadn’t received the fund. The implication of this is that the parents with this small stake in the future were changing their own behaviour towards their children’s education, such as reading to them, paying more attention to their homework and so on. This is extraordinary, because it reveals what having a stake in society, having something to aim for, does to people. It focuses people and gives them something to believe in.

If people have something small – a savings fund, a bit of wealth, a sense that they matter and that their future is in their hands – they change their behaviour for the better. Now armed with this type of thinking, look at the two almost identical charts. These show how wealth is divided in Ireland. One chart represents the estimates of the international bank Credit Suisse and the other represents the findings of the Household Finance and Consumption Survey. These charts are taken from the recent TASC paper published last week entitled ‘The Distribution of Wealth in Ireland’. I urge you to read it if you have any interest in the future of this society.

If we look at the share of the wealth owned by the top 10pc, top 5pc and top 1pc in Ireland, we see similar evidence produced by both reports. According to the survey carried out by the CSO the top 10pc own 53.8pc of the wealth of this country; the top 5pc own 37pc of the wealth; and the top 1pc own 15pc.


According to Credit Suisse, the concentration at the top is even stronger. Its estimates suggest that the top 10pc own 58.6pc of the wealth; the top 5pc own 46.4pc; and the top 1pc own 27pc. Even taking into account the slight disparity, the concentration of wealth at the very top in both studies is extraordinary on any democratic basis.


Indeed, because the CSO data is from a survey in which it asked people to declare their wealth, there is a very strong possibility that at the very top the very rich decided to understate their wealth, so the very rich might have played down their assets. The difference between the two is the split within the 10pc; not the split between the top 10pc and the rest. In both studies, the top 10pc own over half the wealth of the country.

The interesting aspect of these studies is the sense that Irish people know things aren’t right. We feel that something is not right and every time we are asked we say that we would prefer the society to be fairer. In the programme ‘Ireland’s Great Wealth Divide’ we conducted our own survey, where we asked people what they thought was the gap between the top 20pc and next 20pc and so on, down to the people at the bottom. We asked what you thought the gap was, then what you thought it “ought” to be and then we revealed what it actually was.

The gap between what you thought it was, what you thought it ought to be and what it is in reality is a huge one.

The consensus from a Red C poll of 1,000 people commissioned for the documentary was that Ireland’s richest 20pc had 60pc of the country’s wealth and that the poorest 20pc have 11pc.

The reality? The most affluent 20pc in Ireland actually own 73pc of the country’s wealth and the poorest 20pc own just 0.2pc. As for the top 5pc, their combined wealth is nearly double that of the entire “squeezed middle”.

Now look at the people at the bottom in Ireland in the two charts. While there are slight variations, the overall message is very clear. The charts are broken down into the top 10pc and down to the bottom 10pc.

Don’t just look at the very bottom, who have nothing, but look at the bottom 50pc – they own almost nothing of the country.

These are the facts. This is not opinion. This is Ireland.

As we head into an election year, it’s worth considering just how many people are being left behind, how many are being shut out. Consider how many people wake up with no hope, no stake, no way of seeing how they play a role in our society, no way of seeing a road map to a better future.

That’s what the wealth gap is all about. It is undeniable and it is persistent. Shouldn’t this be the main electoral issue next year in the year that we celebrate the centenary of a Republic that was supposed to cherish all the children equally?

But will it be?


Top 10,000 had greater income than IFA General Secretary over 7 years.

Over the 7 years,he got 3.5 million, they got 4.16 million each. The top 10,000 club, almost exclusively private sector, are to get just below 11 million EXTRA between them next year and every subsequent year from Lab/FG government in tax and USC concessions in Budget 2016

Average Gross Income of top 10,000=595,000 Each(PQ reply from Minister Noonan to S Healy TD)

Total Gross Income of TOP 10,000=5.95 Billion=5950,000,00 Euro

USC and Tax Concessions- Budget 2016

Employees            6,667 X 902=6,013,634

Self Employed:    3,333X 1452=4,839,516

Total     10,000       =10,853,150

(assuming one third self-employed and two thirds of 10,000 are employees. calculation:Deloitte Budget calculator)


AVERAGE INCOME OF TOP 10,000 is Above that of  IFA General Secretary

IFA General Secretary on 535,000 Euro per year in 2013

Top 10,000 income recipients have average salary above this (Dáil Reply to Seamus Healy TD by Finance Minister, Noonan)

Top 10,000    Average Income   €595,900 %  AFTER TAX INCOME 364,000

Central Bank Report  2015 

TOP 10% or 165,820 Households  own 53.8% of all net household wealth or almost 2 million Euro each  

Total Irish Household Net Worth   595.7 billion in Quarter 1, 2015   up 2.2% over 3 months   19/08/2015

(These are the personal property of Irish PEOPLE, not of banks or of companies etc)

TOP 10% or 165,820 Households  own 53.8% of all net household wealth or almost 2 million Euro each


TOTAL NET FINANCIAL ASSETS of Households were 165 Billion in 2013. Increase in Financial Assets from the 2008 (“Bust”) to 2013 was 93 billion or an increase 51% of Gross Domestic Product(GDP) . There has been further annual increases since then.  There is no wealth tax on these massive gains. Finacial assets are shares,bonds, bank deposits etc less mortgages, credit card debt, etc. As the value of homes is excluded, financial assets are more heavily weighted towards the super-rich than all wealth. Most households with a mortgage are likely to have negative financial assets though not in negative equity.  

Incomes of Super-Rich  (Individuals and Jointly Taxed Couples-Reply to Parliamentary Question)

Top 0.46%   10,000      Total Income   €5,959m       Income per Year Each  €595,900   

Top 1%        21,650      Total Income    €8,742 m     Income per year EACH  €403,760

Though 80% to 88% of this income is technically subject to income tax at 40%, these are paying a maximum of 27% of there overall income in income tax. They are major beneficiaries of tax breaks. They all received 747 Euro per annum in tax relief in Budget 2015!

See Further Down for Full Details


Irish State  No. Of Households 1,658,243    CSO  2011

Top 1%  16,582    Net Worth= 15% of 595.7 billion    =  89.36 Billion    Per Household   5.389 Million

Top 5%  82,910    Net Worth=38% of 595.7 billion    =226.37 billion      Per Household  2.730 Million

Top 10%  165,820  Net Worth= 53.8% of 595.7 billion =320.49 billion   Per Household    1.933 Million



Irish Examiner Tuesday, May 12, 2015

By Peter O’Dwyer

More than half of the country’s net household wealth rests in the hands of just 10% of the population, while people in less well-off sectors of society owe more than they own.

CSO research shows the top 10% of the country’s richest households own 53.8% of net wealth — defined as real and financial assets minus debt.

The top 5% of households can lay claim to almost 38% of net wealth while 15% of the wealth lies in the pockets of the richest 1%.

At the opposite end of the scale, the data paints a darker picture as the poorest 20% of households owe more than they own.

The figures illustrate the two-tier society that has developed across the country, partly as a result of government policy, according to Fr Sean Healy of Social Justice Ireland.

“These figures emphasise that it was profoundly wrong of the Government to prioritise the better-off in society in the last four budgets,” said Fr Healy. “As resources become available in Budget 2016 and beyond, priority should be given to those hit hardest during the recession — Ireland’s poorest.”

With some of the country’s richest individuals experiencing large-scale losses in the past seven or so years, the level of inequality has not risen to a major degree. However, low- and middle-income families have been badly affected.

“Some people on exorbitantly high incomes have lost out despite recent budgets favouring them and, consequently, inequality has not risen dramatically,” said Fr Healy.

“However, those already struggling to survive have been stretched even further. This was not an accident, this was the result of Government decisions.”

With the Government flagging an equal split of additional funding between spending increases and tax cuts when it announced the budget in October, a much fairer manner of distributing the benefits of recovery would be to put twice the amount into restoration of services, Fr Healy said.

Recent research by the Central Bank points to a higher level of wealth inequality in Ireland than the eurozone average. However, it is less than that in the US.

Research indicates that countries with higher economic inequality suffer from greater unemployment, social instability, and reduced investment, although other academics dispute these effects.

Although open to a degree of statistical error due to the challenges in accessing relevant data, the Irish wealth gap appears to have widened over time, according to Tom Healy, a director of the Nevin Economic Research Institute.

Since the 1980s, a range of factors, including taxation policy, changing demographics, and house price fluctuations may have driven the changes.

Research carried out by Brian Nolan of the ESRI in 1987 showed that the top 10% of the population then owned 42% of net household wealth as opposed to 53% in current times. The top 1% then owned 10% of net wealth. This has now risen to 15%

Mr Healy said wealth distribution has not tended to feature in public discourse here to the same degree as in some other European countries.

“While comprehensive data are hard to come by, Thomas Piketty in his book, Capital in the Twenty-First Century, managed to track the main trends and composition of wealth in a number of large countries such as Britain, France, and Germany,” Mr Healy said.

“Here in Ireland, discussion of wealth has been an under-researched and under-reported area until comparatively recent times.”

Mr Piketty’s best-selling book put the distribution of income and wealth back in the public consciousness last year.

Update April 29

Political Promises In Spring Statement As Government  Allows  Super-Rich To Make Huge Gains While It Crucifies The Poor  With Austerity And Water Charges

Deputy Seamus Healy TD (Tipperary) Speaking in Dáil yesterday

This Spring Statement is effectively an election manifesto of sorts with the bulk of the promises made to be implemented after the next general election. It is a series of political promises but we know well what happens to political promises. They are made to be broken, according to the former Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, Deputy Rabbitte, who said that is what politicians do at election time – they make promises they fully intend to break after the election. That is what happened in 2011 and this Government cannot be trusted or believed. What we have heard today in this Spring Statement is effectively pie in the sky.

It is important to note what this Fine Gael-Labour Party coalition promised in 2011 and what it did with its promises and commitments. We heard a lot about a democratic revolution but we hear very little about it nowadays. Fine Gael told us that it would burn the bondholders and that not another cent would be given to the banks. The Labour Party went even further and said that it would be Labour’s way and not Frankfurt’s way. Its infamous Tesco-style advertisements promised no cuts to child benefit, opposition to domestic water charges and so forth. It contained very specific promises and lines such as “Look what Fine Gael have in store for you” and “Fine Gael – Every Little Hurts”. The Labour Party in government went on to cut child benefit, with a loss of up to €1,500 for many families. A Labour Party Minister is now implementing the introduction of domestic water charges, having gone around north Tipperary in the last election campaign asking people to vote for him to ensure that Fine Gael could not introduce such charges. We were also told that the Labour Party would protect the vulnerable, a point to which I will return later.

This Fine Gael-Labour Party Government continued the austerity of the Fianna Fáil-Green Party Government and did exactly the opposite to what it had promised. Government policy in the past four years has deliberately increased the income and assets of the super rich in society. It ensured that austerity affected only low and middle income families while there was a recovery for the wealthy and the super rich. The Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Deputy Howlin, spoke about sharing the fruits of economic growth. He said that a functioning society is a fair one, where the fruits of economic growth are shared among all of the people, which demonstrates both dishonesty and hypocrisy. We know for a fact, as referred to by other speakers, that very wealthy people have increased their income and assets hugely during the course of this recession. An article in the Sunday Times last weekend pointed out that Ireland’s super wealthy now have a combined wealth that surpasses the heights reached at the peak of the Celtic tiger era. Ireland’s 250 richest people have increased their wealth by more than 15% in the past year to €75 billion, equivalent to 30% of Irish GDP. The number of Irish billionaires has increased from nine last year to 13 this year. There have been huge increases in the financial assets of the super rich as confirmed by the Central Statistics Office. The increase in assets from the time of the bust in 2008 to 2013 was €93 billion or an increase of 51% of GDP and there have been further increases since then. The situation is exactly the same with regard to income.

A very small proportion of very wealthy people have huge incomes. The 10,000 wealthiest have average incomes of €595,000 per year, a figure supplied to me by the Minister, Deputy Noonan. That wealth situation was confirmed about a month ago by the Sunday Independent rich list of the 300 wealthiest people in Ireland. Those 300 people have €84 billion between them. So the super-rich have done very well out of this recession while ordinary people have paid for it which they had no hand, act or part in creating.

On the other hand, it is instructive to look at what has happened to ordinary low and middle-income families. A recent Central Statistics Office report, the SILC report, shows that 400,000 children are living in households experiencing multiple forms of deprivation, of whom 135,000 are suffering daily material deprivation. The number of children living in consistent poverty has doubled from 6% to almost 12%.

The Labour Party claimed it would protect the vulnerable and particularly social welfare recipients. What is the record of the Labour Party and the Tánaiste in social welfare? She protected the social welfare recipients and low and middle-income families but I am afraid the cuts she introduced in recent budgets have devastated ordinary people and undermined the social welfare system.

It is important to mention some of those cuts, which I call the dirty baker’s dozen cuts: child benefit was cut by up to €1,500 per annum per family; cuts to the back-to-school allowance; cuts to maternity benefit; cuts to the fuel allowance; abolition of the telephone allowance; cuts to the household benefits package; cuts to jobseeker’s allowance; new qualifications for State pensions particularly affecting women who are out of the workforce to rear their families; the carer’s respite grant was cut by €325; farm assist payments cut; back-to-education allowance cut; exceptional needs payment cut; increase in eligibility for State pensions; taxation of maternity benefit; abolition of illness benefit for widows and lone parents who work; huge cuts, of course, to one-parent families with another huge cut coming on 2 July; cuts to rent allowance; and abolition, unbelievably, of the very small bereavement grant.

The so-called recovery is a recovery for those who are already wealthy and it certainly means continued austerity for low and middle-income families. The public does not trust or believe the Government. They know that what the Government says does not transfer into action. They know that middle and low-income families have been crucified by the Government. They want to see the Government going to the country and calling a general election. The Government has absolutely no mandate for what it has done. The public believe that it simply cannot be trusted. This Spring Statement is simply an election manifesto of sorts, one that the public will not believe and one that should be put to the country sooner rather than later.


As usual this aspect of the CSO release was ignored by media

Increase in Financial Assets from the 2008 (“Bust”) to 2013 was 93 billion or an increase 51% of Gross Domestic Product(GDP) . There has been further annual increases since then.

These Assets have more than doubled. There is no wealth tax on these massive gains.

In 2013 Net Financial Assets of Households were 26 Billion Euro above 2006 “boom” level. The super-rich are now richer than they were at the height of the boom


Only 17 billion of this was due to paying down debt giving a rise of 23 billion due to appreciation of financial assets in the two years concerned.

Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2014 at constant (2012) prices is 181.33 Billion Euro-Central Statistics Office(CSO)

As financial assets of many households are negative due to mortgage, credit card and loan debt, it is a reasonable assumption that the net financial assets of the wealthiest 5% are comparable to the net financial assets of all households at 165 Billion Euro

Central Statistics Office(CSO)   April 15,2015      Institutional Sector Accounts  Table 5B


Financial assets include shares, bank deposits and insurance policies on the positive side. Liabilities, which are deducted to get net financial assets include mortgage debt, credit card debt and bank loans to households (eg car loans)

Financial assets do not include any fixed assets such as homes, buy-to-lets, farms, land, business premises or factories and workshops.

As there has been major appreciation of property values as well as financial assets , the increase in the overall net wealth of the super-rich since 2008 is far greater than indicated by the financial figures below

Financial  Assets Households(millions)    TA=total assets         TL=total liabilities        NA=Net Assets

TA                     TL                    NA

2006           310,899          172,052                   138,848          

2007            310,711          199,036                   111,675

2008           281,650           209,774                     71,876

2009         306,338              207,272                     99,066

2010         316,375               194,250                   122,125

2011         315,028               190,056                    124,972

2012         333,654                179,554                    154,100

2013         342,735                177,805                     164,930

2014        348,092                   168,716                      179,376


Irish Rich Get New 25 Billion Bonanza as 135,000 Children Suffer Multiple Deprivation!

The Contrast Could Not Be More Stark!!!!!

In 2013 Net Financial Assets of Households were 26 Billion Euro above 2006 “boom” level and more than double 2008 “bust” level. Gross Financial Assets were 18 billion above the 2006 peak level.

In 2013, net financial assets of households rose again by  25 billion, only 7 billion of which was due to paying down debt.

The Gains For the Rich got virtually no media coverage as usual

These are the most recent statistics issued by  The Central Statistics Office (CSO).In another recent release by the CSO, the SILC Report, it is shown that we now have 400,000 children living in households experiencing multiple forms of deprivation and 135,000 children are suffering daily material deprivation. The number of children living in consistent poverty – meaning they are living both at risk of poverty and experiencing deprivation – doubled from 6 per cent to just under 12 per cent between 2008 and 2013

Financial assets include shares, bank deposits and insurance policies on the positive side. Liabilities, which are deducted to get net financial assets include mortgage debt, credit card debt and bank loans to households (eg car loans)

Financial assets do not include any fixed assets such as homes, buy-to-lets, farms, land, business premises or factories and workshops.

Total F. assets     Total Liabilities        NET F. Assets

2006           310,899          172,052                   138,848          

2007            310,711          199,036                   111,675

2008           281,650           209,774                     71,876

2009           304,885           206,620                      98,264

2010            311,372           194,219                       117,153  

2011              310,093        189,982                        120,111 

2012               324,381          184,467                        139,914

2013                   342,735       177,805                        164,930

Nov 30

Anglo Bondholder List Leaked

International Financial Institutions Which invested in Anglo and to whom an Irish Government Paid Out 30 Billion Euro. We are now paying off the money borrowed for this purpose to other international financial institutions!


UPDATE  Department of Finance Confirms Budget 2015 “Give-Away” to Rich

Department of Finance Press Officer Confirms that those on incomes over 100,000 Euro will gain a net 747 Eur per year from the combination of the tax and USC measures in Budget 2015

Sir, – The editorial “Taxing the self-employed” (October 24th) stated that the divide between PAYE workers and self-assessed workers has “widened further with the Government’s decision to make the self-employed pay an 11 per cent rate of universal social charge on earnings over €100,000”. To suggest the divide has widened as a result of changes introduced in Budget 2015 is simply not true.

The marginal tax rate for the self-employed earning over €100,000 has not altered with the changes introduced in Budget 2015. In 2014 self-assessed workers earning over €100,000 face a 55 per cent marginal tax rate comprised of 41 per cent income tax, 10 per cent USC and 4 per cent PRSI. Following the introduction of the measures introduced in Budget 2015, a self-assessed worker earning over €100,000 will continue to pay 55 per cent tax; however it will now be comprised of 40 per cent income tax, 11 per cent USC and 4 per cent PRSI.

These changes to rates will result in an increase in net income for the self-employed taxpayers at all income levels.

The factual position is that a single PAYE worker and a single self-assessed worker earning €100,000 will see an increase of €747 in their net income in 2015, as a result of the Budget 2015 changes. – Yours, etc,


Press Officer,

Department of Finance,

Dublin 2.

UPDATE        Ireland More Prosperous than France and Germany!!    Irish Examiner Nov 3

“It might sound like a contradiction, but austerity hasn’t ruined our prosperity, according to a global study.

A report by the influential Legatum Institute places Ireland 12th out of 142 countries in its annual prosperity index, published today. That maintains the position we held last year and may signal an end to the slide that has seen us drop from a high of ninth in 2009. It also puts us one place ahead of Britain, and, somewhat surprisingly, two places ahead of Germany, while France could only manage 21st, Spain 26th and Italy 37th.

Norway makes the number one slot for the sixth year in a row. The index does not measure economic performance alone, but assesses countries on 90 indicators which are then collated under eight headings.”

August 30,2014

Because of the publicity given to bankruptcies of very rich Irish people, it maybe inferred that the Irish  rich generally are doing very badly. But it must be remembered that for every developer who bought over-priced sites and assets, there was another person or persons who has the large sum of money paid by the developer.

Many people also wrongly believe that Ireland has become a very poor country due to the banking crash. This may lead them to excuse cuts by government in spending on  health, education and other public services.


“Ireland is still one of the wealthiest countries in the world. Gross Domestic Product (total of all goods and services produced) per head of population in Republic of Ireland is greater than that in Germany, France and the UK”  (Nevin Economic Research Institute Report 2012)

Irish Examiner Sept 16

The growing number of poor people in crisis-hit countries and among young people threatens the existence of the EU, warned the prestigious German think-tank which carried out the study.

Despite Ireland being one of the richest countries in the EU, the study reveals we are nearly last when it comes to distribution of wealth, ranking 18th — in the bottom-third of the EU(28) countries along with Greece, Romania, Bulgaria, and Latvia.

Irish Times Sept 16


“Germany’s Bertelsmann Foundation ranked Ireland 18th among the EU 28 members, below Poland and Slovakia, in a survey of social justice in Europe.

“The foundation cited Ireland as an example of how high GDP per capita did not translate automatically into social justice for the population. “Ireland has a similarly high GDP per capita,similar to Sweden, but ranks considerably below average when it comes to social justice and counts as one of the biggest losers in the country comparison,” the report noted.” (Irish Times)

It is true that public finances are in an appalling state.

But this is because:

1)successive governments have refused to impose sufficiently high taxes on the incomes and assets of the super-rich Irish to pay for necessary public services

2) The current and previous government have agreed that the citizens of the state should pay the 67 Billion Euro which LARGE international investors had lent to privately owned Irish Banks when the banks crashed.(small shareholders were not rescued)

The official statistics on incomes and assets set out below show the obscene wealth of the super-rich Irish at this time. In summary, the top 10,000 income recipients have average declared incomes of 595,000 euro per year each. The financial assets (shares, bank deposits) of Irish households had already climbed back above 2006 boom levels in 2012

From 2010 to 2012 the wealth of the top 300 Irish rich has increased by 12 Billion Euro from 50 Billion to 62 Billion or a gain of 200 million euro each ( Nick Webb,Business Editor, Sunday Independent, March 11 2012)

The overwhelming majority of  the  super-rich are active in the private sector of the economy. 


Read also UPDATE:Poorest Pay Most Tax on this Blog 

Average Per Capita Wealth

Gross Domestic Product (total of all goods and services produced) per head of population in Republic of Ireland is the 7th highest in EU-Higher than Germany, France and the UK  (Nevin Economic Research Institute Report 2012)

                            WEALTH OF IRISH SUPER-RICH

Financial Assets of Households      (Table 3 Institutional Sector Accounts Central Statistics Office 2012)

Total financial assets          Total Liabilities              NET Financial Assets

2006     310,899                  172,052                                         138,848

2007      310,711                199,036                                           111,675

2008      281,650                 209,774                                           71,876

2009      304,885               206,620                                             98,264

2010      311,372               194,219                                             117,153

2011      310,093               189,982                                             120,111

2012      324,381                 184,467                                            139,914

These figures show that net personal financial assets of all households have increased by 68 billion or by almost 100%(almost doubled since the low point of 2008 and both total financial assets and net financial assets are now above the peak 2006 level. (Table 3 Institutional Sector Accounts, CSO 2012)

Financial assets are mainly shares and bank deposits, the bulk of which are held by the rich. Houses, farms and business premises are not  financial assets and are not,therefore, included. The liabilities are bank loans,overdrafts, credit card debt, and household Mortgage Debt, the bulk of which are held by those on low and middle incomes

Thus the total financial asset figure is the better measure of the assets of the rich as many households have negative net financial assets.

 Average Per Capita Wealth

GDP per capita is the 7th highest in EU-Higher than Germany France and the UK  (Nevin Economic Research Institute Report 2012)

(This wealth is distributed most unfairly. According to Central Statistics Office (CSO) this unfairness has been worsened by the state budget for 2014- PH)

 Incomes of Irish Super-Rich 

The table below is compiled from a table issued by Minister for Finance, Michael Noonan in reply to a parliamentary question on Oct 3,  2012 .  It is based on projections by the Revenue Commissioners of expected earnings and expected revenue in the current year(2012) given the distribution of incomes in 2009 and subsequent developments. NB Below Revenue=tax+PRSI+USC. Effective tax rate includes income tax, PRSI and Universal Social Charge

Income Tax 2012

Below  NO.=number of  earners; G.I.=Gross Income of all earners ;

Av. I.=Average Income per Earner, REV.=Total Revenue from all earners; E.T.R.=effective tax rate

Earners               NO.         G.I.             Av. I.         REV.     E.T.R

Top 10,000  10,000  €5,959m   €595,900  €2,321 m  39%         Average AFTER TAX INCOME 364,000
Top 1%  21,650   €8,742 m     €403,760   €3,349 m   38%       Average AFTER TAX INCOME     349,000
Top 5%  108,250  €20,122 m  €185,885   €7,145 m   36%       Average After Tax INCOME       €120,000


Top 10%  216,500  €29,600 m   €136,710  €9,849 m   33%    

Average after tax Income   €91,500   

  • Earners may be individuals or couples who have agreed to be taxed jointly. Revenue commissioners do not provide data for individuals only.
  •   revenue=income tax+ PRSI +Univ. Soc. Charge (effective      tax rate includes USC and PRSI)

Less than 6% of income recipients earning over 100,000  are in the public service and a large proportion of these are medical consultants

All of the top 10,000 tax payers who have  an average income of €595,900 each (Reply by Michael Noonan to parliamentary question)  are in the private sector.

From 2010 to 2012 the wealth of the top 300 Irish rich has increased by 12 Billion Euro to 62 Billion or 200 million each ( Nick Webb,Business Editor, Sunday Independent, March 11 2012)


Poor People Pay most Tax—-NERI   Aug  28, 2014

NEW research from the Nevin Economic Research Institute (funded by Irish Trade Unions) shows that the bottom 10% of the Irish Population pays the highest percentage of their income in tax whereas the richest 10% pay only 29.6% of their income when all direct and indirect taxes are taken into account.


More detailed discussion on this matter can be found in my post UPDATED: POOREST PEOPLE PAY MOST TAX    on this blog

Categories: Uncategorized

What Would A Sinn Féin Led Government Do?

July 2, 2014 1 comment

See also on this blog “Irish Sovereignty and Political Realignment of the Irish Left” and  Sinn Féin’s 32-County Organisation would not survive Coalition

Jan 23/2017

SINN Féin is no longer the inheritor of the Revolutionary Republican Traditions of the First Dáil as we near the centenary of its first meeting

I carry below the full text of the Democratic Programme of the First Dail. I also carry the full text of speeches given by Michelle O’Neill and Gerry Adams at the Commemorative Meeting organised by Sinn Féin in the Mansion Hiouse, Dublin last Saturday.

The difference etween the Democratic Programme and the Sinn Féin position is very stark. The Democratic Programme is a revolutionary republican document. The Sinn Féin position is totally capitulatory. It fails to mention the growing loss of sovereignty of the Irish people.It calls on the Free State government to become “persuaders for Irish Unity”. The Free State government has surrendered all vestiges of Irish sovereignty to the Franco-German Alliance under the EU Fiscal Treaty. It has put our economic future in the hands of others through total economic reliance on foreign direct investment. Through NAMA and the banks it owns, it is selling off vast amounts of Irish property to Vultures and Foreign investors. This is resulting in increasing homelessness and continuing evictins from homes, farms and small businesses.

The Democratic Programme ,on the other hand, makes the right to private property subordinate to the public good. The reinstatement of this principle is what is required to halt evictions.

When the Bill on which the Constitutional Referendum to Affirm the Fiscal Treaty was passing through the Dáil, Caoimhín Ó Caoláin pointed out in the Dáil that the Treaty “flies in the face of the 1916 Proclamation” ut there was no mention of the Fiscal Treaty of surrender in the Mansion House last Saturday

Clearly Sinn Féin is not the inheritor of the revolutionary republican tradition that inspired the War of Independence

Sinn Fein Position on Irish Unity To-Day

Jan 21  Mansion House, Dulin-98th Anniversary of First Meeting of First Dail


Michelle O’Neill MLA calls for inclusive debate on Irish Unity

21 January, 2017

Sinn Féin MLA Michelle O’Neill has called on all sections of society to begin a full and inclusive debate about Irish unity.

Speaking at a Sinn Féin Uniting Ireland event in the Mansion House in Dublin today, Ms O’Neill said;

“The debate around Irish unity is hugely important, perhaps the most important debate many of us will ever be involved in as we move towards what is in my view, inevitable constitutional change in the years ahead.

“We need to see individuals and groups from all sectors of Irish society put forward their own ideas on this issue.

“Obviously, we will have different views on the future but that’s ok. That’s what debate is about.

“There is a place for everyone in the new Ireland that we are building and we genuinely want unionists to be part of the debate, to be part of shaping our future on this small island that we all share.

“Brexit is bad news for the people of Ireland, North and South. Nevertheless, it also opens up a unique opportunity to look again at a future beyond partition, sectarianism and division, and to a new and agreed united Ireland built in the interests of all the people of this island.

“A new and united Ireland will deliver full democracy to the people of the whole island, including the right of people in the North to remain within the EU.

“Sinn Féin has put forward our ideas and will continue to do so in the time ahead.

“What is vital is that an open, inclusive and fully-informed discussion on the future of Ireland involving everyone begins now.”

Imagining a New Republic – Gerry Adams TD

21 January, 2017

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD today opened the Towards a United Ireland conference in the Mansion House in Dublin.

Today marks the 98th anniversary of the First Dáil in 1919.

Today’s speakers include Michelle O’Neill MLA, Susan McKay, Keven Meagher, Brian Feeney, Alex Kane, Mary Lou McDonald TD, Noel Whelan, Cat Boyd and Matt Carthy MEP.

Among the points Gerry Adams will make in his remarks:

  • we need to address the genuine fears and concerns of unionists in a meaningful way.
  • ending partition has now taken on a new imperative following last summer’s Brexit vote.
  • Sinn Féin’s proposition that the North be accorded a designated special status within the EU will not affect the constitutional question. Taking the North out of the EU will. It will destroy the Good Friday Agreement.
  • the North needs a special designated status within the EU. The Irish government needs to adopt this as a strategic objective in its negotiations within the EU 27 as they negotiate with the British Prime Minister.
  • there is at this time no strategic plan coming from the government. That is a cause of real concern.
  • all of this, and the current crisis around the RHI scandal is creating new political conditions. I believe that if we properly frame the positive arguments the potential of a new, reimagined, confident Ireland within the European Union, will prove attractive to some unionists.
  • there is an onus on the Irish Government to prepare a real plan for unity. A first step in this would be the development of an all-party group to bring forward a Green Paper for Unity.

The Full Text of Speech Made by Gerry Adams TD, President of Sinn Féin 

“There are immediate challenges facing those of us who want a united independent Ireland.

These include getting the Irish government to change its policy from one of acquiescing to the union with Britain to one of becoming a persuader for Irish unity; getting the Irish government to begin preparations for Irish unity; and lastly engaging with Ulster unionism on the type of Ireland we want to create.

We need to address the genuine fears and concerns of unionists in a meaningful way. We need to look at what they mean by their sense of Britishness and be willing to explore and to be open to new concepts …

But what is clear is that partition has failed unionists. It has failed nationalists. It has failed the people of this island. And ending partition has now taken on a new imperative following last summer’s Brexit vote.

The citizens of England and Wales voted to leave the EU. The people of Scotland and of the North voted to remain. As the dire economic implications of Brexit take shape there is an opportunity to promote a new agreed Ireland.

Sinn Féin’s proposition that the North be accorded a designated special status within the EU will not affect the constitutional question. Taking the North out of the EU will. It will destroy the Good Friday Agreement.

Clearly the preferred option of many unionists and many nationalists is to remain within the EU.The speech by Theresa May will have reinforced this. The dangers of a hard Brexit are now more obvious than before. The North needs a special designated status within the EU. The Irish government needs to adopt this as a strategic objective in its negotiations within the EU 27 as they negotiate with the British Prime Minister.

I have raised this consistently with the Taoiseach. However, as we saw this week in the Irish governments response to the speech by Theresa May there is at this time no strategic plan coming from the government. That is a cause of real concern.

The British government’s intention to take the North out of the EU, despite the wish of the people there to remain, is a hostile action. Not just because of the implications of a hard border on this island but also because of its negative impact on the Good Friday Agreement.

The British Prime Minister repeated her intention to bring an end to the jurisdiction of the European Court. Along with her commitment to remove Britain from the European Convention on Human Rights this stand threatens to undermine the fundamental human rights elements of the Good Friday Agreement. The British position also fails to take account of the fact that citizens in the North, under the Agreement, have a right to Irish citizenship and therefore EU citizenship.

All of this, and the current crisis around the RHI scandal is creating new political conditions. I believe that if we properly frame the positive arguments the potential of a new, reimagined, confident Ireland within the European Union, will prove attractive to some unionists.

This too is an opportunity and a challenge that political leaders in this state need to rise to. That would be helped by those parties and organisations and individuals on this island agreeing steps that advance the goal of unity.

Regrettably at this time neither Fianna Fáil or Fine Gael or Labour have a strategy to achieve Irish unity and the PBP/AAA alliance are against it. This has to change. Irish unity makes sense. Political sense. Economic sense. And it is in the best interests of the people of this island. Sinn Féin is prepared to work with all parties with a professed United Ireland objective.

There is an onus on the Irish Government to prepare a real plan for unity. A first step in this would be the development of an all-party group to bring forward a Green Paper for Unity.

In addition, plans should be developed for an all-island National Health Service and for all island public services through a ‘United Ireland Investment and Prosperity Plan’.

Now is the time for all parties who support Irish unity to come together to design the pathway to a new, agreed, inclusive united Ireland – an Ireland that is built on equality and which is citizen-centred and inclusive.”


Democratic Programme Of First Dáil


We declare in the words of the Irish Republican Proclamation the right of the people of Ireland to the ownership of Ireland, and to the unfettered control of Irish destinies to be indefeasible, and in the language of our first President. Pádraíg Mac Phiarais, we declare that the Nation’s sovereignty extends not only to all men and women of the Nation, but to all its material possessions, the Nation’s soil and all its resources, all the wealth and all the wealth-producing processes within the Nation, and with him we reaffirm that all right to private property must be subordinated to the public right and welfare.

We declare that we desire our country to be ruled in accordance with the principles of Liberty, Equality, and Justice for all, which alone can secure permanence of Government in the willing adhesion of the people.

We affirm the duty of every man and woman to give allegiance and service to the Commonwealth, and declare it is the duty of the Nation to assure that every citizen shall have opportunity to spend his or her strength and faculties in the service of the people. In return for willing service, we, in the name of the Republic, declare the right of every citizen to an adequate share of the produce of the Nation’s labour.

It shall be the first duty of the Government of the Republic to make provision for the physical, mental and spiritual well-being of the children, to secure that no child shall suffer hunger or cold from lack of food, clothing, or shelter, but that all shall be provided with the means and facilities requisite for their proper education and training as Citizens of a Free and Gaelic Ireland.

The Irish Republic fully realises the necessity of abolishing the present odious, degrading and foreign Poor Law System, substituting therefor a sympathetic native scheme for the care of the Nation’s aged and infirm, who shall not be regarded as a burden, but rather entitled to the Nation’s gratitude and consideration. Likewise it shall be the duty of the Republic to take such measures as will safeguard the health of the people and ensure the physical as well as the moral well-being of the Nation.

It shall be our duty to promote the development of the Nation’s resources, to increase the productivity of its soil, to exploit its mineral deposits, peat bogs, and fisheries, its waterways and harbours, in the interests and for the benefit of the Irish people.

It shall be the duty of the Republic to adopt all measures necessary for the recreation and invigoration of our Industries, and to ensure their being developed on the most beneficial and progressive co-operative and industrial lines. With the adoption of an extensive Irish Consular Service, trade with foreign Nations shall be revived on terms of mutual advantage and goodwill, and while undertaking the organisation of the Nation’s trade, import and export, it shall be the duty of the Republic to prevent the shipment from Ireland of food and other necessaries until the wants of the Irish people are fully satisfied and the future provided for.

It shall also devolve upon the National Government to seek co-operation of the Governments of other countries in determining a standard of Social and Industrial Legislation with a view to a general and lasting improvement in the conditions under which the working classes live and labour.

Dearbhuighimíd, i mbriathraibh for-fhógra Saorstáit Éireann go bhfuil sé de cheart ag muinntir na hÉireann sealbh na hÉireann do bheith aca agus cinneamhain an náisiúin do bheith fé n-a riar, agus nách féidir an ceart san do bhaint díobh; agus fébh mar dubhairt ár gceud Uachtarán Pádraig Mac Phiarais, dearbhuighimíd gur ceart go mbeadh, ní amháin fir agus mná na hÉireann, acht adhbhar maoine na hÉireann fé riaradh an náisiúin, idir talamh agus gustal na hÉireann, gach sadhas maoine agus gach gléas chun maoin do sholáthairt dá bhfuil san tír; agus athfhógraimíd an rud d’fhógair an Piarsach gur dual go mbéadh tosach ag ceart an phobuil chun leasa an phobuil ar cheart an duine chun seilbhe fé leith.

Dearbhuighmíd gur mian linn an ceart, an tsaoirse agus cothrom do chách a bheith mar bhuntacaí riaghlughadh na tíre, agus ná fuil d’urradhas le buanughadh Riaghaltais ná saorthoiliughadh na ndaoine chuige ach é.

Dearbhuighimíd go bhfuil sé de dhualgas ar gach fear agus gach mnaoi bheith umhal, díleas, freagarthach agus freastalach don Phobalacht; agus go bhfuil sé de dhualgas ar an náisiún feuchaint chuige go mbeidh caoi ag gach duine san tír ar a cheart agus a acfuinn féin do chur i bhfeidhm ar mhaithe le leas an phobuil. Mar chúiteamh ar fhreagra is freastal na ndaoine, dearbhuighimíd i n-ainm an tSaorstáit, gur dual do gach duine a cion féin de thoradh saothair an náisiúin a bheith aige.

Isé an príomhchúram a bheidh ar Riaghaltas an tSaorstáit ná gleusa soláthar chun leas corpordha, leas spioradálta agus leas inntleachta na leanbhaí do chur i n-áirithe dhóibh; feuchaint chuige ná béidh an t-ocras ná an fuacht ag goilleamhaint ar éin leanbh de cheal bídh, eudaigh ná dín tighe; acht go bhfaghaidh siad gach cóir agus gleus is gádh dhóibh chun teagaisc agus taithighe ceart do thabhairt dóibh i gcóir na hoibre a bheidh le deunamh aca mar chomhaltaí den tSaorstát Gaedhealach.

Is follus do Shaorstát Éireann nach foláir an dlighe gránna iasachta a bhainnean le Tighthe na mBocht i nÉirinn agus gach a ngabhann leis de chéimsíos is de náire, do chur ar ceal, agus plean éifeachtach éigin do cheapadh a bheidh oireamhnach don tír chun aire cheart do thabhairt do sheandaoinibh agus do lagaibh an náisiúin, daoine a thuilleann freastal agus buidheachas ón náisiún i n-ionad tarcuisne agus neamhshuime. Na theannta son, beidh sé de chúram ar an Saorstát gach gleus is áis dár ghádh a chur i bhfeidhm chun sláinte an phobuil agus leas corpordha an náisiúin, agus leas anama an náisiúin dá bhárr do chur i n-áirithe dhóibh.

Beidh sé de dhualgas orainn cabhrughadh le meudughadh gustail an náisiúin, an talamh a dheunamh níos torthamhla agus níos iontsaothruighthe; mianach na hÉireann, a portaigh mhóna, a cuid iascaigh, a bealaigh uisce, agus a cuanta do chur chun críche i ceart chun tairbhe muinntire na hÉireann.

Beidh sé de dhualgas ar an Saorstát gach níd is gádh do dheunamh chun ár ndéantúsa d’aithbheóchaint is do neartughadh agus feuchaint chuige go saothróchfar iad do réir “comhar oibre” ar an gcuma is feárr ‘s is oireamhnaighe ‘s is mó raghaidh i dtairbhe do chách. Cuirfar feadhmannaigh ó Éirinn go tíortha thar lear d’fhonn ceannuidheacht agus tráchtáil do chur chun cinn idir Éire agus na tíortha úd, a raghaidh i leas don tír seo agus dosna tíortha eile. Nuair a thabharfaidh an Saorstát fé thráchtáil an náisiúin, idir díoluidheacht agus ceannuidheacht, do riarad, beidh sé de dhualgas ar an Saorstát gan biadh ná earraí eile go bhfuil gádh leó do leigint thar lear ó Éirinn go mbiedeh a leórdhóthain fachta ag muinntir na hÉireann, agus a sáith i dtaisce aca i gcóir an ama le teacht.

Beidh sé de chúram ar Riaghaltas an Náisiúin, leis, a iarraidh ar Riaghaltaisí tíortha eile cabhrughadh agus comhoibriughadh ar chomh-chéim leó chun dlighthe i dtaobh gnáthshaoghail agus gnáth-oibre an phobuil do cheapadh a chuirfidh feabhas mór ar an gcórughadh saoghail is saothair a bhíonn le fághail ag lucht oibre.



REAL CRISIS In Sinn Féin Deepens With Re-Election of Tory Government-  (Statement by Villiers)

What would a Sinn Féin led 26-County government do if a minority Fianna Fáil coalition partner VETOED taxation of Super-Rich in order to end austerity?.

scroll down

// From irishtimes.com – Villiers: Sinn Féin should ‘stand by what they agreed’ on reform – Mon May 11 19:47:21 IST 2015//

To Read Sinn Féin View As Reported By Brian Feeney (SDLP) Click Below   


(Reappointed Tory Northern Secretary)Villiers: Sinn Féin should ‘stand by what they agreed’ on (WELFARE) Reform

Mark Hennessy

Sinn Féin must “get to grips” with Northern Ireland welfare cuts because the British government will not pay for a more generous welfare system than exists elsewhere in the UK, the newly reappointed Northern Secretary has said.

Theresa Villiers retained the Northern Ireland portfolio when prime minister David Cameron named his cabinet following the Conservatives win in last week’s general election.

Ms Villiers said there had been meaningful discussions about welfare over the past few weeks, “but, frankly, it is difficult for those ever to take place during a general election”.

She dismissed speculation that direct rule by London is looming.

“I think we are some way off that, to be honest.” she said. “Without a budget, the institutions will become increasingly dysfunctional and unable to carry out their basic functions, so it does jeopardise their credibility and even their sustainability. But I don’t see that we are at a cliff edge of imminent direct rule.”

No orders

Facing calls from Alliance Party leader David Ford to put pressure on Sinn Féin to reach a deal on welfare, Ms Villiers said Mr Ford knew “perfectly well” that she can not “order them to take a different position”.

“That is what devolution is all about. If you want to persuade parties, you have to do it by convincing them. There is nothing mandatory that you can do to change their mind.”

However, Ms Villiers warned that Northern Ireland’s budget would quickly become “dysfunctional” unless a deal was reached.

Asked if she feared Sinn Féin’s stand was being dictated by its ambition to make gains in the general election in the Republic, due next year, Ms Villiers replied: “Regardless of what is driving this, it needs to be fixed.”

She added: “Martin McGuinness, Gerry Adams have been negotiating in some shape or form for 20 years. They signed up to a package of top-ups on welfare reform, which they for many months hailed as a great triumph. It was a generous package, a sensible package.

A good deal

“They should stand by what they agreed. Yes, there may have been some misunderstanding, but they agreed it, they signed up for it, they went out and championed it. It is a good deal for Northern Ireland,” Ms Villiers told The Irish Times.

“It is not possible to insulate the Northern Ireland Executive from the kind of difficult decisions that every single other elected administration in the Western world has had to make over the last few years.

“It simply isn’t possible for it to be absolutely completely unaffected,” she said. “We have done our very best in terms of the generosity of the settlement that we have given and we have supplemented it even further.”

Ms Villiers expressed hopes that an agreement can be reached.

“I believe that we can get through this issue. It will continue to be difficult because austerity is not at an end. But this has to be done, because unless it is the Executive’s finances become increasingly dysfunctional.”


Support Workers on Strike in Northern Ireland Today!

Public service workers are holding a one-day strike to-day against the cuts contained in the Stormont House Agreement.

Northern workers again give a lead to all!

THIS IS A UNIQUE EVENT. The strikers are taking action against cuts agreed by all the main parties in the UK and Ireland who brokered or supported the AGREEMENT—Fine Gael/Labour, Tory/Lib Dems, Sinn Féin, DUP, UUP,SDLP

Under the Stormont House Agreement, Stormont ministers are obliged cut £1.3 billion, more than 10 percent of the region’s budget, by 2019.

Unite regional secretary Jimmy Kelly said in a statement: “Without standing up to this, we can expect another four years of even more punishing austerity budgets.”

UPDATE March 12,2015

The Real Crisis in Sinn Féin

Sinn Féin Attitude to Austerity in All-Ireland Causing Deepening Crisis in Party

In August 2014, in my piece on this blog ” Sinn Féin’s 32-County Organisation Would not Survive Coalition” I said : “Already the pressures on Sinn Féin as a result of being a 32-county party in a partitioned Ireland are becoming evident. In Northern Ireland, Sinn Féin has vetoed Tory welfare cuts. This has led to reductions in the British financial subvention and increased tensions within the Stormont executive. Supporters of the party will say that this would have happened in any event. However, it is a fact that it would be seriously damaging to Sinn Féin in the Republic if it had supported such cuts. In addition, it would appear strange to northern nationalists if Sinn Féin were imposing cuts in Belfast while fulminating against such cuts in Dublin”

Since I wrote the piece, Sinn Féin has done a deal on cuts in the 6-counties with the Unionists and the two governments through the Stormont House Agreement.   But now the party has had  to step back from that deal under pressure from southern workers and northern workers. Southern workers will not trust a party and continue to support it at elections on the basis that it will end austerity in the south if it is simultaneously imposing austerity in the north.  Tomorrow  trade unions in the six counties hold a one day strike against the cuts in jobs and public spending in the Stormont House Agreement.

The right wing of Sinn Féin want to be in coalition administrations in Stormont and Leinster House. The revolutionary republicans, genuine socialists and conscious workers north and south see the lifting of austerity throughout the island as the first priority. This is causing severe tensions in Sinn Féin.

Claims by Sinn Féin leaders that they were misled by the DUP and Stormont officials in elation to the Agreement do not bear examination.

The crisis in Sinn Féin which I expected to reach its peak after Sinn Féin joined a coalition in Dublin (either as a majority or minority party) may now occur earlier or progress more quickly than I anticipated.

I carry below an opinion piece by Eamonn McCann in the Irish Times to-day.

I believe that mobilisation for Irish unity , independence and sovereignty will be a key factor in the Irish Socialist Revolution.

As Secretary of the NationaL H-Block Trade Union Committee which organised work stoppages in support of the H-Block prisoners, I believed at that time that it was totally wrong to demobilise the mass movement in the South after the death of Bobby Sands and to seek an internal solution in the six counties.

Union protests pushed Sinn Féin to Pull out of Agreement

Eamonn McCann

Irish Times   Last Updated: Thursday, March 12, 2015, 05:00

One of the factors behind Sinn Féin’s decision on Monday to pull out of the Stormont House Agreement was a series of trade union demonstrations tomorrow calling for rejection of the agreement.

All major public sector unions in the North will be on strike. Most schools and, it is expected, all social security, Housing Executive and civil service offices will be closed. No buses or trains will run. Marches and rallies opposing the economic components of the agreement will be held in Belfast, Derry, Strabane, Enniskillen, Omagh, Magherafelt, Cookstown, Dungannon and Craigavon. (Interest declared: I represent the NUJ on Derry Trades Union Council.)

Over the past month, more than 100 meetings have been held in union offices, community centres and rooms above pubs urging attendance at the protests. Some have been small, others have drawn reasonable audiences of 50-100. This has been the most extensive union operation in the North in living memory.

The demonstrations may not be as big as union optimists expect. The success of appeals to the wider community is far from guaranteed. Enthusiasm sits alongside a degree of cynicism. References to the Grand Old Duke of York have regularly been heard.

20,000 job losses

The unions’ main concern is that the agreement involves the loss of 20,000 public sector jobs. Assurances that there will be no compulsory redundancies have cut little ice. When the jobs are gone, they’re gone for good. Union density is significantly greater in the public sector than in private businesses. A reduction of 20,000 in the workforce would not only lengthen the dole queues but cost the unions almost 20,000 members.

The prospect of being at loggerheads with the unions has dismayed many in Sinn Féin. The party’s ardfheis in Derry last weekend heard an address by Ictu president Jack Douglas, extolling its adherence to the union cause. To the delight of the party, Siptu general secretary Jack O’Connor chose the occasion of the Labour Party conference in Tralee a fortnight ago to hail Sinn Féin as a potential friend of Labour in government.

The party will be acutely aware that many of those who march tomorrow are likely to have voted Sinn Féin in the past.

The vehemence of the unions’ denunciation of the agreement has taken many aback. Leaflets and advertisements have been headed “No Deal! . . . No one voted for our elected politicians to do a deal like this. It is bad for workers, for all communities, for society and for equality.”

This is the first time trade unions have opposed a Stormont deal. On every previous occasion, they have hailed the outcome as a welcome contribution to the consolidation of peace.

Sinn Féin will also have been aware that, despite chaotic disagreement between the two main parties as to what was actually agreed, some past statements on the Assembly record are damning. Responding to claims that the party only discovered last weekend that its Executive partner was interpreting the agreement to mean that “top-up” payments would not apply automatically to all present and future recipients of disability living allowance, the DUP has repeatedly quoted its Social Development Minister Mervyn Storey in the Assembly on February 14th:

“The disability protection scheme . . . involves making a financial payment to those DLA claimants who are unsuccessful in their claim for personal independence payment and who subsequently appeal the disallowance decision . . . A financial payment should be made to those claimants and continue until the appeals service has made a decision on the claimant’s appeal.

“[Another] element provides support for those claimants who receive a lower level of payment under the personal independence payment . . . This will involve a . . . payment that will continue for a specified period depending on the date when the claimant is reassessed for personal independence payment.”


The DUP argues that it is inexplicable in light of these and a number of other apparently unambiguous statements that Sinn Féin can have believed what it now says it believed.

Green Party leader Steven Agnew MLA, whose attempts to amend the Welfare Bill were systematically voted down by both main parties, described as “irresponsible” Sinn Féin’s claim that no claimant would lose out under the agreement it had put its name to.

The fact that Sinn Féin is now opposing at least some of the cuts which most observers see in the agreement has been welcomed by claimants’ organisations and community and union groups. But the fact that the party has taken such a long and winding road to reach this point has not encouraged confidence that the way ahead will be straightforward.

The numbers mobilised by the unions tomorrow may tell a tale of more relevance to the chances of the agreement surviving than many of the matters widely canvassed since the start of the week.

UPDATE August 8,2014-I discuss here two important Articles from the August edition of Sinn Fein monthly magazine, An Phoblacht, published on August 1.  The articles themselves are carried below my comment. The  coverage of the earlier part of this  discussion is carried further down-Paddy Healy

Further UPDATE Sept 20,2014

There are two further contributions to the political discussion on the way forward carried in the September edition of AnPhoblact. One is by Jack O’Connor, General President of SIPTU, Irelands giant 32-county  union, and arguably the organization through which historically Irish workers became  “a class for itself”. SIPTU remains affiliated to the Labour Party which is the junior partner in the Coalition government which has been in power for over 3 years. It is worth noting that SIPTU supported Joan Burton in the Labour party leadership race. Because of the collapse of the Labour party from over 200 seats to 51 in the local elections, the Labour Party is almost solely dependant on SIPTU support for its continued existence.

The other contribution is by Jimmy Kelly who is General Secretary of the Irish Region of UNITE THE UNION which also covers all 32 counties but is bigger in the 6-county area. UNITE has always been to the left of SIPTU in the 26-counties. The Irish Region of UNITE has now dissaffiliated from the IRISH Labour Party, but UNITE as a whole remains affiliated to the British Labour Party.

These contributions are carried further down in this blog.  I will address their content in the near future

There are a number of opinion pieces in the August edition of An Phoblacht. Two are of particular importance because they are written by Sinn Féin members-Cllr Eoin Ó Broin and SIPTU NEC Member  David Connolly who represents members employed in the community sector..

The editorial in An Phoblacht contains the statement “Reactionary parties, north and south, who champion these cuts need to explain to those who elect them why they are so keen to punish the most vulnerable.——They should join with Sinn Féin and growing numbers of others fighting against austerity and cuts”. Presumably the editor is inviting the right wing parties- FG, FF, DUP, UUP who are implementing the cuts to join SF in opposing the cuts. If this is not political small talk, it is very dangerously confusing. It would be in line with a view that FF and FG could change sufficiently to be suitable partners for coalition government with Sinn Féin as a minority element. Sinn Féin leaders-Gerry Adams, Mary Lou McDonald and Pearse Doherty have not ruled out such a position. The most recent opinion poll shows Sinn Féin and the main governing party, Fine Gael in equal first position when statistical survey error is taken into account.
It is important to recognise that the O Broin and Connolly positions are indeed “another view” even if they do not go nearly far enough and are generally fudged . Neither contribution deals sharply with the coalition issue which is the issue. All else can be forgotten as mere political rhetoric if actual coalition with FF and/or FG in government is effected.

The piece by Eoin Ó Broin is heavily weighted against coalition as a minority partner with FF,FG. He says: ”The experience of our Left republican predecessors in Ireland must be fully understood” and goes on to mention Clann Na Poblachta, The labour Party, The workers Party etc.

However he does not mention let alone sharply oppose participation in coalition as a minority party explicitly as he does in his blog . This is worrying. It is particularly necessary to sharply oppose coalition well in advance of the issue arising in practice. If the Free State wants SF in coalition, the pressure exerted on the party will be massive. All will change in the media. Pro-coalition Sinn Féin leaders who have been vilified for decades will be portrayed as great saviours of the Irish people etc. They will be praised by EU and American leaders who are allies of the Free State. Unless the left republicans are very clear on their position and well prepared, they will be steam-rolled. New reasons will be dredged up to convince members that coalition is needed to save the Irish people from much worse. It may be claimed that entry into coalition is necessary to “save the peace process” and to save northern nationalists from a return to one-party unionist domination etc It would not be difficult for the British government, the Free State authorities and the US to “ready up” such a situation

The best part of the contribution of David Connolly  is :” As presently constituted, the Irish state is incapable of change.” He also advocates joining with community organisations in a mass movement against austerity. All this is very positive. However he does not even mention the elephant which is blocking the road ahead for Irish workers. SIPTU is by far the most important of all Irish working class organisations and sets all agendas both political and economic. But its current leadership is a key support to the government’s austerity agenda and the main barrier to mobilisation of workers. It had also been deeply implicated with Fianna Fáil and the entire Irish elite in creating the circumstances in which an economic collapse was inevitable. For example, the ICTU which it dominates, was represented on the board of the central bank which allowed an outrageous level of foreign borrowing by the banking sector. Despite the savage austerity visited on workers by the Labour Party in government, unlike UNITE The UNION, SIPTU remains affiliated to the party and vigorously defends its role in government. The SIPTU leadership uses the old explanation used by all capitulators and collaborators-it would be even worse for workers if the Labour Party was not in government.

To create a wide mobilisation against austerity, The SIPTU leadership must be removed or, at a minimum, pushed aside. For a leading elected representative of workers to remain silent on these matters is inexcusable. It would not be at all surprising if, after the Labour Party is wiped out,  the SIPTU leadership puts strong pressure, both in public and in private, on Sinn Féin to replace it in coalition. Is the Sinn Féin leadership keeping lines open to the capitulationist trade union leadership?

Some years ago, Gerry Adams said that if SF had entered a joint executive with Unionists at Stormont, it would have no difficulty in principle with being in coalition with any party in Dublin.
Since the recent elections, Sinn Féin leaders (Gerry Adams, Mary Lou McDonald, Pearse Doherty) in several interviews have failed to rule out coalition with FF and/or FG in response to direct questions. They have said that abolition of the property tax is a red line issue or precondition for entering a coalition government. In response to further questions they have refused to set out any other red line issue including abolition of water charges, rejection of the Fiscal Treaty, or any particular initiative in relation to Irish Unity
The strongest position taken in public is that of Cllr Eoin Ó Broin who says that Sinn Féin should not enter a coalition in which Sinn Féin was in a minority. Some spokespeople have also said that Sinn Féin would prefer to be in a Sinn Féin-Labour-Left coalition.
The Dublin government is bound by the EU Fiscal Treaty. In the Dáil Caoimhín Ó Caolain on behalf of Sinn Féin has described this as an austerity treaty which flies in the face of the 1916 proclamation in that it is the negation of Irish sovereignty.

Whether Fianna Fáil and/or Fine Gael are the majority or minority party in a coalition, each party will insist on implementing this Treaty.
Why has Sinn Féin not made rejection of this Treaty a red line issue for participation in coalition?

THE Adams statement which inferred that if SF had entered a joint executive with Unionists at Stormont, it would have no difficulty in principle with being in coalition with any party in Dublin is seriously wrong and misleading. It may lead supporters to believe that since participation in the Stormont Executive has done no electoral damage to Sinn Féin support in the six counties, that participation in a coalition government in Dublin would not necessarily damage Sinn Fein support in the south.

The two situations are entirely different.
The northern executive is merely a mechanism for regional administration within the United Kingdom. It is not and it does not purport to be a sovereign government. It is a fact that the majority of northern nationalists have continued to support Sinn Féin as it participates in this body. Indeed Sinn Féin has ousted SDLP as the leading party in Derry in the recent elections.It is my view that northern nationalists see this continued participation as a guarantee against the return of institutionalised discrimination in the allocation of houses, other public services and to lower status in society generally.
The Dublin parliament is a totally different matter.

Despite severe de facto limitations on its actual powers, it is technically a sovereign parliament and is viewed as such and expected to act as such by the population.
There is no threat of a return to domination by a Unionist caste as in the north.
I believe that participation by Sinn Féin in a government in Dublin which did not deliver significant economic gains to the majority of the population and did not make serious progress in enhancing Irish unity and sovereignty would lead to a collapse in electoral support for Sinn Féin. The party would follow the downward road travelled by Clann na Poblachta, The Workers Party and the Labour Party. If Sinn Féin participated in a government which implemented austerity in accordance with the Fiscal Treaty, it would be wiped out.
Ireland is facing a major historical turning point. The decision of Sinn Féin on coalition in Dublin will be central to the outcome.

I believe that the depth of the historical turning point which Ireland is facing in the next two years is being underestimated . Things cannot go on in the old way because the people of the 26 counties will not tolerate increasing austerity for much longer. They have only voted against austerity. The main cohorts have not yet fought through strikes, demonstations etc but this is on the way as it is now becoming widely understood that restraint will not work. The outcome of the recent elections has accelerated this process. I believe that political crisis will be the most intense since the civil war.
I believe that the notion that Sinn Féin will be able to “play a long game” in opposition while retaining coherence is mistaken. Sinn Féin, in its membership and support, contains a number of political components. At one pole are the revolutionary republicans and at the other are the capitulationist pro-capitalists and there are all shades in between, many simply confused.
It is well to recall that all capitulators claim to be “playing a long game”. Collins said we should settle for a “stepping stone” to Irish Freedom . Brendan Corish said he was fighting for socialism “eventually”. McBride said he had first to remove Fianna Fáil patronage in giving out roadwork and to secure the declaration of a 26-county republic.
After the next election, I believe that the 26 county capitalists will not initially allow a Fine Gael- Fianna Fail coalition. This would leave them with no fall- back position as the more populist FF would be wiped out. This will leave no possibility of a government being formed without Sinn Féin. The problem is likely to be addressed in the context of a significant degree of popular mobilisation on economic issues. The class pressures on the political components of Sinn Féin will be massive as they were in the civil war period of 1921 to 1923.
There will be an intense discussion within Sinn Féin. The issue will not be one of tactical stupidity or cleverness. It is the duty of those of us who understand the positive role that revolutionary republicanism can play in the Irish socialist revolution to do what we can to ensure that the revolutionary republicans are victorious. That is why a serious discussion must take place now so that people cannot be fooled.
Simply denouncing Sinn fein in its entirety as some left wing groups do is counter-productive.
ClannNa Poblachta leader Mac Bride told the small farmer and cottier supporters of Clann Na Poblachta that he had to go into coalition with Fine Gael to break the Fianna Fail ganger system of allocating work on the roads. Collins said the Treaty would give us the freedom to win freedom. We must be ready for the “new fangled” excuses. The need to save “the peace process” and to prevent a return to one party unionist administration in the north is likely to be invoked. But there are always unexpected excuses in politics.

Let us do something positive to protect against capitulation. Let us ask Sinn Féin to publicly commit against coalition with Fianna Fáil and/or Fine Gael and to give an undertaking not to implement the Fiscal Treaty which sets aside Irish sovereignty and imposes continued austerity.
The electorate is entitled to know BEFORE the election
If Sinn Féin made such a commitment it would create a new position which would have to be considered by left wing organisations.

What is important is to positively effect what happens in the FUTURE.
Discussion of previous or current mistakes is important in order to learn from them. There are very many genuine people in Sinn Féin andin left wing groups.
There is wide agreement on the left that entry of Sinn Féin or left TDs into coalition with Fianna Fáil or Fine Gael would be disastrous for the Irish People.

There are also several “left” TDs who have not ruled out coalition with FF and/or Fine Gael.

I believe that we should focus in the discussion on getting a public undertaking in advance from Sinn Féin and left wing TDs that they will not go into coalition with FF and/or FG after the next election and that they will under no circumstances implement the Fiscal Treaty which flies in the face of the 1916 Proclamation

An Phoblacht EDITORIAL  Extract

The an Phoblacht editorial says: “Reactionary parties, north and south, who champion these cuts need to explain to those who elect them why they are so keen to punish the most vulnerable.——They should join with Sinn Féin and growing numbers of others fighting against austerity and cuts”
Presumably the editor is inviting Fg, FF, DUP, UUP who are implementing the cuts to join SF in opposing the cuts. If this is not political small talk, it is very dangerous.
It is important to recognise that the O Broin and Connolly positions are indeed “another view”.

Ready For Government? An Phoblacht, Lúnasa, 2014

Another View-Eoin ó Broin (Sinn Féin Councillor)

THERE IS A LOT OF TALK of Sinn Fein in govern­ment these days. Gerry (Adams) is telling us to get ready. Micheal (Martin FF Leader) and Enda (Kenny, Taoiseach and FG leader) are saying no way. The Indo (Irish Independent-main establishment newspaper)is in panic mode.  Things seem to be getting serious.

There is no doubt that Sinn Fein wants to be in gov­ernment in the South. But big questions remain, one of which is: ‘Are we ready?’

The straight answer is no, we are nowhere near ready to participate in government in Leinster House. But there is enough time to get ready, if we use that time wisely.

So what must we do?

The first thing is to learn from the mistakes of the past so as not to repeat them.

The experience of our Left republican predecessors in Ireland must be fully understood.

Why did Clan na Poblachta’s challenge to Fianna Fail hegemony collapse after such a bright start. Was the implosion of the Workers’ Party and the dissolution of Democratic Left inevitable?

We must also take seriously the failure of Labour to have a meaningful long-term impact on Government policy or to permanently break beyond its half-party subordinate role in Southern politics.

International experience must also be understood.

Why have European democratic socialist parties suf­fered (electorally and organisationally) from their par­ticipation in Government in France, Italy and Sweden?


Progressive forces have squabbled about the best route to a more equal society – reform or revolution?

What explains the return of the Right to government in Norway after the Left coalitions successful two terms in office?

If we want to enter Government to achieve real polit­ical, social and economic transformation then we need to debate and understand these failures in order to develop strategies that allow us to achieve our goals in ways that our Irish and international predecessors did not.

Then there is the question of what kind of social, eco­nomic and political transformation are we talking about.

Sinn Fein policy is strong on end points – we know where we want to get to. But we have yet to map out, in concrete policy terms, how we would get there.

How do you get from a dysfunctional and wasteful two-tier, partitioned health system to an all-Ireland, free-at-the-point-of-delivery, one-tier system? If we can’t answer these kinds of questions then we won’t be able to deliver the change we promise.

There is an urgent need for the party to map out the detail of our vision for Ireland and the route by which we plan to get there – step by step, policy decision by policy decision, across the key areas of political, social and economic life.

But policy detail is not enough. We also need to start building the coalitions for change required to overcome the already existing power alliances of the status quo.

Sinn Fein cannot deliver the kind of transformation we are seeking alone. We need to be part of a myriad of movements for change – some local, some national, some short-term and tactical, some long-term and strategic.

These alliances must be social and political, institu­tional and popular. They must involve people and organisations and combined must constitute a mass movement for a better Ireland.

For over a century, progressive forces across the globe squabbled about which was the best route to a more equal society – reform or revolution?

Today this debate is redundant. There are elements of both philosophies and strategies that are necessary if we are to fundamentally change our society.

Our goal is the radical transformation of the political, social and economic fabric of Ireland. This can only be achieved by securing a critical mass of reforms within the institutions supported by a strong and diverse pop­ular movement for change outside the institutions.

Sinn Fein are trying to do something that all of our predecessors, in Ireland and internationally, have failed to achieve to date.

Our success will depend on many things, including on how well we prepare for government.

What cannot be doubted is the seriousness of our intent. Maybe that’s why the political establishment is starting to panic.


Offering A Real Alternative For Government

By David Connolly, Community and SIPTU Trade Union              



(David Connolly is a member of the National Executive

Committee of SIPTU and is Chair of the Community Sector

 Committee of ICTU-Paddy Healy)

IT’S NOT SURPRISING that much of the focus by the Dublin mainstream media after the recent election successes of Sinn Fein has been on the prospects of the party being cen­tral to the formation of the next government. The results certainly sent real shockwaves through the political establishment.

As a community and trade union activist, my concern is that Sinn Fein maintains a focus on building the wider participation and engage­ment necessary to create a radically alternative political reality that serves all of our people.

Gerry Adams in his oration at the Wolfe Tone Commemoration in June declared: “We are about creating a

New Republic, with new pol­itics and a new way of doing things that puts fairness and equality at the heart of how this country is governed.”

In the struggle to achieve this ambitious and worthwhile objective, electoral activity is only one element. It is necessary to engage with and mobilise a wide range of interests, including civil society organisations, single focus groups and social issue campaigns so as to construct a broad popular movement capa­ble of enforcing a fundamental shift in the way this country is governed and enhancing the prospect of real unity across the island.

As presently constituted, the Irish state is incapable of change. This is evidenced by the continuing litany of acute social issues covered up and unresolved, and in the way the severe econom­ic collapse was foisted on the most vulnerable in soci­ety and the poorest people were punished by the impo­sition of austerity.

The governing elite – the wealthy, the professionals, the senior civil ser­vants and their political representatives – remain in power despite the destruction wrought by them, their associates and their policies.

A whole new political dispensation is required that is much more than the revolving of government between political parties. In this context Sinn Fein has much to offer.

Given Sinn Fein’s experience and evolution over the past three decades, it has very different perspec­tives on fundamental values such as justice, equality, par­ticipation and rights.

In a more immediate way it has been involved in an alternative form of govem­ing in the North; it is dealing with legacy issues arising from conflict that can inform a wider policy and has an international reputation and connections unlike any other political party on this island.

It is an outsider to the cosy political appara­tus that has governed since the foundation of the state. This offers a positive agent for change.

Undoubtedly, the attraction will be to con­centrate on consolidating the electoral victory and preparing for the next general election

Given Sinn Fein’s experience and evolution over the past three decades, it has very different perspectives on fundamental values such as justice, equality, participation and rights

with the prospect of entering government; however, in the longer term, it would be preferable to build a real alternative capable of realising the vision set out at Bodenstown. This requires a more sophisticated approach which must also complement the electoral dynamic.

In effect this will involve the party members, the elected representatives and the leadership reaching out to, participating with and helping to shape and influence campaigns mounted by and involving civic society organisations, including trade unions, NGOs, community and voluntary sector entities and campaign­ing movements involved in working for rights around disability, equality, language, gender, minorities and the broad spectrum of cam­paigning issues.

In other words, to engage not as a passive recipient of people’s issues or as a route to build the party as other political parties do, but through genuine participation bringing the function and role of the party to the centre of

the diverse range of current struggles aimed at securing justice and realising rights.


It is necessary to construct a broad popular movement capable of enforcing a fundamental shift in the way this country is governed and enhancing the prospect of real unity across the island

Implementing this approach involves a two­ way process, entailing increased demands on party members to become active in relevant organisations and a willing­ ness on the part of the wide range of activists who com­prise campaigning organisa­tions and movements to work with Sinn Fein as an integral part of achieving real change.

It is the effective integra­tion between political activi­ties and popular movements that will greatly enhance the capacity of Sinn Fein to offer a real alternative for govern­ment, not relying on deals with other parties but pre­senting a powerful, and collective manifesto for change that can help to achieve the vision of a New Republic, a New Ireland.


What would a Sinn Féin led Government Do?-Paddy Healy

Would Withdrawal from the Fiscal Treaty be a Red Line Issue?

Sinn Féin regards the Fiscal Treaty as a fundamental renunciation of the Sovereignty of the Irish People.

  In Dáil Éireann (Irish Parliament) during the debate on the EU Fiscal Compact ( Treaty) on April 20,2012, the Sinn Féin spokesperson, Caoimhín Ó Caoláin said : “ On Easter Sunday the Taoiseach and other Cabinet Ministers, as well as Oireachtas Members, myself included, stood outside the GPO and listened to the words of the Proclamation. As I speak on the austerity treaty today, I wonder did the Cabinet Ministers hear the same words that I heard: “We declare the right of the people of Ireland to the ownership of Ireland, and to the unfettered control of Irish destinies, to be sovereign and indefeasible.” The Cabinet that stood to hear those words now asks us to put before the people for approval a treaty (The Fiscal Compact) that flies in the face of the 1916 Proclamation. It is a treaty that seeks to negate the right of the Irish people to the ownership of Ireland. It is a treaty that would surrender control of Irish destinies and fetter this and future elected governments, tying them to the failed economics of austerity. The people would have expected such a surrender from the last Government.”


On RTE on July 18,2014, Pádraig Mac Lochlann TD (Sinn Féin, Donegal North East) said that his preference would be for a government of Sinn Féin, the Labour Party and Left wing TDS. He did not rule out a coalition government with traditional capitalist parties, a position which is in line with recent statements of the leader and deputy leader of Sinn Féin. However his emphasis was distinctly different.

Some weeks ago, Cllr Eoin Ó Broin, who has huge electoral support in the Dublin working class suburb of Clondalkin, opposed SF entering coalition government as a minority partner with Fianna Fail and/or Fine Gael. Clearly, the question of entering a coalition government is now a burning issue in Sinn Féin. This is to be expected as there is a strong possibility that Sinn Féin will be the biggest single party in the Dublin parliament after the next election.

I have dealt with the general issue of coalition in an earlier document. (see below)

Perhaps the most worrying aspect of recent statements by Sinn Féin leaders is the common statement that the abolition of the local property tax would be a red line issue or precondition for participation in a coalition government. Attempts by media interviewers to get the leaders to set out other red line issues failed. For example, all refused to say whether the abolition of the new water charges would be a red line issue. The implication is that abolition of property tax is the only red line issue for the Sinn Féin leaders. Revenue from property tax can easily be replaced by an equally regressive austerity measure.

In fact the tasks to be faced by any government committed to act in the interests of the majority of the Irish people will be massive. I discuss these below. In that context, it may be useful to discuss what the programme of a Sinn Féin-Labour Party-Left government would or should be. It is important to recognise that the degree of economic and political sovereignty of the Irish people is now less than at any time since before the Land Acts of the late 1800s. The Dublin Government has borrowed massively abroad to bail out the large (but not the small) investors in Irish banks. It has also borrowed massively to pay for public services, however reduced, rather than tax the incomes and/or assets of the very rich.

One outcome of this is the payment of in excess of 8 billion per year in debt servicing charges to big international investors by the exchequer alone. The political representatives of these investors, the EU powers and the US Government, have effectively total control of the current Dublin government as it had of its predecessor. A heavily indebted capitalist government can only survive by borrowing and this gives the lenders total political control. Because loans to government mature regularly and must be repaid on time, governments must regularly “roll-over” or replace loans even if it does not need to increase total borrowing.

In addition, through sales of loan books by the National Asset Management Agency (NAMA), IBRC and other Irish banks to international vulture capitalists, many more homes, shopping centres, businesses and even farms are now owned abroad than was the case before the crash. When debt servicing costs by government, banks,  householders, private businesses etc are added together, the magnitude of the outflow of value from Ireland is probably unprecedented since before the time of Michael Davitt and the land league. Total external debt, private and public, was over ten times the size of Irish GDP(over 1000% of GDP !!), one of the highest in the world even before the current fire-sales of assets began. See here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_external_debt

Successive governments have pursued a policy which has made the provision of extra jobs almost solely dependent on multi-national companies when there is not a construction bubble in existence. The recent successful demand by Bausch and Lomb in Waterford for pay cuts raises issues of national sovereignty as well as trade union issues. Now the Irish Government is coming under severe international pressure to change aspects of its low corporation tax regime which is central to its job creation policy.Ultimately the EU and the US will decide what corporate tax regime Ireland is allowed to have.  In summary, successive governments have put the provision of existing and future Irish jobs in the hands of other countries.

The Fiscal Compact requires that the current deficit be reduced below 3% of GDP by end of 2015, that the “structural deficit” be eliminated by 2018 and that the public debt to GDP ratio be reduced to 60% over 20 years. Despite the physical exit of the Troika from Dublin , the government is treaty bound to further reduce the current budget deficit in 2015 to reduce the deficit from 4.8% to 3% of GDP. There has been no recovery of national sovereignty.

The current budget deficit of Germany has been below 3% for a number of years. ” But although the German public deficit stayed within the EU limit of 3 percent of GDP for the third year in a row in 2013, it came down from a budget surplus of 0.1 percent in 2012.” http://www.dw.de/german-economic-growth-flat-in-2013-but-deficit-under-control/a-17362284

The EU has now quantified the budgetary position which would be required to eliminate  the Irish “structural deficit” in order to comply with the Fiscal Treaty. (EU Report on Ireland, March 2014)   The over-all deficit needs to be converted from -4.8 % of GDP in 2014  to +4.9% in 2018. Based on a GDP of 148 billion Euro in 2012, this requires a further 14 billion in cuts and tax rises unless there is significant economic growth. Growth in GDP in 2013 was +0.2% , which means total stagnation as 0.2% is less than the probable error in the estimate.

Germany has no structural deficit.  http://ec.europa.eu/europe2020/pdf/nd/sp2013_germany_en.pdf

Under the Fiscal Treaty Irish government debt must be reduced (not rolled over) from 102% of GDP now to 60% of GDP over the next 20 years. This requires further significant expenditure cuts and tax rises into the distant future. German national debt to GDP ratio at 57% is already below the 60% figure in the Treaty as can be seen at this link . http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_public_debt

Fire-sales of assets by the current government may provide it with some short term relief of pressure but only at the cost of increasing debt and austerity above what it otherwise would be in the longer term. In summary, a Sinn Féin –Left Government, would be faced with a very difficult situation, to put it mildly. The extraction of a few hundred million in wealth tax from millionaires, however welcome, would merely scratch the surface of the problem.

In summary, a government cannot act in the interests of the Irish people while implementing the Fiscal Treaty. This Treaty, while its provisions are formally the same for all countries covered, is grossly discriminatory against the programme countries in general and against Ireland in particular. Germany is a net creditor country while Ireland and other programme countries are large net debtors.  See here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Net_international_investment_position

In summary Fine Gael, Labour and Fianna Fáil supported a grossly unequal Treaty which had no effect on the German budgetary or state debt position but which crucified the Irish people under every heading!!!

Would Sinn Féin in Government implement the Fiscal Treaty? To do so would be to continue the undermining of Irish Sovereignty and to continue austerity policies with inevitable failure to tackle unemployment. It would be to continue doing what Caoimhín Ó Caolaáin TD (SF) accused the current government of doing in his Dáil speech!!!! Refusal to implement the Fiscal Treaty should be the real red line issue for any left government!

What Would Fianna Fáil Do if Elected?

It  may be useful to discuss what a Fianna Fáil government if elected would do in the context of these constraints. Fianna Fail, with the exception of Eamonn Ó Caoimh TD, supported the Fiscal Treaty and can be expected to implement it. But they will need a political cover. It is inevitable that Fianna Fáil would say that the current government left a complete mess. The “recovery” was a complete fake. Fine Gael and Labour are to blame. Further austerity is necessary to bring about a real recovery!

What Would Sinn Féin Do if Elected???  (To Be continued) (In the document below I say:For my part, I would ,of course, insist that socialists and republicans should not be in any government which includes Fianna Fail and/or Fine Gael even as minority parties. They would veto any real change even from a minority position.)   ( Continued higher up here)

The Exciting Possibility of A LEFT GOVERNMENT by Jack O’Connor, General President SIPTU

OVER the last two elections, upwards of 40% of the electorate, twice as many as previously, opted for ‘Left’ platforms. This raises the exciting possibility of a Left of centre government. However, the scale of the challenge should not be underestimated.

Even on the basis of the most recent polls, the parties of the Centre-Right would still easily command an absolute majority of seats in the Oireachtas. Moreover, if the turnout in the next general election replicates that of 2011, there will be 14 votes cast for every 10 in the locals. All the polls show the “don’t knows” running in the order of 30%. These are the people who will tip the balance.

The next election will not be a plebiscite on austerity but rather a search for solutions. If the Left is to seriously contest to win, it must offer a sustainable economic and social strategy, in the context of globalisation, also taking account of the debt reduction rule of the Fiscal Treaty.

The vitriolically superficial character of our public exchanges should end at once. Labour people should acknowledge that, despite legiti­mate criticisms, the current leadership of Sinn Fein has returned its party to the Left republican course which reflects the outlook of the Democratic Programme of 1919, the 1916 Proclamation and the egalitarian values which extend back through the Fenians and Wolfe Tone to the French Revolution.

Moreover, we should also acknowledge the success of that approach in the Peace Process which now offers the realistic possibility of the reunification of Ireland through consent.

Sinn Fein and people on the non-sectarian Left should acknowledge that, far from selling out and notwith­standing equally legitimate criticisms, Labour in Government has prevented public spending cuts which would have extended to between a further €1.Sbil­lion to €2billion. This would have entailed slashing the basic rates of social wel­fare and outsourcing of public provision on an industrial        scale, resulting inthe ‘Greyhoundisation’ of thousands of jobs.

They should also acknowledge Labour’s role in improving collective bargaining rights and defending the legal infrastructure which protects the pay and terms of employment of more than 200,000 lower-paid workers as well as prevent­ing the wholesale divestiture of public assets at bargain basement prices. All of us should also recognise the critically important role of ”Left Independents” in pursuit of democratic accountability and defending communities. However, they in turn should accept that the attainment of a left of centre government would offer the prospect of much greater progress towards a prosperous, egalitar­ian society.

Realistically, a Government of the Left would not unilaterally “burn the bondholders” or repu­diate the Fiscal Treaty either, given the danger that such a route could become a one-way tick­et to the Stone Age. However, they could shift the tax/cuts burden by €lbillion to €1.5 billion incrementally, from those least able to those most able to shoulder it, in the manner outlined by the Nevin Institute. This would allow for the abolition of both the Property Tax and the Water Charges, which undoubtedly would be popular but hardly progressive.

Deployment of these new resources on build­ing a decent health service, universally available to all, free at the point of use, ending the hous­ing crisis, improving education and public provi­sion otherwise, or making gradual progress on all three simultaneously would be far better.

That would actually constitute a real egalitar­ian agenda.

Of course, some steps could be taken to rebal­ance the Property Tax further, thus rendering it fairer, and to introduce a system of water credits to ensure that everyone had an adequate free supply to meet their basic household needs.

The real challenge for the Left, though, is on the generation of wealth as distinct from the dis­tribution of it.

We must counter the inevitable cuts, public asset divestment and tax competition approach of the Centre Right with a ‘New
Economic Policy’, constructed around public enterprise, strategic investment and skills development.

This in turn should be complemented by a sophisticated elec­toral alliance that is not simply about Labour and others

on the Left serving as transfer fodder for Sinn Fein but which is designed to maximise seat gain to offer the electorate the prospect of a cohe­sive, stable alternative Government.

At the end of the day, the real battle between Right and Left is as it always was – low tax, pri­vate affluence and public squalor on the one hand versus social solidarity, through sustain­able public provision, underpinned by fair taxa­tion, high productivity and a prosperous economy on the other.

BEYOND THE POLITICS OF ANTI-AUSTERITY, By Jimmy Kelly General Secretary og Irish Region, UNITE THE UNION

FOLLOWING the recent elections, progres­sives have still not grabbed the opportunity to drive a new agenda. The Right and employers still dominate the narrative, from taxation to banking policy to economic growth. This challenges all who share progressive values to coalesce and offer a political alternative to the two conservative parties.

But providing a clear economic and social alternative means moving beyond the politics of anti-austerity. This will require honest debate and a radical vision. Challenging the orthodoxy is never easy; it will be even more difficult when the dominant commentary would have us believe that the economy is not only recovering but actually roaring back .That this refrain was rejected by hundreds of thousands in the last election will be of little benefit if we can’ t, together, advance an alter­native vision.

We need to identify several policies to pro­mote long-term, sustainable growth capable of creating full employment with liv­ing wages. Most importantly, the driving force behind economic pros­perity is the level of investment in the economy – public and infrastructural investment, business investment and investment in people’s skill, education and access to the labour market. In all these, Ireland performs poorly. This is not just a result of the recession but something that was apparent before and covered over by the property bubble.

Despite the propaganda, Ireland would have to double its level of investment just to reach the European average.

The deficits are everywhere – from the massive social housing waiting lists, to a creaking water and waste system, to an underdeveloped telecommunications nd energy infrastructure.

In particular, the social housing crisis – with 90,000 on the waiting lists and growing – needs to be urgently addressed. Permanent stable housing is a fundamental social right. To increase social housing would not only vindicate this right, it would drive employ­ment in the badly-hit construction sector.

We also need to address the historically low level of business investment in Ireland. We have the perverse situation where we have one of the highest levels of corporate profit, an ultra-low corporate tax rate but one of the lowest levels of corporate investment. With our corporate model coming under increas­ing international scrutiny, we need a new approach to building a sustainable market economy and export sector.

We need a revolution in education and fam­ily support policies. Increasing investment in education (especially early education) is the one of the best ways to promote future growth. We need a rational, efficient and free public education system at all levels. And we need policies that help families as they attempt to balance work and home life – in particular, a strong public sector childcare network at affordable fees.

Investing in children, families and people’s skills and life opportunities is not a cost – it is the recipe for growth.

We must also accept that our indigenous sector is currently incapable of delivering full employment. We would have to double our manufacturing employment in indigenous companies just to reach the average of other small open European economies. Throwing around money and subsidies will not address this problem (that’s what we have been doing for decades). We need new planning mecha­nisms and the full participation of all stake­holders – that is, workers – to create a dynamic native business sector.

A successful economy will be wage-led. Unite was involved with other groups in the Living Wage Technical Group which calculat­ed the Living Wage to be €11.45. We estimate that over 300,000 workers earn below this hourly level. And this dcesn’ t count those workers with children (who require a higher wage or public services) or those workers stuck in precarious work, unable to find full­time, stable employment.

We need strategies to strengthen labour in the workplace: an increased minimum wage, a more robust Joint Labour Committee syst­em, real collective bargaining rights, and the right of part-time workers to extra hours in the workplace as per an EU Directive that succes­ive governments have failed to implement We also need a strong social wage if we want good public services, income supports and pensions.

Irish living standards are well below the EU 15­ average while deprivation – which affects more than one million people (of whom a quarter are actually in work) – is growing. A

strong social wage would mean substantially increasing employers’ PRSI (social insurance) payments. We cannot tolerate a situation where workers have to pay for their own services ­out of wages which are below those of other countries.

Such a new social compact can only be driven forward by a coalition of progressives based on shared values, a common analysis and determination to ensure that – when the recovery does happen – it is a recovery for people.

Comment By Rory Hearne on article below on Facebook

Rory Hearne
July 19 at 7:01pm
It highlights the need for a political alliance/organisation on the left that makes the case that significant change will only come when working unemployment & marginalised people engage in struggle – themselves & would only partake in a left led gov that would supprt radical transformation – A New Republic -Sinn Fein will come under massive pressure to be responsible & limit their radical policies. Where is the increse on taxes on multinationals or ending ppps & privatisation & expanding public & community & cooperative services. The left still has a way to go to build a popular base in struggle & electoral support – jumping into a market constrained gov would be a disaster

Earlier article   Sinn Féin and Participation in Coalition with Traditional Capitalist Parties Cllr Eoin Ó Broin, Sinn Fein, has ignited a discussion on the attitude of the leadership of Sinn Féin to coalition with Irish traditional capitalist parties. He has enunciated a position of opposition to participation in any coalition government LED by these parties (Fianna Fail and Fine Gael). This is markedly different from the position of the leader and deputy leader of Sinn Féin who have not ruled out such participation. THE CONTEXT OF THE DISCUSSION I believe that WBS (administrator of the Left Wing Blog:Cedar Lounge Revolution)  is correct when he says:” It(Fianna Fail-the main party of Government since 1932) is now in deep trouble because it is outflanked on its Republican side by Sinn Féin. And on its centre left side by… Sinn Féin. On its right side Fine Gael(current majority party in Government) offers an alternative, and an alternative that despite its not great poll position has at least the single great virtue of being in government and likely to remain there after the next election.” For my part,I believe that the European election outcome is the best estimate of the support for parties. European Election %   May 23 FF 22.3 FG 22.3 SF 19.5 Lab 5.3 Others 30.6 FF benefitted from traditional loyalties to local FF families in the local elections and to some extent by the return of conservative voters who had defected to Fine Gael in the 2011 General Election.  Indeed the FF figure in the European elections is inflated by the unusual personal vote of Brian Crowley in Ireland South. (Crowley has now defied the FF leadership and defected to the group which includes the British Tories in the EU Parliament-an indication of the deep crisis in Fianna Fáil) I would go further than WBS. FF cannot recover unless and until Sinn Féin is fatally damaged. FF previously recovered in the fifties after former IRA leader Seán McBride , leader of Clann na Poblachta, entered coalition with Fine Gael. Could it happen again by Sinn Féin entering coalition? The report of an interview with Mary Lou McDonald in the Sunday Times last Sunday (carried below) is deeply disturbing. Though Fine Gael support is diminishing, it is a much more stable political and social formation than Fianna Fáil being deeply rooted in the old Irish propertied and self-employed professional classes. I believe that the real Irish decision makers will prevent a coalition of FF and FG coming to power except as a very last resort. The separate options of governments anchored by FF and FG has been a key factor in maintaining the relative stability of the Free State for decades. A coalition of FF and FG would lead to the rapid disintegration of FF in the context of implementing the Fiscal Treaty. Additionally, the trade union leaders despite their best efforts to protect such a government would be unable to keep workers in check. I believe that the Irish elite will opt for a Fine Gael/Sinn Fein Government. When this becomes very unpopular, Fianna Fail would be available as the anchor of an alternative government. It is the task of socialists and genuine republicans to prevent this elite strategy achieving success. Sinn Féin Leaders on Coalition The position of Cllr Eoin Ó Broin (carried below) is a very different position to that put forward by Sinn Fein President, Gerry Adams, and Deputy Leader, Mary Lou McDonald (both carried below) and I welcome it as an important step. In the recent local elections, Eoin O Broin headed the poll in the heavily working class South Dublin  ward of Clondalkin. The second person elected was also a Sinn Fein candidate. He is virtually certain to be elected to the Dáil in the next general election. For my part, I would ,of course, insist that socialists and republicans should not be in any government which includes Fianna Fail and/or Fine Gael even as minority parties. They would veto any real change even from a minority position. In this they would be supported by the entire ruling elite and its international allies (remember the Allende Government in Chile). Eoin only rules out Sinn Fein being in a Fine Gael or Fianna Fail LED government. However his position is, indeed, an important step. It ignites a real discussion on the way forward. Councillor Eoin Ó Broin on his Blog   02/07/14 After The Election http://eoinobroin.wordpress.com/2014/07/01/after-the-election/ Posted: July 1, 2014 in Elections, Sinn Féin Tags: Elections Sinn Féin had a good election. We consolidated our position in the North and significantly increased our strength in the South. We are now well placed to make significant gains in the next Dáil election. As we face into that electoral contest two questions will loom large. Voters and the media will want to know who we would enter government with and what economic policies will form the core of our campaign. In the 2007 election we fudged the first question and back-peddled on the second. The electorate punished us for both mistakes. In 2011 we set out a real alternative to the austerity consensus and pledged not to enter coalition with Fianna Fáil or Fine Gael. The electorate rewarded us with an extra 10 seats. Of course there was a lot more to these elections than just that – but a central part of the outcome of both contests was our answer to those two key questions. The reason is simple. In Dáil elections most voters are thinking about who they want and who they don’t want in government. They make strategic calculations based on what they think is actually possible. Until recently a government led by any party other than Fianna Fail or Fine Gael was not available, no matter how much some of us may have wished for it. This is changing. The combined support for the two centre right parties is falling. A growing number of people –as indicated in the left of centre vote in 2011 and 2014- want something different. The electorate are realising that a better fairer southern Ireland requires an end to the dominance of Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael. Whether there will be enough of us to end that dominance by the next general election is not yet clear. In large part that will be determined by how we fight the campaign and whether we can convince enough of those people yearning for real change that Sinn Féin is the party that can deliver. We need to come our early and set out our stall clearly. Sinn Féin should loudly declare that we will not participate in a Fianna Fail or Fine Gael led government after the next general election. We want to be in government – but not at any price. We want to be in power to deliver deep and long lasting social, economic and political change. That can-not be achieved in a government where the majority voice is either of the centre right parties. So we should tell the electorate that if they want real change they need a government led by Sinn Féin. If the post elections numbers don’t allow this people need to know that we won’t go back on our word, but will continue to build popular support for a real alternative from the opposition benches. We also need to set out our key political commitments – the red line issues that must form the basis of Sinn Féin participation in any government. We should produce a short pre-election manifesto outlining our key priorities on job creation, tax reform, public spending and political reform. It should be radical, credible and costed. We should print a million copies in pocket book format and go door to door from October. Our aim should be to convince as many people as possible of the merits of our left republican alternative before the election is even called. The next Dáil election has the potential to be a game changer. But that requires us to play a different type of game to 2007 and 2011. If we are serious about the kind of Ireland we want to help create then we need to rise to the challenge. People are hungry for change but they are distrustful of politicians. We have to convince them that Sinn Féin is different – that we mean what we say and will only take office if it means wielding real power to create a better and more equal Ireland


Séamus says July 2,2014: I think you have to accept that motions to reject coalition with FF and FG and any right-wing party have been defeated at the party’s Ard Fheis.
Eamonn Óg Ó Gallachóir says:
July 3, 2014 at 17:36
An Ard comhairle meeting can rectify that- bring a special meeting if they need, I would include labour in with the right wing to leave them out- questions what u know about left and right

Deputy Mary Lou McDonald, Deputy Leader of Sinn Fein,  in Sunday Times   Sinn Fein: Tax Ideals Up For Negotiation McDonald says pledge could be sacrificed to form government, writes Stephen O’Brien  Sunday Times 29/06/14 MARY LOU McDONALD has admitted Sinn Fein’s promises of a 1% wealth tax on assets over €lm and a48% tax rate for high earners – those paid over €100,000 -could be sacrificed in negotiations to agree a Pro­gramme for Government. The deputy leader of Sinn Fein has revealed her party’s commitment to abolish the property tax will be the only red line in any talks with other parties about formation of a government after the next gen­eral election. “We don’t believe it to be intrinsically a left-wing virtue to tax the family home. The notion is that you tax income, certainly, and that you tax wealth to create a fairer distri­bution,” she said. McDonald admitted the yield from the party’s proposed wealth tax would not be fully costed by the Department of Finance this year, because the Central Statistics Office would not have gathered all the data necessary to measure the likely yield until mid-2015. In 2012, the Irish Congress of Trade Unions estimated that a wealth tax of 1% on assets over €2m could yield €60-€80m a year. Sinn Fein is estimating that its wealth tax – 1% on assets over €lm – could bring in up to 0.5% of GDP or €800m in a full tax year. McDonald said the party would submit all of its budget proposals to the Department of Finance for costing “as a whole”, but it would propose setting aside the yield from a wealth tax for a job stimulus fund. This would mean if Sinn Fein’s estimate of revenue proved to be too high, this would not have an impact on its calculations of the budget deficit. Labour, the Socialist party and People Before Profit would be her preference as coalition partners for Sinn Fein in gov­ernment. McDonald, the favourite to succeed Gerry Adams as party leader, said she would be more comfortable in government with “the party of Connolly” and other left­leaning groups and independ­ents than with either Hanna Fail or Fine Gael. “The dynamic of Irish poli­tics now is different than it was five or 10 years ago. We are in a state of flux, which makes it interesting,” said McDonald. “If the numbers stack up and if the people wish it to be so, of course you could have a left­leaning government. I would have a preference for that, for the simple reason it allows you a lot more political scope to deliver change. It is not that evry party or candidate of the left . . . shares every single policy and detail in common, there is a common dynamic and I think the dynamic is important alongside the policy position.” However, McDonald did not rule out the prospect of coali­tion with either Fianna Fail or Fine Gael, though she agreed a Fine Gael/Sinn Fein alliance seemed “incompatible” and the least likely outcome “given their background, their past”. She said Sinn Fein would not rush into government just for the sake of being there. Asked if her preferred coali­tion option was a hint that she feels Labour will do better than expected at the next election, McDonald said: “No, I think the Labour party is in big, big trouble, worse than that sug­gested by opinion poll figures or election results. “It is almost an existential crisis for the Labour party. Who are they, what do they represent, why are they in gov­ernment? “I don’t have a crystal ball, but I would like to think the party of James Connolly and that tradition in Irish political life would find its feet again, and I think the correct collabo­rators or allies for [that] party are people on the left and the likes of Sinn Fein. “I am always baffled at senior Labour party people going off on a bizarre tangent of feeling that their role in life is to, savage or to stop Sinn Fein … very, very odd. You hear it even from the two candidates for leadership, Alex White and Joan Burton.” In a RedC poll published today, the first since the local elections last May, the Labour party’s support was measured at 7%, down four points on the previous poll and tracking its performance in May. McDonald declined to state what number of seats Sinn Fein would need to win in order to consider entering govern­ment, but did say having 30 TDs would put it “in the mix” in terms of considering the options.   Property tax removal a condition for coalition, says Adams Harry McGee   Irish Times   Last Updated: Monday, June 23, 2014, 10:46 Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams has confirmed that reversing the property tax will be a bottom-line issue for the party to enter a coalition government. However, he refused to say if a 48 per cent rate of tax for those earning €100,000 or more would be a deal-breaker. Over the weekend Mr Adams told a Sinn Féin meeting the party needs to begin preparing for government and getting its policy priorities right. Outlining the party’s strategy, he told RTE this morning this will mean developing and working out where best it can stand in preparing candidates and also changing mindsets. “We want to be in government and we want to be ambitious for change,” he said. He said Sinn Féin would not go into government like Labour did and provide a cover for conservative parties. “Let’s get ready to be in government and let’s work out the terms.” When pressed on specific non-negotiable issues for Sinn Féin, Mr Adams agreed it would insist on property tax being scrapped. But in response to persistent questioning on Morning Ireland, Mr Adams would not give the same commitment for the top rate of tax for those earning over €100,000. “We are putting people on alert that we need to be ready for government. This will all be prepared in the upcoming period,” he said. Mr Adams emphasised the biggest difference between Sinn Féin and other parties was its emphasis on core republican values, and the entitlements of citizens to a job, a clean environment and other rights. “We want to see a strategy for Irish unity,” he said, saying Sinn Féin wanted a democratic way of bringing it about with unionists.Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams has confirmed that reversing the property tax will be a bottom-line issue for the party to enter government. However, he refused to say if a 48 per cent rate of tax for those earning €100,000 or more would be a deal-breaker. Over the weekend Mr Adams told a Sinn Féin meeting the party needs to begin preparing for government, getting its policy priorities right. Outlining the party’s strategy, he told RTÉ radio this morning that it will mean getting policy priorities right, developing and working out where best it can stand in preparing candidates and also changing mindsets. “We want to be in government and we want to be ambitious for change,” he said. He said Sinn Féin would not go into government like Labour did and provide a cover for conservative parties. “Let’s get ready to be in government and let’s work out the terms.” When pressed on specific non-negotiable issues for Sinn Féin, Mr Adams agreed it would insist on property tax being scrapped. But in response to persistent questioning on Morning Ireland, Mr Adams would not give the same commitment for the top rate of tax for those earning over €100,000. “We are putting people on alert that we need to be ready for government. This will all be prepared in the upcoming period,” he said. Mr Adams emphasised the biggest difference between Sinn Féin and other parties was its emphasis on core republican values, and the entitlements of citizens to a job, a clean environment and other rights. “We want to see a strategy for Irish unity,” he said, saying Sinn Féin wanted a democratic way of bringing it about with unionists. © 2014 irishtimes.com

Categories: Uncategorized


Support Mandate Strikers at Tesco

Resist Attack By Employers on Workers’Conditions



Support Bus Éireann Workers



Bus Workers Victory Heaps Pressure on Union Leaders Who Capitulated to Continued Pay Cuts and FEMPI ANTI_TRADE UNION LAW in Public Service

Lower-paid civil servants seek speeding up of pay restoration-Irish Times

The outcome of the Luas and Dublin Bus pay disputes “needs to be reflected within the public service”-CPSU

Martin Wall  Irish Times, October 1, 2016, 01:00

Lower -paid civil servants are seeking the Government to speed up the pace of pay restoration.Their trade union also said the outcome of the Luas and Dublin Bus pay disputes, which resulted in pay increases, “needed to be reflected within the public service”.It also warned that tolerance of additional unpaid hours which public servants were obliged to work was “running out fast”.

The Civil Public and Services Union (CPSU)wants the €1,000 payment due from September next year brought forward to January.

The union, which has members working in clerical roles alongside gardaí in An Garda Síochána, said it would be watching developments carefully in the campaign by gardaí for improved pay and conditions.

Meanwhile Siptu president Jack O’Connor has said additional money that public service staff would be envisaged to receive under a successor to the Lansdowne Road accord after 2018 should be paid earlier.

He also urged the Government to bring forward the date for paying the second tranche of increases under the existing Lansdowne Road deal, which is currently scheduled to be paid in autumn next year.

Yesterday Minister for Public Expenditure Paschal Donohoe said the Government was worried about the possible “domino effect” of the planned Garda strikes.

Mr Donohoe said that any solution to public sector strikes must be through the Lansdowne Road Agreement.


GARDA DISPUTE: McGrath and Halligan Support Lansdowne Rd and Anti-Trade Union FEMPI Acts

Independent Minister Finian McGrath told The Irish Times the Independent Alliance were “100 per cent on board” for insisting on maintaining the Lansdowne Road Agreement.

As gardaí plan to take unprecedented strike action for four days, the Minister for Public Expenditure Paschal has told Ministers he is unwilling to agree a special pay deal for members of the force.-Irish Times 29/09


Support the Bus Workers -For A Day of Solidarity Action!

The five trade unions representing workers at Dublin Bus have organised a solidarity march on Tuesday next, September 27, 12 Noon, Dublin City Centre


 National Bus and Rail Workers Union (NBRU) has challenged Ross’s INDEPENDENT ALLIANCE COllEAGUES  including ministers Halligan and McGrath“to respond the question which is, do they support the minister on his handling of the crisis which is unfolding in Bus Eireann”

Transport Minister Shane Ross is set to come under pressure from his Independent Alliance colleagues this week after junior minister John Halligan backed bus eireann workers against planned pay cuts-Sunday Times  Justine McCarthy   25/09/2016

But where is Finian McGrath Hiding?

Bus Eireann told the Workplace Relations Commission recently that it wished to hive off  the Expressway service to the provincial regions to a low paying subsidiary company

Under its plan to achieve €7m savings, the company wants to reduce the number of full-time positions at Expressway from 550 to between 400 and 450. Compulsory redundancies have not been ruled out.


Currently, Expressway employees enjoy the same terms and conditions as workers in the company’s public service obligation routes, and are full-time staff.

Some private operators, in contrast, do not have full-time staff, and pay daily and hourly rates, while some do not pay pensions.


Bus Éireann routes to be privatised in 2016 by the National Transport Authority

120 Dublin–Edenderry–Tullamore

123 Dublin–Naas

124 Dublin–Naas–Portlaoise

126 Dublin–Naas

130 Dublin–Naas–Athy

Tenders  also been  sought for six Waterford routes currently operated by Bus Eireann.

It is Clear that All Bus Eireann Routes are To be Made Profitable through Low Pay and then sold off!!

Extracts from Sunday Times Article

Bus Eireann told the Workplace Relations Commision on Wednesday that it wants to cut pay, consider the option of redundancies and to restructure its Expressway service which is losing 500,000Euro per month due to competition from private operators. (Bus Eireann wants to hive off Expressway into a separate company with lower pay and worse conditions than in the parent company-PH)

Halligan Wants Private operators licences withdrawn and has called for bus services nationwide to be nationalised . . . . . .

Halligan , the minister for training, said it would be “grossly unfair” if Bus Eireann introduced pay cuts and redundancies. “The general public deserves a quality public service but the workers who provide it deserve to work in reasonable conditions and be properly paid.” he said.

“I believe the bus service should be run by the state. I’m against privatising any part of the service. We need to have an economic assessment done to see how the state can control it.”

Dermot O’Leary, General Secretary of the National Bus and Rail Workers Union (NBRU) has challenged Ross’s INDEPENDENT ALLIANCE COllEAGUES “to respond the question which is, do they support the minister on his handling of the crisis which is unfolding in Bus Eireann.

O’Leary said: It would be unconscionable to think politicians whose natural habitat is on the left  of the political spectrum would support such a draconian attack, led it would appear, by one of their allies in the Independent Alliance, on the livelihoods of 800-plus workers in a state owned company”- – – –


Stand Up To Lord Ross, The Independent Alliance, Fine Gael and CIE

The Outcome of the Transport Disputes will Affect all Workers

In addition to resisting the justified claims of the workers at Dublin Bus, the Government and CIE are now proposing reduce wages and conditions in a part of Bus Eireann by hiving off the Expressway service into a seperate company.

If the Government succeeds in this, the pay and conditions of all workers in the commercial state sector will be in immediate danger. Trade unions will be weakened in Irish Society in General.

Ministers Finian McGrath and John Halligan are members of the Independent Alliance of which senior Minister for Transport, Ross is the effective leader. MvGrath and Halligan purport to be left-wingers and friends of workers.It is time for them to stand up and be counted on the workers side in these disputes by stopping Lord Ross in his tracks.

When INMO, Civil and Public Services Union (CPSU), UNITE and the Irish Bank Officials Association (IBOA) successfully proposed a motion at ICTU BDC 2013 calling for the repeal of the Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest Act, they said  its effect would “knock on” to  the commercial state sector and the private sector. TEEU said the same.


All industrial and political means necessary to defeat Lord Ross and the company must now be used.


A general article on the approach union activists should adopt to combat the capitulatory union leaders is carried below.



New Government-ICTU Confidence Trick

The story about restoration of pay and pensions in the public service is a misleading kite been flown jointly by government and the Public Services Committee of ICTU. It is designed to relieve pressure on union leaders and on government. The timescale , they hope, should see them through the general election. We will be invited to vote Labour to ensure restoration of pay and pensions and the “success” of the talks.

Already the timescale of the Haddington Rd agreement was set to see the government through the next election.

But even the promise of jam tomorrow is completely false. Already unions are negotiating pay rises in the profitable part of the private sector covering about 50% of private sector workers according to  LRC chief Kieran Mulvey in a radio interview.. He has also pointed out that SIPTU has negotiated pay  rises  in 250 employments recently and MANDATE has also done so in large retail employments. Mulvey said these rises were normaly of the order of 2 to 5%. This means they are effectively cost of living rises. Faced with the inevitability of conceding similar rises in the public service, ICTU and Government have decided to call them “restoration”. Because they are the same cost of living rises as in the profitable private sector, there will be in fact no restoration in comparison to the profitable part of the private sector. Those in the public service who get the cost of living rises will have them strung out over years. But Minister Howlins statement indicates that many public servants will not receive “restoration”. This means they will not even receive cost of living rises.

This confidence trick would not be possible without the collusion of the public service trade union leaders who are responsible for a historic capitulation through Croke Park 1, Croke Park 2, Haddington Rd and aove all agreeing to FEMPI, the anti-worker  law.

We are seeing a continuation of the historic capitulation of ICTU in new packaging.




What is to be Done in Trade Unions?

ICTU CONFERENCE UNANIMOUSLY ADOPTED EMERGENCY MOTION ON THE FISCAL EMERGENCY MEASURES IN THE PUBLIC INTEREST LEGISLATION at its meeting in Belfast in June 2013:The following motion, sponsored by the INMO, Civil and Public Services Union (CPSU), UNITE and the Irish Bank Officials Association (IBOA) was unanimously adopted by the ICTU Biennial Delegate Conference:

“ Conference, noting:

  • that the Fiscal Emergency Measures in the Public Interest Act undermines the principle of collective bargaining in the public sector and concerned that this may set a precedent for the private sector;
  •  that the legislation provides extraordinary powers to government Ministers to unilaterally vary terms and conditions of employment;
  • that there is no specified end period for this “emergency” legislation; and
  • that this anti trade union legislation has been introduced in the centenary of the 1913 lockout;

calls on the incoming Executive to mount a vigorous, and robust, campaign against this legislation with the goal of seeing it repealed.”

It should be noted that SIPTU, IMPACT, PSEU and the teachers unions voted for this resolution after they had used the Act to force members to accept the Haddington Rd Agreement under which conditions of employment and pensions were significantly worsened. Nothing whatever has been done to implement the resolution in the year since it was passed-surprise! surprise!

The unions  proposing the motion were only too correct when they included in the motion the fact that they were “concerned that this may set  a precedent for the private sector”. Indeed in its recommendation to members to reject Croke Park 2, the TEEU rightly gave as one of the reasons that the cuts would knock-on to the private sector.  

Employers in the private sector, as expected, have now intensified their assault on pay and conditions. Bausch and Lomb, the Greyhound bin company and numerous employers about the country are imposing pay cuts and other worsening of conditions, often, after Labour Court/LRC intervention. For example Bulmers Cider-Showerings and a chemical company , both in Clonmel, have recently imposed pay reductions. The attempt by Iarnród Éireann to cut pay continues.

(The demands of Bausch and Lomb are extremely threatening for workers in multinational companies and for the Irish people generally. The powerlessness of workers and the Irish Government in the face of these threatshighlights the effect of undue reliance on multi-national investment which, itself, is related to the failure to solve the national question in the 1798 to 1923 period with all its implications for economic sovereignty. I will return to this in a further document)

And why wouldn’t employers go on the offensive? Public service unions, including SIPTU, have been telling members for months that they had to vote for cuts under the Haddington Rd Agreement lest worse befall them under the FEMPI Act. Indeed, after the vast majority of public servants had rejected Croke Park 2, ICTU Gen Sec David Begg “intervened” and went on Radio Eireann to say that unions who said that no cuts in the public service pay bill were acceptable were being “unrealistic”!!!!  Private sector employers are now taking him at his word!!! The slogan; “an injury to one is the concern of all” is not solely or even mainly based on altruism.

What is happening at the top of the trade union  movement is a degree of betrayal of Irish workers interests that is unprecedented.    

Trade union activists of my age would have spent a lifetime criticising trade union leaders from my own general secretaries to Mickey Mullen, Fitan Kennedy, Denis Larkin, Tommy Heerey, John Mulhall, Harold O’Sullivan in the early years to more recent leaders such as Billy Atlee and many others for not being sufficiently militant.  But none of these were ever involved in anything remotely like the level of compliance with government that has occurred since the banking crash. Engaging in talks in the context of statutory pay and pension cuts by Lenihan, failing to oppose FEMPI while Howlin was piloting it through the Dail and continuing negotiations in its shadow, allowing government to deduct Home Tax from pay,  agreeing for the first time, under Croke Park 1, that permanent public servants could were liable for compulsory redundancy and therefore had to agree to cuts to avoid it. The level of compliance is also unsurpassed in any of the European bailout countries.




The political earthquake in voting allegiance in recent elections presents huge problems for union leaders. The combined non-Labour Party Left (excluding Sinn Féin) is now bigger than the Labour Party in local government! Big unions affiliated to the Labour Party were unable to deliver votes to Labour. A large banner on the SIPTU building in central Dublin urged votes for Emer Costelloe (Labour Party). There are 11 other trade unions affiliated  to the Labour Party including TSSA, UCATT and Municipal Employees Division of IMPACT. The Irish Region of UNITE had dissaffiliated from the Irish Labour Party before the election. The big retail union MANDATE has not been affiliated to the Labour Party for decades. Because of its pivotal place in the past and present of the Irish working class, in addition to its size, SIPTU (ITGWU)  through its leadership has a special responsibility for the austerity being imposed by the Labour Party in government.

In addition to Sinn Féin heading the European election poll in the Dublin Constituency with over 88,000 votes we see the following in details of the first count:

Socialist Party Murphy, Paul 29953
Labour Party Costello, Emer 25961
People before Profit (SWP) Smith, Bríd 23875

The leaders of SIPTU, the giant general union, were totally ignored by their members.  It is clear that union leaders are totally out of step with the popular mood. Nevertheless, since the election, SIPTU leader Jack O’Connor has  said: “Labour should remain in Government. It is vital there is a voice in Cabinet to challenge austerity” (Cork Echo June 5)     UNBELIEVABLE!!!!!!!!  National mobilisation of members could not even be mentioned as an alternative!


Stirrings Among Union Members  

Already, union members are wearying of continued retreats before the offensive of employers in the private and public sectors. Is the unofficial stoppage at Greyhound a harbinger of the great waves of unofficial strikes of the sixties which culminated in the defeat of the employers in the Maintenance strike. Workers in Irish rail, Aer lingus, Bausch and Lomb and the Paris Bakery are either involved or have been recently involved in industrial conflict situations. The blows delivered to the government parties  in the recent elections cannot but give impetus to the determination of workers to resist economic attacks in their employments. Collaboration with austerity  governments has reached an all time intensity in recent pay reduction deals in the public service. The trade union leaderships are the praetorian guard of pro-austerity governments. But the worm may now be turning—–.

The Irish trade union leadership has been unusually compliant since 1969. That was the year in which an elected cross-union strike committee of maintenance craftsmen inflicted a historic defeat on Irish employers as a whole. The craftsmen won with massive support from general workers who respected their pickets.  Only one of 23 craft union leaderships was supporting the strike when the employers collapsed and settled individually with the strikers. The then Leader of the ICTU had called on members of his own general union (Marine Port and General Workers Union) to place pickets on workplaces in protest against the craftsmen’s activities!! Following the strike the entire unionised Irish workforce through relativity systems and under threat of a strike wave secured bigger increases than the craftsmen who then caught up! All modern wages in Ireland are based on the gains of the strike of maintenance craftsmen in 1969. Far from celebrating the victory, the top ICTU leadership immediately changed picketing rules in an attempt to ensure that the solidarity shown could never happen again. ICTU then tolerated changes in industrial relations law by government, which inter alia, gave increased powers to general secretaries over members and elected executives!


Since the anti-conscription strike of 1917, the  ITUC Congress and Labour Party, as it was then known, has not spoken politically on behalf of the majority of Irish workers. It failed to lead the national struggle and the social struggles of the 1918-1923 period to a successful conclusion. This failure ceded the allegiance of Irish workers to Unionist parties in the northern state and pro-capitalist nationalist parties in the souther state. Since then, social democracy in Ireland north and south has always been a stunted organism. Unlike the Irish case, in imperialist countries, such as Germany  and the UK, its parties have been in government alone. There was a huge surge of workers into the trade unions in the 1918 to 1922 period, principally but not only into the ITGWU, now called SIPTU. In this sense, the self identity of the Irish working class as having a separate class interest is historically and practically centred on the trade unions rather than on the Labour Party as in the UK. The Irish trade union leadership was deeply involved in the false boom and subsequently in collaboration with the FF/Green Government and the FG/Lab government in implementing austerity programmes.



ICTU secretary General David Begg was a senior member of the board of the Central Bank  for 14 years up to the year 2010.  He reports to the executive council of ICTU. Before he became governor of the Central Bank, the current governor, Professor Honohan, in Economic and Social Review (Summer 2009) said:“Irish banking system had been, in effect, on a life-support system since September 2008.—-.Complacency resulted in the banks fuelling the late stage of an obvious construction bubble with massive foreign borrowing, leaving them exposed to solvency and liquidity risks which in past times would have been inconceivable–At the end of 2003, net indebtedness of Irish banks to the rest of the world was just 10 per cent of GDP. By early 2008 that had jumped to over 60 per cent”   The borrowing of 50% of Gross Domestic Product over 5 years by the covered banks is precisely what the Central Bank is tasked to prevent-grossly irresponsible borrowing which threatens financial stability. Following the banking collapse, countless thousands have lost their jobs and savage austerity has been visited on the population including pay and pension cuts.   There had been a formal system of social partnership in place from 1987 until the economic collapse in 2009. Subsequently collaboration with government by the trade union leadership intensified.   After the FF/Green government legislated for pay and pension cuts in the public service (Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest Act, 2010) and implemented a moratorium on the filling of posts in the public service, union leaders negotiated further major reductions in the public service pay  bill over 3 years(Public Service Agreement 2011-2014) with the same government! Though the new FG/Lab  government reneged on the deal in 2013, and introduced draconian anti-union Legislation (FEMPI 2013), the union leaders negotiated a new 3 year deal implementing further cuts in the public pay bill  with the FG/Labour government . The trade union leaders are completely complicit in implementing austerity policies. Currently, the collaboration takes place through Labour Party ministers in government. But I do not believe that the complicity with the present government is due to the presence of the Labour Party in the government.  All the evidence is that the union leaders would be equally complicit with any government which maintained the cast of senior trade union officials as an integral part of the elite of Irish society. SEE   http://wp.me/pKzXa-gw


What Is to Be Done?

When I say that it is essential that the left and the trade unions show a new way forward to the Irish people in the current ongoing economic and political crisis, I do not mean that the current trade union leaders can be expected to do this. Activists must, of course, continue and intensify efforts to bring the leaders under democratic control of members and to replace those not amenable to such control.  However, if one depended solely on proceedings at annual congresses and branch/section meetings, workers would be long defeated before such processes were concluded. Irish workers have a particularly strong tradition of “unofficial” industrial action in addition to official action. But workers have been particularly quiet since the beginning of the economic crisis. There had been very significant improvements in workers living standards in the decade before the onset of recession.   The recession came as quite a shock to all. Trade union leaders and politicians reinforced the same message. If short term or temporary pain were accepted, previous relative prosperity would be recovered. Many believed this or thought it might be true.  But very few now hold this view and the number decreases as time goes by. After the overall exchequer deficit has been reduced below 3% of GDP in the budget 2015, the state is committed to removing the “structural deficit” by 2018 and paying down state debt from 120% of GDP to 60% over 20 years under the Fiscal Treaty. Resistance by workers in their employment is already increasing. Commercial companies which are partially or wholly owned by the state are now seeking to worsen conditions of employment. Workers in Aer Lingus and Irish rail are resisting. The largely immigrant workforce in a small Dublin centre bakery is sitting in to demand wages owed and redundancy payments. All this could become contagious! The current unofficial “downer” at Greyhound by lowly paid workers may be a straw in the wind! This possibility is enhanced by the outcome of recent elections.  The blows delivered to the government parties in the recent European and Local elections shows to workers that the government can be shaken and that there is widespread opposition to government policies. The wipe-out of the Labour Party  and the surge to Sinn Féin has rocked the political system and the irish elites including the trade union leaders.

  • In line with the new  mood, union activists must now redouble their efforts to secure support of fellow workers to resist attacks on pay ,pensions and conditions in the public and private sectors
  • Union leaders must be called to account for their support for Austerity Measures and for the Labour Party in Government
  • An alternative economic path for the country based on the interests of workers and the poor should be advocated (see x below)
  • Dissaffiliation from the Labour Party should be advocated (see y below)
  • Workers should be urged to seek and sign the official form form forbidding the union to give any part of union dues to the party.
  • Full time officials who represent unions on Public Service Committee of ICTU  and on the Executive Council of ICTU should be replaced by executive members subject to re-election. (This does not require a change of union rules in most cases)
  • All officials must be subject to election and re-election

X    several left wing organisations have put forward such programmes.  At a minimum a steeply progressive taxation of the incomes and assets of the very rich should be advocated (the top 10,000 income earners have an average income of 595,000 Euro each and financial assets (bank deposits and shares) of households only (not companies) have increased by 70 billion since the onset of recession and are now above peak boom levels (Central Statistics Office, Institutional Sector Accounts 2013). Water charges, to be introduced in October should be resisted by trade unions)

y  How can a union remain affiliated to the Labour Party after ICTU, itself, has passed the following resolution concerning the emergency legislation introduced by Labour Party Minister, Brendan Howlin: ICTU CONFERENCE UNANIMOUSLY ADOPTS EMERGENCY MOTION ON THE FISCAL EMERGENCY MEASURES IN THE PUBLIC INTEREST LEGISLATION The following motion, sponsored by the INMO, Civil and Public Services Union (CPSU), UNITE and the Irish Bank Officials Association (IBOA) was unanimously adopted by the ICTU Biennial Delegate Conference at its meeting in Belfast today (June 2013): Conference, noting:

  • that the Fiscal Emergency Measures in the Public Interest Act undermines the principle of collective bargaining in the public sector and concerned that this may set a precedent for the private sector;
  •  that the legislation provides extraordinary powers to government Ministers to unilaterally vary terms and conditions of employment;
  • that there is no specified end period for this “emergency” legislation; and
  • that this anti trade union legislation has been introduced in the centenary of the 1913 lockout;

calls on the incoming Executive to mount a vigorous, and robust, campaign against this legislation with the goal of seeing it repealed.

(Nothing has been done to implement the resolution in the last 12 months. there is no union affiliated to the Labour Party among the proposers!! P H)

Labour Leadership Race: Savour the Total cynicism of Labour and Trade Union Leaders Miriam Lord : http://www.irishtimes.com/news/politics/the-question-that-should-have-been-asked-at-the-labour-husting-was-why-are-we-all-here-1.1833442 …

Read More http://wp.me/pKzXa-kQ 








Categories: Uncategorized

UPDATE:Labour Destroyed Itself through Coalition


Labour Backed by SIPTU Humiliated in Two Bye-elections

The pathetic vote for Labour backed by SIPTU and it’s President Jack O’Connor and the massive turnout on the Abolish the Water Charges Demonstration to-day shows that the majority of Workers are rejecting the SIPTU Position

The demonstration was backed by 5 unions -MANDATE, UNITE, CPSU,OPATSI, CWU but SIPTU continues to support Burton and the Labour Party Leadership which is enforcing the water charges

UPDATE:October 6

Labour to be Humiliated in Bye-Elections 

Water charges, supported by Labour, have become the main issue in both bye-elections to be held next Friday. Labour currently has two seats in the Dublin Southwest constituency-Pat Rabitte and Eamonn Maloney.

The results will show that Labour will get no seat in the constituency in a general election.

This bears out my contention in the analysis below that coalition with FG and or FF has destroyed the Labour Party and will also destroy Sinn Féin if it enters into such a coalition


New Labour Leadership But No change


The entire Labour party leadership affair is a low farce with little substance. The vote for the Labour candidate in the recent bye-election in Joan Burton’s constituency of Dublin West was 5.2% for Lorraine Mulligan. Joan Canvassed for the candidate. She delivered a derisory vote.
In the new All Tipperary Co Council, the Labour Party has one seat only. The candidate was elected to the ninth seat in the Nenagh ward without reaching the quota. This is the “turf” of Alan Kelly TD who has been elected as Deputy leader of the Labour Party.
If a general election were held to-morrow, there can be little doubt that the Leader and Deputy Leader of the Lasbour Party would lose their seats.
The Labour Party is terminally ill but is being kept alive by Jack O’Connor and the SIPTU leadership. Jack has referred to the “vile lie” that Labour broke its promises. He has also claimed that the Labour Party has “saved” the workers from 2 billion in additional cuts which otherwise would have been implemented by Fine GaeL.
If SIPTU withdrew support from the Labour Party leadership, the party would collapse. A convention of the Labour movement, political and industrial, could then be held to discuss a way forward.
It is clear that the leaderships of several trade unions are distinctly unhappy with the role of the Labour Party in government. UNITE has already dissaffiliated. The emergency resolution passed by ICTU Biennial Congress in June 2013 calling for a vigorous campaign against Labour Howlins anti-worker FEMPI wage cutting act were INMO, IBOA and MANDATE in addition to UNITE. O’Connor and Coady(IMPACT) poured cold water on the resolution but voted for it. But they have ensured that the resolution has not been implemented in any respect in the last twelve months.
The SIPTU leadership must be held to be directly responsible for everything Burton and Kelly do in government.
It should be recalled that the affiliated unions supported the return to coalitionism in 1970. Instead of celebrating the historic victory of the unofficialmaintenance workers strike over the employers, they were terrified by it.
Everybody should attend the Greyhound Workers Support meeting in Libert Hall on Monday. But as we do, we should ask ourselves how SIPTU allowed a situation to arise where an employer could dare to bring in “agency workers” to break an official strike a year after we celibrated the hundredth anniversary of 1913!!


Irish People Will Pay a heavy Price if Left and Trade Unions fail to show a way forward

Prior to the 1969 General election the Labour Party leadership adopted a policy of refusing to enter coalition with Fianna Fáil or Fine Gael in the future. While the Labour Party vote improved in the 1969 General Election, Labour did not make the sweeping gains that some had expected. The leadership immediately used the outcome to reverse its “no coalition” policy. The reality was that the Labour and Trade Union leaders were frightened by the unofficial strike wave which culminated in the great national victory over the employers by the maintenance craftworkers in 1969. The mobilisation around civil rights in the north added to the dangers of destabilisation of the capitalist Treaty settlement of 1922. As always, Irish social democracy returned to its first principle: protect t capitalist stability. This required a return to coalition.

I resisted this reversal and I was elected to the National Executive (then called the Administrative Council at the1970 Party Conference on that basis . I was expelled at the first meeting.

Again in 2011, following the unprecedented economic crash and the linked damage to the main ruling party Fianna Fáil, capitalist stability was in danger. It was clear to all that any party representing workers would be fatally damaged by participation in a capitalist coalitrion government in the circumstances. Yet Labour entered with its eyes open to protect Irish capitalism once again.

This coalitionist policy has led to disaster after disaster for the Labour Party. Now it is on the brink of oblivion.

Written on the tombstone of Labour will be the legend: “It died protecting Irish capitalism. It turned on its own””

Because none of the leadership candidates are questioning the coalition policy, the outcome of the leadership election is immaterial.

The material below was contained in an edition of  Comment,the UCD Labour Party Magazine published in 1967. It was edited by Ruairí Quinn who has just retired as Minister for Education. It gives a glimpse of the brief “no coalition” era in the Labour Party in the late sixties.

Ruairí Quinn writes an editorial against coalition with Fianna Fail and Fine Gael.

Paddy Healy(myself!) elaborates on the history and meaning of Connolly’s concept of the Workers Republic. This is carried below.

Full Magazine here http://irishelectionliterature.wordpress.com/2014/07/02


Pat Healy is a graduate of UCD and is currently a lecturer in Bolton ST1

At the coming Labour Party conference motions will be discussed calling for the reinsertion of the demand for a Workers Republic among the aims and objects of tine party. This development, which is a reflection of the growing leftward trend in Irish politics, will be welcomed by all workers who see the need for a radical reorganisation of the economy in the interest of the working class,       This need will become all the more apparent in the coming months when Fianna Fáil, the executive committee of the exploiting class, will attempt to shackle the workers by enacting anti-trade union legislation.


The history of the demand for a Workers Republic in the Labour movement is most instructive, It was the goal of James Connolly co-founder with Larkin of the Labour Party. It was clear to him that independence alone would not alleviate the plight of the toiling man. Consequently, he instructed the Citizen Army to hold onto their arms in the coming fight lest those who were with them stop short of his objective. In the thirties, the demand for a Workers Republic split the Republican Congress2 ,its opponents holding that the national revolution must first be completed-shades of Devalera’s infamous dictum “Labour must wait”.

It was formally incorporatod as an objective of the Labour

Party in 1936. However, anti-progressive forces wore soon to show their hand. The executive of the Irish National Teachers Organisation, who were then affiliated to the Labour Party, sent a letter to the Hierarchy asking their opinion as to whether the aims and objects of the Labour Party ware in any way in conflict with Catholic teaching.    This was referred by the Hierarchy to a committee of experts, who replied that certain things were and gave as an example the fact that the Worker’s Republic was the ultimate objective of the party.

A series of amendments were placed on the agenda of the 1938 conference by the INTO, with the object of deleting the objectionable clauses from the constitution. It became apparent however, after a number of discussions between the executive of the I.N.T.O.and some members of the AC of the Party that the amendments would not be passed. They were accordingly withdrawn after an assurance by NORTON that he would use “other means” to have them adopted. The amendments again appeared on the agenda of the 1939  conference but were referred back. However, the A.C, sought and obtained permission from the conference to redraft the constitution. This wassupported by Tom 0’Connell, a former Chairman of the Party, who remarked “people might think we’re socialists”.    A new draft-constitution was circula­ted in April 1940 and in this draft all reference to the Workers’ Republic had been omitted. This was flltina passed in the 1940’s and following this the INTO received the express commendation of the Bishops. Before this statement from the bishops no public mention had been made of the negotiations that had been going on between the executive of the INTO, certain members of the A.C. of the Labour Party and the Hierarchy. Even to-day it is not thought advisable to make public reference to the circumstances which led up to the alterations in the constitution. It is significant that no direct vote was ever taken on the deletion of the Worker’s Republic clause.


The Labour Party has recently declared itself to be a socialist party, but declarations alone are meaningless unless the Party adopts a socialist programme for workers power centred around the demand for a workers Republic.


There must be no ambiguity about the goal for which we are striving. WE can learn much from the experience of the British Labour Party. This so-called socialist party was elected without a socialist programme and with no perspective outside the capitalist system.   Now, having no other perspective, they govern in the in the interest of the exploiters and when these exploiters encounter difficulties which spring from the inherent contradictions in capitalism they unload the problems onto the backs of the workers by deliberately creating unemployment. This human suffering, this gross waste of resources which should be used to better the lot of those who work could never take place in a planned economy. Anyone who has any illusions that the British Labour Party is governing in the interest of the workers should consult the growing dole queues.


This is not what we mean by a Worker’s Republic. The Worker’s Republic the rule of the majority, organizised through workers’ councils, without standing army or permanent bureaucracy, needing repression initially only against the formerly exploiting minority. The electorate will retain the right of immediate recall of  its representatives at all levels. Therefore the character of this semi-state of the working class is radically different.Whereas present “democracy” is based on a state of exploitation of the vast majority, and is only an empty, legalistic formula masking an employers’ dictatorship, the Workers’ Republic means real democracy, the reality of the controlling will of the workers: it is democracy by and for tile working people against the exploiters.


In the Workers’Republic the means of life will be social property. The factories, banks, insurance companies and means of transport and communication will be common property of the working people,controlled democratically. All imperialist economic holdings will be expropriated. Large scale industry will be nationalised,(nationalisation being understood as the transfer of  ownership to the workers state under the direct socialist management of the working class).    The existing state-capitalist enterprises will also be transferred into social property by the Workers’ State.    Large estates and capitalist agricultural undertakings  will be nationalised. There will be state monopoly of the wholesale trade, :Nationalisaxion for use by the people of large houses in town and country.   Small property in town and country will not be expropriated and non-exploiters will not be coerced.   Only when the small farmers can see the advantages of amalgamation and large scale agriculture will there be any question of reorganisation here. Until that time, planning by the Workers State will,  will at least, free the small farmer from the disastrous effects the present anarchic capitalist system.


At a local level workers management will be the rule; on a national level, economic functions will be centralised in the hands of the democratically controlled workers state. The central and local

will interact and mutually adjust to the other. For the  first time a rational economy planned in the interests of the self-controlling working man will be possible


In relation to the Labour Party Conference a word of warning is necessary. Past experience has shown that the cleverest careerists often adopt left sounding phrases as a means to their own ends. When Hugh Gaitskell sought to delete Clause 1V from the British Labour Party constitution his vigorous opponent was Harold Wilson (Claus IV states that the aim of the Party is the control of the means of production by those who labour by hand or by brain). Now Wilson and his fellow traitors not alone ignore Clause IV but even their own election promises.

It will not be surprising, therefore, if the conference accepts the Workers’ Republic motion by a large majority with strong vocal support from all manner of oppartunists

and place-seekers.But let us not be deceived.Let us elect officers who will struggle for Connollys glorious goal and after conference let us wage a constant determined struggle within the Party lest any bureaucrat, blackleg or traitor should renege on the battle for socialism and place his owm selfish interest before those of the working class.


Onward to the Workers Republic!!

1 if the author had been consulted by Editor Ruairí Quinn he would have been told that my name is Paddy Healy and that I had joined the lecturing staff at Kevin St (PH 2014)




Huge Political Crisis Developing in Ireland

The reality is that political room for social democracy has been removed in EU “programme countries” .Classical social democracy is almost extinct in Greece and is now dying in Ireland
I rarely agree with John Bruton but he is correct in predicting (at least) 10 years more of austerity. The EU has quantified what is necessary to remove “the structural deficit” under the fiscal treaty- a change from -4.8% of GDP in 2014 to +4.9% in 2018. Then the requirement to PAY DOWN (not roll-over) the state debt from 120% of GDP to 60% of GDP over 20 years kicks in. No wonder, John Bruton is concerned about the government parties “raising expectations”.

(Labour Leadership Contest: Neither of the two candidates propose to leave the austerity coalition of which Labour is a part. Under the Fiscal Treaty, which Labour supported, austerity is to continue for 20 years as government debt must be reduced (not rolled over) from 120% to 60% of GDP! Any Labour Party member, who wishes to oppose the trajectory supported by both candidates and call for a break with coalitionism, should write on the ballot paper: “none of these”
I was expelled from the National Executive of the Labour Party in 1970 for opposing the return to coalitionism after the 1969 general election. My stand has been only too trajically vindicated! )

Unless there is decisive intervention from the left, the following is likely to happen: Some combination of Sinn Fein and the traditional parties will come into government in the next general election. The government will “discover” that the economy is not “recovering” after all and that the outgoing government has concealed the extent of the problems. Blaming the outgoing government (It was ever thus), they will then launch a new round of austerity in line with the Fiscal Treaty.
Meanwhile extreme right wing forces will gather as the left and the trade union movement fail to show a way forward for the people
There will be a heavy price to be paid if the left cannot create a credible and principled alternative–
A pretend alternative, involving forces which are not opposed to coalition with FG and/or FF in principle, would create a worse scenario with a fraction of the “left alternative” joining the government (“a national government”), thereby further disorienting any left alternative which may have existed before the election ——

These matters must be addressed urgently on the left and in the trade unions. It is well to remember that in Irish circumstances, it is through the trade unions that the working class became “a class for itself”, as the political wing of the labour movement failed to play a progressive and leading role on the national question after 1916.

In the discussion a colleague  has replied: sounds like “same old, same old” despite the “seismic shift”

I replied:

The “seismic shift” is away from political allegiance to the traditional parties. That alone could not be expected to provide a way forward. But the circumstance in which the southern state can no longer depend solely on the traditional FF, FG, Lab parties is not a “same old, same old” situation.
The last big political crisis was “solved” for capitalism by MacBride entering government AND by the expansionist Keynesian policies of westen governments(including Marshall Aid) which created a relatively favourable international environment.
There are many differences to-day. Sinn Fein already has more seats than Clann Na Poblahta achieved and is about to gain far more. Sinn Fein is organised on a 32 county basis. It will be far more difficult for Sinn Fein to deliver its southern supporters to support austerity than it was to enter an administration with Unionism. Northern nationalists feel threatened by sectarian discrimination and many see SF participation in the Stormont administration as a protection.
How many southern workers would forgive SF for supporting austerity?
I would opine that the real movers and shakers of the southern state (eg. John Bruton) are very worried. Clearly they believe that the EU is determined to continue implementing austerity under the Fiscal Treaty. Has the EU any choice? What would “expectations” be like if Sinn féin entered government having promised to end austerity?
There are similarities with the past but there are also important and crucial differences.
There are serious opportunities for the left and the trade unions if they are grasped.

Categories: Uncategorized


UPDATE   Dec 4

Government Parties SLUMP in IPSOS/MRBI(IRIAH TIMES) Poll

The full “aftershock” is now apparent in this huge slump for government parties and surge for IND/Others. SF as biggest party goes ahead of Fine Gael. “Troika” parties combined are now down to 46% in final outcome. As there are 22% undecided, The core vote for the “Troika” parties combined is 37%!!!!!!!!!!




Gerry Adams most popuar party leader as Burton drops 12% !!!!

Party leader support from all polled     Gerry Adams 26%(Down 9), Joan Burton 25%(down 12)    Micheál Martin    25%( down 1), Enda Kenny  19%(down 7)

The low level of support for all party leaders is evident.

NOTE: UNLIKE  RED C AND B&A, IPSOS/MRBI gives no bonus for performance in last General Election in processing raw data

From Irish Times DEC 4

“When people were asked who they would vote for if an election were held tomorrow, party support – when undecideds are excluded – compared with the last Irish Times poll in October was: Fine Gael, 19 per cent (down five points); Labour, 6 per cent (down three points); Fianna Fáil, 21 per cent (up one point); Sinn Féin, 22 per cent (down two points); and Independents/Others, 32 per cent (up nine points).

The survey was undertaken on Monday and Tuesday this week among a representative sample of 1,200 voters aged 18 and over, in face-to-face interviews at 100 sampling points in all constituencies. The margin of error is plus or minus 2.8 per cent.

The core vote for the parties – before undecideds are excluded – compared with the last poll was: Fine Gael, 16 per cent (down three points); Labour, 5 per cent (down two); Fianna Fáil, 16 per cent (no change); Sinn Féin, 17 per cent (down one); Independents/Others, 25 per cent (up eight); and undecided voters, 22 per cent (down one). (Irish Times DEC 4)

Update Nov 23  Red C Poll


Sinn Féin lead Fine Gael by 3% in Red C Poll

Even the highly processed RED C outcome shows FF+Fg+Lab below 50%!!!


As usual RED C does not provide the “raw vote” on its website. It provides a “Core Vote” which was:

Core Vote:  Others 26, Sinn Féin 21, FG 18, FF, 15  Labour 6, Undecided 12

As can be seen, while Others are the leaders, Sinn Féin at 21% is 3 points ahead of the nearest party Fine Gael on 18%

How did FG catch up with Sinn Féin in the “processing” to be level on 22% in the final outcome?

FG was elevated both on “likely to vote” criteria and got a bonus for the higher vote for Fine Gael at the last General election. The Sinn Féin “core vote” was reduced under both criteria.

The reason the Red C “Core Vote” is different from the raw votes given by Millward Brown and IPSOS/MRBI is those least likely to vote have been already removed by Red C

The real number of dont know/wont vote is probably over 20% as seen in the Nov 2, Millward Brown Poll immediately below

UPDATE   Nov 2   MILLWARD BROWN POLL Sunday Independent

MB Raw Vote Nov 2                           FG  17     FF  15       SF 20   Lab 6    Ind/Others     18         Undecided  24  

B&A  Raw Vote   OCT 27             FG17        FF   14            SF 17       Lab 4    Ind/others  23             Undecided 24

Equivalent Raw Vote(Red C)   FG 20         FF 14     SF  17          Lab 5  Ind/others     21             Undecided 24

Oct 27

The drop in support for Ind/others from 23% in B&A to 18% in Millward Brown is greater than the margin of error. Other changes are within that margin including the Sinn Féin increase and the FG decrease


For some time I have been saying that weighting polls to mid-way between the actual responses and the recall of respondents of how they voted in the last election is no longer appropriate because of the political earthquake demonstrated by the outcome of the local and European elections and indeed the sharp decline in government support before that. Fine Gael and Labour were getting a significant bonus in these polls due to their performances in the 2011 GE. Because of this I track the raw votes over time from all companies in this blog(see below)
It is stated on the RED C site: ““A further past vote weighting is included that takes the current recall for how people voted at the last election, compares this to the actual results, and weights the data to halfway between the two.”
Believe it or not : The combination of the political earthquake and the time honoured propensity of human beings to forget their past mistakes and transgressions has granted my wish!!!!
The figures below taken from the Red C site show that though 36% of voters supported FG in the 2011 election only 20% of the sample now recall doing so!. 19.4% of voters supported Labour but now only 7% of the sample recall doing so! On the other hand Sinn Féin which is now showing double its 2011 result in polls and usually is the big loser in the weighting process now only loses one point.In the B&A Poll of August 17 the SF vote of 27% after undecideds were eliminated was “adjusted”downward to 19%! (See Misleading Poll belowCould a higher proportion of respondent nows be “remembering” voting for SF in 2011 than actually voted for them??? This  farce must end

The wheel has now turned full circle. The weighting process is actually disadvantaging Fine Gael and is of little use to Labour.
I expect B&A and Red C to dispense with this weighting process shortly!!!!!!!!!!!!
Red C CORE Vote 25 Oct 5 FG 22 FF 16 SF 19 Lab 5
Ind/ Others 23 Undecided 15
Impact of Weighting FG 21 FF 15 SF 18 Lab 6
IND/other 24 Undecided 16

RED C has now provided more detailed information on its website. AS USUAL THE RAW VOTE HAS NOT BEEN PROVIDED. A core vote(above) has been provided which has been arrived at by eliminating those very unlikely to vote.

I have produced an estimate of the raw vote by increasing Undecided from 15 to 24 s in B&A Raw and recalculating the figures for each party (In B&A “Undecideds” include those unlikely to vote)

As can be seen here there is no difference between the raw vote figures in each poll when margin of error(3.1%) is taken into account. Both Polls record a significant increase in support for Independents/Others

Equivalent Raw Vote(Red C)      FG 20         FF 14     SF  17   Lab 5       Ind/others 21    Undecided 24


B&A  Raw Vote                                   FG17        FF   14     SF 17     Lab 4  Ind/others  23        Undecided 24


( IPSOS/MRBI  Full Data  OCT  9   http://pollresults.mag.irishtimes.com/)

In to-days B&A Poll Support for FG+FG+Labour Drops from 35% to 26%,Down 9%, in the Poorer half of Population!!!!!!!!!!


Behaviour and Attitudes has provided a detailed breakdown of the poll by age, region, social category etc on its website. The outcomes have not been “adjusted” and include all those expressing no opinion. The outcomes by social category are of particular political interest.

As there are approximately 500 respondents in each group of categories, the margin of error for 95% confidence remains reasonable at about 4.5% (3.1% in total poll of 1000)

Oct 25

ABC1 Ind/others 25, FG 18, SF 13, FF17, Lab 7, No Opinion 20

C2DE SF 22 Ind/Others 24 FF 11 FG 13 Lab 2 No Opinion 29

Aug 17

ABC1 Ind/others 21, FG 19, SF 17, FF15, Lab 11, No Opinion 19

C2DE SF 27 Ind/Others 16 FF 15 FG 15 Lab 5 No Opinion 22
C2DE comprises the less “well off” 53% of population

As pointed out above the combined vote of FG,FF and Labour has fallen 9 percentage points to 26% in approximately 2 months in the poorer half of the population. The Labour vote to-day(OCT 25) at 2% is abysmal. This is in line with recent bye-election results.

There can be little doubt that support for the left as part of Independent /Others has increased. INd/others have risen by eight percentage points among C2DEs!! but only by 4% among ABC1 categories
Other notable outcomes are the low vote of Labour and the very high vote of Sinn Féin and INd/Others in the less well off section of the population. This was reaffirmed in the Millward Brown Poll of Sept 21

It is also of interest that independents/others lead Fine Gael among the wealthier categories and that even among these Sinn Féin lead Labour

Overall Result


Government Fooled Nobody in Budget!!!!!

COMPARING RAW VOTES IN RECENT POLLS -Because of Differing “Adjustments” it is best to compare raw votes over time in polls taken by many companies.

RED C does not provide a raw vote to the public. It provides a “core vote” which has already been adjusted to some extent.

Taking a margin of Error of 3% for 95% confidence, from OCT 9(IPSOS/MRBI) and OCT 25(B&A), the only statistically significant change has been a rise of 6% for Ind/Others including Greens.

In to-days poll OCT 25, there is no significant change in the vote for Sinn Féin. While the change in the Labour Vote is just within the margin of error, it is abysmally low. It means tha onlyt 40 people out of a thousand said, when asked, that they would vote Labour.   That means that it could be between 10(1%) and 70 (7%).

In to-days poll B&A(OCT 25)  when “undecideds are simply eliminated, the outcome is

FF19     FG 23    Lab 5      SF 23      Ind/others  31

Independents/others are Eight points ahead of FG and SF

Raw Votes

OCT 25

B&A  Raw Vote  FF   14   FG17     Lab 4  SF 17    Ind/others    23   undecided 24

Ipsos MRBI   OCT 9

Raw Vote FF  15    FG 17   FG 19  Labour 7   Sinn Féin  18  Ind/ Others 17  Undecided 23

Millward Brown Sept 21    Note Large rise in UNDECIDED

Raw Vote      FF   15   FG 17  Labour 6  Sinn Fen 15    Others 16          UNDECIDED 29

RED C September 15

Sept 15

Red C Equiv Raw Vote (Estimate)   FF 15   FG23     Lab 6   SF  19       Others 19  Undecided  19

Aug 17

B&A   Raw  Vote           FF 15     FG 18   Lab 7  SF 22        Others 19           Undecided    19

Political Earthquake Grows!        Oct 12,2014

No Government Candidate in Top Three Candidates in Two Bye-Elections

Non Labour Left Plus Sinn Féin Get Twice the COMBINED VOTE of  Troika Parties

                            In Dublin South West

Government Candidates Come to only 63% of radical vote(SF+Fitzmaurice) in Roscommon- Leitrim  

Dublin South West           Urban Largely Working Class

Elected: Paul Murphy   Anti-Austerity Alliance and Socialist Party

(campaigning against Water Charges and Austerity Generally)


           SF      7288                                      FG    2110

          AAA  6540                                      FF     2077                  

          PBP   530                                         Lab   2043

Total      14358                                              6230

14358/6230 =2.3

Did not Vote                                              36,120

Roscommon -Leitrim        Provincial/Rural

Elected: Michael Fitzmaurice    Independent   Ally of Luke Flanagan Independent MEP

(campaigning against EU Restrictions on Turf Cutting and Transfer of EU Farming Funds from small to large farmers and undrinkable water)  

Top Three

FF                                             7334

Fitzmaurice                            6220

Sinn Féin                                5906

FG                                           5593

Save Hospital                       2944

Labour                                   2037


Fitzmaurice +Sinn Féin                                 12,126

Fitzmaurice +SF+Save Hospital                   15,070        

FG+Lab(GOVT)                                                  7,620

FF +FG+ Lab                                                      14,95

OCT 9    IPSOS/MRBI (Irish Times) Poll

When people were asked who they would vote for if an election were held tomorrow, party support – when 23% undecideds are excluded – compared with the last Irish Times poll in May was: Fine Gael, 24 per cent (no change); Labour, 9 per cent (up two points); Fianna Fáil, 20 per cent (down five points); Sinn Féin, 24 per cent (up four points); and Independents/ Others, 23 per cent (down one point).

A representative sample of 1,200 voters aged 18 and over, in face-to-face interviews at 100 sampling points in all constituencies. The margin of error is plus or minus 2.8 per cent for 95% confidence.

Independents/Others are strongest in Dublin, where their support outstrips even Sinn Féin which is on 26% in Dublin and ahead of all other political parties

So far , breakdown by social category has not been supplied by IPSOS/MRBI or by Irish Times

The raw votes are compared here.  From this it is clear that Sinn Féin continues to do well. But Fine Gael has gone down 4 points since Sept 15. This may show the effect of the Mc Nulty Seanad Election Controversy. The IPSOS /MRBI outcome in Irish Times is compared with an IPSOS/MRBI poll taken last May and could not capture this effect as the controversy occurred since Sept 15 when the Dáil resumed.


Ipsos MRBI   OCT 9

Raw Vote FF  15    FG 17   FG 19  Labour 7   Sinn Féin  18   Others 17  Undecided 23

Millward Brown Sept 21    Note Large rise in UNDECIDED

Raw Vote      FF   15   FG 17  Labour 6  Sinn Fen 15    Others 16          UNDECIDED 29

RED C September 15

Sept 15

Red C Equiv Raw Vote  FF 15   FG23     Lab 6   SF  19       Others 19           Undecided  19

Aug 17

B&A   Raw  Vote           FF 15     FG 18   Lab 7  SF 22        Others 19           Undecided    19

Millward Brown Confirms Behaviour and Attititudes Finding of Labour Collapse and Sinn Féin surge among Less Well OFF (C2DE) Voters

Millward Brown Sunday INDEPENDENT Sept 21,2014

Paul Moran, Millward Brown, in Sunday Independent on Poll

“They (Labour Party) slightly over-index both in Dublin at 11pc and among the affluent ABs at 13pc.

Two issues arise as a result of this. Labour’s traditional heartland, the working class (C2DE) voter, has fallen out of love with them – they muster just eight per cent among this cohort (with Sinn Fein being the main beneficiary, attracting 28pc support among the same group).”


Behaviour and Attitudes  has provided a detailed breakdown of the poll by age, region, social category etc on its website. The outcomes have not been “adjusted” and include all those expressing no opinion. The outcomes by social category are of particular political interest.

As there are approximately 500 respondents in each group of categories, the margin of error for 95% confidence remains reasonable at about 4.5% (3.1% in total poll of 1000)

ABC1  Ind/others   21,             FG 19,                 SF 17,             FF15,              Lab 11,                 No Opinion  19

C2DE                 SF  27      Ind/Others 16          FF 15                   FG 15                Lab 5                 No Opinion 22

C2DE   comprises the less “well off” 53% of population

Notable outcomes are the low vote of Labour at 5% and the very high vote of Sinn Féin in the less well off section of the population. This was reaffirmed in the Millward Brown Poll of Sept 21(see below)

It is also of interest that independents/others lead Fine Gael among the wealthier categories and that even among these Sinn Féin lead Labour

 Millward Brown Sunday INDEPENDENT Sept 21,2014

Paul Moran, Millward Brown, in Sunday Independent on Poll

“They (Labour Party) slightly over-index both in Dublin at 11pc and among the affluent ABs at 13pc.

Two issues arise as a result of this. Labour’s traditional heartland, the working class (C2DE) voter, has fallen out of love with them – they muster just eight per cent among this cohort (with Sinn Fein being the main beneficiary, attracting 28pc support among the same group).”


Millward Brown Sept 21    Note Large rise in UNDECIDED

Raw Vote      FF   15   FG 17  Labour 6  Sinn Fen 15    Others 16          UNDECIDED 29

RED C September 15

Sept 15

Red C Equiv Raw Vote  FF 15   FG23     Lab 6   SF  19       Others 19           Undecided  19

Aug 17

B&A   Raw  Vote           FF 15     FG 18   Lab 7  SF 22        Others 19           Undecided    19

DR Adran Kavanagh Blog  Political Geographer

The latest Sunday Independent-Millward Brown poll estimates party support levels as follows (and relative to the previous Sunday Independent-Millward Brown poll ): Fine Gael 25% (NC), Sinn Fein 22% (down 2%), Fianna Fail 21% (up 1%), Labour Party 9% (up 1%), Independents, Green Party and Others 23% (NC). My constituency-level analysis of these poll figures estimates that party seat levels, should such national support trends be replicated in an actual general election, would be as follows: Fianna Fail 37, Fine Gael 49, Sinn Fein 34, Labour Party 8, Independents and Others 30


On August the 17, the Sunday Times reported a Behaviour and Attitudes Poll Outcome. It gave Labour 14% a rise of 6%! I have explained below the misleading nature of the poll in current circumstances due to inappropriate “adjustments”. The Red C poll published in Sunday Business Post on Sept 15 gave Labour an outcome of  8%. The Burton bounce has dissappeared though the Dáil was in recess!

Red C applies adjustments similar to B&A which favour parties which did well in last GENERAL ELECTION(2011)

Because of changing political circumstances, I have suggested that the professional polling bodies insist that the raw or unadjusted vote be published by polling companies. B&A does this. But Red  C provides a “core” vote after eliminating those least likely to vote.This left 10% undecided in RED C. I have ESTIMATED the equivalent  raw vote for RED C assuming that the actual number of those not expressing a preference was the same as in the B&A Raw Vote at 19% .

RED C September 15

Sept 15

Red C Equiv Raw Vote       FF 15    FG23  Lab 6   SF  19   Others 19,     Undecided  19

Aug 17

B&A   Raw  Vote                FF 15     FG 18   Lab 7  SF 22   Others 19 ,   Undecided    19

RTE failed to mention that these polls are subject to a margin of error of plus or minus 3% for 95% confidence. This allowed them to report a boost for the government

There may be no difference in fact between the B&A and Red C Polls above and the previous Red C poll published on June 30

For Example, adding and subtracting 3% from each score

FG    Red C   20 to 26      B&A   15 to 21

SF      Red C  16 to 22        B&A    19 to 25

There is overlap in each case

Constituency Level Analysis by Dr Adrian Kavanagh, political geographer, NUI Maynooth


“Good news for Fine Gael and Sinn Fein: Constituency-level analysis of the Sunday Business Post-Red C poll (14th September 2014) | Irish Elections: Geography, Facts and Analyses// // //

“My constituency-level analysis of these poll figures estimates that party seat levels, should such national support trends be replicated in an actual general election, would be as follows: Fianna Fail 32, Fine Gael 56, Sinn Fein 37, Labour Party 3, Independents and Others 30″. ( Adrian Kavanagh)

August 17

Sinn Féin Forge Further ahead in Poll

Sunday Times  August 17, Behaviour And Attitudes Poll

Misleading Poll

The News headlines said Labour recover and “Burton Bounce”. But this is totally misleading.

In the behaviour and Attitudes poll in Sunday Times,  Sinn Féin came first the Raw Vote at 22%.  When undecideds were eliminated (As is done in Millward Brown, Sunday Independent)) Sinn Fein Led on 27%!!! After “adjustment” of data Sinn Fein came third at 19%!!!!

Labour got 7% in the raw vote and 9% when undecideds were eliminated. But the adjustment employed(and declared) by B&A gave Labour a figure of 14% !

The headlines would have been “Sinn Féin, now the largest party,  Lead Fine Gael by a full 5 Points –Small Labour Increase” if  the undecideds were merely eliminated!

Adjustment of raw data in the manner  which was employed in stable political times  is totally misleading in the course of a political earthquake. The last General  Election is still raising the

Labour vote in B&A and Red C polls as can be seen from the adjustment notes supplied by B&A below and SF actually get less than they got in raw vote!

It isn’t that there is a conspiracy or a pro-active attempt by the polling company to distort the figures. The problem is that political assumptions which were valid during boom in stable political conditions are no longer valid. In particular, the assumption that voters will revert to parties they voted for in the last GENERAL ELECTION in  similar numbers to previous reversions in General Elections is no longer appropriate. Political behaviour has changed hugely as evidenced by the recent local and European elections.

I believe that if current processes were seriously distorting the Fine Gael and Labour parties poll outcomes, as is now happening to Sinn Féin, the rules would have been changed as pro-establishment academics and journalists would already have pressurised the polling company and raised the matter publicly

B&A Poll      August 17 Sunday Times

Raw  Vote                      FF 15     FG 18   Lab 7   SF 22   Others 19 ,   Undecided    19

Excluding Undecided Only           FF 18     FG 22   Lab 9   SF 27   Others 23

“ADJUSTED”                                   FF  18     FG 24  Lab 14  SF 19   Others 24

Adjusted figures based on:

 All who state they would definitely vote

 Weighting of those respondents who give a definite answer as to who they would vote for in a general election

and who they voted for in the last election, in line with the result of the last election.

 Making no adjustment to stated voting intention of those who do not indicate how they voted in last election.     

June 12


RED C Poll    June 12

FG 22% Sinn Féin 22% FF 18%  Lab 4% Others 34%

Remember all agree (including Adrian Kavanagh) that Red C exaggerates Labour Support

If RED C has processed the raw data in the normal way, I believe that the actual number of respondents to the poll who said they would vote Labour in a general election could be as low a 20 respondents or 2%

Remember that the 12% “don’t Knows” mentioned in media does not include those who say they are unlikely to vote, normally 10% approx

As Labour got almost 20% in the last General election, typically 20% of the 10% who won’t vote are added to the raw Labour vote if RED C is using the Last General Election!

This is hardly realistic in current circumstances.

Labour could have got as much from this as it got positive votes! !

The Public should be given the “raw” data  not what RED C regards as the “core vote”


Political Earthquake Rumbles On!

Millward BrownPoll and Election Results Are Compared Below

It is to be expected that parties such as Sinn Féin which surged forward during the actual election would surge further forward  in polls for a period thereafter. The Sinn Féin increase to 26% up over 10% on the local election performance in the poll is truly remarkable. Equally expected is a continued downward trend for parties such as Fine Gael and Labour who did badly in the election. Though the Labour drop is within the margin of error, the actual figure is at the boundary of complete marginalisation. The local election outcome has damaged the credibility of the Labour party and credibility is a huge factor in politics. As I pointed out  earlier, the Labour Party in Local government is not only 100 seats behind Sinn Féin, but has a  seat less than the combined labour movement left on local authorities. (Lab 51 seats, Combined Left 52 seats)

The drop in FF, FG, Lab could also be partially explained by traditional party supporters voting for individuals(neighbours etc) despite their party banner in the local elections. The European election results, where the vast majority were not voting for local figures, are much nearer the poll figures. But the increase for SF in the Poll is still remarkable in comparison to its higher the European election figure (19.5).

Sinn Fein voters were explicitly voting for the Sinn Fein Party in both elections and are assumed to be continuing to do so in poll. Transfers rates between Sinn féin candidates in the same local authority electoral area were much higher than transfers between candidates of the same traditional party.

Local elections%       May 23      Actual

FF 25.3    Fg 24     SF   15.2       Lab 7.2   Others  28.3

Millward Brown  Poll%   June 7

FF 20    FG 20    SF     26               Lab 5        Others 29

European Election %  May 23

FG 22.3  FG 22.3  SF 19.5 Lab 5.3 Others  30.6
“Dont Knows” have not yet become available in THE MILLWARD BROWN POLL

Wed June 4

Labour Party now in a Minority among Labour Movement Co Councillors

     totals                   Labour Party      51                                            Non LP –Labour Movement    52

      (there may be other independent councillors who regard themselves as part of Labour Movement)

Aligned Non-LP Left elected


Prople before Profit    14

AAA                               14

WUA                                 1

Workers Party               1

Joan Collins TD              1

T Pringle  TD                   2

J Halligan TD                    2

Catherine Murphy TD        3

Finian McGrath      TD         1

Gannon    “Gregory”  IND              1

Non Aligned Left Elected


Kieran Perry   Dublin           1

Eilish Ryan Dublin                1

Brendan Young(Kildare)          1

Joanne  Pender(Kildare)      1

Lorna Nolan  Ex SP  Fingal             1

J Synnott   Fingal    1

Paul Mulville      Fingal     1

Declan Bree  (Sligo)                    1

John Gilligan  (limerick)       1

Ml Kilcoyne Siptu  Mayo        1

Paul Hand    Dublin City        1

Catherine Connolly   Galway       1

EX-Labour Party Independents  Elected

Tom Fortune (Wicklow)                  1

Cian O Callaghan Dublin City                  1

Dermot Looney    Dublin                                    1

Paddy Bourke     Dublin city                             1

Total Non-Labour Lefts                                                                     52

Explicitly Opposed to Coalition with FF/FG in principle                    31+

Labour Losses  2014 Local elections—- New Geographical Distribution of Labour Seats

Labour Lost  81 County Council seats

Retained        51   County Council Seats

of which 23 in Dublin (Dl-Rathdown, Dublin City, Fingal, South Dublin)

(Co louth)Drogheda 2       Co Kidare  5   Co Meath 0      Co Wicklow 0

Total in Dublin and Dublin Commuter Belt              30

Rest of Ireland                                                              21

Co Council Elections leave Labour with 51 elected Representatives

NO labour  Councillor elected  : Cork City,  Clare, Meath, Wicklow,  Co Galway, Sligo, Leitrim, Longford,  Mayo,  Monaghan,  Offally,  Roscommon,

One Labour Councillor Elected:

Tipperary, Waterford, Donegal, Laois.

Total Labour Co councillors in Munster        9

Total Labour TDs in Munster                        9

 Monday May 27

56% of Dublin electorate  did not vote in Euro Election!

Sum of votes for traditional parties FG+FF+Lab is 35% of VOTERS!

 But the earthquake in the actual election is greater than in polls! ! !

Only 15% of ELECTORATE voted for FF+ FG + Lab

The polls published before the election indicated  that 30% of the ELECTORATE would vote for them.

There may well have been a significant abstention by voters for traditional parties in addition to the defections 

Tuesday May 20

Earthquake Confirmed Nationwide-Tremor a little less outside of Dublin

Labour Wipe-out much Greater outside of Dublin

National Tremor a little less than in Dublin!!!
IPSOS/MRBI National Local Election Poll   May 20   Irish Times
Base 1500 Error= +or – 2.6%
Including Dont Knows (30%)
FG FF SF Lab Others dont Know
16 16 13 5 20 30

FG+ FG+LAB= 37

Excluding Don’t Know

FG FF SF Lab Others
23 23 19 7 28

FF+ FG+ Lab = 53

The other big feature is confirmation of the Labour “wipe-out”

While regional figures are not yet available this often approximates to 10% in Dublin and 5% outside

The quota in a 9 or 10 seat ward is about 10%. Even in the bigger wards outside of Dublin, they will get very few seats.

SF should get two in the bigger wards and one in almost every other ward.
Many “others” will be elected despite their lack of political coherence

Monday May 19

Mainstream media is now taking up earthquake theme– — —
For the EU Election in the Dublin Region, I have now combined Millward Brown, Behaviour and Attitudes and IPSOS MRBI Poll in Irish Times to-day
The combination of three polls confirms the earthquake!

BASE 1500 Error +or- 2.6% 3 seats Quota 25%
Including Don’t Knows FF+FG+Lab =455= 30%
Excluding Don’t Knows FF+Fg+lab= 455= 40%

Candidate Scores
Excluding Don’t Knows
Voted 1125=75% Don’t Know 375= 25%
Boylan 22% Hayes 20% Fitzpatrick 12% Childers 11% Ryan 9%
Costelloe 9% Smith 8% Murphy 7% Others 2%

Boylan and Hayes are certainties.

Technically any of the others named could take the third seat. Despite the reduced error on the 1500 sample, they are very close together. If you subtract 2.6% from Fitzpatrick and add 2.6% to Murphy, the outcome is the same figure!
Second Preferences given by repondents are informative and indicative but very unreliable due to very small samples for each candidate. In practice the outcome is so finely balanced that factors such as location(eg Northside/Southside) and order of elimination could have a big influence..
The rates of actual transfer in the election between Smith and Murphy will be heavily dependent on how many, if any, Boylan needs to reach the quota. If Boylan is already elected it gives Smith/Murphy some chance.
My gut instinct is that Fitzpatrick and Costelloe will not make it because transferring to them requires a big political leap from the rest and from each other. Caution:I may be biassed!
I hope either Bríd or Paul makes it.
But if I were betting and in need of money, I would back Chlders. It is relatively easy for the rest to transfer to her.

The political earthquake is on track- – –

Sunday May 18, 2014

I have properly combined the B&A and Millword Brown Polls for the Dublin Region (not just by averaging the stated outcomes) which seek to predict the outcome of the election to be held next Friday.

The total offering a vote was 775  Dont Know   225

Probable Error is now down to +or- 3% as the combined sample is about   1000


Including Don’t Know FF+Fg+Lab=  31%

Excluding Don’t Know  FF+FG+Lab=  39%

Almost 70% of respondents when asked their voting intention DID NOT indicate for Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil or Labour!

This would have been inconceivable a short few years ago

Combined Outcome for Candidates excluding Dont Knows

Boylan 21%    Hayes   19%  Childers 12%   Fitzpatrick 11%  Costelloe 9%   Ryan 9%

Smith 8%      Murphy 8%

In Dublin (3 seats only) the quota is 25%

Clearly the socialist vote(Murphy,Smith) has improved due to campaigning(well done, keep it up!)

In one of the polls Costelloe (Labour) was down to 7% below both Brid Smith and Paul Murphy. At 9% in the  Combined Polls Costelloe seems doomed. We can also take it that Labour has lost its seat in Dublin West and will do very badly in the local elections-even worse outside of Dublin where it depends on a more working class vote.

It will be difficult for Fianna Fáil to win a seat in Midlands Northwest. As Fianna Fail no longer constitutes a strong “cause” and the two candidates are widely seperated geographically, transfer rates will be very low. Failure of Fiann Fail to get a seat in the West of Ireland would surely herald an earthquake!!!

It is difficult to make sense of the Munster constituency as Brian Crowley is getting a very big non-Fianna Fáil  vote. His surplus will scatter widely.

On the basis of all the polls it now seems probable that the outcome will be:

FG 4, SF 3,FF 1, Lab 0, Others 3

Note the tendency towards polarisation of political allegiances to the left and to the right which is common during prolonged economic and political crises.

Categories: Uncategorized

Howlin,Labour Protects Super-Rich from Tax Rise

April 13, 2014 Leave a comment

Statement Seamus Healy TD    087-2802199

Seamus Healy TD—Leaders Questions  Thursday April 10     Listen Live   http://wp.me/p1Uvd5-B0

Minister Brendan Howlin , Labour, holds the second most senior economic ministry.

At leaders questions, Seamus Healy TD took the Labour Party to task for bringing in regressive Budgets which hit the poor harder than the rich (See ESRI Report on recent budgets http://www.esri.ie/UserFiles/publications/QEC2013Win_SA_Callan.pdf)

The 2014 budget was more unfair to the poor than the FF/Green budgets. He sought the restoration of the respite grant for carers, cuts in home heating allowances and child benefit. He called for increased taxes on the 10,000 who earn on average 595,000 per year each (Minister for Finance, Michael Noonan in reply to a parliamentary question on Oct 3,  2012). Deputy Healy pointed out that the total gross financial assets of households (324 Billion) are now back above the peak 2006 level (Table 3 Institutional Sector Accounts Central Statistics Office 2013)                                         

The bulk of these assets are held by the top 10% of the population (all those with mortgages and/or credit card debt have negative financial assets- houses, farms and business premises are not  financial assets). Deputy Healy sought that a wealth tax be placed on very large financial assets of the super-rich.

The arrogant response of Minister  Howlin (standing in for Eamonn Gilmore) was to describe the question as “drivel” and to accuse Deputy Healy of proposing “fantasy taxes” He suggested that an increase in income tax on those on 595,000  would not yield significant revenue  (Conservative friends of the rich have been making this argument for centuries) . He claimed that the local property tax which leaves the financial assets of the wealthy untouched and applies to the unemployed was an adequate response.

Any reasonably numerate person can calculate that an extra tax on the total of 5.95 Billion earned  each year by the top 10,000 income recipients and on the 324 billion in financial assets would bring significant extra revenue to the state. Howlin and the Labour Party do not want to listen. They attack the poor and those on middle incomes instead. That is why the Labour Party is heading for wipe-out and oblivion.


Seamus Healy TD


Irish Examiner Friday April 11  Juno McEnroe


Independent TD Seamus Healy yesterday called on the Government to introduce an asset or wealth tax in the next budget.

Speaking during Leaders’ Questions in the Dáil, Mr Healy pointed to ESRI findings that the last budget had the greatest impact on low-income groups.

Labour had reneged on election pledges in 2011 and cut payments for the vulnerable, including child benefit, he said.

“It made promises with full knowledge of the situation in 2011. The assets of the super rich are back above peak levels in 2006, according to the Central Statistics Office,” Mr Healy said.

He called on the Coalition to introduce a wealth tax on those who earn over €595,000 a year.

Brendan Howlin, the public expenditure minister, rejected his criticism and said the TD engaged in “fantasy” taxes.





Categories: Uncategorized

All Mortgage Distress Cases Not “Solvable” Despite Assurance by Taoiseach At Leaders Questions

All Mortgage Distress Cases Not “Solvable” Despite Assurance by Taoiseach At Leaders Questions

Thousands of people are in danger of losing their homes.
On Wednesday last, at Leaders Questions in The Dail, Taoiseach Enda Kenny said that if people engaged with their lenders all mortgage distress cases were “solvable”. Seamus Healy Td, who raised the matter, was accused of scaremongering about people losing their homes.
But for the second day in a row, the Taoiseach has been shown to be completely wrong. The Insolvency Service of Ireland (ISI) has to-day revealed that only a handful of mortgages have been restructured through the insolvency procedure over the 6 months since it came into effect. Seamus had pointed out to Enda Kenny several weeks ago that 30,000 householders would be unable to avail of the process because their incomes were below the minimum allowable expenses under the Insolvency Act. Now the advocacy groups for those in mortgage distress-Phoenix, New Beginnings, Flac and Irish Mortgage Holders Association- have confirmed that this is one of two major reasons that the system is failing. Many people have no money to give the bank. The second reason is that the bank has too much power under the act to veto settlements. So even if the householder has some money to pay the bank, most such householders cannot avail of it either. The system is not working.
Yesterday the Taoiseach told Seamus Healy that it was untrue to say that a house was being repossessed every day. Within two hours this was shown to be false at the sitting of the Oireachtas Committee on Finance. The Central Bank website showed that already almost two householders per day were losing their homes. This figure is to rise sharply as the number of repossession processes initiated in the second half of 2013 increased by a factor of six-from 565 to 33,000.
The government parties are trying to cover up the problem until after the local elections

Professor Ray Kinsella , Professor of Banking at UCD, has supported the view of Seamus Healy TD that the extent  of repossessions of homes now in train constitutes a major crisis.

In his column in the Irish Examiner to-day Friday April 4, Professor Kinsella says:

But there are also developments in the wider economy that impact on health, including mental health, that is left pushed to the outside of a policy calculus on UHI. A notable example is the exponential increase in housing repossession now under way and which will inevitably and inexorably impose the most severe levels of mental stress, and worse, on the health of tens of thousands of householders.

The Government knows this to be the case — the figures cited in the Dáil recently by Séamus Healy TD are truly shocking. TDs have repeatedly referred to the causes of this crisis and what needs to be done. Mainstream politics is in denial.”

A further raft of repossession cases will come before circuit court sittings in the coming week


Categories: Uncategorized

ESRI Economic Forecasts-MUCH Worse than Weather Forecasts!

December 25, 2013 Leave a comment





The Economic and Social Research Institute infamously forecast a soft landing to the bubble!

Now it is forecasting a growth rate of 3% for the Irish Economy next year. The Institute has many professors and highly qualified staff. When challenged, Professor John Fitzgerald replied: “I never claimed to be infallible”. That was, of course, the last thing of which he had been accused! How could this high powered Institute get it so wrong? It wasn’t just a few percentage points out in the growth rate it denied the elephant was in the room when professor Morgan Kelly told it so?

It is understandable if not excusable that forecasters linked to finance houses and even newspapers habitually paint a rosy picture. Their employers have a vested interest in rising share values and higher levels of business.

But why The ESRI?  It has no direct financial interest in over-optimistic forecasting.

True, the right to academic freedom conferred by the Universities Act does not apply to ESRI Academic staff. But then with the exception of UCD Professor, Morgan Kelly, none of the business/economics faculties covered themselves in glory either!

The ESRI and the business faculties are committed to the survival of capitalism and to the notion that, if regulated properly, it can function in the interest of humanity. This predisposes these institutions to give favourable economic forecasts. To them it is unthinkable that the system itself is the cause of misery to billions and will inevitably collapse.

But there are special factors predisposing the ESRI to cheer-lead the capitalist government in power and to reinforce its message.

The governing board has the following composition according to the ESRI website: “ESRI Council members are elected at the Institute’s AGM for a three year term. They represent a cross-section of ESRI members: academia, civil services, state agencies, business and civil society. Council Members: Laurence Crowley, Chairman of ESRI, Chairman, Gaisce; Frances Ruane, Director of the Institute (ex officio);Vani Borooah, Professor of Applied Economics, University of Ulster; John Buckley, former Comptroller and Auditor General;Patrick Honohan, Governor, Central Bank of Ireland; Paul Johnson, Director, Institute for Fiscal Studies, London;Michael Kelly, former Chairman, Higher Education Authority;Philip Lane, Professor of International Macroeconomics, Trinity College Dublin;Hannah McGee, Dean of the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Royal College of Surgeons;Padraig McManus, Chairman, Eircom; David Moloney, Department of Public Expenditure and Reform;Brid O’Brien, Head of Policy and Media, Irish National Organisation of the Unemployed ;Gerry O’Hanlon, former Director General, Central Statistics Office.

Is it possible to imagine a body more representative of the Irish elite or more linked to the government of the day?

Though there was overlapping membership between the board of ESRI and the Central Bank which failed in its duty to protect the solvency of banks, ESRI was not called bfeore the Banking Tribunal. This was obscured by a devilishly clever device. Professor John “The Soft Landing” Fitzgerald, retired from ESRI, volunteered to go before the Tribunal. His first sentence to the Tribunal was to the effect that he was not speaking for ESRI!! But this enabled tribunal members to refuse my request that recent directors of ESRI be called. The refusal was despite the fact that there was evidence before the tribunal that Central Bank had contacted ESRI Director to seek that statements about Irish Banking byan ESRI staff member on banking  should not be repeated! The Irish elite know how to Circle the Wagons.

Furthermore a practice has arisen under which any candidate for election to the council at the AGM of the Institute must be PRE-APPROVED by the existing council!!!!. In other words the council is self-perpetuating!! I,Paddy Healy,then President of TUI and of Governing Body of DIT, was disqualified from contesting a position on the board when Proposed by ESRI member bodies TUI and DIT and supported by SIPTU because I “had not been pre-selected to be a candidate ” by the existing board!!!

Citizens are paying for this Institute through their taxes!

Clearly the Institute has no independence from the Irish establishment.

This arrangement must not continue. ESRI should be absorbed into a university so that the academic staff enjoy academic freedom-the right to publicly disagree with the management, the government and,indeed, academic colleagues

There is an interesting discussion on the failure of economic forecasting generally on Michael Roberts Blog:


Categories: Uncategorized


October 27, 2013 3 comments

See Below—Little Change in B& A Core Vote since September


B&A Poll              May         Jun          September October
Lab %                 4%          5%              5%              4%
Sinn Fein           19%        19%           18%            18%

“Mussolini” “Pay and Pension Cut” Howlin , Burton (“Scourge of Women”), Alan (“Water Charges”) Kelly   MUST RESIGN NOW



September-FF and FG Poll 60% in IPSOS/MRBI POLL!



The parties who, with the assistance of Labour, not only cheered on the disastrous fake capitalist boom, implemented austerity, but also , over decades, implemented an economic policy which has now left the country completely powerless and at the mercy of multi-nationals, international financiers, and the leaders of the US and EU political blocks are receiving 60% of the votes!

I can’t find core vote anywhere so that valid comparisons with B&A can be made.
The 3% final outcome for the Labour Party(down from 6.6% in GE2016) is really bad news for them. They may not loose all seats as deemed possible by AK as their vote is pocketted into a small numberof constituencies and their sitting TDs are big well known personalities . But the chance of anyof their councillors making the jump into the Dáil are near zero. THE POLL PREDICTS THAT SF WILL GET OVER 6 TIMES The LABOUR VOTE.!!!! In addition, when all respondents(INCLUDING THOSE CHOOSING FF or FG) were asked were they satisfied with the job being done by party leaders, Gerry Adams got 30% and Brendan Howlin 20%. This is despite a sharper campaign than usual in pro-establishment media against Gerry Adams. The same media are protecting “FEMPI” Howlin from the implications of the poll for his leadership.

Slidarity-PBP and left Independent TDs are , if anythig, more pocketed into a small number of constituencies than Labour and the personality factor in many cases is greater. This has only full effect in an actual general election. Respondents in polls can be very confused about the connection between local TDs and small political parties. I will be very surprised if SBP-solidarity TDs and any of the well known left inependents lose their seats.

BUT ALL THAT BEING SAID, THIS AND THE MOST RECENT SERIES OF POLLS , ARE BAD NEWS FOR THE LEFT AND SINN FEIN. I do not include Labour among the left. A line was crossed when Howlin proposed the FEMPi anti trade union law, a measure with which Mussolini would have strongly agreed.
The parties who, with the assistance of Labour, not only cheered on the disatrous fake capitalist boom, but also , over decades, implemented an economic policy which has now left the country completely powerless and at the mercy of muti-nationals, international financiers, and the leaders of th US and EU political blocks are receiving 60% of the votes! DON’T BLAME THE VOTERS————WE ARE DOING SOMETHING WRONG!!! There has been too much electoralism and no mass mobilisation since the end of the Water Charges Campaign.

WHY have Sinn Fein and the left not had a single Mass March in Dublin on the Housing Issue? When we took to the streets with The Dublin Housing Action Committee in the sixties, we hadn’t a single Sinn Féin or left TD. Now we have over 30 but all we get is TALK, TALK, TALK!!!! WAKE UP!


B&A October Poll—Core Vote

B&A October   2017

ToTAL             FF       FG            Lab           SF            Others      Undecided

Core%                19        23             3              16                 13                26

Assuming Core Vote in MRBI is the Raw Poll Outcome

B&A Poll Sept 17,2017  Margin of Error 3.3%

Total             FF              FG             Lab               SF        Other/GR    Undecided

Core%           18.25          26.0          3.0              15.2               13.4              24.3


Ipsos/Mrbi Poll Oct 5, 2017  Margin of Error  2.9%

Total             FF              FG             Lab               SF        Other/GR    Undecided

Core %          22               23               4                15             15                  21

Change in 4 Weeks (Difference between Core Votes) (MRBI  less B&A)

%                +3.75            -3                +1            -0.2          +1.6                  -3.3

Comparing Final Outcomes

MRBI  October

FF              FG             Lab               SF        Other/GR

%     29              31               4                  19             17

B&A    September

        FF              FG             Lab               SF        Other/GR

%      29           29                5                     18         19

Difference    (MRBI  less B&A)

FF              FG             Lab               SF         Other/GR

%  0                  +2              -1                 +1             -2




Only Significant Change Is Swing  From FF to FG-All Other Parties Unchanged-Labour Still at 3% in Core Vote

Core Vote

B&A Poll Sept 17, Margin of Error 3.3%,Change Since July

Total             FF              FG             Lab               SF        Other/GR    Undecided

937                171             243            28               142                126               228

Core%            18.25          26.0          3.0              15.2               13.4              24.3

Change %       -3.75           +3.5         +0.3           +0.9                 +0.5            -1.3




No Significant Change in  Poll Despite Change of Taoiseach-Labour Back Below 3% in Core Vote Which is Less than One Fifth of Sinn Fein Vote and One Quarter of the OTHERS Vote–UNDECIDED THE BIGGEST CATEGORY IS UP 4.2% Since June

B&A Poll  July  16   Margin of Error     3.3%

Total             FF              FG             Lab               SF        Other/GR    Undecided

923                203             208           25               132                119                236

Core%            22.0            22.5             2.7              14.3              12.9              25.6

NO SIGNIFICANT CHANGE-But Labour  Creep Just Above 3%

B&A June  6

Parties          FF              FG             Lab             SF               Other/GR     Undecided

Core%          21.9           22.3           3.3               16.2                15.0                   21.4

No Significant Change in  Poll-Labour Drop Below 3% in Core Vote For First Time This Year

B&A Poll   May  14    Margin of Error        c.  3%

B&A Poll May

Total          FF         FG                   Lab                     SF             other/GR               Undecided

921             200      206                  27                   137                  143                    208

Core            21.7     22.4               2.9                    14.9                15.5                    22.6

B&A Poll April

Total           FF         FG           Lab               SF          Other/GR       undecided

971             207         201        33                 157          138              235

Core          21.3        20.7      3.4                 16.2        14.2              24.2


May 14, 2017-Based on a 3 month Rolling Average of B&A figures

Since General Election 2016,   FF up 3.6%,   FG  up 1%, Labour down 2.5%, Sinn Féin up 8.2%, Others  down  10.4%

Drop in others is misleading. In an actual election, unlike in an opinion poll, there are many local and minority candidates who are not in serious contention. These are eliminated in early counts. The figure for others should only be compared with that in opinion polls 

Behaviour and Attitudes provides the actual polling figures in its tables including undecideds unlike some other polling companies. The core vote provided by RED C,for example, excludes the most disenchanted and the most devious among those interviewed. Note: Unlike Red C, B&A gives the actual unprocessed figures as a core vote Red C discards all those who say on a scale of 1 to 10 that their likelihood to vote is less than 8. Consequently undecideds in Red C  “core vote” are typically  12%. Undecideds in B&A core vote are typically greater than 20%


B&A makes a number of adjustments in addition to eliminating undecideds to reach a final poll figure for each party. I believe that these adjustments may not be appropriate in a rapidly changing and confusing political situation. I have therefore taken the raw polling figures(core) and simply eliminated the undecideds.

A poll of around 1000 people has a margin of error of 3% for 95% certainty. This means that a particular poll may have a bigger margin of error than 3%. It may be an “outlier”

Accordingly I will be doing a 3 month rolling average. Such an approach will fail to detect sharp changes. On the other hand, it will reduce the effect of “outliers” which can mislead. The single unadjusted monthly core vote may capture sharp short-term changes.

The unadjusted figures in the B&A poll published yesterday April 17 are
FF28.1 FG 27.3 Lab 4.5 SF 21.3 Others 18.8
This is calculated by simply eliminating the undecideds and recalculating the percentages.
The adjusted figures provided by B&A are
FF 28 FG 29 Lab 5 Sinn Féin 18 Others 20
The main Loser from the adjustments is Sinn Féin


B&A   May 2017

Final  Outcome Three Month Rolling Average   Gen. Election 2016 in Brackets

FF                     FG                        Lab                      SF               Other

27.9 (24.3)       26.1 (25.1)            4.1(6.6)         22.0(13.8)    19.8(30.2)



General Election   2016

FF        FG       Lab               SF             Other

24.3    25.1      6.6              13.8          30.2

B&A Poll May

Total          FF         FG                   Lab                     SF             other/GR               Undecided

921             200      206                  27                   137                  143                    208

Core            21.7     22.4               2.9                    14.9                15.5                    22.6

Final        28.1        28.9            3.8                      19.2               20.1

B&A Poll     April 16   2017


Total           FF         FG           Lab               SF          Other/GR       undecided

971             207         201        33                 157          138              235

Core          21.3        20.7      3.4                 16.2        14.2              24.2

Final           28.1        27.3      4.5                  21.3       18.8

B&A Poll   March 11

Final            27.6        22.2       4.0               25.5           20.6

Core          21.9        17.7       3.2                  20.2         16.4            20.6

934            205          165         30                  189          153              192


B&A Poll   February

Core        27         15              4                       17              16                20

Final         34.2     19.0           5.1                   21.5           20.3


Replacing Feb Poll with May Poll


Final  Outcome Three Month Rolling Average   Gen. Election 2016 in Brackets

FF                     FG                        Lab                      SF               Other

27.9 (24.3)       26.1 (25.1)            4.1(6.6)         22.0(13.8)    19.8(30.2)


Labour Gone ???

B&A Sunday Times  Poll Sunday 13/11/2016

LABOUR     3%    + or – 3.3%   !!!!!!!

FG 28 FF 30 SF 17 Lab 3 Others 22


B&A Poll Sunday 18/09/2016

There is no statistically significant change since B&A July  Poll

If we compare the final outcome to-day with the General Election outcome, only the increase in Sinn Féin vote is significantly greater than the margin of error (3.3%) in the poll published to-day. Labour has dropped almost 2% since General Election but as this is less than margin of error of 3.3% it is unreliable

My adjustment to the core vote simply eliminates undecided respondents. B&A makes other adjustments which are at best arguable. As expected these other adjustments mainly benefit the Labour Party. When a core vote of 4 goes up to a final adjusted figure of 7, it has increased by 75%-almost as much as the core vote itself!

The breakdown of OTHERS is very unreliable. The numbers favouring them in the core vote is actually the same or less than the margin of error of 3.3%


B&A                      %

Sept 14          July 12                    Sept 14

Core              Core         Undecided Excluded

FG                        19                 20                        24.7

FF                         21                 23                        27.3

SF                          15                13                        19.5

Labour                  4                    3                            5.2

Green                   1                   1                             1.3

IND/Others         18                 19                            23.4

Undecided          23                 21


General Election Results were  FG 25.5  FF 24.3  SF 13.8

Lab 6.6 Other Independents 11.7  Independent Alliance 4.2   AAA/PBP 3.9 Soc Dem 3.0  Renua 2.2 Workers Party 0.2


If we compare the final outcome to-day with the general election outcome, only the increase in Sinn Féin vote is  significantly greater than the margin of error in the poll published to-day


Labour Down to 4%-behind AAA-PBP on 5%

The RTE story has been amended – the figures broadcast earlier, while correct, were including undecideds at 17%.When these are excluded, the figures are:

Fine Gael – 30%, Fianna Fáil – 22%,Sinn Féin – 15%, Labour Party – 4%, Others 30%

Of Which: Independent Candidate – 10%,Anti-Austerity Alliance / People Before Profit Alliance – 5% Green Party – 3% Independent Alliance – 5% RENUA Ireland – 3% Social Democrats – 3% Workers Party – 1% Socialist Party – 0%

Sorry for any confusion caused-RTE.

Ipsos Mrbi Poll  Feb 3   Irish Times


The margin of error is plus or minus 2.8 per cent. The core vote for the parties – before undecideds are excluded – compared with the last poll was: Fine Gael, 21 per cent (down three); Labour, 6 per cent (up two); Fianna Fáil, 16 per cent (up one); Sinn Féin, 15 per cent (down two); Independents/ Others, 20 per cent (no change) and undecided voters, 22 per cent (up two points).

The strong showing by Independents and smaller parties is one of the main features of this first poll of the general election.

Non-aligned Independents headed the list with 8 per cent.

This was followed by the Anti-Austerity Alliance/People Before Profit with 4 per cent; the Shane Ross-led Independent group had 3 per cent.

The Social Democrats were on 2 per cent; Renua was on 1 per cent while other groups got 2 per cent. The Green Party was also on 2 per cent.

When it came to satisfaction ratings there was a decline of 2 per cent for the Government with party leaders Enda Kenny, Micheál Martin and Gerry Adams also slipping.

The only party leader to make a small improvement was Joan Burton.


Labour Stuck at 4% Core Vote— Party Remains at Rock Bottom

CORE VOTE  B&A Jan 17        FG 20%     IND/OTH 21%     FF 15%    SF 14%   LP 4%                                                                       Undecided 27%

When approximately 1000 people were polled, less than 45  or 4% said they would vote Labour 


If undecided are eliminated and filters were not used as would happen in Millward Brown and Ipsos/MRBI Polls the outcome would be:

FG 27.4%,   Others 28.8%,  FF 20.55%, SF 19.2%, Labour 5.47%

The customary rounding to the nearest whole number would give

FG 27%,   Others 29%,  FF 21%, SF 19%, Labour 5%

With the use of filters B&A has given a final outcome

FG 31%, Others 27%, FF 20%, SF 16%,LP 6%

As usual the filters advantage FG and Labour and depress Sinn Fein and on this occasion Others also

In the context of a Margin of Error of+ or -3% for each party score, there is no change since the B&A poll of a month ago

Unlike Red C , B&A provides a genuine core vote or raw unprocessed poll. I exclude the Red C Core vote as it is an already processed outcome as I explain further down. The table below shows Core Votes for all polling companies for the last 6 months. A political  earthquake took place in the last local elections. The Labour Party lost 81 county council seats and were reduced to 51. The practice of B&A and RED C of employing filters to reflect how well parties polled in  the last  general election and modify the raw data accordingly is no longer reliable or appropriate. This was shown to be so in practice in the Red C poll immediately before the European election , held on the same day  as the local elections(See Further Down) . The accompanying RED C  commentary was entirely at variance with the outcomes!

B&A Jan 17                              FG 20%  IND/OTH 21%     FF 15%    SF 14%   LP 4% ,                                                                                                    Undecided 27%

B&A  Dec 3                          FG 20  Others 20,  LP 5,  SF 16, FF  15,

Undecided  27

Millward Brown Nov 8            FG 24,Others 16, SF 17,FF 19,LP 5,

Undecided 19

Sunday Times   Oct 18             FG 19,Other 29, SF 17, FF 11,  Lab 4,

undecided 19%

Ipsos/MRBI    Sept 24             FG 21, Others19, SF 15,FF 16, LP 7,

Undecided 22

B&A  August 16                             FG 19, Others 20, SF 15, FF 16, LP 4,

Undecided 26.

Millward Brown August 2        FG 19 Others 20  SF 17  FF 17 Lab 5

Undecided 23



Proof of Research Conclusion on RED C

RED C-Average Estimates of Labour Seats in Next General Election based on these polls in all of 2015 are significantly greater than given by the two polling companies which do not use filters. Sinn Féin seats are also significantly underestimated

The Chart below is from Analyses of Polls in 2015 by Dr Adrian Kavanagh, NUIM carried on his blog Irish Elections: Geography, Facts and Analyses

The figures are the average no. of seats for each party based on all polls by the polling company concerned in 2015

Red C                          Av.  Seats: FG 53.6, FF31.4, SF27.1, Lab7.2, Others 38.6

Ipsos MRBI               Av.  Seats: FG54.5, FF31.8, SF33.3, Lab4.0, Others34.5

Millward Browne     AV. SEATS: FG  50.1, FF37.2,SF 36.6,Lab2.2,Others 31.4


RED C Is Completely Eliminating All Those Most “FED UP” With the Political System  from its Polls!!!! DISTORTION CONTINUES!

As can be seen from the chart below this gives Red C a figure less than 15% for undecideds in all of its polls for the last 6 months. The typical figure for all other polls in the same period is 25%.

The nearest comparable election to a General Election since this government came to power was the European Election of May 2014.

RED C predictions systematically underestimated Sinn Féin outcomes and over-estimated Labour Party outcomes (see below)

Those who SAY they are unlikely to vote were eliminated from the poll

Comment by Red C is totally at variance with the outcomes-sometimes bizzaarly so. See Red C Site  http://www.redcresearch.ie/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/31214-European-Election-Candidate-Polling-April-20141.pdfv

In my earlier post I said: Red C seem to be filtering the RAW POLL DATA  to establish what it calls a “Core Vote”! This effectively means RED C are applying the Likelihood to Vote filter twice!

Further investigation of the Red C mehtodology outlined on the RED C website shows that this is completely correct.

Formerly, I had assumed that the statement below described a filtering process subsequent to the establishment of a core vote. In all other Polls, “core vote” refers to raw polling data

RED C WEBSITE:  “Vote intention results are based on those who will actually go and vote, using a 10 point scale, where 1 is not at all likely and 10 is very likely, those rating 4 to 10 are included as being those who will actually go and vote.”

Clearly those who say they are very unlikely to vote are completely eliminated from the poll and their voting preference is not recorded in polling data.

Many of the cohort of the population eliminated from the poll will of course actually vote. “Hump the lot of them” is a common reaction to questions on political matters from many. But they may be persuaded to vote as some have been in the past!

At a minimum it can be said that RED C poll outcomes cannot be validly compared to outcomes from any other polling company. B&A(Sunday Times) which uses similar filters, begins with a genuine core vote corresponding to raw polling data.

As can be seen from the chart below this gives Red C a figure less than 15% for undecideds in all of its polls for the last 6 months. The typical figure for all other polls in the same period is 25%.

Having established what it call a core vote (undecideds normalised to 15% in all Red C  polls),RED C then proceeds to apply two filters- likelihood to vote(again) and recall of vote in last GENERAL ELECTION (not the more recent local election) filters. Where there is a difference between recall of voting by the persons polled in last general election and their current voting intention, the score for a party is placed half way between the two figures!! Under Likelihood to Vote FILTER(2) a greater weighting is given to voting preferences of those who say that they are certain to vote (7,8,9,10 on scale of 10) than those who say they will “possibly vote”(4,5,6 on a scale of 10)

In current circumstances the entire process implemented by Red C cannot fail to confer advantage on the more conservative parties and on those parties which polled well in the last general election and corresponding disadvantage on those who polled less well and on parties supported by  the poorer sections of the population (“Hump all the politicians”).

While there may have been some justification for these procedures in “normal times” in the past, there can be no justification for them in circumstances where political and economic earthquakes have taken place.

The 2014 Local election constituted a political earthquake with Lab sinking deeply as SF and left independents rising dramatically

RED C should explain to the public in non-technical language the procedures it is implementing.

If these procedures were disadvantaging conservative parties and parties supported by the the rich in opinion polls, they would have been changed by now!

B&A  Dec 13 :                        Undecided  27,

Red C DEC 3:                         Undecided 13%+1,

Red C Nov 23:                         Undecided10%-2,

Millward Brown Nov 8        Undecided 19,

RED C October  25:             Undecided 12%-1

Sunday Times Oct 18           Undecided 19%         

Ipsos/MRBI    Sept 24 :       Undecided 22,

B&A  August 16  :                 Undecided 26,

RED C   Sept 13  :                   Undecided 13%+1

.M B August 2:                      Undecided 23,

Red C July 26                     Undecided  12% (-1)  

B&A July 14:                     Undecided 23,

Red C June 28  :              Undecided 13%+1

B&A June 21   :            Undecided 28,

Red C SBPJUNE 7 :    Undecided 13%+1

European Election   May 2014

Proof of the Pudding


Red C Prediction        Lab   13

Sinn Fein    15

Result                          Lab    7.4

Sinn Fein       23.6


Red C Prediction                              Prendergast    Labour 9

Ni Riada           SF         14

Actual Result                                  Prendergast Labour       4.6

Liadha Ni Riada  Sf       19.1


(Red C Comment:  “Henessy (Lab) could be pushing Matt Carthy (SF) for the fourth seat”–Reality: Matt Carthy got the third seat and Henessy was eliminated on the second count!!!)

RED C Prediction       Labour           5

Sinn Fein     14


Labour                                               4.9

Sinn Féin                                          17.7



Red C   Dec 20

Sunday Business Post-Red C poll): Fine Gael 32% , Independents and Others 23% , Sinn Fein 19% , Fianna Fail 17%% , Labour Party 9%

B&A Dec 13  FG 31%, FF 19%, SF 17%, LP 8% , Others 25

In the context of a Margin of Error of 3%, there is no significant difference between the overall outcome of these 2 polls on successive Sundays

Both B&A and Red C use similar Filters which advantage FG and Labour and disadvantage Sinn Féin.

In addition, Red C seem to be filtering the RAW POLL DATA  to establish what it calls a “Core Vote”! This effectively means RED C are applying the Likelihood to Vote filter twice!  B&A recorded an undecided figure of 27% last week. This is in line with typical Ipsos/MRBI (Irish Times) and Millward Brown(Sunday Independent) findings. RTE has just put the undecided vote at 15% in RED C this week. It says this is up by 5% since The last SBP RED C  poll. A difference of 12% in “undecideds” in a week in which there has been no major political developments cannot be due to changes in the sentiment of voters. Clearly, as I suggested earlier, RED C is filtering the RAW POLL DATA to establish its “Core Vote”! RED C should state exactly what it is doing!!

Taking this into account, it is possible that this Red C Poll is marginally worse for government parties than the B&A poll last week!

In the context of the effective application of 3 filters by Red C, the Sinn Féin score  of 19% is very healthy




Labour Collapsing Among Poorer Half of Population


Poorer Half  (C2DE Social Groups)       4%   Undecided  29%

Richer Half  (ABC1 Social Groups)         6%    Undecided 23%

Sinn Féin Depressed 21 to 17%
Fine Gael Raised 27 to 31 %
Labour Raised 7 to 8%
Fianna Fail Depressed 21 to 19%

B&A DEC13 UNADJUSTED By FILTERS—Eliminating Undecideds Only

FG 27, Others 25, SF 21, FF 21, Lab 7

That Would Have Been The Outcome in Millward Brown or IPSOS/MRBI !!

Behaviour And Attitudes   Sunday Times  Dec 13

LIKE RED C, B&A also uses filters which, typically benefit FG and Lab and disadvantage Sinn Féin

There were 27% undecided, again far above Red C estimates

New B&A poll. Headline figures as follows: 

FG 31%(+5), FF 19%(+1), SF 17%(-4), LP 8% (+1), Others 25(-2)

OF Others

AAA-PBP 4%,GP 4%, IND ALL 2%, SD 1%, RENUA 1%, WP 1%, IND 11%

The comparison is with the Last B&A poll taken a month ago

If a comparison is made with Red C in Sunday business Post last week (below), there is little change in the context of a margin of error of 3%.

It is clear that FG is on an upward trend in recent months mainly at the expense of non-socialist independents and Renua. Labour is stuck at about 8% with the help of filters.

Sinn Féin and FF are becalmed

There are also left-wing TDs  opposed to coalition with FF and FG in the IND 11%–Seamus Healy, Joan Collins, Clare Daly

Together with 4% for AAA-PBP it is probable that anti-coalition left poll is comparable to that of Labour Party


Before Undecideds(27 to 30%) were distributed

Regional vote for Labour Was

Dublin 7%, Leinster 5% Munster 5% Connacht/Ulster 0%

Sinn Féin

Dublin 15%  Leinster23% Munster10%  Connacht/Ulster16%


Dublin   19%     Leinster 13% Munster  19%        Connacht/Ulster 11%


Dublin 18% Leinster 19%  Munster 18%         Connacht/Ulster    25%


Dublin 10% Leinster 12% Munster 16%            connacht/Ulster   28%


RED C is omitted from series below as Red core vote is pre-processed

  Labour core votes since August      5, 4, 7, 4, 5, 5   !!!!

B&A  Dec 3                                    FG 20  Others 20,  LP 5,  SF 16, FF  15,

Undecided  27

Millward Brown Nov 8            FG 24,Others 16, SF 17,FF 19,LP 5,

Undecided 19

Sunday Times   Oct 18             FG 19,Other 29, SF 17, FF 11,  Lab 4,

undecided 19%

Ipsos/MRBI    Sept 24             FG 21, Others19, SF 15,FF 16, LP 7,

Undecided 22

Behav. and Att  August 16   : FG 19, Others 20, SF 15, FF 16, LP 4,

Undecided 26.

Millward Brown August 2        FG 19 Others 20  SF 17  FF 17 Lab 5

Undecided 23


Red C Paddy Power   Dec 3

Fine Gael 28% (down 3%), Independents and Others 25% (NC), Fianna Fail 20% (up 1%), Sinn Fein 18% (NC), Labour Party 9% (NC).

As usual in RED C, Lab get a lift of 1% and SF get a reduction of 1% due to the filters. There is a level of “undecideds” which is well below levels in all other polls taken at roughly the same time. Clearly the “core vote” in Red C is not the raw poll unlike the case in other polls.
Because of the low regional sample size, we must be careful about conclusions
However the very low 6% for Labour in Munster is part of trend. The figure for Connacht/Ulster is 7% !!!!!!!!!!!!!-Dublin 12%, Rest of Leinster 13%
The traditional Labour vote in Munster is heavily weighted towards the working class


Red C Nov 21

Despite Pre-Processing (artificially low number of undecided voters) and the use of filters which favour Labor Party, Labour remains stuck on 7%. Based on D’Hondt system of seat allocation, Labour would secure only 1 seat in a general election-in Dublin Soth central. On the basis of this poll its main role will be to elect additional FG candidates on the basis of transfers from Labour. 

RED C  21/11/2015

Here’s the breakdown:

  • Fine Gael: 31% (up 1)
  • Fianna Fáil: 19% (down 1)
  • Sinn Féin: 18% (up two)
  • Labour: 7% (no change)
  • Independents/Others: 25% (down 2)

Those polled were not asked which independent or small party they favoured but  4% volunteered that they would vote for AAA/PBP!!!

This is within the 25% for others above

This is consistent with the 9% score by AAA/PBP in the B&A Sunday Times  PolL published last Sunday


Scandalous Suppression of Bad News for Government by RTE

It is SCANDALOUS that this is not being covered on RTE after all the hype for FG last week

Radical Parties Reach 30% as Labour Drops—Stephen O’Brien, Sunday Times 15/11/2015  

” The Labour Party’s poor result(in B&APoll) is echoed in the satisfaction ratings , where there is a FIVE POINT fall in the number of people satisfied with the government performace with Enda Kenny, the Taiseach, is down 2 points to 31%(satisfaction) and Joan burton, the Tánaiste drops to 34%” -Sunday Times to-day

Labour Disaster in B&A Sunday Times Poll

Good Poll for the Left and Sinn Fein

Core Vote

FG 18, Others20, SF 17,FF14, Lab5, undecided 26

Excluding Undecided(no filters)

FG 25, Others 26,SF 23, FF19, Lab 7    The outcome comparable to Millward Brown In S Independent Last week

Excluding Undecided  with Filters

FG 26,Others 26,SF 21,FF 20,Lab 7.  FILTERS REDUCE SF vote and increase FG

Labour is one point down on August 2016   in Sunday Times B&A Poll tomorrow

In Overall Outcome Labour 7%, AAA/PBP  9%

AAA/PBP  + Seamus Healy Td + Clare Daly Td + Joan Collins TD+ Cllr Kieran Perry +Cllr Brendan Young=    9% + + + + +

Poorest Half of Population  (social categories C2DE) including Undecided-No filters

SF 23, Others 19,FF13, FG12, Lab5, Undecided  29

Excluding Undecided no filters

SF  32,  Others 27% , FF 18%  FG 17, Lab 10

Dublin Including Undecided(No filters)

FG 17,Others 23, SF 15,FF 11,Lab 7, Undecided  27

Dublin Excluding Undecided no filters

Others 32, FG 23, SF 21, FF 15, Lab 10

within “Others”  AAA/PBP   17%!   – greater than FF and Labour

Munster Including Undecided no Filters

SF 18, FF 18,Others 15, FG 14,Lab 4, Undecided 31

Munster Excluding Undecided-no filters

SF 26  FF 26  Others 22  FG 20 Lab 6%


MINISTER Sherlock(Labour) in Trouble in Cork East

A former Labour Party stalwart in Co Cork, Cllr Noel McCarthy, is expected to announce within days that he will join Fine Gael and run as a candidate for that party in the next general election.-Irish Examiner 11/11/2015

(He has now been removed From Labour Party Website)

Cllr McCarthy headed the poll in Fermoy Ward of Cork Co council in local elections. In the Kanturk-Mallow Ward , home base of Minister Sean Sherlock, the labour party candidate came second last and was eliminated

Could this be a trend? Remenber Labour leader, Michael O’Leary joining Fine Gael!

Millward Brown Poll NOV 8  and Recent Core Votes in other Polls

Margin of Error c.  + or – 3%


B&A Jan 17 FG 20%     IND/OTH 19%     FF 15%    SF 14%   LP 4%  GP 2%
Undecided 27%

B&A  Dec 3                                    FG 20  Others 20,  LP 5,  SF 16, FF  15,

Undecided  27

Millward Brown Nov 8            FG 24,Others 16, SF 17,FF 19,LP 5,

Undecided 19

Sunday Times   Oct 18             FG 19,Other 29, SF 17, FF 11,  Lab 4,

undecided 19%

Ipsos/MRBI    Sept 24             FG 21, Others19, SF 15,FF 16, LP 7,

Undecided 22

Behav. and Att  August 16   : FG 19, Others 20, SF 15, FF 16, LP 4,

Undecided 26.

Millward Brown August 2        FG 19 Others 20  SF 17  FF 17 Lab 5

Undecided 23


The old story which began in 1948 (or more correctly in 1921) is reasserting itself–Labour destroying itself propping up FG!

Core vote will be posted later

On the basis of the same 7% outcome for Labour in August, Adrian Kavanagh gives Labour 4 seats-Dublin Fingal,Dublin Mid-west, Dublin South West ad Kildare North. On the basis of the current poll he gives these 4 seats to FG with the Labour transfers electing the second FG candidate.
I very much doubt if FG will get two seats in Dublin Mid-West and Dublin South West particularly.
The strong indication from the poll is that the non-socialist independents have lost support to FG
The budget gave 180 million in tax relief to incomes over 70,000 including 9.2 million to the top 10,000 on average incomes of 595,000 per annum while 30 million was provided for extra beds in hospitals.
Financial assets now above boom levels were left untouched. If you benefitted from these decisions, wouldn’t you be mad to vote for right-wing mavericks?
The old story which began in 1948 (or more correctly in 1921) is reasserting itself. Labour destroys itself resurrecting FG!

The only clear majority governments available are FF and FG, and FG and Sinn Féin in coalition.On Fine Gael and Sinn Féin in coalition Adrian kavanagh says “such an alliance looks highly unlikely in the present political climate.” But then Adrian lacks political experience!

REd C Filters Distort Outcome as Usual

From Red C Site
The “core vote ” below cannot be unprocessed data. As usual the “undecided” figure at 15 is well below the same figure in all other polls which is typically over 20
As usual Labour Gain and SF lose in the filtering process

From Red C Site

“Core Vote”
FG 25 Lab 5 FF 16 SF 15 Others 24 Undecided 15
Eliminating Undecideds but without Filtering
FG 29.4 Lab 5.9 FF 18.8 SF 17.6 Others 28.2
Final Outcome –After Filtering and eliminating Undecideds
FG 30 Lab 7 FF20 SF 16 Others 27

Labour Meltdown. Labour drop 3% to 7% in RED C POLL  OCT 25 Independents Remain Very Strong at 28%

7% for Labour in Red C is equivalent to 6% or even 5% in IPSOS/MRBI and Millward Brown due to the use of filters favourable to Labour by Red C. Because Labour got 19.4% in the last General Election, it gets a bonus from the application of the filter based on the “the recall of past vote in General Election” . The same filter normally reduces the Sinn Féin vote because SF got less than 10% in the last General Election. The assumption of Red C that Labour voters in 2011 will tend to revert to Labour in the coming election is, to say the least, highly questionable. This is the “justification” for the use of the filter.
This poll confirms the dire news for Labour in theB&A poll published last Sunday. Labour expectations of a lift from buget have proved false.
Adrian Kavanagh gives Labour only two seats in next General Election-both in Dublin(South Central and D.West)
Noel Whelan said on RTe Sat OCT 24 that the outcome of the next election will be “seismic”Scroll Down to-more  Poor Desert Labour as Sinn Féin and Independents head C2DE Poll.  B&A Oct 18   FG and FF, each, have double the support of Labour among the poor B&A Poll Social Categories  C2DE   –Poorer half of population    Sample 421    MOE  +or – 5%

SF                       22%

Others                 20 %

FG                      14%

FF                       13%

Lab                      6%

Undecided            26%


Shocking Performance by Labour Party(4%) in Dublin in B&A Poll Sunday Times   Oct 18
Sample 248 MOE +or- 6%
Other 25%,FG 19%, SF 17%, FF 11%, Green 4%, Lab 4%, undecided 19%

Sunday Times B&A poll  National Vote//

Core Vote
B&A Oct 18 FF 15  FG18  Lab 5  SF 16 Others 21   Undecided 23

Labour TD, Eamonn Moloney and his supporters Resign from Labour Party to Run as Independent in Dublin South West  Leaving aside the one about rats and sinking ships, there is a more interesting aspect to this development. All but one seat allocated to Labour by Adrian Kavanagh on the basis of the recent Ipsos/Mrbi poll is in Dublin. The constituencies concerned elected two Labour Tds in the last election because there was a huge swing to Labour in WORKING CLASS Dublin. . Consequently when national reductions in Labour support since the last election are reflected in polls and applied to constituencies correctly from a mathematical point of view this leaves Labour with one seat where it had two.(The single other retention is Cork East where LP got 30.8% of the vote and just failed to get two seats). But this leaves out of account the huge swing against Labour in the poorer social strata. This was clear in the Dublin South West Bye-Election in which AAA and SF were both well ahead of Labour. It is my judgement that the Labour TDs most likely to retain seats are the likes of Emmet Stagg and Willie Penrose who have very strong records of constituency work and very big constituency profiles. They may also have some prospects in the better-off Dublin constiuencies. Clearly Eamonn Moloney and his supporters share at least some of this analysis. One of the consequences of unpopularity for a political party is a low rate of transfer BETWEEN IT’S OWN CANDIDATES. Hence the preference for a one candidate strategy. Additionally, the one LP candidate may hope to be ahead of the weaker FF and FG candidates and to benefit from transfers from these against Sinn Féin and the Left.—————————————————————————————————————————————————–

New IPSOS/MRBI POLL   Sept 24   When core votes are considered, in the context of a margin of error of + or – 2.8%, there appears to be no definite trend since June 

CORE VOTES (Red C Polls are omitted because undecided voters are being returned at typically at 10 points lower than in all other polls)

Margin of Error c.  + or – 3%

Ipsos/MRBI   Sept 24             FG 21, Others19, SF 15,FF 16, LP 7, undecided 22

Behav. and Att  August 16   : FG 19, Others 20, SF 15, FF 16, LP 4,  Undecided 26.

Millward Brown August 2        FG 19 Others 20  SF 17  FF 17 Lab 5 Undecided 23

Behav. and Att.  July 14          FG 18 Others 25  SF 15  FF 15 Lab 5 Undecided 23

MillwardBrown   June 28         FG 23 Others 17  SF 17  FF 19 Lab 5 Undecided 19

Behav. and Att. June 21          FG 15, Others 20, SF 16, FF 17, Lab 4, Undecided 28


Irish Examiner    Aug 5

Minister Kathleen Lynch missed the deadline yesterday to seek a Labour Party nomination for her constituency of Cork North Central.

Not a single Labour candidate had emerged by the noon deadline, despite the fact that Ms Lynch has repeatedly rejected rumours that she is to retire from parliamentary politics.

While her name can be added to the ticket at the constituency convention next Thursday, there was widespread confusion last night among leading party supporters about whether Ms Lynch will run or not.

“Kathleen Lynch has made no final decision as to whether she will put herself forward as a candidate in the next general election,” a Labour Party spokesman said last evening.

Labour Panic Sets In !!! TD Scrambles for FG Transfers as Labour Vote Plummets

Anne Phelan, Labour Td(Carlow-Kilkenny) seeks joint manifesto with FG in general Election -Irish Independent
This is why:
“Attention should also be paid to constituencies where FG have more than 1 quota but not enough for 2 seats. There ARE some of these. The FG excess could be used to elect a Labour candidate to the last seat. We could have a small number of Labour TDs “kept” by Fine Gael!!!”- my earlier  comment on Cedar Lounge Revolution

August 17  Labour Core Vote Sinks Further to 4%   Scroll down for More

B&A August 16   Core Vote  FG 19%, IND/OTH 19%, FF 16%, SF 15%, LP 4%, GP 1%, Undecided 26%.

This is as low as Labour has been for over a year. If undecideds had merely been eliminated as happens in all polls except Red C and B&A the final outcome would have been 5% not the 6% reported in Sunday Times Aug 16

The elevation from 5 to 6% is as a result of the application of filters which are no longer applicable in my opinion.

The reality is that when 898 people were asked, 36 said that they would vote Labour and 135 said they would vote for Sinn Féin. This is dreadful news for the Labour Party. NUI Maynooth, political geographer, Adrian Kavanagh awrded Labour 1 seat only on the basis of the poll.

See the 7 most recent polls, including this B&A Poll,  below


August 2

Labour Remain at Rock Bottom at Average  5% Score in 6 recent Polls.

The most recent is the Millward Brown Poll in Sunday Independent August 2

There is some evidence from the set of 6 core votes below that the high vote for FG in Millward Brown June 28 was an “outlier” or statistical freak. In other words the Fine Gael score was already much lower in reality. One week previously B&A reported FG a full 8 points lower in it’s core vote. The Labour scores are consistently bleak.

The stability of the SF, FF and Labour votes is remarkable in all 6 polls

Recent RED C polls are omitted below because its “core vote” is pre-processed and therefore not comparable to the core vote in all other polls

TOXICITY  In the same poll, when people were asked what party or parties would the not vote for in any circumstance, Fine Gael and Labour headed the toxicity list

Sinn Féin was less toxic than FG  and Labour despite the best efforts of the Irish Media to demonise SF

Recent Core Votes-Undecideds Included

These record what people actually responded to the pollsters-no filters or other “processing” has been carried out

Behav. and Att  August 16   : FG 19, Others 20, SF 15, FF 16, LP 4,  Undecided 26.

Millward Brown August 2        FG 19 Others 20  SF 17  FF 17 Lab 5 Undecided 23

Behav. and Att.  July 14          FG 18 Others 25  SF 15  FF 15 Lab 5 Undecided 23

MillwardBrown   June 28         FG 23 Others 17  SF 17  FF 19 Lab 5 Undecided 19

Behav. and Att. June 21          FG 15, Others 20, SF 16, FF 17, Lab 4, Undecided 28

Ipsos/Mrbi         May 18           FG 22 Others 19  SF 17   FF 15 Lab 6 Undecided 21

Behav &Att.       May 17           FG 19 Others23   SF 17    FF 12 Lab 5 Undecided 25

July 18 Ind/Others Soar to 32%

FF+FG may not make a majority?

B&A Poll   Sunday Times July 18

Sinn Féin score was reduced by 3 points in Sunday Times/B&A  Poll  by use of “filters”

SF would have got  20% not 17% in other polls based on same data

Significant 5 point move from undecided to independents/others (32%)

B&A July 14   Margin of Error  +or -3% on scores of individual parties


Core: July 14         FF 15    FG 18  SF 15  Lab 5   Others 25    Undecided 23—–B&A

Core: June 15        FF 17   FG15   SF 16    Lab 4   Others 20    Undecided 28——-B&A

July 14  B&A  Excluding Undecided Unadjusted (No Filters used)

FF19    FG24    Lab7      SF 20   Others32

July 14 B&A  Final Outcome-Excluding Undecided With use of likelihood to vote and recall of vote in last GENERAL ELECTION  Filters

FF 18   FG24   Lab8    SF17   Others 32

Core Votes  Since Mid-March   (Red C excluded due to unexplained “pre-processing” of core votes by Red C)

Core Votes        http://wp.me/pKzXa-jh

B&A             July 14                FG 18     Others 25   SF 15       FF 15    Lab 5       Undecided 23

B&A            June 21                 FG 15,  Others 20,     SF 16,     FF 17,      Lab 4,     Undecided 28

Ipsos/Mrbi      May 18               FG 22   Others 19       SF 17      FF 15     LP  6      Undecided  21

B&A                 May 17             FG  19   Others23        SF 17      FF 12      LP  5     Undecided  25

Millward Brown   April 4           FG 20    Others 16,      SF 19        FF 15     Lab 7,      Undecided 20

Ipsos/MRBI      Mar 25            FG 18,    Others 22,      SF 18       FF 13,      Lab 5,     Undecided 24

B&A               Mar 16              FG 19     Others 19,      SF19        FF 14,       Lab 5,      Undecided 24

Red C   June 26 CORE

FG 24, Others 22,  FF 17  SF 17,  Lab 5, Undecided 15   Margin of error  +or – 3%

Core Vote  (before filters are applied and before elimination of undecided)  As undecided is again unusually low in Red C, it appears that some processing of raw vote has already taken place

FG 24, Others 22,  FF 17  SF 17,  Lab 5, Undecided 15   Margin of error  +or – 3%

Very low level of support for Labour Confirmed       5%       +or – 3!!!!!

FF, SF  are neck and neck for months

UPDATE June 21

B&A Poll Sunday Times Sunday June 21 (%)

The main feature of this B&A Poll is the decline of 5 points in the core vote for government parties and the increase of 5 points for FF in comparison with B&a poll of May 17, almost exactly a month ago. Labour is again at its lowest ever(?) core vote of 4%.  This means that only 40 out of 1000 positively said that they would vote Labour when asked.

As polling companies employ “adjustments” to the raw poll which may be specific to each, it is best to compare raw votes or core votes. I have argued that the filters employed by B&A and REd C are inappropriate in current political circumstances. This is underlined again to-day in the fact that Labour who got only 4% in the core vote gained 3% from the filters!!!! The 28% undecided in this poll underlines again the question mark over the Undecided figures in Red C polls(14% on June 7)

Core Vote

In comparison to B&A 17.5.2015 almost exactly a month ago

Ind/Others 20(-3), FF17(+5),  SF16(-1),  FG 15(-4),  Lab 4(-1), Undecided 28(+3)

Excluding Undecided

Ind/Otthers 29, FF 24, SF 22, FG 21,  LAB 6,

“Adjusted” for likelihood to vote and recall of past voting intention

Ind/Others 28, FF21,  SF 19,  FG 24,  Lab 9.

Core Votes

B&A July 14                               FF 15    FG 18  SF 15  Lab 5   Others 25    Undecided 23

Red C June 26                        FG 24, Others 22,    FF 17  SF 17,   Lab 5,       Undecided 15

B&A                June 21             FG 15, Others 20,     SF 16,   FF 17,      Lab 4,     Undecided 28

Red C SBP    JUNE 7             FG  25   Others 18        SF 19      FF17      LP 7      Undecided  14

Ipsos/Mrbi      18/5                FG 22   Others 19       SF 17      FF 15     LP  6      Undecided  21

B&A                 17/5              FG  19   Others23        SF 17      FF 12      LP  5     Undecided  25

Millward Brown   April 4         FG 20    Others 16,      SF 19      FF 15     Lab 7,   Undecided 20

Red C              Mar 29          FG23      Others 24      SF 16      FF15      Lab 8     Undecided  14

Ipsos/MRBI      Mar 25          FG 18,    Others 22,      SF 18     FF 13,   Lab 5,     Undecided 24

B&A               Mar 16            Fg 19     Others 19,      SF19      FF 14,    Lab 5,     Undecided 24

Red C             Feb 22            Fg 21     Others 26       Sf 19      FF  15    Lab 5   Undecided  14


Why the Discrepency  in “Undecideds” between RED C and All other Polling Companies?


Red C  (3polls)                                                  Average Undecided        14%

All other Polling Companies (6 polls)                   Average undecided        25%

Margin of error on Polls is typically c 3%

RED C must be doing something quite different in determining “undecideds” than all other polling companies

Red C site: Vote intention results are based on those who will actually go and vote, using a 10 point scale, where 1 is not at all likely and 10 is very likely, those rating 4 to 10 are included as being those who will actually go and vote

Does this mean that only those rating 4 to 10 are included in “core vote”.

After a core vote is established in Red C polls a likelihood to vote filter is applied  subsequently! Is this filtering based solely on the 4 to 10 likely to vote cohort?


May 24 LABOUR DISASTER IN CARLOW-KILKENNY BYE-ELECTION Labour Tally  Carlow-Kilkenny Bye Election Labour Candidate Willie Quinn Lives near Bagenalstown (Muine Beag) Carlow area where he got almost 50% of his votes. He as the only candidate of a major party from Co Carlow. Otherwise he would have dipped below 5% over all!!!!! He got only(c.1500) or 3% of the vote in Co Kilkenny where Minister of State Phelan is a Labour TD 96%   of boxes tallied LAB        %                Area  Total Muine Beag        2094      21.6%               9694 Carlow Town         738      7.9%                 9341 ——————————————————————————– Co Carlow Total    2832    14.9%               19,035 Castlecomer            415     3.6%                11,528 Kilkenny west           170     1.6%                 10,625 Kilkenny East            377     3.4%                  11,088 Ferry bank                 257     2.4 %                10,708 Postal votes                40      7.8%                  513 Co Kilkenny Total      1259   2.8%                44,462 Constituency Total    4,091   6.44%               63,497 Actual First Count      4,673    7.0%                66,834 The tallies above can be “fitted” to the actual outcome by increasing the area totals by 5% and the Labour totals by 11% The 5% increase in area totals and in the tallied total valid poll corresponds to compensation for the 4% of boxes not tallied. The 11% increase in Labour totals in each area and in the Labour total corresponds to a combination of compensation for   boxes not tallied and for the fact that the tally team missed 1 in 20 of Labour votes. This is not unusual. Government Support Exactly Halved in Bye-Election! First Preference Vote    Carlow Kilkenny Constituency General Election 2011 FG+Lab       39.22+16.25         =55.47% Bye-Election  2015       FG+Lab        20.6+7.0         =27.6% Reduction  in Gov Support                               = 27.87% Break the Media Conspiracy of Silence!!! If this were repeated in a General Election in the 5 seat Carlow-Kilkenny Constituency, Labour would lose the seat held by Minister Phelan FG would definitely lose 1 of its 3 seats but could lose 2 Fianna Fail likely to gain a seat ending with 2 Sinn Féin   Will definitely take a seat Sinn Féin   First Pref Bye-election      16.2% Sinn Féin First Pref in GE 2011          9.54% Quota in 5 seat Constituency             16.7% Not Mentioned In   Media!!! Very Bad Bye-Election for Fine Gael –Drop of 15% of Poll on 2011 General Election After the General Election 2011 Fine Gael Held 3 Seats in Carlow-Kilkenny having polled 39.22% of First Preference Votes General Election 2011 FG First Preference Total=                                                      39.22% Bye-Election 2015 FG  First Preference               13,744                                       20.6% FG  First Pref.+Renua Transfers  13,74+2,263=16,007             24.0% Reduction                                                                                 15.22%

May 18

Only 60 out of a thousand say they will vote Labour in IPSOS/MRBI Poll Dr Adrian Kavanagh NUIM Predicts 2 seats for Labour!

Fianna Fail 36, Fine Gael 55, Sinn Fein 33, Labour Party 2, Independents and Others 32

Dreadful News For Labour Confirmed in Second Poll

No Difference in 2 Recent Polls when Margin of Error(MoE) is Applied

Comparing  Raw Polls

Ipsos/Mrbi  Monday 18/5     FG   22   Others 19   SF 17      FF  15     LP  6     Undecided  21 MoE  +or-2.8% B&A  Sunday 17/5                FG  19  Others23     SF 17      FF 12      LP  5     Undecided  25  MoE  +or -3.2% (Ipsos/Mrbi, unlike B&A, doesn’t use Filters)

May 17 B&A   General Election Poll Sunday May 17 Only 50 out of a thousand say they will vote Labour in Poll! Gap of 2% between SF and FG in Raw Poll increases to 7% due to Processing Labour Vote almost Increases by three fifths  in “Processing” http://banda.ie/wp-content/uploads/J.6535-Sunday-Times-May-Poll-2015.pdf

Stated Outcome:  Fine Gael 27% (NC), Independents and Others 26% (up 2%), Sinn Fein 20% (up 1%), Fianna Fail 17% (down 1%),  Labour Party 8% (down 1%), Green Party 3% (NC).

B&A    May 17 Raw Vote                       FG 19    Others23   Sinn Féin 17    FF 12    LP 5

Undecided 25

Excluding Undecided1         FG  25  Others 30   Sinn Féin 22    FF 15    LP 7 Filters Applied2                   FG 27    Others29   Sinn Fein 20     FF 17    LP 83 ———————————————————————————————————————————————————————————— 1    without rounding           FG 25.3   Others 30.7   SF22.7        FF 16(?) LP 6.7 2   Liklihood to vote and Past Voting Record in GENERAL ELECTION filters used

3 LP vote is so small that exclusion of undecideds, rounding and filters increase it by 3/5=60% April 28   RED C releases Core Vote Final Outcome is reached by applying a likelihood to vote filter, then a recall of voting in last GENERAL Election filter and finally by eliminating the modified undecided which was 14%( not 20% as in core vote!) Core Vote             Undecided 20  Others 20  FF 14  FG 20  Lab 6  SF 20

Final outcome        Others 26  FF 19  FG 25 Lab 8   SF 22

Note how FG and Lab are advantaged by this process and Sinn Féin is disadvantaged in this process

%  of core vote by which  each party increases through Red C processing FG   +25% SF +10% Lab  +33% FF +  35% Others +  30%

April 26 Red C (SBP)

Final outcome FG 25% [-2%]. LP 8% [-2%], SF 22% [+5%], FF 19% [+1%], Ind/Small Parties 26 [-2%].

Corevote Undecided 17%   Others 22  FF 16   FG 21 Lab 7 SF 18

full Red C Results not yet posted

Update March 30 CORE VOTES Red C Mar 29                 Undecided  14 Others 24  FF15 FG23 Lab 8    SF 16 Ipsos/MRBI  Mar 25     Undecided 24, Others 22, FF 13, FG 18, Lab 5,SF 18 B&A   Mar 16                    Undecided 24, Others 19, FF 14, Fg 19, Lab 5, SF 19 Is it credible that 10% of population left “undecided”, made up their minds and 8% extra voted for government parties within a week in which no major political event took place? Is Red C “pre-processing” data to get core vote ? Or is it asking further questions of “undecideds”.? If so it should declare this on its site. “Undecided” voter figures are consistently lower in Red C than in other polls On the blog  The Cedar Lounge Revolution, Liberius has stated://

“It’s worth pointing out though that Red C’s numbers are statistically more favourable to FG and Labour than any of the other polling firms; an average of 28% for FG in all of their polls since January 2012, with an average of 11% for Labour.” (See below for use of special weighting factors or filters by Red C and B&A which are not used by Ipsos/Mrbi or Millward Brown ).

UPDATE MARCH 25 IPSOS/MRBI(Irish Times) to-day is virtually identical to B&A(Sunday Times) March 16 Ipsos/MRBI  Mar 25  Undecided 24, Others 22, FF 13, FG 18, Lab 5, SF 18 B&A   Mar 16                 Undecided 24, Others 19, FF 14, Fg 19, Lab 5, SF 19 The probable error for 95% confidence on each party score is approximately 3% in both cases Ipsos/Mrbi unlike B&A, does not use likelihood to vote or recall of vote in the last  general election filters(weighting factors). The final outcome in B&A for FG was 27% and for SF was 19%    !!! The final outcome in IPSOS/MRBI for FG was 24% and for SF was 24%   !!! The difference is the application of outdated filters by B&A!!!! I can see or hear no comment in the media this morning to the effect that the results of the two polls are in  fact identical. !!!!! VOTE By Social Stratum in IPSOS/MRBI Poll Today (Percentages) These figures should be treated with caution as the probable error on them is very high due to low sample size  The social strata in descending order of wealth and status are taken as A,B, C, D1, D2

A+B voters: FG 43, Ind/Oth 31, FF 14, Lab 7, SF 6 C1 voters: Ind/Oth 29, FG 24, FF 19, SF 19, Lab 9 C2 voters: Ind/Oth 31, SF 30, FG 19, FF 14, Lab 5 D+E voters: SF 36, Ind/Oth 26, FF 16, FG 15, Lab 8 Note the huge 43% for FG in the two uppermost strata and the large 36% for Sinn Féin among the two lowest strata. The really bad news for Labour is that it is only scoring 8% among the two lowest strata!!!! It comes last of all parties and others among the poorest strata. Farmers are treated seperately with F1 being the catefory of those above 50 good acres and F2 being those below that. F1/F2 voters: FG 35, FF 29, SF 17, Ind/Oth 17, Lab 2 FF+FG account for 64% but 17% for Sinn Féin is substantial.

UPDATE MARCH 16,2015 OUTDATED FILTERS DISTORT POLLS-Advantaging Government Parties Poll Results Distorted By Filters Unlike Millward Brown who simply eliminate undecideds B&A and REDC who reported in recent days apply “filters” to voting intentions expressed in polls Take the recent Sunday Times B&A Poll as an example. B&A Mar15  Undecided 24, Others 19, FF 14,  FG 19,  Lab 5, SF 19-Core Vote B&A website The  elimination of undecided gave Others 25% FF 18 FG 25% Lab 7 SF 25%—–B&A website But  after “Filtering” Sinn Fein were 6% lower and FG were 2% higher giving Others 26%  FF18%   FG 27%   Lab 9%  SF  19% —B&A website Overall FG and SF started on 19% in core vote –FG rose by 8 points to 27% but Sinn Féin remained on 19% after processing despite the elimination of 24% undecided!!!! The actual Labour vote was almost doubled!! Why Filters Employed by B&A and REDC Are No Longer Valid Likelihood To Vote Filter Unlike recent GENERAL elections the less well-off are not now passive but are actively organising against austerity. Those of us who regularly call to homes in local authority estates know that the residents are “spitting blood” at the government and particularly at the Labour Party and rightly so. They will be highly motivated to vote in the next general election. This should largely cancel out the perception that “the poor don’t vote” as expressed in this filter. Recall of Voting in Last General Election Filter This filter puts in to effect the normal tendency of voter to “stray” between general elections but to return to old habits in the actual election. Given the political earthquake evident in the recent local and European elections it is clear that this tendency is very unlikely to be as effective as in the past if, indeed, it exists at all. Indeed, it is my view that poll results would be even more highly distorted by this filter but for the “selective amnesia” of human beings in relation to unpleasant events and past misdeeds.  Fortunately, large numbers who clearly voted for FG and Lab cannot recall doing so!!!!! ——————————————————————- 27-10-2013 It is important to realise that the 9% attributed to Labour by RED C is not an increase on the 6% attributed to it on Oct 1 by Irish Times IPSOS/MRBI. This is because these polling companies process the raw data quite differently. Dr  Adrian Kavanagh(NUI Maynooth) has pointed out that Labour is polling consistently higher in Red C polls. In previous messages, I have shown how Red C unduly elevates the Labour (and the FG) votes. This is basically because REd C allocates half the “DONT’T Knows” (after the c. 10% who are unlikely to vote are excluded) in the proportion achieved by the parties in the last general election as recalled by those polled! This cannot fail to advantage Labour and FG and to disadvantage FF , SF and Others. I believe that this process is unjustified in a rapidly changing and unprecedented political situation, The IPSOS/MRBI figure(6%) for Labour is the lowest since 1987. The RED C figure(9%) for Labour is the lowest for decades. According to Dr Kavanagh, based on essentially  similar raw data in both polls, if IPSOS/MRBI forecast turns out to be correct in a general election, Labour will get between zero and four seats. If the REDC forecast turns out to be correct, Labour will get 9 seats  In any event Labour will suffer huge losses in the local and European elections RED C explains its treatment of raw data here: http://redcresearch.ie/blog/do-undecided-voters-desire-for-new-party Analysis by Dr Kavanagh, including allocation of seats by constituency in accordance with the poll, is available here:  http://politicalreform.ie/2013/10/26/apres-la-guerre-constituency-level-analyses-of-post-budget-opinion-polls/ Paddy Healy

Categories: Uncategorized

ESRI In Denial-Opinion Slot for Director in IRISH TIMES

January 12, 2012 1 comment

ESRI in Denial
The Irish Times (Jan 12) has given free rein to the ESRI to cover up its past. Above all, ESRI failed to give adequate warning of the danger to the Irish economy from the combination of excessive bank borrowing abroad and excessive lending both at home and abroad.
The level of denial by the ESRI itself and the extent of the protection from criticism it has enjoyed in the media has particular dangers for citizens. The dangers in the current austerity policy are sure to be understated by ESRI if radical change in the governance of the Institute does not take place.
ESRI director is given the facility of a personal opinion piece in the newspaper, to-day Jan 12. In addition, under the heading “Director says ESRI economy warnings ignored“ Paul Cullen of the Irish Times political staff wrote an article which contained no quotations from anybody other than the ESRI director. I had been interviewed for half an hour on telephone by Paul Cullen in advance of the publication of the article. The article begins: “SUCCESSIVE GOVERNMENTS deliberately ignored warnings from the Economic and Social Research Institute about the dangers of an overheating economy, according to its director, Prof Frances Ruane. Prof Ruane yesterday defended the independence of the ESRI and the accuracy of its forecasting in the face of trenchant criticism last week by departing staff member Richard Tol.” In a third article, also by Paul Cullen, some criticism is carried including a criticism of the governance of the Institute by myself. This article says that the Institute circulated Morgan Kelly’s article (July 1997) predicting the “bust” without saying that the Institute had dissociated itself from it! As I explain below, the Institute was saying the opposite at the time.
What are the facts? The Irish economy was in mortal danger in Summer 2007. “Members of the Media should note that Professor Morgan Kelly is not a staff member of The ESRI. Whilst this Article has been accepted for publication by The ESRI, the views expressed are not the views of The ESRI”. This is the legend that accompanied the circulation by ESRI of the article by Morgan Kelly in July 2007 predicting the bursting of the property bubble and its consequences. There is no record in the article of the director being asked to explain this disclaimer.(The journalist had discussed this contention in my letter to all media with me)
But what was the ESRI itself saying at the same time in Summer 2007? In Spring 2006 the Institute had predicted a soft landing saying: “We add our voice to those expressing concern about the possibility of a bubble bursting. However, this does not imply that a sharp fall will occur. A soft landing is still the more likely outcome.” In its Quarterly Economic Commentary, Summer 2007, a “smooth transition” was predicted. “As the housing boom comes to an end, the economy must move resources to other areas of economic activity, such that the transition is as smooth as possible in terms of output and employment. We are optimistic that a smooth transition will occur and this is reflected in our forecasts for services and industry growth. However, if the current high rate of CPI inflation feeds into excessive wage demands, this could endanger a smooth transition. (Preamble to QEC, Summer 2007). And in its General Assessment, the same publication states : “With employment growth slowing, tax revenues growing more slowly than last year and early indicators of activity in house building pointing towards a slowdown, our task in producing forecasts has been to estimate whether the slowdown will be moderate or otherwise.For now, our belief is that the slowdown will indeed be moderate.”
The same publication pointed to dangers to their optimistic outcome. Was there any mention of excessive bank borrowing and lending? Not a word. The main danger was wage inflation according to ESRI. Government and employers cannot have been unhappy with that!
The contention in my letter to the media that the warnings were so understated as to be totally ineffective is more than justified. This is particularly so as the warnings were addenda to optimistic predictions at a time when the country was hurtling towards receivership.

Categories: Uncategorized

No Academic Freedom at Economic and Social Research Institute

January 6, 2012 4 comments

Professor Richard Tol recently departed from the Economic and Social Reserch Institute. In an interview with Colm Keena (Irish Times Jan 2, 2012) he criticised the lack of academic freedom at the Institute. Read full article pasted below. As the role of the ESRI is to advise the government and the citizens on economic matters the statements made by Professor Tol should give rise to great concern. Yet ESRI had not seen fit to comment on these statements(Jan 2) until Sunday Jan 8. I believe that my letters to the media and my tweets played a role in eliciting the reply. The issue is covered in an article in Sunday Independent Jan 8 (Analysis, Daniel McConnell P8) and was discussed on Marian Finucane Show on Sunday Jan 8. Richard Toll, in the course of his interview with Daniel McConnell, stated “You work on the basis of professional integrity. In the ESRI you are not supposed to talk outside your area of expertise. That is perfectly acceptable. However, in the last two years or so there was quite strong pressure from the director to keep messages out of the media that are not politically acceptable or that might upset council members or funders.” A tweet by Richard Toll is also quoted:”It was funny to hear academics complain about distant threats to academic freedom. At the ESRI, we were muffled,” The ESRI has denied the allegations saying: “The allegations made by Richard Tol are wholly unsubstantiated.”The article from the Sunday Independent is pasted below.
In the course of the Marian Finucane Show distinguished Journalist, Sam Smyth said:”They say that if you live in Rome you shouldn’t fight with the Pope and there is a relationship between the state and the ESRI”. He seemed to be justifying the ESRI position. Of course, the lack of freedom for the ESRI and its researchers to criticise government policy is the core issue.
My letter(text below) to the editor on this matter was published in Irish Independent to-day, Jan 6

From Paddy Healy Convener of Campaign for Academic Freedom, 086-4183732
88 Griffith Court,
Dublin 3

Dear Editor,
Academic Freedom and ESRI
“Members of the Media should note that Professor Morgan Kelly is not a staff member of The ESRI. Whilst this Article has been accepted for publication by The ESRI, the views expressed are not the views of The ESRI”. This is the legend that accompanied the circulation by ESRI of the article by Morgan Kelly in July 2007 predicting the bursting of the property bubble and its consequences. Professor Richard Tol ,who has recently left ESRI, is right when he says: “the institute did issue warnings about policy during the Ahern years, but did not do so loudly enough”.
In fact the warnings were so understated as to be totally ineffective.
The allegations of lack of independence and absence of academic freedom for researchers at ESRI by Richard Tol are a very serious matter for Irish citizens. The institute is largely funded by the state. Citizens are entitled to expect full and unbiased information in economic matters. The council of ESRI is a self-perpetuating establishment club. Candidates for election to the governing body must be pre-approved by a majority of the existing members of the council.
The remedy for this extremely unsatisfactory situation follows from the remark by Richard Tol “In a university you can say what you like if you behave responsibly. It’s not the same with the ESRI”. Clearly the ESRI should be subsumed into a university or other third level institute where academic freedom is either guaranteed by law or enshrined in contracts of employment.
Yours sincerely,
Paddy Healy 086-4183732
Note from Paddy Healy
In 2005, as president of Teachers Union of Ireland, I was proposed for a vacancy on the Council of ESRI by Dublin Institute of Technology having been a member of the Governing Body and Academic Council of DIT for several years.
My nomination was declared invalid at the AGM as my candidacy was not “pre-approved” by the existing Council.

Economist criticises aspects of ESRI
Mon, Jan 02, 2012
ENERGY ECONOMIST Richard Tol, who has left the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) to take up the position of professor of economics with Sussex University, has criticised aspects of the public think-tank.
Prof Tol said the financial position of the institute affected the independence of the work it produced. He said people who worked there were discouraged from expressing personal opinions to journalists or on social media sites such as Twitter.
Efforts to contact representatives of the institute were unsuccessful.
Prof Tol spoke to The Irish Times yesterday after he had posted a number of comments on Twitter about his decision to leave the ESRI after five and a half years. “In a university you can say what you like if you behave responsibly. It’s not the same with the ESRI,” he said. “If you violate policy and upset people, you can get into trouble.”
He said the institute’s independence was compromised by the fact it got so much of its funding from government. He said this could manifest itself in the way the research it conducts is put into the public domain.
He was critical of the standard of information technology available at the institute.
In one of his tweets he said it was not a coincidence he was one of five senior research professors who had left over the past number of years. The institute has about 40 research assistants and about 10 research professors, he told The Irish Times. “So five in the last five years is significant.”
The ESRI was set up during the Lemass era to improve the quality of policy analysis available to the government.
Prof Tol said the institute did issue warnings about policy during the Ahern years, but did not do so loudly enough.
He said the institute did not have a banking expert even though during the bubble years banking was one of the economy’s largest sectors. “So the whole thing of the bank crisis caught the ESRI from left field.”
The international financial crisis, he said, was caused by factors that the whole of the international economics profession believed could not happen. “So you can’t blame the ESRI on that.”
When Ireland was joining the euro the institute had warned that fiscal policy would have to take account of the new situation, but Charlie McCreevy then became minister for finance “and went in the opposite direction to where we should be going”.
This was criticised by the institute but not loudly enough, he said. “The ESRI can make its voice heard, but it didn’t.”
Prof Tol said the view of many people in the institute now was on the financial threat to its survival – and personal relief that they had a job.
He said there were many positive aspects to working in the institute, not least the people he worked alongside and the fact he was able to engage in applied research.
A native of the Netherlands, he said he would be sad to leave Ireland, which he really loved. However, his wife was a civil engineer and they had two children.
“Ireland is facing 10 years of austerity. Leaving Ireland is the best thing you can do at the moment if you are responsible for a young family.”
© 2012 The Irish Times
Daniel McConnell: A fearless whistleblower or a disgruntled crank?
The ESRI and Richard Tol are at war since the economist’s bitter departure, writes Daniel McConnell

It was a most bizarre image. The lead story on the main evening news on RTE showed a scruffy, long-haired foreigner packing up his house to move to England.

This same man starkly warned that despite cuts of over €24bn in government spending since 2008 Ireland faces another decade of austerity.

But most controversially, Richard Tol, non-conformist voice and energy economist, also had some harsh words for his former employers and colleagues in the State’s economic think tank, the Economic Social and Research Institute (ESRI).

During that RTE interview, he called into question the organisation’s independence and condemned it for a lack of transparency.

However, online — his favoured medium — Tol went for the jugular.

Over a 48-hour period, the 42-year-old Dutch academic made a host of serious allegations into how the ESRI operates, about its transparency, its relationship with Government and how it is funded.

Today, the ESRI hits back very strongly at the various allegations made by Tol online and during an interview with this newspaper. It vehemently denies the failings alleged by Tol, rejecting his outlook almost entirely. “The allegations made by Richard Tol are wholly unsubstantiated.”

His criticisms of the ESRI on television were somewhat muted and restricted, no doubt by the station’s lawyers, and Tol himself is bemused that his departure was given so much prominence. “It is a slow news day if the lead story is the hairy guy packing a box,” he tweeted.

But it was on Twitter that Tol made the most serious allegations about the organisation.

He accused it of being a xenophobic and nepotistic body which is caught in a timewarp using antiquated technology. He also stated that he was the fifth senior person to leave the institute, implying cultural and endemic problems at the ESRI.

“It was funny to hear academics complain about distant threats to academic freedom. At the ESRI, we were muffled,” he tweeted.

“The wife said: The ESRI reflects all that is good and bad about Irish society. She is right,” he wrote a short time later.

For those left behind in the ESRI, Tol is a trouble-making crank who has sought to wash his dirty laundry in public.

For others, in a country which has a shameful record of treating whistleblowers poorly, Tol was a welcome dissenting voice holding up a mirror to reveal our flaws as well as our strengths.

In the wake of his outbursts online, the Sunday Independent spoke to Tol to try and see if he would elaborate on the serious allegations he made about the state’s economic think tank.

According to Tol, the ESRI has many faults and many positives. The faults, he says, are incredibly serious and strike to the core of its credibility. He calls into question its independence and its transparency.

“Transparency is most important and at the ESRI the models used for our analysis is not transparent at all. The way it is, you aren’t sure who contributed what to a particular paper; accessibility to information is not there. This is one of the most serious issues affecting the ESRI,” he said.

I ask him about independence and academic freedom.

Tol detailed his often fractious relationship with his superiors within the ESRI, and said that clear pressure was brought to bear on him and his fellow researchers by the director of the ESRI, Frances Ruane, to keep “politically unacceptable” messages suppressed.

“You work on the basis of professional integrity. In the ESRI you are not supposed to talk outside your area of expertise. That is perfectly acceptable. However, in the last two years or so there was quite strong pressure from the director to keep messages out of the media that are not politically acceptable or that might upset council members or funders.”

He said that he had fallen foul of Ruane’s instructions and was disciplined as a result.

“The ESRI is supposed to be an academic institution,

where you can speak on the basis of evidenced-based analysis. Disciplinary measures have been taken. Pressure came in the form of conversations, emails and letters. Such measures have been taken against me. I have had many conversations with the director, so my comments would not have come as any surprise to her,” he said.

In response, the ESRI said: “ESRI researchers are free to participate in public debate. There are no restrictions on ESRI staff members discussing their research in whatever forum they deem appropriate. Indeed, research staff members have participated in wide-ranging discussions in many media outlets.”

The Sunday Independent has obtained a copy of the institute’s protocols for publishing material, and researchers are subject to a host of detailed instructions in how to “disseminate” information to the public.

Researchers must run press releases by the director or her nominee before release, and opinion pieces for national publication in a newspaper must be cleared by a colleague, head of division or the director before being submitted. Researchers are permitted to upload material to certain websites like the Irisheconomy.ie without clearance from superiors if it is in their field of expertise.

“Staff at the ESRI know there is a policy about the relaying of information and are expected to adhere to that policy. If they don’t, disciplinary measures are utilised, and were in the case of Richard Tol,” the ESRI spokeswoman said.

Tol was also critical that websites such as Twitter and Facebook were blocked for staff by the ESRI, reflecting an attitude toward technology more suited to the 1990s.

Tol’s statements about xenophobia and nepotism are the most controversial.

He alleges that within the ESRI, those from Ireland were in someway treated above those from foreign countries, which impacted on people’s career prospects.

He said: “There was a hierarchy within there. It was native Irish first, then English, then European, then others. This impacted on how fast you got promoted.”

The ESRI has strongly refuted any suggestion of favouritism, saying it has staff from many nationalities currently employed there. It stated it has fully developed human resources policies and such a scenario just simply couldn’t occur.

Tol went further, alleging that racist complaints made by staff toward colleagues were “ignored” by the director and by the council of the ESRI.

“Some people made racist remarks toward their colleagues. Complaints about racism and such racist remarks were ignored by management and even the council of the ESRI. It shouldn’t happen. It wasn’t racism, say white versus black, but it was racist comments directed at colleagues. It is totally unacceptable. Just because it is more common in Ireland doesn’t make it right,” he said.

“With regard to Professor Tol’s comments on xenophobia and racism, similar allegations were made in the recent past by Professor Tol when they were fully investigated and found to be groundless,” an ESRI spokeswoman said.

She said the ESRI had an employment equality policy and a code of business conduct for employees in numerous areas, including racism. These policies are brought to the attention of all members of staff. Complaints are dealt with under the grievance policy and procedure agreed between management and staff.

On his allegation of nepotism, Tol said this related to the hiring of “friends or allies” by powerful people within the organisation, irrespective of their abilities.

“Some of the more powerful people seem to have the right to appoint their friends to positions. It was easy to spot when you looked at the publication records, who the more productive ones are.”

In response, the ESRI said: “There is no basis for his comments on nepotism. All new appointments at the ESRI are made on the basis of public advertisement. The ESRI uses fully open and transparent procedures for appointments and promotion of research staff to ensure that these are made on merit. Interview boards always include an outside expert to ensure the independence and transparency of the process. The recommendations of the interview board must be approved by the ESRI council.”

Opinion within Irish academia about Richard Tol’s departure to the University of Sussex is mixed, with some, like Colm McCarthy of this newspaper and UCD, describing him as a “big loss to ESRI”.

He wrote: “Best of luck Richard”.

Others were less kind. Stephen Kinsella, an economist at the University of Limerick who moderated a discussion on the influential Irisheconomy.ie website, said the opinions expressed were “very polarised.”

“Richard Tol had the ability to be dismissive and condescending of other people’s work, especially in the area of environmental economics,” wrote a contributor named Mr Rudgelift.

“Richard seems to have annoyed some and said some extreme things and I had to delete some of the more personal attacks on him. But from my point of view, I always regret the loss of such a contrarian voice,” added Kinsella.

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Fuel Poverty-Paddy Healy Replies to Minister Rabitte

December 28, 2011 Leave a comment

Department of Social Protection Website    Minister Joan Burton TD

“regrettably there is an ongoing necessity to achieve savings due to our commitments with the IMF/EU/ECB Troika.”

“The Government today approved changes to the Fuel Allowance and Household Benefits schemes that will bring annual savings of €65 million.  Minister for Social Protection, Joan Burton TD, said: “While we want to protect the basic social welfare payments which have very positive economic and social effects, regrettably there is an ongoing necessity to achieve savings due to our commitments with the IMF/EU/ECB Troika.  The savings arising from this measure were provided for last December in Budget 2011 but were not specified or announced by the Government at that time.”

From September 2011 the Fuel Allowance is to be standardised at €20 per week, the rate currently received by the majority of customers, with no additional allowance for living in a smokeless area.  The cost of the Telephone Allowance will be reduced following negotiations with Eircom which will ensure that customers receive €26.86 of value on their bills, at a cost to the State of €22.22 per month.  The number of free units provided under the Electricity and Gas Allowance will be reduced to the 2007 level: this reduction may be offset to some extent if customers switch to other companies in search of better deals.  These three measures will generate savings of €17 million in 2011 and €65 million annually.

Minister for Social Protection, Joan Burton TD, said: “Assistance with the cost of fuel, electricity, gas and telephone bills has always been an important element of social welfare provision and will continue. My Department will spend over €530 million, over half a billion euros, in 2011 on these schemes which benefit over 630,000 people. Help will also continue to be available for vulnerable people with special or additional heating needs through the Heating Supplement and Exceptional Needs Payment Scheme under the Supplementary Welfare Allowance scheme.”


Below is an unedited version of my letter published in Irish Times to-day Dec 28
Paddy Healy 086-4183732
Dear Editor,
Minister Rabitte (Irish Times letters Dec 27) seeks to contradict the piece by Fintan O’Toole on fuel poverty (Irish Times December 20)
The Labour- Fine Gael government has introduced two cuts in fuel allowances through Minister for Social protection, Joan Burton, since coming to power. From September, the smokeless fuel allowance was abolished and the annual allowance of free units was reduced from 2400 to 1800. In Budget 2012, the heating period was reduced by 6 weeks. Fuel allowance is a means tested payment. Only the poor are entitled to this benefit.
The piece of research to which Minister Rabitte and Fintan O’Toole refer is“Fuel Poverty, Older People and Cold Weather: An all-island analysis”, (at http://www.publichealth.ie). It found that the excess winter death rate in the Republic for the winter of 2006/7 was 1,281. Of these, 1,216 were aged over-65. The majority died of cardiovascular and respiratory illness – cold-related conditions. The fuel allowance in the year in question was only fractionally less than that now available and fuel prices are now much higher.
During the new year, 2012, the hundredth anniversary of the proposal by Connolly and Larkin to the Irish TUC meeting in Clonmel that a Labour Party should be founded will occur. It is scarcely credible that a party which claims Connolly as founder should be cutting fuel allowances to the poor. This is all the more so as the Labour Party, just over a year ago when in opposition, introduced a private members motion in Dáil Éireann (October 12, 2010) calling on the government to increase fuel allowances!
Fintan O’Toole was right to refer to refer to “the unacceptable reality that current policies are making Ireland a cold house for basic decency.”
Yours sincerely,
Paddy Healy

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F O’Toole on Minister Rabitte and Fuel Poverty

December 20, 2011 Leave a comment

How Low can they GO?
In the recent Budget the period for which the poor and the old receive free gas and electricity units was reduced by six weeks. During the warmer summer months, Minister for “Social Protection”, Joan Burton(LabourParty Deputy Leader) announced cuts to the home benefits package for pensioners and social welfare beneficiaries. The allocations of electricity units and gas units so important for home heating were reduced by between 20% and 25% and the smokeless fuel allowance payable in Dublin was abolished. These are means tested payments which means that they are only paid to people at risk. AGE ACTION IRELAND has stated “Research on fuel poverty and older people by the Dublin Institute of Technology and the Institute of Public Health shows that during the winter of 2006/7 there were 1,281 excess winter deaths*. Of these, the vast majority were older people (1,216 were aged over-65).
The piece of research referred to by Age Action was publicly launched last week by Minister Rabitte (Labour Party) In Irish Times 20/12/2011, columnist Fintan O’Toole analyses Minister Rabitte’s launching address-Paddy Healy
Irish Times Tue, Dec 20, 2011
Pat Rabbitte is wrong that the fuel crisis is not as bad as reported. In fact, it is likely to be much worse, writes FINTAN O’TOOLE
OSCAR WILDE said he could resist everything except temptation. We, his compatriots, can imagine everything except reality. Collectively, we find it hard to believe what we see around us.
One of the things that’s easiest to spot in public spaces is old people sheltering from the cold. You see them in Ikea, sitting in the restaurant half the day over cheap cups of tea. You see them in shopping centres, where benches are being removed, not to stop teenagers from congregating, but to prevent the clusters of elderly heat-seekers. You see them in public libraries. You even see them on trains, riding up and down the lines with their free travel passes. And these, of course, are the luckier ones, the ones who are mobile and healthy enough to be able to get out of the house. But seeing is not believing.
Last week, there was a strange vignette of official incredulity. Minister for Energy Pat Rabbitte launched a report by the Institute of Public Health on fuel poverty among the elderly. It is a very serious, scholarly piece of work, conducted on an all-island basis by a team of researchers from the Republic, Northern Ireland and Britain, led by Prof Patrick Goodman of Dublin Institute of Technology.
One of its findings is that 51.1 per cent of older people surveyed said they “went without necessities such as food and clothing in order to pay for heat over the winter period”.
This is not a comfortable finding for a Minister in the week after a budget that has cut the fuel allowance period by six weeks. How did Pat Rabbitte deal with it? By claiming it did not exist. According to The Irish Times report of the launch, “he said the claim that half of older people were forgoing essentials to heat their home had been published in a press release but was not in the report. He added that no politician or social worker would believe that it was true.”
In fact, the finding appears twice in the report: on page 12 and on page 60. When this was pointed out to the Minister, he stood by his position that it could not be so, pointing out that the survey was “not a representative sample of older people”.
This is true, but probably not in the sense that Rabbitte meant. No one claims the survey is representative, in the sense that, for example, an opinion poll using weighted demographical sampling might be. Its aim is somewhat different: not to tick boxes, but to get a good sense of the actual experience of older people during last winter.
The sampling method, using bodies such as Age Action, Energy Action, the Rural Transport Network and Dublin City Council’s sheltered housing liaison officers to distribute the surveys, probably does distort the results somewhat. But – and here’s the real point – it distorts them by understating the problem. People who are isolated from networks and services were excluded. People who have problems with literacy or blindness couldn’t complete the written survey. Such people are more, not less, likely to suffer from deprivation.
There is a further factor at work: the “mustn’t grumble” ethic of the elderly. Older people don’t like to complain. In the same survey, 90 per cent of the respondents listed their health status as fair to very good, even though 75 per cent had a long-term illness. They are an almost comically stoical bunch.
One respondent with both Parkinson’s disease and arthritis gave her health status as “good” and explained that “as long as I am mobile and above ground I tend not to panic or bitch”.
How probable is it that these same people are wildly exaggerating when they say they sacrifice food or clothing for heat?
And yet, the official view from the Minister is that it simply could not be true that anything like half of older people are doing without other necessities in order to heat their homes. “No politician or social worker would believe that it was true.”
That no politician, moving from heated offices to heated cars, would believe it is understandable. But I’m not sure the incredulity would extend to anyone who works with Age Action, Friends of the Elderly, St Vincent de Paul or social services. The only sense in which it is not “true” is that its reality is impermissibly awkward.
This vignette is eloquent in its own way as an example of the cognitive dissonance of officialdom. Cognitive dissonance is the condition that affects people when their belief system comes into conflict with reality. They close the gap, not by altering their belief systems, but by redefining reality.
In this case, Pat Rabbitte’s belief system (social justice) is in radical conflict with most of what he’s doing in Government. So he’s redefining reality: it is simply not possible that the Government is cutting fuel allowances for people who are already suffering deprivation in order to stay warm.
Otherwise, he would have to face the unacceptable reality that current policies are making Ireland a cold house for basic decency.
© 2011 The Irish Times

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ULA Proposal to Tax the Assets and Incomes of the Super-Rich

December 2, 2011 Leave a comment

As the Richer get Richer 17 Billion Must be Taken from Super-Rich to Avoid Austerity!
A statement from the Central Statistics Office on Wednesday last showed that the wealthiest top 20% had 5.5 times more income than the poorest 20% in 2010 and this has grown from 4.3 times in 2009. Net Financial Assets(shares etc) which are mainly the preserve of the rich have increase by 45 billion since 2008 and are now above pre-crash (2007) levels. These are facts issued by the state. The rich are,in fact,getting richer as the poor get poorer! ULA is demanding that, in the Budget, 10 billion be taken from the Assets of the top 5% of wealth holders, 5 billion be taken from the incomes of the top 5% of income earners and that measures be introduced to take 2 billion off tax exiles.
This will avoid further cuts and extra taxes on low and middle income people and can be used to reverse the imposition of the Universal Social Charge and cuts in social welfare, health and education and to allow for an ambitious state job creation programme
Explanatory Document on Taxation
10 Billion in Wealth Tax on the Top 5% of Wealth Holders, 5 Billion in Income Tax from Top 5% of Incomes, 2 Billion from Tax Exiles

Personal Assets Tax
There is currently no annually recurring tax on wealth or assets in Ireland. Such a tax was imposed by Minister for Finance Ritchie Ryan during the 1973-1977 Fine Gael-Labour Coalition Government. It was subsequently abolished by the succeeding Fianna Fail Government. Assets taxes still exist in a number of countries including France, Norway, Switzerland and in a number of states of the USA. Many were abolished in other countries under the influence of neo-liberal Thatcher-Reagan economic ideology which has brought the world to the current economic crisis.
Recent statistics from the CSO show that in 2010 the financial assets of Irish people (not businesses) were as follows:
CSO Nov 2011 Personal Financial Assets (millions)
(Financial wealth below is made up of cash, shares, pension and insurance funds (net equity) and business assets/liabilities of self-employed/sole traders. Land, housing and non-financial personal property (e.g. yachts, art, etc.) are not included. Gross financial wealth refers to total financial assets; Net financial wealth refers to gross financial wealth minus liabilities -almost all liabilities refer to loans-CSO). (loans include mortgage loans and credit card debt-PH)

Total Financial Assets Total Financial liabilities Net Financial Assets

2007 310,711 199,036 111,675
2008 281,650 209,774 71,876
2009 304,885 206,620 98,264
2010 311,372 194,219 117,153

These figures show that net personal financial assets of have increased by 45 billion since the low point of 2008. Total and net financial assets are now above 2007 level, that is before the crash. The rich are Getting Richer while the Poor are Getting Poorer http://www.cso.ie/en/media/csoie/releasespublications/documents/economy/2010/isanonfinfin2010.pdf

The net figure underestimates the assets of the wealthy as a far higher proportion of the liabilities including mortgage and credit card debt are held by those with no asset other than the principal private residence which is not included in the gross figure.

Recently (Nov 2011) Credit Suisse, the Swiss finance house, has published an analysis of wealth distribution in Ireland.
It shows that the top 1% of the Irish population hold 28.1% of all wealth and the top 5% hold 46.85 of all wealth.
Credit Suisse estimates that financial assets make up 47 percent of total assets (Table 2-4 on page 71 in Credit Suisse Global Assets Report). This means that there is €311 billion in financial assets and €351 billion in non-financial assets for a total of €662 billion (using latest CSO data). After financial liabilities of €194 billion, total net wealth is €468 billion.
As 28.1% of net wealth is held by the top 1%, they hold 131.5 billion of total net wealth.
As 46.85% of net wealth is held by the top 5%, they hold 219.3 billion of total net wealth
These are a significant underestimations as total liabilities of households which have been deducted lean proportionally most heavily on the less wealthy households.
The Revenue Commissioners have no data on the assets of specific individuals as assets tax was abolished over 30 years ago. Such a register should be established by law immediately so that there is complete transparency in relation to the ownership of wealth. The overall data above was deduced by the Central Statistics Office from other data.
ULA has set a target of collecting 10 billion per year in assets tax from the top 5% until the fiscal deficit is removed and 5 billion annually thereafter.
As these assets are not contingent on receipt of income or income changes, ULA proposes that the deadline for payment be March 1, 2012. This would facilitate early implementation of our job creation programme
The 10 billion in revenue from assets tax is available for purposes such as job creation, elimination of USC, restoration of cuts in welfare etc
It is a matter for government which has Department of Finance , Revenue Commissioners, Central Statistics Office etc at its disposal to devise legislation to reach the target revenue of 10 billion from the top 5 % and that, in particular that the homes , farms and pension funds of those outside the top 5% be exempt.
The measure proposed is a tax on personal assets only not on the assets of businesses
If the target revenue of 10 Billion is not reached by March 1, further measures should be introduced.

Income Tax
There was an increase in income inequality between 2009 and 2010 as shown by the quintile share ratio. The ratio showed that the average income of those in the highest income quintile was 5.5 times that of those in the lowest income quintile. The ratio was 4.3 one year earlier. CSO Press Release Nov 30,2011
There can be little doubt that the imposition of an assets tax would increase the yield from income tax. The contrast between large assets and low declared incomes in the non-PAYE sector would become clear.
The most recently published official statistics are for 2009
The top 5% of earners had a total income of 18 billion Euro in 2009 (22.6% of all income) and paid only 4.9 billion in income tax. If tax reliefs and capital allowances claimed are taken into account, their Gross Income, which is their actual income, is 19.8 billion. (Revenue Commissioners, Statistical Report, Table ISD1)
Deductions from that table, show the top 5% of units have 24% of all income and pay 46% of all income tax. Notwithstanding right wing propaganda, this is to be expected as they have a totally disproportionate share of discretionary income. The imposition of the USC and increased taxation of the lower paid will have significantly reduced the 46% figure in 2010. They only paid 25% of their own total income in tax in 2009
Tax reliefs which proportionally favour the rich are very high in Ireland at 20.2% of total tax revenue as against 8.5% in Germany, 5.1% in the Netherlands (OECD, Commission on Taxation)
Official figures show that those individuals as opposed to couples in receipt of incomes over 100,000 Euro only paid 31.4% of all income tax in 2008 (Irish Times Com Keena 20/3/2009). Figures for 2009 indicate little change in this regard.
Due to heavy impositions on those in receipt of low incomes in more recent budgets this percentage has probably decreased and 10,677 units (0.5% of earners) earned 6.01billion in 2009 or 7.33%% of all income. They paid c (Revenue Commissioners Statistical Report 2010) These very rich earned on average 563,000 Euro each. There is no significant change expected to these figures expected in 2010. It can reasonably be assumed that such people avail of considerable tax breaks and have the advice of tax experts. This 0.5% of earners paid 1.783 billion in income tax in 2009 leaving them with an “after-tax” income of 4.27 billion or 400,000Euro each.
ULA proposes that the minimum effective tax rate on this group be adjusted to yield an additional 2.5 billion to the exchequer leaving them with after-tax income of 1.77 billion or 166,000 Euro each.
The next 0.5% of income recipients(9,933) just below the top group had a gross income of c. 2.3 billion and paid c. 608 million in tax. ULA proposes to take a further 0.5 billion off this group leaving them with 1.2 billion Euro or 121,000Euro each in after tax income
The ULA target is to generate 3 billion Euro from the top 1% of income earners.
Because of massive tax reliefs enjoyed by high earners the use of minimum effective tax rates is a sure means of extracting additional tax from high earners.
This would require a scale of minimum effective tax rates on all income ramping upwards from the current level of 30% as incomes exceed thresholds of 100,000, 150,000, 200,000,250,000 etc. The minimum effective rates may have to be as high as respectively 35%, 40%, 45% , 50% and 60% for those earning above 300,000. The current minimum effective tax rate only applies to those with income of over 125,000 Euro claiming tax relief in excess of 80,000 Euro! This restriction should be abolished.
There must be no increase in the effective tax rates of those with gross incomes below 100,000 Euro
The total increase in revenue due to the preceding measures is 13 billion
Increased Taxation of Very High Incomes
High incomes are very lightly taxed in Ireland and the burden of income taxation on low and middle incomes was hugely increased by the imposition of the Universal Social Charge and by reduction of personal tax credits and thresholds.
There are approximately 88,500 income recipients (4.1% of taxpayers) with incomes between 100,000 and 200,00 euro and these are outside the top 1% of income recipients discussed above. They have a total income of 11.6 billion and paid 2.57 billion in tax in 2009. ULA proposes to increase the income tax yield from this group by 2 billion, through a combination of minimum effective tax rates on all income and higher marginal tax rates on income above 100,000Euro, leaving them with 7 Billion Euro, an average 79,600 Euro each in after tax income . While retaining this revenue target, adjustments of taxation will be necessary within this group in order not to penalise tax payers with an adult dependent or couples who are jointly assessed for tax.
The deployment of minimum effective tax rates is designed to combat the loss of revenue due to tax reliefs enjoyed by the rich. Relief on pension contributions to provide pensions capped at 50,000 per annum per adult should be continued.

The cumulative revenue total raised by the above measures is now 15 billion Euro

Tax Exiles
The Domicile Levy introduced in Budget 2011 to address the problem of tax exiles has generated a paltry 1.5 million in revenue and is clearly totally inadequate.
It is reasonable to expect that citizens of Ireland who have income generated in Ireland and/or assets held in Ireland should pay tax to the Irish state. The United States expects its citizens resident abroad to pay US income tax when their earnings abroad exceed a certain threshold. Failure to do so attracts public disapproval. Irish tax exiles, on the other hand, are fawned on by politicians. Denis O’Brien was invited by Eamonn Gilmore to the Farmleigh conference at the behest of Fine Gael. Michael Smurfit was appointed honorary consul to Monaco by Charles Haughey and furnished with a diplomatic passport. The Labour Party leader is continuing Mr Smurfit in office.
The ULA proposes that the principles underlying US practice be applied to wealthy individuals living abroad.
We call on the Government to introduce measures in Budget 2012 to require by Law that Irish citizens resident abroad for tax purposes pay to the Irish exchequer annual amounts of tax as follows:
1 Assets Tax: An assets tax of 10% on net global personal assets in excess of 2 million Euro less the assets tax paid to the state in which the Irish citizen is resident.
2 Income Tax: A minimum effective income tax rate of 50% on annual global income in excess of 200,000 Euro, less the income tax paid to the state in which the Irish citizen is resident.
3Current Domicile Levy of €200,000 introduced in Budget 2010 to be increased to 500,000Euro per year. This levy should apply to all Irish-domiciled individuals who are Irish citizens to ensure that wealthy Irish domiciled individuals make a contribution to the State during these times of economic and fiscal difficulty. The Levy will apply to wealthy Irish-domiciled individuals with Irish located capital greater than €2 million, worldwide income in excess of €1million and an Irish income tax liability less than €500,000. Persons liable to the Levy will have to pay it regardless of where they live or where they are tax resident.

It is impossible to predict the revenue which would be generated by the above measures. However the deadline for paying the assets tax, domicile levy and preliminary income tax should be set at March 1, 2011. If the income generated falls below a projected 2 billion for the year as a whole, further changes should be made to remedy the short fall
Other measures are also open to the Minister in his budget such as drastically reducing the number of days the “exile” can stay in Ireland while retaining residence abroad for tax purposes.
ULA has set a minimum initial target of 2 billion Euro in revenue from the above 3 measures

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Minister Burton Misleads to Cut Welfare

November 20, 2011 Leave a comment

“Now that the recession has bitten hard and deep we have a scale of expenditure that is completely out of step with our ability to fund it. We do not have the means or revenue as a country to support our level of spending.”Burton Seanad, Nov 17
This is completely wrong. The truth is that the government has decided that the poor and middle income earners will bear the brunt of the fiscal adjustment (3.8m) . Net Financial assets(shares etc) of irish households increased by 45 billion over the last two years as private sector investment fell by 30 billion. The government should take 10 billion of the 45 billion in a wealth tax instead of spending cuts. The spending cuts will continue to destroy jobs (315,000 since 2007 and 3000 net fulltime jobs in the first 3 months of this government)
Dr Nat O’Connor, Director of TASC, the progressive research group last Thursday told a conference that the “Troika” had informed him that if money could be raised in alternative ways, they would have no problem with that.
So cuts in welfare are purely a Labour/Fine Gael decision
EU Comparison
Contrary to claims that welfare in Ireland is high and a ‘disincentive’ to work, welfare payments in Ireland are among the lowest in the original EU fifteen states. A report by the EAPN from Sept 2009, based on figures for 2006 comparing social protection spending in the EU 15, found that while there was an average spend of 27% of GDP, Ireland came 13t out of 15 with 18.2%.

The net replacement rate, welfare compared to previous income was only 34.5% in Ireland, again the lowest in the EU 15. Social protection in Ireland is even below the average of the EU 27 which contains many countries much poorer tan Ireland

It is appalling that social welfare should top the cuts league according to the leaked German draft.
“The (leaked) EU documents appear to suggest that the savings will be achieved by welfare fraud elimination, cuts to other entitlements and a reduction in the number of people eligible for benefit payments.” (Journal.ie)
Earlier this month the Government stated its intentions:

They(GOV) stress that instead of “pursuing across-the-board reductions in primary social welfare rates”, the Government will take a “selective approach” to “reforming entitlements”, and state:
“The Department of Social Protection will build on their recent studies on working age payments, child income support and disability allowance with a view to producing, after consultation with stakeholders, a comprehensive programme of reforms that can help better target social support to those on lower incomes, and ensure that work pays for welfare recipients.” (Jounal.ie)
Already people with perfectly legitimate welfare claims are being cut off like flies through use of new arbitrary criteria and in a savage Scrooge operation heating support has being reduced to the poor and the old this Christmas leading to more unnecessary deaths this winter.
Now Burton wants to cut Child Benefit even to the needy. Brnardos has described this measure as “crossing moral boundaries”
How Low can she Go?
Public Sector
It may not be widely known that the proposed transfer of illness benefit payment to employers includes public sector employers and state companies- This means that these cuts will end up in hospital wards, schools and local authority services and on bin charges, electricity and gas bills.
Private Sector
This reduction in demand by people who spend all their money every week will lead to further job destruction by government as shops and small businesses continue to close
I would be not as neutral or “agnostic” as David Begg on the transfer of the first four weeks of sickness benefit to employers. There are serious concerns arising from Burtons Seanad Speech on Thursday night.
Small Businesses
Firstly, many businesses including small shops, cafes and hairdressers have less than ten employees. To trade they must replace sick employees. Now they must pay benefit to the sick employee as well. Many are hanging on by their finger nails and will close, adding to the dole queues.
In relation to large profit-making Irish and multinational companies, my concern is not for such companies but for their employees. Trade unions are not permitted in these companies. Burton said in the Seanad that the transfer of the first 4 weeks sick leave to employers would enable employers to “manage absenteeism”. Does this mean that a sick cert from an employee’s GP will no longer guarantee payment of sickness benefit.?
Will people who have not fully recovered be forced to go back to work too soon?
There are also predatory employers in some parts of the public sector with whom the health of employees would not be safe.
I have no confidence that a Minister who has cut winter fuel allowances to the old will give first priority to the health of employees in the new legislation she will introduce to implement the changes.
Paddy Healy 087-4183732 paddy.healy@eircom.net
NOV 18 2011

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Labour Reduces Free Heat Units to Poor this winter

October 30, 2011 2 comments

How Low can they GO?
During the warmer summer months, Minister for “Social Protection”, Joan Burton(LabourParty Deputy Leader) announced cuts to the home benefits package for pensioners and social welfare beneficiaries. The allocations of electricity units and gas units so important for home heating were reduced by between 20% and 25%. AGE ACTION IRELAND has stated “Research on fuel poverty and older people by the Dublin Institute of Technology and the Institute of Public Health — funded by CARDI and due to be published in the coming weeks — shows that during the winter of 2006/7 there were 1,281 excess winter deaths*. Of these, the vast majority were older people (1,216 were aged over-65). How many preventable deaths will take place this winter?
The latest figures from CSO show that the nett financial assets of Irish households increased by 27 billion euro in 2009 and gross financial assets have increased by a further 7 billion in 2010. Not a penny in tax on these assets has been imposed by the Labour government.
Homeless charities say demand for their services has increased by up to 40% in the current year. Yet HSE has just announced cuts to services to the homeless. Kathleen Lynch (Labour) is Minister for State at the Department of Health and children.
Please sign the Age Action Petition here http://www.emailmeform.com/builder/form/FOyR76aN2J6UCXnG2
Paddy Healy 086-4183732

Sign petition to help protect vulnerable older people this winter
Wed, 26/10/2011 – 15:23
Age Action is urging the Government to reverse cuts to the free gas and electricity units for pensioners, amid growing concern at the severe hardship which the cuts will have for the most vulnerable of older people this winter.
Read Full Statement http://www.ageaction.ie/sign-petition-help-protect-vulnerable-older-people-winter
How Low Can They Go?
Hundreds of older people die each winter in Ireland because they cannot afford to keep themselves warm. Lives could be saved if the Government reversed its decision to cut their electricity and gas units.

I call on the Government to reverse the cuts to the free gas/electricity units available under the Household Benefits Package, given the increased hardship it will cause for older people on low incomes.
Click on Link Below to sign the petition
Homeless services to be cut by 10%
Irish Times Thu, Oct 27, 2011
HEALTH AUTHORITIES are cutting funding for homeless services in parts of the capital by up to 10 per cent over the coming winter months, despite growing pressure on services.
Service providers say the cuts will impact heavily on their ability to provide shelter and support to homeless people at a time when they are under strain.
The Health Service Executive (HSE) – one of the main funders of homeless services – told providers last week it is cutting between 5 per cent and 10 per cent of grants which were due to be paid between October and December of this year.
However, homeless charities say they have recorded increases in demand for services of between 20 and 40 per cent over the past year. Services say they are continuing to give out sleeping bags at night-time due to ongoing shortages of emergency beds.
Dublin Simon’s chief executive Sam McGuinness said: “With the harsh winter already upon us and demand for homeless accommodation stretching all service providers to the limit, it is unacceptable for the most vulnerable and destitute to suffer further HSE year-end panic cuts because of their spending excesses.”
Focus Ireland’s chief executive Joyce Loughnan said if deeper cuts were to be made at this late stage in the year, it would hit its ability to provide “vital lifeline services” to homeless people.
The funding cuts were confirmed this week by the Dublin Region Homeless Executive – a partnership run by the city’s four local authorities – which is in charge of organising homeless services in the capital.
The two main areas affected are Dublin south-west – which includes Tallaght, Clondalkin and Kildare – and Dublin south-central, which includes much of the inner city.
These areas are due to receive cuts of between 5 per cent and 10 per cent respectively, on top of cuts of 5 per cent earlier this year.
In a letter to one service provider dated October 13th, the HSE said: “It is recognised that maintaining services will require significant levels of change, flexibility and creativity.
“Therefore, you will need to make the savings to remain within the budget through value-for-money initiatives and other administrative efficiencies in order to achieve a break-even financial position by year’s end.”
In a statement, the Dublin Region Homeless Executive said the overall implication and impact of the cuts had been “fully considered” by the HSE.
It added there had not been a reduction in funding from the Department of the Environment, the other main source of public funding for homeless organisations.
In the meantime, the Dublin Region Homeless Executive has been working to secure longer-term beds for dozens of people in emergency accommodation to help alleviate pressure on services.
© 2011 The Irish Times

Categories: Uncategorized

Labour Party and SIPTU Capitulate on Low Pay

From Paddy Healy 086-4183732
Mandate Trade Union and Unite the Union have roundly condemned the Government proposals to cut the low pay of over 200,000 employees.
The proposals will give rise to reduction of JLC rates generally, elimination of Sunday premium, and allow employers to claim inability to pay.
Thousands face pay cuts after JLC reforms are published
From Daily News Digest of Unite The Union
“The government published its proposed reforms of the JLC structure yesterday. In a move which the Minister admits will lead to a ‘lowering of hiring costs’, the number of JLC’s will be reduced from 13 to six and there will be only one rate with two additional discretionary ones. The premium for Sunday pay will be swept away to be replaced on paper with guidelines for employers, and bosses will now be able to seek derogation through a new inability to pay clause. This is terrible news for all low paid workers and those whose wages will be set with reference to them, as well as for the economy which will now have less money, less tax and little prospect of anything other than increased unemployment.—-
UNITE sees the reforms of the JLC structure as a dark day for those on low pay and for all working people. That view is broadly shared in the Irish Times analysis but not fully across the union movement.”
“The trade union Unite said last night it would not rule out industrial action in protest at the Government’s planned measures. The plan was also strongly criticised by Mandate, the union representing retail workers.” Martin Wall Irish Times, July 29
But following the surrender of the Labour Party in Cabinet, SIPTU has described the proposals as “relatively positive” on RTE Television News, July 28 and has given the government plan “a cautious welcome” (Martin Wall, Irish Times July 29).
This is a dark day for Irelands biggest union which was built by Larkin and Connolly
The trade union affiliation of the new government appointees to the board of Solas (replacing Fás) will be of considerable interest
The extent of the attack on the low-paid can be gauged from the remarks by John Douglas, General Secretary , MANDATE, on Morning Ireland, to-day, July 29
“This is devastating for 200,000 workers- following increases in gas prices, mortgages, food prices, thousands will be driven over the edge- majority are women earning no more than 9.50 an hour trying to put food on table-this is not to create jobs but to lower pay and conditions-it won’t create a single extra job. When Margaret Thatcher dismantled the wage councils in England ,it did not create one extra job-the research shows this despite the ministers claims”

The EU-IMF deal commits the Irish Government to a “review of wage setting mechanisms”. There may have been additional secret assurances given by the previous government but the EU-IMF Deal does not specify any particular measure.
Bruton had made his proposals before the JLC system was struck down by the courts on constitutional grounds. The changes to pay rates, conditions of service and terms of reference in the proposals have nothing to do with the decision of the court. The proposals for these changes pre-date the courts decision. There are changes in procedures which are genuinely required in the light of the courts decision. In the wake of the court decision there are no legally enforceable Employment Regulation Orders (ERO) in existence in the state. The process of establishing new constitutional EROs will have to commence from scratch. This will take several months during which no legally binding EROs will exist.
If the Fine Gael/Labour Government were interested in protecting the 200,000 employees covered by the original EROs at the earliest possible date, they would have introduced the procedural measures contained in the proposals published yesterday before the Dail was adjourned for the summer one week ago or alternatively, they could have kept the Dail in session to deal with the matter.
Government “spin” to the effect that the measures were announced yesterday to protect workers in the light of the court decision is entirely false and misleading.
The way that the matter has been handled ensures that workers will remain unprotected by EROs for several months and when new EROs are produced their provisions will be far inferior for workers to the ones that have been struck down by the courts.
Job Creation?
The Minister and the employer body IBEC continually argue that pay and conditions under EROs must be reduced in order to create jobs. There is no evidence for this. Indeed, the Duffy/Walsh Report to the Minister for Enterprise, Employment and Innovation concludes inter alia : “We have concluded that lowering the basic JLC rates to the level of the minimum wage rate is unlikely to have a substantial effect on employment.” and “ we conclude that it is not accurate to suggest that the body of primary employment rights legislation currently in force adequately covers matters dealt with by EROs and REAs.” According to the OECD, Ireland suffers from some of the highest levels of low‐pay. Over 21% of full‐time employees are ‘low‐paid, compared to a Eurozone average of 14.7% and EU Commission data shows that labour costs (include wages and employers’ contributions) in the Food & Accommodation sector in Ireland are 6% below the EU-15 average.
Despite the fact that the above information has been contained in several statements by trade unions and ULA TDs , Minister Bruton was allowed to repeatedly assert that the measures would to create jobs in interviews on Drivetime and RTE News without the contrary evidence being put to him. IBEC spokespeople have also been allowed on all media to claim that 40% of restaurants do not open on Sunday “due to the Sunday premium”. Of course many restaurants have always remained closed on Sunday because their trade depends on demand from locally employed people who do not work on Sundays. Restaurant closures, limited opening hours and increased Sunday closing is due to the reduction in demand caused by increased unemployment and income reductions due to recent budgets. The IBEC claim is a gross abuse of dubious statistics based on surveys of restaurant owners. “They would say that, wouldn’t they?”
Key Measures
The Minister asserts that new JLC rates will be lower. This is because the terms of reference for the wage setting process have been changed to the disadvantage of the worker side. “These include competitiveness factors, average hourly rates set in comparable sectors in Ireland’s main trading partners as well as employment and unemployment rates” Martin Wall, Irish Times,July 29. For example, the employer side will now be able to argue that pay rates should be lowered due to the extent of unemployment. This is a classic use of unemployment by employers to drive down wages. It has no justification except capitalist greed. It will now be supported by statutory terms of reference agreed by the Labour Party.
The Minister claims that these new lower rates will not affect existing workers who are protected by the terms of their current employment contracts. The minister knows well that existing employees can be pressurised in many ways to agree to reductions in existing pay rates if these are not legally binding. That is a major reason why legally binding JLC rates exist. Employers have many ways of discriminating in favour of new cheaper workers (eg allocation of overtime, denial of promotion, assignment to easier or more pleasant job etc). In addition, a new businesses paying lower rates will be able to undermine existing businesses paying higher rates. This is also the case in relation to the new provision of allowing businesses to claim inability to pay. An employer being undermined by competitors can then pressurise employees to accept the lower legal rate or face closure and unemployment. The original JLC system was designed to prevent this “race to the bottom” in competing businesses dependent on finite demand.
The new JLCs will be precluded from setting a Sunday premium. The suggestion that the provisions of The Working Time Act is an adequate replacement to protect workers is completely false. Under that Act the employer can simply give another day off instead. This effectively means that staff can be made to work at the flat rate. Sunday premium has been simply abolished.

The article below from Irish Independent July 27 (below) indicates that the Labour Party has agreed to Government attacks on the low-paid at the cabinet meeting held yesterday.
In a time-honoured and cowardly manner, the deal was done and announced while the Dail was not sitting and just before the ministers went on holiday. This will form a precedent for further attacks on the incomes of all employees. The 100 Euro tax on homes was also agreed at the cabinet meeting. Though net financial assets (exclusive of houses and land) increased by 27 billion Euro in 2009 and are expected to have increased by a similar amount in 2010, no tax whatever has been placed on these assets
Paddy Healy 086-4183732 paddy.healy@eircom.net
Member National Steering Committee United Left Alliance
A fuller report from Irish Independent July 28 (below) on the Labour capitulation on Low Pay is carried below.
Not alone has the Labour Party agreed to the scrapping of the Sunday premium for low paid workers, it has also agreed to allow employers to claim inability to pay and ,if successful, to pay a lesser rate for normal working days. In circumstances in which demand is being continuously removed from the economy by government, this can only lead to continuous reduction in the direction of the minimum wage and the effective collapse of the system. Compliant employers will be progressively undermined by those paying a lower rate.
The scrapping of the Sunday premium will simply add to the profits of highly successful multi-national retail chains at the expense of their employees.
The 100th anniversary of the founding of the Labour Party in Clonmel by Larkin and Connolly in 1912 which will be held next year will be a in the nature of a wake.
The actions of the Labour Party are an insult to the memory of Larkin and Connolly. Larkin is rightly celebrated for his heroic battles on behalf of the low-paid. In addition, Connolly is celebrated for his heroic stand for Irish Independence and sovereignty. But the Labour Party is allowing internatonal financiers to suck the lifeblood out of Ireland and even allowing them to dictate cuts in low pay under the EU-IMF Deal. When it is considered that cuts in low pay will actually worsen the national finances by lowering the tax take, the capitulation of Gilmore on the JLC issue must be the most abject surrender of Irish sovereignty conceivable.
Paddy Healy 086-4183732
Member of National Steering Committee, United Left Alliance

By Fionnan Sheahan and Lise Hand
Irish Independent Wednesday July 27 2011
Low paid workers will be entitled to slightly more than the minimum wage working on a Sunday under a new deal to replace the existing system of setting wages.
New rules governing the wages in the catering, hotels, retail, grocery, contract cleaning and some other sectors were agreed by the Government yesterday.
Jobs Minister Richard Bruton is understood to have struck a deal with Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore on the contentious issue of the Joint Labour Committees (JLCs).
The Government agreed yesterday to draw up new laws to reform the area after the High Court ruled the wage setting agreements were unconstitutional.
Coalition sources said the current rates of Sunday premium pay will be done away with, but employees working on a Sunday will still be entitled to slightly more than the minimum wage — just not as much as they are currently paid.
However, what has yet to be determined is how much more than the minimum wage will be paid.
After attacking Mr Bruton on his proposals to reform the area, the Labour Party was said to be keen to get the legislation in place to provide protection to workers following the High Court case. A spokesperson for the Labour Party said the legislation was agreed on by the Cabinet.
Last night Mr Bruton said: “It will be a system that will protect workers, it will be robust but will introduce the reforms so that we can exploit the opportunities for employment.”
– Fionnan Sheahan and Lise Hand
Employers can claim an ‘inability to pay’ under wage reforms
By Fionnan Sheahan and Anne-Marie Walshe
Irish Independent, Thursday July 28 2011
Employers will be allowed to claim an inability to pay the rates agreed under the wage-setting system for low-paid staff, the Irish Independent has learned.
Sunday premium pay for those covered by the Joint Labour Committees (JLCs) will also be scrapped.
The controversial new rules governing the wages in the catering, hotels, retail, grocery, contract cleaning and some other sectors will be announced today.
Ahead of the publication, the Labour Party was accused last night of capitulating in an attack on the low paid.
Under the reforms to the JLCs, low-paid staff will be entitled to the same protection as other employees for working on a Sunday.
The existing Organisation of Working Time Act allows for staff to be compensated for working on Sunday through the negotiation of extra pay, an increased average wage across the week or a day off in lieu.
In reality, though, the scrapping of the Sunday premium payments will mean a pay cut for staff in those sectors who work on that day.
The number of JLC agreements is also widely expected to be reduced substantially.
Jobs Minister Richard Bruton is understood to have struck a deal with Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore, granting some concessions from his original proposals.
After coming under attack from the Labour Party, Mr Bruton is believed to have got through the bulk of his proposals.
The minister’s hand was strengthened substantially by a High Court ruling that JLCs were unconstitutional and pressure from the IMF and EU to reform the area.
The new deal will have to be cleared with the troika lending Ireland the €85bn bailout.
The Government is also believed to have accepted the recommendation on the introduction of an inability-to-pay clause for employers.
The expert report on the area said there should be a “derogation on economic grounds” introduced, where the employer can claim it would damage the viability of the firm and cause job losses if they had to pay the rates agreed.
The United Left Alliance said the deal was done “in a time-honoured and cowardly manner”, announced while the Dail wasn’t sitting and just before ministers took holidays.
– Fionnan Sheahan and Anne-Marie Walshe

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Fine Gael-Labour Government Worsened Housing Crisis through terms of sale of State Assets to Vulture Funds

August 26, 2017 1 comment

Read two Articles from The Business Section of Sunday Business Post, Aug 13, 2017 below

Both Articles speak of huge “mistakes” by government. The Government actions were indeed the wrong thing to do. But it is clear that they were deliberate

When FG-Lab authorised the sale of very many building sites to Vultures, they made no stipulation that houses should be built urgently or indeed at any time. -Paddy Healy

Ian Kehoe, Researcher for RTE Programme “The Great Irish Sell-Off”   SBP   Aug 13

“They(Vultures) are not developers. They are masters of speculative capital. They buy cheap, sweat the assets and move on to the next  distressed market. At the moment, the demand for houses is pushing up the value of their asset. So they are profiting from standing idly by.

NAMA Chief Executive, Brendan McDonagh, admitted as much in recent months when he linked the low level of residential development on sites sold by his agency to land hoarding.

McDonagh was asked at the Oireachtas Finance Committee if NAMA should have imposed stipulations on the buyers of portfolios requiring them to develop sites within a specific period.

He argued that this would have led to a discount on the price being achieved .”

It’s Time To Admit We Made Huge Mistakes With Vulture Funds

In the dying months of his tenure as finance minister, Michael Noonan was repeatedly questioned about the arrival of vulture funds in Ireland.

There was context to the questioning -90,000 mortgages and tens of billions of Euro in distressed property debts and business loans had been acquired by a handful of hedge funds and private equity giants at knock-down prices and most of the funds were unregulated and largely untaxed.

Noonan’s Policies, implemented by NAMA and IBRC , lit a fire that was without international comparison

Noonans replies to questioning missed the point.

The wholesale acquisition of debt by vulture funds will have generational consequences here, and it is only right to have a public debate about it.

I have long believed that the sell-off was too quick, too large and that Ireland was unprepared.

First, we saw the fact that many of the buyers of mortgages were unregulated and outside the scope of the Central Bank. Many have signed up to a code of conduct, while intermediaries are now regulated. The owners of the mortgages (vultures), however, remain unregulated

Second we saw it in the case of Tyrellstown, whereby a deal between a developer of an estate and Goldman Sachs resulted in eviction letters sent to 40 tenants. This exposed Irelands lack of rent security.

We have also seen it in terms of tax. As our RTE Programme “The Great Irish Sell-Off” revealed, 25 subsidiaries of vulture funds paid less than 18,000 euro in tax on assets of 20 billion Euro, with an estimated loss to the exchequer of 700 million euro.

There is another point here and it needs to be examined. Ireland’s Housing Calamity

Is affecting mobility, demography and the economy. We simply do not have enough houses. And, somehow, most of the prime development land is held by funds who do not build. These funds are not builders.

They are not developers. They are masters of speculative capital. They buy cheap, sweat the assets and move on to the next  distressed market. At the moment, the demand for houses is pushing up the value of their asset. So they are profiting from standing idly by.

NAMA Chief Executive, Brendan McDonagh, admitted as much in recent months when he linked the low level of residential development on sites sold by his agency to land hoarding.

McDonagh was asked at the Oireachtas Finance Committee if NAMA should have imposed stipulations on the buyers of portfolios requiring them to develop sites within a specific period.

He argued that this would have led to a discount on the price being achieved.

He is right about that.  But if NAMA had done it, Ireland might have a pipeline of houses that could help the homeless. Decisions have consequences. Decisions must be debated


Massive Increase in Repossessions by Vulture Funds

Huge Mistakes With Vulture Funds-SBP Aug 13

Jack-Horgan Jones

How many times have the “vultures”resorted to the courts, looking to secure a judgement over a debtor?  There has been a very real explosion in this figure.  According to figures compiled by SBP, the share of the summary judgement application market accounted for by vulture fund activities has almost trebled. Last year they accounted for 10% of the total. This year that has rocketed to 27.4%.

The most aggressive funds, it seems, are those who have bought the largest debt. Most active are Goldman Sachs and CarVal, who between them have purchased billions of non-performing Irish debt. Goldman subsidiaries accounted for 105 actions since January 2016. CarVal far eclipses that at 183. Cabot accounts for125 actions in 2016 alone.

What is Driving this?

Colm Lyons is a British Barrister, Specialising in Transfer of Debt. He is not surprised by the increase in cases. He says: “what you are seeing is a pretty significant increase in the number of summary judgements being made. That is entirely to be expected because the word is that the vulture funds in Ireland are trying to get out and without losses. When a judgement is secured the funds can assign that judgement and the debt to someone else for a fee. It tidies up messy battles, and ease their passage out of Ireland.”

What jumps out a Lyons is the scale of the issue in Ireland. And how that might have knock-on affects for debtors.

He continues: “I’ve never seen a situation where an economy has been dictated by vulture funds. You had a government that didn’t that did not know what it was doing, went into a bank bail-out and bankrupted the country, and then it had to recover the situation. The only way that was ever going to happen was  a tripartite deal with banks and vulture funds

The root of this is a Faustian Pact (Deal with the Devil) made by the Enda Kenny government with funds. Faced with the consequences of the Cowen Governments stewardship, they jumped at the chance to offload debt to the funds via NAMA.”

The fallout, as funds crunch their way through the toxic debt they have bought, is being managed through the apparatus of the state-namely the courts and the receivership system.

Lyons continued: “If that’s going to happen, then the courts  become an arm of economic policy rather than independently determining the facts of any given case.

There did not seem to be an understanding of the legal, economic, social and political cnsequences of doing that.”

From a macro perspective, this is what is driving the rise in cases and a similar trend in receiverships.

Paul O’Grady, an Irish Barrister who represents debtors, shares the view that the funds are in a rush to the door. He says: “the vulture funds  have more than achieved their targeted returns in respect of the loan portfolios they bought. They have therefore put a deadline on the completion of their activities in Ireland, and are seeking to recover as much money as possible in as short a remaining time as possible”





Purchasers of Irish Residential Property (including Vultures) will pay NO CAPITAL GAINS TAX if they retain the property for 5 years -Finance Bill Debate in Dail Nov 23 2016



Page 92  Dail Report  November 23, 2016



Deputy Paul Murphy:   I move amendment No. 89:

In page 67, between lines 23 and 24, to insert the following:

“25. The Minister for Finance is to report to the Dáil within six months of the enactment of this Act on the projected cost of property-related exemptions from Capital Gains Tax, including the Capital Gains Tax exemption for properties bought between 7 December 2011 and the end of 2014 and held for seven years and the new exemption introduced for IREFs holding property for 5 years introduced under this Act.”.

I will be very brief. This kind of issue has been debated a lot tonight. The amendment is asking for a report to the Dáil on the projected cost of property related exemptions from CGT, including the CGT exemption for properties bought between 7 December 2011 and the end of 2014 and held for seven years and the new exemption introduced in this Bill for IREFs holding property for five years. We believe there is a substantial amount of tax being legally avoided in this manner and will continue to be under the new proposals. That tax is overwhelmingly avoided by much better-off sections of our population. We want to see what the figures are and how much money is involved.

Deputy Michael Noonan:   A capital gains tax relief on disposals of land or buildings acquired in the period commencing on 7 December 2011 and ending on 31 December 2013 was announced in budget 2013 and in section 64 of the Finance Act 2012. Section 44 of the Finance (No. 2) Act 2013 extended the period within which the land or buildings may be acquired for the purposes of this relief to 31 December 2014. If the property is held for the full seven years, the land or buildings will qualify for the full relief. Partial relief is available if the property is held for longer than seven years.`

I am advised by Revenue that it is not possible to estimate with any degree of accuracy the impact of the capital gains tax relief granted in respect of land and buildings, including commercial property, introduced in budget 2012 and extended in budget 2014. I am further advised by Revenue that, in view of the fact that the nature of the relief is time related and requires a minimum ownership period of seven years, which ownership period could not commence earlier than 7 December 2011, it will not be in a position to offer initial soundly based costings until the returns for the tax year of 2018 have been processed. More detailed costings would follow on from the processing of tax returns from 2019 onwards. There is therefore no basis at present on which to prepare a report on the cost of this relief.

With regard to Irish real estate funds, IREFs, the proposal ensures that any rental income or development profits earned by the IREF will be included in the calculation of the IREF’s profits. Capital gains will also be included in the calculation of profits unless the asset is held for five years or more. The exemption from capital gains has been legislated for to encourage sustainable investment focused on the long-term holding and management of income-producing rental property. This will, in the longer term, lead to a more sustainable and secure property market for both investors and property tenants while generating regular and reliable tax revenues for the Exchequer from the taxation of the rental profits. Although any gain may be exempt where the property is held for more than five years, tax will still be payable on the rental income that is being generated. It should be noted that this exemption reflects the current position regarding capital gains tax, CGT, and funds and does not reduce the current tax burden on funds. Therefore, it does not give rise to an additional cost.

To ensure, however, that the IREFs cannot be used for tax planning, as I have noted, I am proposing a Report Stage amendment which removes from section 22 the ability of an investor who has influence or control over the IREF to receive a distribution of capital gains without the operation of the new 20% withholding tax. This proposed IREF is not a tax incentive for people investing in commercial property. All rental income and development profits earned by the IREF will be included in the calculation of the IREF’s profits. Where an IREF makes a distribution of these profits, non-resident investors will be subject to a withholding tax of 20%. The proposal has been drafted in a balanced way to ensure the Irish tax base is protected where Irish property transactions are taking place within collective investment vehicles while not damaging the commercial property market in the long term. The IREF provisions apply to accounting periods beginning on or after 1 January 2017. Therefore, as the Revenue Commissioners will not receive accounts for these funds until mid-2018, it would not be practicable to prepare the report in the timeframe requested. I cannot accept the proposed amendment. Of course, when the data are available, it will obviously be reported on and the kind of information the Deputy has requested will be provided in due course.

Categories: Uncategorized

BREXIT: All Ireland Sovereignty More Necessary Than Ever Now!

August 16, 2017 Leave a comment

People on both sides of the border are enraged with any suggested tightening of the Border to facilitate Brexit


“To put it crudely, the British army isn’t big enough and the Europeans don’t have an army, so there isn’t a problem. There is not going to be a border in Ireland.”

Denis Bradley-Irish Times October 9

“Any Irish government who tried that on (policing the border) would last about a month in power.”

BUT. . . . .

Open border ‘impossible’ from customs perspective-Report by Revenue Commissioners Irish Examiner, Monday, October 09, 2017


Denis Bradley-There is not going to be a border in Ireland-Irish Times

Twenty or so years ago the Irish Border disappeared. The old customs posts had long disappeared and then, one day, the British army lifted its gear and went home. Most of the people felt a burden lift off their shoulders – a people who had lived in the shadow of its presence were, for the first time, free of the inconvenience and the scar on the landscape.

Since then they have lived with that freedom, and they have judged it to be right and good, and they have no intention of giving it up.

To put it crudely, the British army isn’t big enough and the Europeans don’t have an army, so there isn’t a problem. There is not going to be a border in Ireland.

The silliest talk of all is about the Irish Government having to police a border in Ireland. It is reported that the Irish revenue and customs people were up looking around them a few months back, identifying possible customs posts. Were they out of their tiny minds? The Irish Government policing a border ever again in this part of Ireland is as big an oxymoron as the Border itself. Any Irish government who tried that on would last about a month in power.

Open border ‘impossible’ from customs perspective-Report by Revenue Commissioners Irish Examiner, Monday, October 09, 2017

By Daniel McConnell

An open border between the North and the Republic will be impossible from a customs perspective once Brexit occurs, the Revenue Commissioners have stated.

An internal report on the likely impacts of Brexit found that every day 13,000 commercial vehicles cross the border. The report found a completely open border is not possible from a customs perspective, and it would be naive to believe a unique arrangement can be found.

It concluded that Ireland’s customs infrastructure would be overwhelmed by a huge increase in volume of work because of Brexit and the impact on the border.

“Once negotiations are completed… the UK will become a third country for customs purposes and the associated formalities will become unavoidable. While this will affect all member states, the effect will be more profound on Ireland as the only EU country to have a land border with the UK,” it states.


The news follows an Irish Examiner report which revealed Revenue officials had begun scouting potential checkpoints near the border, but such work was put off given the political backlash.

The report, leaked to RTÉ, states that a year before Brexit, Revenue began exploring the potential impact on the customs interface between Ireland and the UK. It found that at present, 91,000 Irish companies trade with the UK.

Once Brexit occurs, their customs declarations will mean an 800% increase in volume. According to the report, that will mean special permits, extra investment, more paperwork, and potential delays.

Contrary to statements from the Irish and UK governments that there should be no physical border, Revenue warns that ports and airports will need extra infrastructure, such as temporary storage facilities for customs clearance. Small regional airports will need customs infrastructure because of Brexit. Revenue itself will need a big increase in staffing levels, the report states. For traders, the report says, the administrative and fiscal burden cannot be underestimated.

It is understood that the Revenue report into the implications of Brexit was updated several times after the referendum and has remained an aide-memoire as officials come to terms with the potential effects.

The report spells out the options governing Norway and Switzerland’s trading relationship with the EU, and the free trade agreement with Canada. “At some point a similar arrangement between the EU and UK is conceivable,” the report says.



“But the only possible way for us to protect the interests of the people of this entire island is by declaring that there will be no border on the island, not under any circumstances”

Fergus Finlay, Former Assistant to Dick Spring, Irish Examiner 12/09/2017

“So, does that mean tiochfaidh ár lá? I don’t know, and it’s not from that perspective I’m saying it. But the only possible way for us to protect the interests of the people of this entire island is by declaring that there will be no border on the island, not under any circumstances. A border between Britain and the EU can only be achieved by Britain leaving Ireland”

Paddy Healy: What Must Be Done –Blog Aug 16, 2017

Because of this sharpness given to the National Question by the proposed Brexit, I believe that all Socialists , Republicans and Nationalists including Sinn Féin should tell The British Government, the EU and the 26 Co government that no new restrictions on the movement of people or goods across the current border will be tolerated. Any such proposals will be met by united mass marches in towns on both sides of the border

These marches should culminate in 2 protests of an All-Ireland character-the first in Belfast and  the second in Dublin.

FERGUS FINLAY: Is Britain bordering on conceding that it will leave Northern Ireland?Irish Examiner, September 12, 2017

Fergus Finlay

The only logical solution… is for Britain to declare that it will withdraw from the North, writes Fergus Finlay.

IT WAS a wise Irish civil servant who told me once, years ago, that the time to be afraid of British negotiators was when they offered a flurry of ideas. “Read them,” he said, “and you’ll notice one thing. They’re trying to trap you into discussing points of detail, so you end up ignoring the fundamentals.” His remark was made in the context of Anglo-Irish negotiations about the Northern Ireland peace process, but it applies just as much to Britain’s position in the Brexit negotiations, at least where Ireland is concerned. Their negotiating stance is based on an age-old truism — get them haggling about price, and they’ll forget the point of principle.

The good news is that the EU’s chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, and his team, saw the Brits coming. In a really astute report from Brussels the other night, RTÉ’s correspondent, Tony Connelly, pointed out that the Brits had published a 27-page paper full of technical suggestions about how you could have a border in Ireland, but that it wouldn’t really be a hard border. The EU had responded with a much shorter paper, refusing to engage with the technical stuff and pointing out that Britain had entirely ignored the fundamental issue of principle.

The principle is simple. After Brexit, any border in Ireland is a border between Britain and the EU. That border affects how people and goods come into and out of the EU. If Britain leave the EU and the customs union, then Britain, and by extension Northern Ireland, are on the other side of the border. Full stop.


But a border between Britain and the EU also, as a matter of law, becomes a border on the island of Ireland. The potential for damage of the re-emergence of a hard border on this island is huge. Even the British acknowledge that.

There’s no need to spell out the extent, and kind, of damage it could do. We’ve spent more than 20 years since the ceasefires and the Good Friday Agreement — which took violence from the conflict, but didn’t end it — trying to build a political process that could sustain itself and change hearts and minds. We know how fragile and faltering that is. The idea that you would re-insert a physical border into that equation is simply mind-boggling.

But Britain voted to leave Europe because it wants borders. It wants to control the movement of people. The largest single factor in the vote to leave was the fear of immigration. Controlling the movement of people is synonymous in the minds of Brexiteers with the language of regaining control of Britain’s destiny.

That’s why the British paper, which pretends that you can have a hard Brexit without hard borders, reminds me so much of the “angel papers” they used to produce during the Anglo-Irish negotiations.

They were called angel papers, and it was a British term, because they had no official standing. A paper could be produced full of the kind of language in which an agreement could be framed. But it would be presented as “random thoughts” or “musings”. If you didn’t like them, no harm done. If the British officials regretted offering them, or found they couldn’t sell them to their own political masters, they simply disappeared (I suppose, as an angel does, when his or her job is done).

But if you engaged with the stuff, you were trapped. What might be a flimsy idea on a bit of paper and have no standing could suddenly become something to beat you over the head with, if you gave it credibility.

The much wiser course was simply not to go there at all, until basic principles were agreed.

That, clearly, is what the EU has decided to do. They can see the impossibility, in principle as well as in practice, of agreeing to the re-imposition of a border on the island of Ireland. They know that if they agree to some technical tricks that make it look like something to which there is a “practical solution”, the issue of whether or not it is the right thing to do will become irretrievably muddied.

Sooner or later, in these negotiations, someone is going to mention the unmentionable. The British have decided to leave the EU. They’re pretending they can do so without creating a new border between them and the EU, and that that border will have to be situated in their neighbouring island.


That won’t work, and it can’t work. What needs to be said — and I’m surprised to hear myself saying this — is that in deciding to leave the EU, Britain has effectively decided that it is not possible to sustain the union between Northern Ireland and what it likes to call the mainland.

In short, the only logical solution to the issue of borders is for Britain to declare that it will, over time, withdraw from Northern Ireland. That, and that alone, would enable Britain to locate its border with the EU wherever it wants to, without doing untold damage to its nearest neighbour. Of course, the Brits may not be too worried about damaging Ireland, but it’s clear that the EU won’t allow them to undermine years of painstaking work on peace and political progress by playing jiggery-pokery with a border.

So, does that mean tiochfaidh ár lá? I don’t know, and it’s not from that perspective I’m saying it. But the only possible way for us to protect the interests of the people of this entire island is by declaring that there will be no border on the island, not under any circumstances. A border between Britain and the EU can only be achieved by Britain leaving Ireland.

That will certainly take years to work out , and would be an expensive operation, for both Britain and the EU. Britain is looking for a transition period anyway, in relation to customs arrangements. Part of that transition needs to be provision for full withdrawal.

The entire peace process was made possible, and is built on, the principle of consent. The principle of consent means that you honour the views that people express democratically.

The people of Northern Ireland voted to remain in the European Union. While the principle of consent was not conceived to apply to that circumstance, it is, nevertheless, the case that taking the people of Northern Ireland out of the EU, and rebuilding a border on the island of Ireland, flies in the face of any understanding of the notion of consent.

I think it comes down to this. We cannot allow a border to be built again on this island, for a myriad of reasons. Europe cannot be protected without one, but doesn’t want one, either.

Britain cannot have its cake and eat it. They must put their border elsewhere, and they must propose and facilitate whatever it takes to enable both parts of this island to remain within the EU.

In voting for Brexit, they effectively voted to leave Ireland. There is no other way forward.



Ireland needs to reject the fantasy of no hard Border After Brexit-Stephen Collins, Irish Times

(The conclusions of Stephen Collins are politically right wing and against the interests of the Irish People. But his delineation of the issues is correct. Fantasies being propagated by the London and Dublin governments are correctly debunked.)

Full Article


Stephen Collins,Irish Times Thursday, August 17, 2017, 05:00

Irish politicians need to get over the fantasy that the return of a land Border on this island can somehow be avoided after Brexit

The soft words in the two position papers published by the British government this week are all very fine but they simply represent an opening negotiation position most unlikely to stand the test of serious negotiation.

The British papers appear to be a more sophisticated version of Boris Johnson’s initial response to the EU referendum result when he insisted that the UK could have its cake and eat it.

The persistent demands of a range of Irish politicians that there be no return of the Border in any circumstances are every bit as delusional as Johnson’s dream of having all the benefits of EU membership at no cost after leaving.

The cold reality still does not seem to have impinged on a range of Irish politicians, from the Taoiseach down . . . . Irish Times Aug 17


What Must Be Done

Because of this sharpness given to the National Question by the proposed Brexit, I believe that all socialists and Republicans including Sinn Féin should tell The British Government, the EU and the 26 Co government that no new restrictions on the movement of people or goods across the current border will be tolerated. Any such proposals will be met by united mass marches in towns on both sides of the border

The extent of the pressure on Fine Gael from Border communities is reflected in this statement by Joe McHugh, FG TD for Donegal and Government Chief Whip  ———-             Border Type

Mr McHugh said the EU needed to be reminded constantly of its responsibilities around the peace process, and warned any type of Border beyond the existing arrangement, “hard or soft, manual or electronic”, would be a retrograde step.” Irish Times
Even Fine Gael supporters are very exercised on the issue.. The Fine Gael Supporters in the area are advising Veradkar and Coveney that they cannot have their fingerprints on any such provision. (That,of course, does not mean that they will not capitulate to it-but it cannot be done with their formal agreement)
Governments are concerned about the possibility that the sort of campaign of mass demonstrations which I advocate may happen, even spontaneously.
But they are also concerned that it may give rise to a new miitary campsaign outside the control of Sinn Féin

British Daily Telegraph Heading!

Britain is fighting to save Ireland from an EU-imposed hard border

Would you believe it?-Paddy Healy


Once Britain leaves the European Union, the only land border it will have with the bloc will be the 310-mile open border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. Brussels would not be able to accept people crossing into (and out of) newly non-EU territory without being policed, so can they be satisfied while keeping travel flowing?

The British acknowledge that both sides will need to “show flexibility and imagination” in order to avoid “a return to the border posts of the past”. They have started the ball rolling by laying out how they want to resolve it in a new paper (something the Europeans have yet to do). Britain envisages an “invisible” border between Ireland and Northern Ireland without “any physical border infrastructure” and “light touch” technology handling any checks. The EU claims that it too wants to avoid a hard border, but it is only possible due to the bloc’s…—Daily Telegraph Aug 16, 2017

British Daily Telegraph Heading!

Britain is fighting to save Ireland from an EU-imposed hard border!!!

Would you believe it?-Paddy Healy


Once Britain leaves the European Union, the only land border it will have with the bloc will be the 310-mile open border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. Brussels would not be able to accept people crossing into (and out of) newly non-EU territory without being policed, so can they be satisfied while keeping travel flowing?

The British acknowledge that both sides will need to “show flexibility and imagination” in order to avoid “a return to the border posts of the past”. They have started the ball rolling by laying out how they want to resolve it in a new paper (something the Europeans have yet to do). Britain envisages an “invisible” border between Ireland and Northern Ireland without “any physical border infrastructure” and “light touch” technology handling any checks. The EU claims that it too wants to avoid a hard border, but it is only possible due to the bloc’s…—Daily Telegraph Aug 16, 2017

Categories: Uncategorized


Ireland Must Resist New Pressures To Give Up Military Neutrality

Recovery of All-Ireland Sovereignty of Irish People More Vital than  Ever Now!


Is Irish Navy Co-Operating with Return of Migrants to Hell On Earth in Libya?

The UN accused the EU last week of turning a “blind eye” to the brutality faced by migrants held in Libya and called for urgent action to help them.-RTE News


INSTITUTE OF INTERNATIONAL AND EUROPEAN AFFAIRS (IIEA)-Funded By Huge Irish and International Business Interests and by the EU Commission Calls For End To Irish Military Neutrality Through President Brendan Halligan


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President: Brendan Halligan

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Post-Brexit support from Berlin and Paris will come at a cost-Halligan in Irish Times

As the Franco-German axis reasserts its self, Irish neutrality and corporation tax policies will have to be revisited 

Opinion: Brendan Halligan, is President of the Institute of International and European Affairs. He was general secretary of the Labour Party and a member of the Oireachtas and European Parliament. This article is based on an address to the MacGill summer school.

Irish Times: Thursday, July 27, 2017, 17:28

Put simply, the European Union is a Franco-German project initiated by the Schuman Declaration of 1951. Together they are building a European home and while others may join in, they have to observe the house rules.

In these circumstances, the best strategy for Ireland is to be at the centre by adopting their agenda and adapting it to our own needs. And in view of Brexit, Ireland will need to be at the centre to get maximum advantage from our membership. It not an easy proposition .

Ireland volunteered to join the EEC in 1961 and gave certain commitments that now need to be revived. The then Taoiseach, Seán Lemass, fearing that Ireland would otherwise be isolated, virtually broke down the doors in Brussels to get into the community. Our application was opposed on many grounds, of which non-membership of Nato was the biggest. Lemass took this head-on and asserted that Ireland agreed with the objectives of Nato, was not neutral in the conflict between democracy and communism and implied that, if admitted as a member, would be prepared to join in the common defence of the EEC.

But defence remains a legacy issue because that commitment got lost after Lemass’s retirement, and is now forgotten. Discussion is off-limits and neutrality has become more a matter of theology than international politics. We have failed to update what it means in practice, as the Finns and Swedes have done.

But we won’t be able to do that for much longer because the Franco-German alliance has undergone a renaissance with the arrival of President Macron and with the imminent re-election of Mrs Merkel. European defence is back on the agenda, not least because of the US retreat from global affairs and the re-emergence of a truculent Russia.

The Franco-German conclusion is that we Europeans had better look after our own defence. As a result, this is one of those moments when Europe redefines itself and enlarges its core activities. We are unprepared for this development and failure to join in common defence, as Lemass had promised, may be our undoing.

The other legacy issue is corporate tax harmonisation. What originally started as a sensible policy for stimulating exports was then transformed into a sophisticated strategy for encouraging foreign direct investment. But it was never intended to become a mechanism for reducing the tax liabilities of international business and Ireland did not set out to become a tax haven, but that’s how we are now perceived.

The challenge here is that the taxation agenda is also quickening. Mrs Merkel has put the financial transaction tax into her government programme and President Macron has raised French concerns over what the OECD calls profit shifting. Then there are Commission proposals on a common consolidated tax base. Unless our stance on taxation is adapted to this complex agenda, then it too will be an obstacle to being part of the core.

That brings us to the strategic necessity for aligning our security and taxation policies with the new Franco-German agenda. It’s purely economic. The disruption from Brexit will be far greater here than in any other EU state. It constitutes an asymmetric shock that will necessitate a long period of adjustment similar to that which we experienced in the first decade of EEC membership.

We will inevitably be looking for assistance in building a new economic model while absorbing the shock of Brexit. To succeed at both we will need something analogous to the cohesion funds that eased our way into monetary union as well as special measures to offset the loss of competitiveness in the UK market, a consequence of the inexorable decline in the value of sterling.

This will be a tough case to make given the competing needs of the less well off member states. But it will have to be made and will be best done by invoking the principle of solidarity. Common sense dictates, however, that to win solidarity we must show solidarity and that means playing a full part at the centre of the Union. It’s a question of realpolitik, not sentiment.

In sum, playing a full part at the centre of the Union means playing a full part in the future common defence and security policies, playing a full part in creating a fiscal union involving corporate tax harmonisation, playing a full part in the Franco-German re-launch of Europe and finally cutting the umbilical cord with Britain and accepting the full consequences of the hard Brexit being brewed up by the Tories.

These are not easy choices. They go against the grain of custom and practice. But they will have to be made.

© 2017 irishtimes.com


Government and Fianna Fáil have Ordered The Irish Navy To Participate in This Anti-Human Operation!!

Luxembourg Foreign Minister, UNICEF, Medcin Sans Frontiere, Warn Against Return of Migrants To Libyan Concentration Camps

RTE Report and Interview with Luxembourg Foreign Minister

RTE RADIO News At One  17/07/2017


Text of RTE Report

Luxembourg’s Foreign Minister, Jean Asselborn has warned that  EU funds could be leading to migrants being housed in what he called concentration camps in Libya. Mr Asselborn said it was right to spend EU  money  training Libyan coastguards to save migrants, who are trying to reach Europe, from drowning. However, he said, this must not lead to those rescued being taken back to lawless camps in Libya.

Clip of interview with Mr Asselborn, Translated into English: “These camps are in part concentration camps-camps where people are raped, where there is no Law. We can only manage this crisis if we work much closer together and dig much deeper into our pockets to help the UN. Otherwise it means something totally inhumane is happening in Europe’s name”


 Irish Times,Tuesday, February 28, 2017, 11:16

Women and children raped and starved in Libyan ‘hellholes’ – Unicef

Irish Times,Tuesday, February 28, 2017, 11:16

Women and children making the dangerous journey to Europe to flee poverty and conflicts in Africa are being beaten, raped and starved in “living hellholes” in Libya, the United Nations children’s agency (Unicef) said on Tuesday


Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) Website

Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has run mobile clinics in seven detention centres located in Tripoli and the surrounding area since July 2016. The centres are under the administration of the Directorate for Combating Illegal Migration (DCIM).

MSF provides medical care to migrants, refugees and asylum seekers who are arbitrarily detained there. The conditions MSF treats include skin disease, diarrhoeal disease, respiratory tract infections, urinary tract infections and acute malnutrition. They are the direct result of the appalling conditions in the detention centres. In the first quarter of 2017 alone, more than 4,000 medical consultations were carried out.

On 3 February 2017, European Union leaders met in Malta to discuss migration, with a view to closing the route from Libya to Italy by stepping up cooperation with the Libyan authorities. MSF expressed its concerns about the fate of people trapped in Libya or returned to the country.



Seamus Healy TD Condemns New Alliance with British and French Navies To Push Refugees Back to “Hell on Earth” in Libyan Detention Camps

“The flight of desperate refugees across the Mediterranean from Libya and the rest of north Africa is reminiscent of the Famine. During its ten years from 1845 to 1855, 2.1 million desperate Irish people fled across the high seas in the hope of finding a better life abroad. Imagine if those 2.1 million people had been stopped and forced to return to Ireland. That is what Operation Sophia is now doing in the Mediterranean.”

Independent Alliance, Including John Halligan, Finian McGrath, Sean Canney and Shane Ross Vote With FF-FG

Full Dáil Vote-further down

Full Dáil Speech of Seamus Healy TD

Deputy Seamus Healy: “The Naval Service is participating in Operation Pontus as part of a bilateral agreement with the Italian Government. Operation Pontus is a purely humanitarian mission rescuing migrants at risk of drowning in the Mediterranean. To date, the Naval Service has saved approximately 16,800 migrants.

The Government’s proposal to participate in Operation Sophia, which is supported by only eight of the 27 European Union member states, is an attempt to abuse the legitimate concerns of the public about the continuing migrant crisis in the Mediterranean and drag this country into a military role. I agree with the Peace and Neutrality Alliance that involvement in Operation Sophia would be a further breach of neutrality.

The country’s neutrality has already been breached by allowing the US military’s use of Shannon Airport.

We are repeatedly told that the integration of the Naval Service’s operation in the Mediterranean into Operation Sophia will be an extension of the former’s excellent humanitarian mission and reputation. Nothing could be further from the truth. While the priority of the current Operation Pontus is rescue, the priority of Operation Sophia is to force refugees back into the claws of the Tripoli Government. Under Operation Sophia, refugee boats are being confined to Libyan coastal waters by military force where they can be recaptured and returned to Tripoli.

The flight of desperate refugees across the Mediterranean from Libya and the rest of north Africa is reminiscent of the Famine. During its ten years from 1845 to 1855, 2.1 million desperate Irish people fled across the high seas in the hope of finding a better life abroad. Imagine if those 2.1 million people had been stopped and forced to return to Ireland. That is what Operation Sophia is now doing in the Mediterranean.

Libya has been in chaos since military aggression, including bombing by Britain and France, overthrew the Gaddafi regime. There are now three unelected Libyan governments involved in a civil war. This British and French-created chaos has given free rein to traffickers and smugglers preying on people attempting to escape. Integration into Operation Sophia involves allying Ireland with the navies of Britain and France and one of the three warring governments in Libya.

Refugees International speaks of the ongoing violence and chaos in Libya, a country that lacks an asylum system and where the rule of law is absent. Libyan refugees are being confined to hell-on-Earth detention centres. Non-Libyan refugees, of which there are many, are being placed in transit camps prior to repatriation to the countries from which they fled. There is no right of asylum in Tripoli.

If the transfer to Operation Sophia goes ahead, it will be used in future as a precedent to justify the further erosion of Irish neutrality. The excellent reputation of our soldiers and sailors abroad will be sullied by association with human rights abusers. Above all, the Irish people will be made complicit in the vicious oppression of deprived peoples. Tá mé go láidir i gcoinne an rún seo.


Question put: “That the motion be agreed to.”

The Dáil divided: Tá, 80; Níl, 38; Staon(abstain), 0. (Ceann Comhairle 1, DID NOT Vote 39,-PH)

Níl    Staon
    Aylward, Bobby.     Boyd Barrett, Richard.
    Bailey, Maria.     Brady, John.
    Barrett, Seán.     Broughan, Thomas P.
    Brassil, John.     Buckley, Pat.
    Breathnach, Declan.     Collins, Joan.
    Breen, Pat.     Collins, Michael.
    Brophy, Colm.     Connolly, Catherine.
    Browne, James.     Crowe, Seán.
    Bruton, Richard.     Daly, Clare.
    Burke, Peter.     Doherty, Pearse.
    Butler, Mary.     Ellis, Dessie.
    Byrne, Catherine.     Funchion, Kathleen.
    Byrne, Thomas.     Healy, Seamus.
    Cahill, Jackie.     Howlin, Brendan.
    Calleary, Dara.     Kenny, Gino.
    Canney, Seán.     McGrath, Mattie.
    Carey, Joe.     Martin, Catherine.
    Casey, Pat.     Mitchell, Denise.
    Cassells, Shane.     Munster, Imelda.
    Chambers, Jack.     Murphy, Catherine.
    Chambers, Lisa.     Murphy, Paul.
    Corcoran Kennedy, Marcella.     Nolan, Carol.
    Cowen, Barry.     Ó Broin, Eoin.
    D’Arcy, Michael.     Ó Caoláin, Caoimhghín.
    Daly, Jim.     Ó Laoghaire, Donnchadh.
    Deasy, John.     Ó Snodaigh, Aengus.
    Deering, Pat.     O’Reilly, Louise.
    Doherty, Regina.     O’Sullivan, Jan.
    Donnelly, Stephen S.     O’Sullivan, Maureen.
    Dooley, Timmy.     Penrose, Willie.
    Doyle, Andrew.     Quinlivan, Maurice.
    Durkan, Bernard J.     Ryan, Brendan.
    English, Damien.     Ryan, Eamon.
    Farrell, Alan.     Sherlock, Sean.
    Fitzgerald, Frances.     Shortall, Róisín.
    Fitzpatrick, Peter.     Smith, Bríd.
    Flanagan, Charles.     Stanley, Brian.
    Halligan, John.     Tóibín, Peadar.
    Harris, Simon.
    Harty, Michael.
    Haughey, Seán.
    Heydon, Martin.
    Kehoe, Paul.
    Lahart, John.
    McConalogue, Charlie.
    McEntee, Helen.
    McGrath, Finian.
    McGrath, Michael.
    McGuinness, John.
    McHugh, Joe.
    McLoughlin, Tony.
    Madigan, Josepha.
    Mitchell O’Connor, Mary.
    Moynihan, Aindrias.
    Murphy O’Mahony, Margaret.
    Murphy, Dara.
    Murphy, Eoghan.
    Murphy, Eugene.
    Naughten, Denis.
    Naughton, Hildegarde.
    Neville, Tom.
    Ó Cuív, Éamon.
    O’Brien, Darragh.
    O’Connell, Kate.
    O’Dea, Willie.
    O’Donovan, Patrick.
    O’Dowd, Fergus.
    O’Keeffe, Kevin.
    O’Loughlin, Fiona.
    O’Rourke, Frank.
    Rabbitte, Anne.
    Ring, Michael.
    Rock, Noel.
    Ross, Shane.
    Scanlon, Eamon.
    Smith, Brendan.
    Smyth, Niamh.
    Stanton, David.
    Troy, Robert.
    Zappone, Katherine.


Tellers: Tá, Deputies Joe McHugh and Tony McLoughlin; Níl, Deputies Aengus Ó Snodaigh and Louise O’Reilly.

Question declared carried.


Government Proposes That Irish Navy Join British Navy In Handing Over Refugees to Be Jailed by Puppet Libyan Government-One of 3 Libyan Governments Fighting Civil War

Recent Manchester Bombing Related To UK Military Intervention in Libya

Government Proposal Endangers Irish People


Government Proposal To Transfer Irish Navy Operations in Mediteranean from “Pontus” to “Sophia”

Differing  practice on Handing over of Refugees is being omitted from all media coverage

Operation Pontus—Ireland, Italy only-refugees handed over to Italian Navy

Operation Sophia—25 EU states including UK , France by Agreement With Tripoli Government-Refugees returned to Tripoli Government and likely Jail  (“Hell on Earth”-Refugees International)

There are at least 3 governments in Libya and a raging civil war—Tripoli Government recognised by EU

UK and France bombed Libya to overthrow Gadafi-Now Chaos Reigns in Libya





Libyan Refugees being Returned From International Waters to Jail in Libya -“Hell on Earth”

Civil War in Progress-At least 3 states in existence –Tripoli Government Recognised by EU, UN?

EU helping force refugees back to ‘hell on Earth’ in push to stop boat crossings from Libya, report finds

Researchers say EU is disregarding international law and human rights



Research by the US-based Refugees International (RI) group warned that the EU’s push to prevent boats leaving the Libyan coast – now the main departure point towards Europe – could fuel horrific abuses.


“The fate of people who are seeking international protection is effectively absent from the plans outlined by EU leaders to tackle the Central Mediterranean route,” its report concluded.

“With the ongoing violence and chaos in Libya, a country that lacks an asylum system and where the rule of law is absent, EU countries must accept people on their territory through orderly, legal processes that are viable alternatives to ruthless criminal networks.

“The EU and its member states should also ensure that their funding and actions in Libya do not result in or contribute to human rights abuses against refugees and migrants.”



The Government should not be allowed to abuse the legitimate concerns of the Irish public about the continuing migrant crisis in the Mediterranean to drag the country into the EU’s increasingly militarised response to that crisis.

Ireland has to date only participated in rescue operations in the Mediterranean as part of a bilateral deal with the Italian government.

The Government will decide today (11th July) whether to join the European Union’s Operation Sophia.

The government hopes to put the plan to the Dail on Wednesday morning.

It represents a change in policy for Ireland, after Defence Minister Paul Kehoe told the Dail in December that there was no intention to join the eight-EU-member-state-strong naval operation.

The Irish navy’s work in the Mediterranean has so far been limited to participating in rescue missions, within the mandate of Operation Pontus.

Over the course of two years, Irish forces have saved almost 16,000 migrants, many of whom had tried to make the often-lethal sea voyage in basic inflatable dinghies and unseaworthy craft.

Operation Sophia is currently in phase 2. This involves stopping and searching vessels suspected of being involved in people smuggling. Only eight EU members are participating.

But the eight EU members the Government hopes to join do not intend to stop there.

Sophia makes provision for a Phase 3 which would involve an even more aggressive stance and could include possible action on Libyan soil itself!

Will the Government acknowledge this to the Dail?

As in all these matters an abject policy surrender is motivated by a craven desire to please our EU “betters”. Who will call, “Halt”?


The militarisation of Europe is a far greater threat than Brexit -Prof Ray Kinsella

Irish Independent PUBLISHED11/07/2016 | 02:30

The most searching challenge that the EU faces is not the fallout from Brexit – it’s from the militarisation of Europe and the US-led Nato encirclement of Russia, endorsed by the Nato Summit in Warsaw last weekend.


It is as misconceived as austerity and authoritarianism, which are at the heart of the European crisis. But it is infinitely more dangerous. If the Chilcot Report on the war in Iraq proves anything, it is that the momentum towards armed conflict, once started, becomes difficult to contain.

Militarisation will make it much more difficult to deal with the EU’s migration crisis, itself largely a consequence of the catastrophic effects of Western military intervention. A conflagration between US-led Nato and Russia would increase the numbers of refugees in Europe by an order of magnitude. As for the impact of such a conflagration on the European and global economy – well, all bets are off. We could not begin to model the impact – but we can look at post-war Europe and Iraq and Syria and Libya… Only what are euphemistically termed ‘Defence’ industries do (exceedingly) well out of war.

In April, I suggested in these pages that Europe was in denial. It was mired in an identity crisis largely brought on by itself – a crisis of values, democracy – as well as macroeconomic instability marked by inequality, youth unemployment and long-term indebtedness among peripheral countries. There was no trust in Europe. “The governance of the eurozone is characterised by self-interest, subservience among weaker indebted members and, also, tenacity beyond all reason, in persisting with failed policies.”

In June, prior to the Brexit Referendum, I pointed out that “while it was not the job of UK voters to resolve this mess – Brexit can force these same Euro elite to see reality. The EU is incapable of understanding that the dissenting voices across Europe – which they like to dismiss as ‘populism’ – are not the problem: the real issue is the underlying causes that have precipitated opposition to what the EU has become.”

This perspective was vindicated by the EU’s initial response to Brexit – denial, anger and a blame game.

Then, more positively, the first stirrings of a change in attitude by the EU ‘Top Table’ – notably Dr Wolfgang Schäuble – including a decision not to respond to Brexit by pressing ahead with ‘union’ and not to overly pressurise the UK in implementing Article 50.

Militarism threatens this. The process of rebalancing and reform, including greater democratisation across the EU, is now in jeopardy from the increased militarisation of the EU over the last two years, which is set to increase in the wake of the Warsaw summit. It is an appalling prospect.

Why do ‘leaders’ never see these things coming down the track? Every Leaving Cert student knows ‘The Causes of World War I’ – knowledge didn’t prevent it happening. Why did the ‘leaders’, with the notable example of Churchill, not see what was unfolding in Germany in the short few years from 1935 to 1939?

Why did the US not understand the malign dynamic of the Vietnam War during the 1960s – and its consequences for Asia and the global financial system?

Why did ‘leaders’ not envisage the catastrophic impact of the Iraq invasion?

Now, consider this recent statement by Nato: “Since 2014 Allies have implemented the biggest increase in collective defence since the Cold War… Four robust multinational battalions to Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland … a brigade in Romania … further steps to improve cyber-defences, civil-preparedness and to defend against ballistic missile attack … extend Nato’s training mission in Iraq and to broaden (its) role in the Central Mediterranean … deploy Nato’s Awac surveillance aircraft to support the Global Coalition to counter Isil…”

Now read the Nato Communique issued after last weekend. This is in just two years. The scale and scope of this process has largely gone unremarked. So too have the ironies: of more “training” in Iraq, of support for a “Global Coalition to counter Isil” when we know that it was the military invasion of Iraq that largely created Isil, of “defensive missile systems” ostensibly operated by Nato, which as a recent article in the ‘Wall Street Journal’ points out, “are essentially American initiatives” – and can be redeployed in hours as a long-range offensive system.

The purported justification for this new militarisation of Europe is the intervention of Russia in Ukraine, culminating in the annexation of the Crimean peninsula and its re-integration into Russia.

What is inferred by Nato from this is that ‘a resurgent Russia’ poses an existential threat to Europe. It doesn’t stand up. It also puts fundamental reform of the EU – and peace – in jeopardy. The sensitivities of Poland and the Baltic states to a military threat from Russia are understandable. But that does not mean the argument driving militarisation is robust. Nor does it mean that their interests, and the interests of peace and stability in Europe, are well served by this militarisation of Europe.

Russia is not the USSR. The rebuilding of its economy and infrastructure, including the modernisation of its defence capability, under President Putin does not remotely equate to a threat to its neighbours.

The military capability of the US dwarfs that of Russia, in terms of assets and the number of bases from which to project those assets. Russia’s defence budget is a fraction of that of the US.

Moreover, the track record, and legacy, of Western military intervention in recent decades demonstrably poses a much greater threat to global peace and stability compared with Russia. But indeed any such comparisons are pitiless and, everywhere, add up to incalculable suffering. The decision by the EU to facilitate accession to the EU by Ukraine and, before that Georgia, was foolish and provocative beyond belief. It was foolish because the expansion of the EU has created a ‘Union’ so unwieldy and overextended in its governance as to pose a threat – now all too evident – to its very existence.

Reflect, for a moment, on a ‘Union’ that also included Ukraine and Georgia. To compound that by facilitating accession to the EU – and, by extension, participation in Nato-led security arrangements – of nations bonded to Russia geographically, historically and in terms of language and culture, went way beyond provocation.

It has kick-started a vicious circle of ratcheting-up ‘defence’ spending. The deployment by Nato of men, heavy equipment and missile systems effectively encircling Russia will inevitably elicit a response.

We have seen this kind of dynamic before – it is taking Europe to a bleak place.

The militarisation of the EU has been rapid, largely invisible and facilitated by self-serving propaganda. Diplomacy provides a better basis for engaging with Russia as a European power, with shared interests at a time of global uncertainty.

Militarisation, now unleashed, threatens Europe.

Economist Ray Kinsella is Professor of Banking and Financial Services, and Healthcare at UCD

Irish Independent.

Categories: Uncategorized

Cruel Neglect of The Disabled To Protect The Incomes and Assets of The Super-Rich from Fair Taxation

June 3, 2017 1 comment

As Richest 12 Irish Gain 6 Billion Euro in Untaxed Assets in Last Year Alone– Cuts in Disability Provision Continue!

Protest over ‘broken promises’ on disability rights

RTE/ Tuesday, 19 Sep 2017 16:41

Protesters say the demonstration will continue overnight

Several dozen protesters, many of them in wheelchairs, have gathered outside Leinster House for a protest which they have vowed to continue overnight.

They have written to the Taoiseach and all other TDs accusing most of them of breaking promises to the republic’s 600,000 people with disabilities, and claiming they are being denied equality, rights, and a life worth living.

In the letter, the organisation ‘Broken Promises – Disabled People Fight Back’ recites a litany of promises which it says politicians who have governed the State for several years have broken.

It highlights the continuing delay in ratifying the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities (UNCRPD), which the State signed a decade ago.

The letter accuses Fine Gael of going back on its 2011 manifesto promise to provide grants for personal assistants.

The letter claims that instead of funding more PAs to facilitate self-directed independent living in disabled people’s own homes, Fine Gael rolled out limited home-care packages, which the group says are often not in their best interests.

The campaign says it is composed of “ordinary disabled people” who are not affiliated to charities or political groups.

It claims to represent disabled people from the cradle to the grave.The letter says pain is not seen by the authorities as an urgent cause for medical care and highlights delays in providing hip replacement surgery and interventions to address scoliosis.

“You create disability by making us wait years for surgery and we become even more disabled, in even more pain, in dire agony and unable to walk or breathe,” the letter states.

The campaign accuses previous governments of removing transport grants and failing to implement a promise to restore them.

It says government TDs, past and present, have allowed 1,200 people with disabilities to “languish unhappy and trapped in nursing homes and care homes” when they want the freedom to live independently instead.

The letter’s authors blame successive governments for effectively depriving them of citizenship by providing for them extremely poorly.

They accuse the politicians concerned of forcing disabled people into poverty through denying them adequate social support benefits and reiterate the call for a cost of disability grant to help people with disabilities to buy necessities.

“You allow the misery of begging and pleading for ‘scraps from the HSE table’, a daily, weekly, monthly grind of supplication, often for years,” the letter continues.

It adds: “… we need recourse to the courts and the media to tell of our plight. We have cried on TV, radio and to newspaper reporters – begging for the support we need. We are demeaned – humiliated.”

The facilitators named at the end of the letter are sisters and well-known campaigners Margaret and Ann Kennedy from Greystones, Co Wicklow, and Frank Larkin.

They accuse politicians who have wielded power and those currently in office of ignoring the extent of isolation in the disabled population living with their own families “where there is little support and help”.

The group also laments the great hardship that is caused by the failure to deliver accessible housing to disabled people.

The group says this creates homelessness or forces people into housing that is sub-standard or not fit for purpose.

It says a homeless double amputee will be on an overnight ‘vigil of despair’ at the Merrion Square gates of Leinster House.

The protesters demand an urgent meeting to discuss a list of demands with Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, Minister for Disability Finian McGrath and Minister for Health Simon Harris.

The demands, all of which they want to be conceded immediately, are:

  • Ratification of the UNCRPD;
  • Reinstatement of mobility/transport grants,
  • Full personal assistant support for all disabled people with direct payments and self -direction of the PA by the grant recipients. They say this was promised in the FG manifesto 2011;
  • Accessible social housing/affordable housing to enable all 1,200 disabled people living in nursing and care homes to live independently in their homes instead. They say this measure must include all disabled people forced to remain in their childhood home, with parents and/or relatives, because there is no accessible independent living structures to support them.
  • A Disability Living Allowance
  • Recognition of the social model of disability, with the removal of disability from the HSE, which is accused of using a ‘power and control’ model which demeans and humiliates people with disabilities.

Mr McGrath this afternoon said it is his intention to ratify the UNCRPD before the end of the year.

Speaking on RTÉ’s News at One, he said the first two stages have been passed through the Dáil.

He said he hoped to bring a memo to Cabinet by the end of this month.

Mr McGrath said he wanted to ensure that the legislation could stand up to scrutiny.

He said that while this was going on, Government was investing seriously in services for people with disabilities.


7,600 people with disabilities on social housing waiting lists-RTE NEWS , 9 Aug 2017

Disability Federation of Ireland ALARMED

Cynical Honeyed Words from Disability Minister Finian McGrath

“A spokesperson for Disability Minister McGrath said the Minister recognises the difficulties facing people with disabilities in finding appropriate housing and will ensure that these needs are incorporated into FUTURE housing policies.

The minister, he said, will continue to raise this issue and other issues of concern to people with disabilities at Cabinet meetings.”

As Minister, the duty of Minister McGrath is to solve problems NOW-not just to raise issues at cabinet and to push remedies back to an indefinite future


At least 7,600 people with disabilities are on social housing waiting lists around the country.

Figures obtained by RTÉ’s Morning Ireland show that at the end of June 2017, 7,632 people with intellectual, mental, physical and sensory issues were waiting for social housing.

600,000 people in Ireland – 13.5% of the population – are living with a disability.

A number of housing options are available for people with disabilities including affordable housing, grants for home adaptations, housing associations and local authority housing and loans.

In Dublin, 1,010 people with disabilities were waiting for social housing at the end of last month.

Despite the difference in population size, there were similar numbers in Galway city and county with 1,096 people with disabilities on the list.

392 people in Cork city and 623 in Cork county were waiting for accommodation at the start of June.

In Clare, 217 of 2,628 applicants waiting for social housing had disabilities while there were 170 people with disabilities waiting in Carlow.

Almost 3,000 people in Wexford are on the social housing waiting list – 528 of them were people with a disability.

Tipperary also saw high numbers – 369 people with disabilities were looking for social housing and 400 in Louth.

At the end of June, 337 people in Limerick and almost 500 people in Kerry, also with disabilities, were waiting for social housing.

Local authorities in Offaly and Kilkenny did not supply figures.

Figures from Central Statistics Office show that among people with disabilities, 34.8% are at risk of poverty.

In a statement to Morning Ireland, the Disability Federation of Ireland said it is “alarmed” but not surprised at the number of people with disabilities on social housing waiting lists.

It said the “deepening housing crisis is the main issue” and that “in the case of people with disabilities, an already chronic housing situation is intensified by increasing rates of poverty and unemployment amongst people with disabilities”.

The DFI called on local authorities to follow up with targets for provision of accessible housing as the figures show the “need to both set and meet ambitious targets to address the problem”.

An increase of at least €90 million in the Capital Assistance Scheme is needed, it said.

Statistics from local authorities also show that more than 83,440 people were on social housing waiting lists half-way through the year.

A spokesperson for Minister of State for Disability Issues Finian McGrath said he shares the concerns of the Disability Federation of Ireland about the number of people with disabilities on the social housing list.

He also said that Minister McGrath recognises the difficulties facing people with disabilities in finding appropriate housing and will ensure that these needs are incorporated into FUTURE housing policies.

The minister, he said, will continue to raise this issue and other issues of concern to people with disabilities at Cabinet meetings.


Disability Minister Finian McGrath Used Bogus Excuse For Ireland’s Delay in Ratifying The United Nations Convention on Rights of Persons With Disabilities.

The Real Reason is that the Government Does not Want To Provide The Money!


Chief Commissioner of the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission , Emily Logan Destroys Fake Explanation by Disabiity Minister Finian McGrath  on Today with Sean O’Rourke

Full Interview 6.40 mins into recording to 10.25 minutes

Click here:


Ombudsman: While People respect the bone fides of Minister McGrath as a long time campaigner for people with disabilities,I think it is very unhelpful to pitch the rights of people with disabilities and their carers and families against each other—

It is not a clash of rights

Pitching people against each other is really wrong. It is a narrative we should stop

While I have huge respect for Finian McGrath, it is not OK to let him go to allow him to go unchallenged  on this

Written Extracts From Interview

SOR:  Another issue, hundreds have demonstrated at Leinster house  over Ireland’s Failure to Ratify UN Convention on Rights of People With Disabilities -Minister Finian McGrath says he wanted to ratify the Convention  but  he spoke of a Clash between rights of people with disabilities and the rights of their families

Chief Commissioner: While People respect the bone fides of Minister McGrath as a long time campaigner for people with disabilities,I think it is very unhelpful to pitch the rights of people with disabilities and their carers and families against each other”

People with disabilities have a right to independent living in their own home

The more accurate clash is in relation to a clash in public policy-it is old fashioned- and how people believe that the right to independent living translates into people having  to be dependent on their famiies. That is not the case

Convention clearly states that people with disabilities should be supported  to live in any way they choose  to live

Disability Federation of Ireland were onto me- hundreds people well under 65 with physical disabilities are living in  nursing homes  because the state has not invested in supports in the form of personal assistants

The state needs primarily to listen to people with disabilities

There is no clash of rights here. The clash is within public policy

SOR:    Minister Mc Grath says there is such a clash-a big debate going on in the background- a family may be very concerned if a person with a disability refuses to go into an institution.

Chief Commissioner: This is a matter of choice .We must  respect the rights of the people with disabilities

That the state make greater efforts to provide assistance to hearing people with disabilities in the first instance

In the same case, as there may be a disagreement in any family on how a member may wish to live independently,  there may be such a disagreement in relation to a person with a disability.

It is not a clash of rights

Pitching people against each other is really wrong. It is a narrative we should stop

While I have huge respect for Finian McGrath, it is not OK to let him go to allow him to go unchallenged  on this


Emily Logan, Rights Ombudsman, on Sean O’Rourke July 27: “We should stop posing a conflict between the rights of people with disabilities and their parents”


According to Minister Finian McGrath, legal disagreement over whether families should be allowed to “dump” disabled relatives in institutions is one of the key factors delaying ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities.–Irish Times July 14


Cynical Launch Of  Grossly Inadequate and Misleading “New” Disability Strategy By Minister For Disabilities, Finian McGrath Flanked By 4 Ministers at Croke Park

Advocacy Groups, Inclusion Ireland and the Disability Federation of Ireland, criticised a new multibillion euro Government plan to help people with disabilities by labelling it a “missed opportunity” that is “short on vision” and fails to address chronic poverty among those affected.

“Big Deal”

I carry articles below from Examiner  and Irish Times on Launch of “New” Disability Strategy Launched by Minister Finian McGrath  on Friday July 14.

When you read  “Disabilities Minister Finian McGrath committed to a series of reforms by the end of the decade as part of the New €1.65bn(?See BELOW-PH) national disability inclusion strategy 2017-2021” (Irish Examiner), you know nothing significant is going to be done anytime soon!!!  It is a device for politicians to pretend they are doing something without spending much money and that they “care”.  Note that it was launched in the Croke Park Conference Centre(Major National Initiative-“Big Deal” – “All_IRELAND PERFORMANCE” ) not in Buswells Hotel or the AV Room in Leinster House-

Even “Bigger Deal”  !!!!


“Also at the publication were Minister for Health Simon Harris, Minister for Social Protection Regina Doherty, Minister for Transport Shane Ross and Minister of State Kevin Boxer Moran. They said this reflected the “all-of-Government” support for the new strategy.”—Irish Times

Note the Minister Did not Say that Provision for Disability WOULD INCREASE BY 1.65 Billion per year over the period 2017 to 2021 nor that it would increase by one fifth of 1.65 Billion each year until 2021!

The presentation by the Minister and the Government Press Release were highly ambiguous and this was reflected in Press Reports.

In Fact As Reported on Government News service  http://www.merrionstreet.ie/en/News-Room/Releases/Minister_of_State_Finian_McGrath_launches_the_National_Disability_Inclusion_Strategy_2017-2021.html

Minister McGrath also highlighted key achievements since his appointment, which included:
· Securing an increase in Budget 2017(Last Budget) of €92 million for Disability Services bringing the annual total to €1.654bn
· Publishing Making Work Pay Report
· Providing Medical Cards for nearly 10,000 children in receipt of Domiciliary Care Allowance at a cost of €10M
· Launched the Taskforce on Personalised Budgets which will report by end 2017

It would appear that that 1.65 billion is the total annual budget for disability which increased by a mere 92 million in the last budget-not enough to restore the cuts to disability provision!!

Why did newspaper reports not make this clear?


The launch of the “New” Strategy took place on the final sitting day of the Dáil until late September. The Minister will not be required to answer Dáil questions on disability provision for 2 months!!!

Deception, Maipulation, Manoeuvre-a Master Class by Minister McGrath!!!



Disability plan ‘short on vision’, say advocacy groups

Irish Examiner   Saturday, July 15, 2017


By Fiachra Ó Cionnaith

Irish Examiner Political Correspondent

Advocacy groups have criticised a new multibillion euro Government plan to help people with disabilities by labelling it a “missed opportunity” that is “short on vision” and fails to address chronic poverty among those affected.

Inclusion Ireland and the Disability Federation of Ireland made the claims after Disabilities Minister Finian McGrath committed to a series of reforms by the end of the decade as part of the new €1.65bn national disability inclusion strategy 2017-2021.


Under the plans announced by Mr McGrath at Croke Park in Dublin to replace the much maligned national disability strategy which ended two years ago, the Government has put forward new measures to ramp up for those in need.


The plans include greater help for people with disabilities who are seeking work, moves to ensure all public bodies will be legally obliged to offer free sign language interpretation for people with hearing issues, and to put strict conditions on wheelchair accessibility for passenger coach or train services.


The Government plan will also instigate a review of the Make Work Pay proposals to ensure they support people with disabilities, provide extra supports for people with disabilities who are travelling to work, and to address the cost of necessary aids and assistance technology used on a day-to-day basis.


Confirming the plans, Mr McGrath said the €1.65bn four-year plan is about a “whole Government” approach that will guarantee issues for people with disabilities are properly prioritised.


“When I was honoured with my appointment as minister for disabilities, my immediate and continuing focus was, and is, on the person with the disability.


“I have listened to the concerns which they have raised with me regarding the many challenges they face on a daily basis,” he said.


However, despite the positive comments, the plan has been criticised by disability groups and opposition parties for failing to go far enough and map out in greater detail the developments due to take place.


While welcoming the policies put forward, Inclusion Ireland last night said the overall plan is “short on vision” and “doesn’t go far enough to address the inequalities” faced by people with disabilities.


“Real inclusion is about people being visible, taking part and being involved, this new strategy does not deliver that. There has been a two-year gap since the previous strategy ended and not a single measure was fully implemented.


“Sadly, this strategy amounts to nothing more than a long, drawn-out missed opportunity.


“Other important objectives relating to decision-making, education, housing, supports to live independently and wellbeing addressing poverty, are either given scant reference or are watered down versions of the previous strategy,” the group’s chief executive Paddy Connolly said.


The view was echoed by the Disability Federation of Ireland, which said the plan lacks a focus on practical reforms and does little to address the significant levels of poverty among people with disabilities.




Finian McGrath pledges to ratify convention on people with disability

Irish Times Friday, July 14, 2017, 18:36

Legal disagreement over whether families should be allowed to “dump” disabled relatives in institutions is one of the key factors delaying ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities, according to a Minister.

Minister of State with Responsibility for Disability Issues Finian McGrath said he “100 per cent” wanted to see the convention ratified, but he was still “sorting out a couple of matters in relation to legislation”.

Mr McGrath said in May last year the convention would be ratified “within six months”. Ireland signed the framework in 2007, but has not yet made it legally binding by ratifying the convention, making the Republic the only country in the EU not to have done so.

Asked what the ongoing legal obstacles were, Mr McGrath said: “The two key issues are deprivation of liberty and legislation on assisted decision-making.

“There’s a big debate going on behind the scenes with families. If there is a person with a disability who doesn’t want to go into a residential place, some of the families would be very, very concerned about that.”

He said there was a “clash of rights” between those of families who want to place disabled loved ones in an institutional setting, and the rights of disabled people who did not want to be there. This needed to be resolved legally.

He said he agreed with disability campaigners who have described this placing of relatives in institutions as akin to “kidnapping” or being “dumped” out of society.

Desire to leave

“Absolutely and I am on their page. I visited one [institution] recently in the southeast and one young man called me aside and said, ‘Finian, get me out of here . . . I want to have my own place. I want to have my breakfast and dinner when I want, watch my own television in my own bedroom’. And he was in this institution.”

He said the man was in his early 30s and had been placed there when he “about seven”.

“My job is to get those people out of those institutions that want to go, and get supports in place for them.”

He said 233 people would be supported to move out of such settings this year

Mr McGrath was speaking to media at the publication of a new National Disability Inclusion Strategy in Dublin. The 47-page strategy sets out 114 actions to be taken between now and the end of 2021, across eight areas, including education, employment, housing, transport and accessible places, and person-centred disability services. The strategy will, if implemented, impact positively on the lives of about 600,000 people.

Also at the publication were Minister for Health Simon Harris, Minister for Social Protection Regina Doherty, Minister for Transport Shane Ross and Minister of State Kevin Boxer Moran. They said this reflected the “all-of-Government” support for the new strategy.

Some €1.654 billion will be put into services underpinning it.

Among its actions is one to “introduce statutory safeguards to protect residents of nursing homes and residential centres and ensure they are not deprived of liberty save in accordance with the law and as a last-resort measure in exceptional circumstances”.s

© 2017 irishtimes.com



Waiting Time for Assessment of Disabled Children Has Worsened under Minister for Disabilities, Finian McGrath-Seamus Healy TD

 “Unfortunately, since this Government has come to power and Deputy Finian McGrath has taken responsibility for the issue, the position has dissimproved. We have gone from a situation where there was reasonable compliance with the law to one where we now have a waiting time of two years for the commencement of an assessment in Co Tipperary. The situation is being ignored.”–Seamus Healy TD in Question to Taoiseach in Dáil


Deputy Seamus Healy:   The HSE is deliberately and flagrantly breaking the law by denying children with disabilities their statutory entitlements to assessments of needs.

The Disability Act 2005 provides for an assessment of the health and education needs of person with disabilities and provides for services to meet those needs. Section 9(5) provides that the executive shall cause an assessment of applicants to be commenced within three months of the date of receipt of an application. The background information and supporting documentation refer to the need for services to be provided early in life in order to ameliorate a disability. The Act provides that the assessments must be started within three months of the application and that the HSE must complete the assessment within three months. That is a legal requirement on the HSE as set out in the legislation. Unfortunately, that is not the situation that obtains nationwide. The legal entitlement of children with a disability is being breached routinely by the HSE. Children are not being assessed within the three-month period and there are huge delays in assessment. The service is broken and there must be an immediate solution to the problem.

The current situation for children in terms of assessment of needs is totally unacceptable and I will give a few examples. A child was referred for assessment on 8 September 2016 but a letter from the HSE states that the child is currently scheduled for assessment in September 2018. Another was referred for assessment on 19 January 2017 but the HSE letter indicates that the waiting time for assessment is approximately 24 months. A third child was referred in January 2017 and was told by the HSE that the assessment would commence in April 2019, a full 27 months away. This is simply not good enough. That child is now over three years old and will be over five years old in two years’ time.

Early intervention is absolutely crucial in order to ensure that children with disabilities are properly looked after and have services provided for them. Vulnerable children with disabilities are being mistreated by the HSE and are being denied their legal rights. Does the Taoiseach condone the routine breach of the law by a State agency, namely, the HSE? What does he propose to do about it? Will he instruct the HSE to abide by the law and ensure that every child is assessed in accordance with the law?

The Taoiseach:   This is an important subject. The Government has prioritised disability by appointing Deputy Finian McGrath as Minister of State at the Department of Health to sit at the Cabinet table and articulate the concerns and anxieties relating to this area on a regular basis. Disability funding has increased over the past year and early intervention services and services for school-age children with disabilities need to be improved and organised more effectively. This process is well under way and the HSE is engaged in reconfiguring its therapy resources into geographically-based teams for children aged from birth to 18. The objective of the new model of assessment and intervention is to provide a single, clear referral pathway for all children, irrespective of the disability they have, where they live or the school they attend, as evidence shows that is an important element of progress.

Some €8 million in additional funding was invested in 2014-2015 in order to provide 200 additional posts to support the implementation of that model. A further €4 million in additional funding was allocated in respect of 75 therapy posts in 2016 and it is expected that, as this reconfiguration of services takes place, it will have a significant impact on the HSE’s ability to meet the needs of children and young people in a much more efficient, effective and equitable manner.

In 2013, 260 front-line primary care staff positions were approved.


That included 52 occupational therapists and 52 speech and language therapists. The aim is for that recruitment to continue which will lead to a reduction in waiting lists and times. A further €4 million was provided in that regard in 2014.

Since the June 2007 commencement of Part 2 of the Disability Act 2005, the HSE has endeavoured to meet its legislative requirements as specifically referred to by Deputy Healy. The number of applications for assessment under the Act has increased each year since it was introduced. It is anticipated that in excess of 6,000 applications will be received this year. It can take a significant period to determine accurately the nature of a disability which a child might have. Although there has been continual investment in this area, there are significant challenges in meeting the statutory timeframes which apply to the assessment of the needs process. The Minister of State at the Department of Health, Deputy McGrath, is dealing with the delay in assessments. He is trying to resolve those delays by direct consultation. There is an ongoing recruitment campaign to combat the issue of staff shortage. The Minister of State is working with the HSE to deal with this in order that the requirements of the Act can be met by the HSE and there are no delays beyond the period for assessment and determination of a disability.

Deputy Seamus Healy:   The Taoiseach has not answered the question. The HSE, which is a State agency, is breaking the law. I asked the Taoiseach if he condones that and if he will ensure that does not happen in the future. Unfortunately, since this Government has come to power and Deputy Finian McGrath has taken responsibility for the issue, the position has disimproved. We have gone from a situation where there was reasonable compliance with the law to one where we now have a waiting time of two years for the commencement of an assessment. The situation is being ignored. It has been raised in this House by several Deputies through parliamentary questions and as a Topical Issue matter. It has been ignored. The Taoiseach’s answer indicates that it is still being ignored. The current situation is that where an assessment of need has not been completed, there are consequent delays in the provision of children’s services such as speech and language therapy and the appointment of special needs assistants and resource teachers. The inaction of the HSE is unacceptable, deplorable and illegal. Does the Taoiseach condone that illegality and what he will do to ensure the HSE abides by the law?

The Taoiseach:   It is not acceptable for any State agency to be outside the legal requirements of what it has to do. The Minister of State at the Department of Health, Deputy McGrath, who has special responsibility for disability issues, sits at the Cabinet table, has a substantial budget and is working assiduously to deal with this issue. If there are 6,000 assessments to be carried out this year, more than 100 must take place each week. Many of these assessments are quite complex and take a period of time to assess accurately.

Deputy Seamus Healy:   I am concerned with assessments that have not been commenced. People have been waiting two years.

The Taoiseach:   As the Deputy knows, parents have every right to know the nature and scale of the disability that their child or children may have to deal with. The Act itself—–

Deputy Seamus Healy:   They are being left in limbo.

An Ceann Comhairle:   Will Deputy Healy please allow the Taoiseach to finish?

The Taoiseach:   There has been much collaboration between the health and education sectors on the issue of children’s disability. That is facilitated by the cross-sectoral team and the implementation of the Disability Act. That team comprises representatives of the Department of Health, the Department of Education and Skills, the Department of Children and Youth Affairs, the HSE executive, the National Council for Special Education and the National Educational Psychological Service. As Deputy Healy is aware, a detailed report was compiled by Mr. Eamon Stack, chairman of the National Council for Special Education, which sets out a progressive way of dealing with the issue. While waiting lists are unacceptable and should not exist, the Minister of State is at the forefront of dealing with the delays. In the near future, it is hoped the law in terms of assessment for children will be fully complied with, unlike the current situation where children have to wait for longer than they should.



Categories: Uncategorized


May 8, 2017 2 comments

The Socialist Revolution and the Right of Nations to Self-Determination-V. I. Lenin

“Victorious socialism must achieve complete democracy and, consequently, not only bring about the complete equality of nations, but also give effect to the right of oppressed nations to self-determination, i.e., the right to free political secession.”

The Principled Position Of All British Left Wing Organisation Should Be For the Full unity and Independence of Ireland and Complete Disengagement of the British State from Ireland. BUT WHAT IS THE REALITY?

The Position of British Left wing Groups on British disengagement from Ireland is a key ctiterion for assessing the political position of their Irish sister bodies and their own credentials as principled British revolutionaries.

Positions of British Left Wing Groups on Ireland

Jeremy Corbyn British Labour Party Leader:  “British Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn has reiterated his support for a united Ireland. Asked whether he supported unification during an interview with the New Statesman current magazine, Mr Corbyn answered, “it’s an aspiration that I have always gone along with”. Thu, Sep 24, 2015

From Their Websites:

Socialist Party UK (Trotskyist) (Irish Sister Bodies: SP(I) ,SP (NI), Solidarity (RoI), Labour Alternative (NI)
“Socialism and Internationalism
• No to imperialist wars and occupations”. (No  mention of British Occupation of Ireland-PH)
SWP UK (Trotskyist) Irish Sister Bodies SWP (I) PBP(I)
Against imperialism
Colin Barker continues his series on the ‘Where We Stand’ Socialist Workers Party statement of principles printed each week in Socialist Worker
“At many stop the war stalls British soldiers’ mothers and partners stop to sign petitions. They report what the soldiers themselves say: “We’re not there to help the Iraqis but to grab the oil.”At present Iraq is like a colony of the US, directly ruled on Washington’s orders. The US is building bases there, and trying to shape the new government. However, when direct US rule ends, imperialist control will continue.”-(No mention of British Occupation of Ireland-PH)
CP(UK) Irish Sister Organisation CP(I)
“The Communist Party supports the right of self-determination of the Irish people and campaigns for Britain to renounce all claims on Ireland.”
Socialist Fight (Trotskyist) Irish Sister Organisation None
“As socialists living in Britain we take our responsibilities to support the struggle against British imperialism’s occupation of the six north-eastern counties of Ireland very seriously. For this reason we have assisted in founding the Irish Republican Prisoners Support Group and we will campaign for political status these Irish prisoners of war and for a 32-county united Socialist Ireland. We reject all ‘two nations in Ireland’ theories.”


New Communist Party of Britain

“The party stands for the withdrawal of British troops from Northern Ireland and supports the “. . . struggle for Irish national independence and self-determination. The NCP demands a united sovereign Ireland free from all outside interference. . . . The NCP acknowledges the role of Sinn Fein as the vanguard force in the struggle for national liberation”. (New Communist Party: Documents of the 12th National Congress; London; 1997; p.32, p.34).


Categories: Uncategorized


April 25, 2017 Leave a comment


Text of Motion

“ That Dáil Éireann:
notes that:
Article 40.3.1° of the Constitution of Ireland states that the State guarantees in its laws to respect and, as far as practicable, by its laws to defend and vindicate the personal rights of the citizen;
Article 40.3.2° of the Constitution of Ireland states that the State shall, in particular, by its laws protect as best it may from unjust attack and, in the case of injustice done, vindicate the life, person, good name, and property rights of every citizen;
Article 43.1.1° of the Constitution of Ireland states that the State acknowledges that man, in virtue of his rational being, has the natural right, antecedent to positive law, to the private ownership of external goods;
Article 43.1.2° of the Constitution of Ireland states that the State accordingly guarantees to pass no law attempting to abolish the right of private ownership or the general right to transfer, bequeath, and inherit property;
Article 43.2.1° of the Constitution of Ireland states that the State recognises, however, that the exercise of the rights mentioned in the foregoing provisions of this Article ought, in civil society, to be regulated by the principles of social justice; and
Article 43.2.2° of the Constitution of Ireland states that the State, accordingly, may as occasion requires delimit by law the exercise of the said rights with a view to reconciling their exercise with the exigencies of the common good;
further notes:
the importance of the provisions that require protection of private property to be regulated by the principles of social justice and, accordingly, that the State may as occasion requires, such as the current housing and homelessness emergency, delimit by law the exercise of the said rights with a view to reconciling their exercise with the exigencies of the common good;
the statement of the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government in the Irish Examiner on 11th May, 2016, ‘I think we have a national emergency that needs a response that is comprehensive and so I have been working late hours trying to start the process of putting that response together’;
the call for the declaration of a national housing emergency by the Irish Congress of Trade Unions and the Peter McVerry Trust;
the recent statement by the Jesuit Centre For Faith and Justice that ‘As we mark the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, we need to recognise that housing deprivation is one of the most serious forms of poverty in the Ireland of today and that in recent years the housing system has become the locus of some of the deepest inequality evident in our society…the Jesuit Centre is calling for a new direction for housing policy in Ireland, one based on recognising that housing is a fundamental human right’; and
that a legislative precedent for declaring a national emergency exists in the Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest Acts of 2009, 2013 and 2015;
affirms that during the current Emergency in housing and homelessness the State is entitled to delimit by law the exercise of private property rights; and
calls on the Government to bring forward legislation affirming that a national housing emergency exists and, while that housing emergency exists and in order to end that emergency as quickly as possible, the state is enabled to bring forward measures which, in the public interest, impinge on private property rights in matters relating to housing provision in accordance with Articles 43.2.1° and 43.2.2° of the Constitution of Ireland in the matter of the exercise of private property rights.” — Seamus Healy



Why have we not Had A Demonstration of 100,000 To The Dáil to Change Government Housing Policy??

Over 30 TDS Voted FOR The Formal Declaration By Dail Eireann o a Housing Emergency to enable evictions and termination of Tenancies to be halted by Law.
THE ENTIRE LEFT and SINN Fein Are Doing Something Wro
Why have we not Had A Demonstration of 100,000 To The Dáil to Change Government Housing Policy??

World Homeless Day-Protest outside Dail Tuesday October 10

Child Homelessness in Ireland has risen above 3000 for first time!

Budget Day, Tuesday ,October 10, is World Homeless Day



Government Housing Policy Continues–House Prices Rising TWICE AS FAST as a Year Ago

Co Tipperary: Price of 3 Bed Semi-D Increases faster than national average of 3.1% over last 3 months – REA Average House Price Survey

Price of House in Tipp 147,500E    Sept 17

Price of House in Tipp 141,691E   June 17

Increase=5,809 in 3 months=4.1%

Or an average increase of 447E per week

Independent.ie  Newsdesk
  September 25 2017 7:03 AM

The average three bed semi-detached house nationally has risen by 3.1pc to €221,843 from215,713 since June, as the housing crisis continues to grow.  6130/13=471.5 perweek

This means that the average price for a home is jumping by €500 every week.

Overall, the average house price across the country has risen by 11.2pc over the past 12 months.

The three-bed semis – which are the most common type of family home in Ireland – are now increasing in price at a rate of almost twice as fast as they were 12 months ago.e hits nMeanwhile in Dublin the average price of a three-bed semi-detached home has jumped in value by €17,000 in the three months to the end of September, and now costs an average of €431,500.

The 4.1pc rise over the last quarter means that prices in the capital’s postcode areas have increased by 15.6pc over the past year, with properties selling in an average of four weeks after hitting the market, according to the third quarter REA Average House Price Survey


Time for a One-Day General Strike on Housing-Seamus Healy TD

Listen Live To Seamus’ Dail Speech  https://youtu.be/UKRKNPEeIAA

Ictu wants Government to declare national housing emergency

Sarah Bardon,  Wednesday, September 20, 2017, 00:01

The Irish Congress of Trade Unions (Ictu) will on Wednesday call on the Government to declare a national emergency on housing.

In a new policy paper, Ictu strongly criticises the Government for failing to tackle the housing crisis, and calls for initiatives to be introduced in Budget 2018.

A sharp increase in the output of social housing to a rate of at least 10,000 per annum by late 2018 or early 2019, the introduction of a 6 per cent vacant site levy and the use of compulsory purchase orders are some of the proposals made by the Ictu.

In its housing policy document it says the key priority for the State is to avoid reliance on the private sector, and increase the build of social housing dramatically. The local authorities, it says, should drive the building with the financial assistance of the State.

The focus initially should be on the five areas of greatest social housing need – Dublin, Cork, Limerick, Galway and Waterford.

The paper, seen by The Irish Times, reads: “It should be clearly understood that this target should only be pursued as part of an integrated strategy of well-planned, mixed-income housing, with an equal third going to social, affordable rental and affordable purchase housing provided by local authorities.

Weak public services

“We do not want a return to the large-scale, poorly planned estates located on the outskirts of major urban areas with few facilities and weak public services.

“Social housing must be provided in the context of new spatial and environmental plans at local authority and regional level that address transport, water, waste and social services’ needs.”

The unions stress the failure to invest in housing will cost the State in the long-term, and will make Ireland unattractive to external investment.

The Ictu says compulsory purchase orders should be used to acquire vacant land and homes, while a vacant site levy should be brought forward for introduction in 2018 at a rate of 6 per cent. It insists all monies generated from such a system should be ring-fenced for homelessness services.

The paper says the issue has affected every person in the country, and requires a multi-dimensional approach involving a significantly enhanced role for local authorities

Human suffering

“Given the extent of human suffering caused by this public policy failure, as well as the economic damage it is doing, the housing situation should be treated as an emergency. This is not a matter of choice, but an absolute necessity.”

Greater flexibility from Europe is also required to allow for off-balance sheet investments, it adds.

The Ictu has also called for the abolishment of the first-time buyer scheme, claiming it is a wasteful use of public money that is increasing house prices to the benefit of the seller.

The money, it says, should be allocated to local authorities, and used to expand housing supply and thereby reduce price increases for first-time buyers.

Meanwhile, the Dáil will on Wednesday discuss a proposal by People Before Profit/Solidarity to have a referendum to insert the right to housing into the Constitution and to delimit private property rights.


Fake Housing Summit Fails to Formally Declare a National Housing Emergency as Central Bank Predicts Increase in Evictions and Repossessions as Vultures Sell Off and Prepare to Leave

Murphy’s social housing plan ‘falls far short’-Irish Examiner, 09/09/2017

Plans to increase the number of social houses being built “fall far short” of what is required to address the escalating crisis, a key homeless charity has claimed.

Focus Ireland said the meeting had produced some positive proposals, but had failed to live up to the expectations created by the decision to bill it as a summit.

Focus Ireland director of advocacy, Mike Allen, said the proposals announced were “dominated by managing the emergency rather than tackling the problem”.

Mr Allen said the plans failed to address areas that the organisation had identified as crucial, including a vacant homes tax, legislative action to stop evictions from buy-to-let properties, and increases in housing assistance payments to match rent hikes.



“Government must now step in and declare a national housing emergency and  act accordingly.

We abandoned the housing market to private developers and let profit

become the key driver of housing provision.

The market has failed.

Given that this is an emergency, compulsory purchase orders must be utilised

as a matter of urgency to ensure available serviced land is put to good use,

while the introduction the vacant site levy should be brought forward

from January 2019.”


ICTU Made A Similar Call in Early July Through Secretary General, Patrocia King . Government totally ignored the ICTU call. When will ICTU  actually DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT?


Government Failure on Homelessness Due to Putting Property Rights Ahead of the Interests of Tenants –Focus Ireland

Irish Times   Sat, Sept 2, 2017

Charities involved in helping homeless families have criticised the Minister for Housing for claiming “ideology” does not play a role in the housing crisis.

Focus Ireland Advocacy Manager Roughan MacNamara told The Irish Times: “We’re never going to tackle this problem if we don’t reduce the flow of people coming into homelessness.

“There is a failure to understand how critical that obvious point is that you need to cut the numbers coming in and not just look at the emergency measures when they’re homeless.

This is a question of ideology. It’s putting property rights ahead of the rights of tenants.”

The housing charity criticised the Government for voting down the so-called Focus Ireland anti-homelessness amendment late last year which called for an end to evictions of tenants in buy-to-let properties that were being sold or repossessed.


Surge in Homeless In July 2017

Mike Allen, head of advocacy with Focus Ireland, described the increased homeless figures “shocking” .

He said 99 families had presented as newly homeless in Dublin in July, a record high for the past 18 months. “The reduced inflow we had been seeing at the end of 2016 and earlier this year has gone entirely and we are back to rising inflow figures.”

The number of homeless children in all forms of emergency accommodation in Dublin during the week July 24th-30th was 2,423 in 1,178 families an increase of 153 children and an increase of 63 families in 1 month

Irish Times Kitty Holland   Sept 1, 2017



Launch of #MyNameis , a Campaign by Inner City Helping Homeless (ICHH) to Highlight the 2,895 Children who are without a Home in Ireland today

“We are facing into this crisis that’s escalating, the potential scenario of up to 6,000 children being homeless in Dublin Alone by 2020.”-Dr Rory Hearne, TASC

A home repossession “guillotine is on the way down”, dwarfing the current homeless crisis and creating a huge catastrophe.  David Hall (IMHO)

‘An entire Croke Park of people could end up homeless’

Joyce Fegan , Irish Examiner, Tuesday, August 29, 2017

A home repossession “guillotine is on the way down”, dwarfing the current homeless crisis and creating a huge catastrophe.

That is according to the CEO of the Irish Mortgage Holders’ Organisation (IMHO), David Hall, based on a recent discussion he had with a major bank.

“We think we have a problem at the moment, for those of us dealing with people who are in mortgage arrears, there are 33,000 families in arrears of more than two years,” said Mr Hall.

“There are 15,000 people in long-term arrears in buy-to-let properties. Each of those represents, depending whatever statistical analysis you want to do, three-and-a-half bodies.

“That’s an entire Croke Park of people that will dwarf this housing crisis and turn it into a complete catastrophe.”

David Hall of the Irish Mortgage Holders’ Organisation says there are 33,000 families in arrears of more than two years.

He was speaking at the launch of #MyNameis yesterday, a campaign by Inner City Helping Homeless (ICHH) to highlight the 2,895 children who are without a home in Ireland today.“The problem now is the ECB [European Central Bank] is saying: ‘Eighteen months, lads [to clear loan books].’“I met one of the major banks two weeks ago and I said to him: ‘I’m aware the guillotine is going to drop in 18 months,’ and he interrupted me and said: ‘Forget about 18 months’ time, David. The guillotine is on the way down.’

“And that will mean fast and furious loan sales of family homes to protect the balance sheet of their portfolios and there is a small, tiny window of maybe 12 months [to address this].”

Also speaking yesterday was economist Rory Hearne, who recently co-authored Investing in the Right to a Home: Housing, HAPs [housing assistant payments] and Hubs. He said 3,000 housing units could be built within 12 months.

Rory Hearne: 3,000 homes could be built on State-owned land in 12 months ‘if the will was there and the capital funding was allocated’.

“The most recent study that was done by the Government’s housing management group found that there were 730 hectares of State-owned land ready for building to launch a programme of construction,” said Mr Hearne.

“That includes a significant amount of land in Dublin’s inner city. The public land is sitting there.

“They could build two to 3,000 housing units within 12 months if the will was there and the capital funding was allocated to it. That is the solution that is there otherwise we are facing into this crisis that’s escalating, the potential scenario of up to 6,000 children being homeless in Dublin by 2020.”

During the research for his paper on housing, Mr Hearne spoke to a number of families already living in emergency accommodation and detailed the impact it has on children and parents.

“We saw directly the impact on children of being homeless and you can see, over time, the deterioration,” said Mr Hearne. “It’s basic things. It’s going to school in the morning knowing they don’t have a home to go back to. It’s basic things like watching the worry and stress in their parents not being able to
access a home.

“Different parents told us that their child was asking: ‘When are we going to go home?’ And the parents having to say: ‘Well this is our home for the moment.’ ”

Anthony Flynn, CEO of ICHH, said he has visited the hubs that homeless families are now being placed in as an emergency accommodation measure instead of hotels and B&Bs, and said they are run like direct provision centres.

Anthony Flynn, left, and Michael Caul at the launch of #MyNameIs, a social media campaign to highlight homelessness. Picture: Gareth Chaney Collins

“The hubs are being portrayed as the answer to the housing crisis and they’re not,” said Mr Flynn.

“It’s basically direct provision. You eat at this time, you drink at that time, and you go to bed at that time.

“Let’s inspect the units that they’re not showing us that we have families in. They’re unacceptable. You’ve urine-soaked mattresses, blood-stained mattresses. You’ve shower units that have sewage coming back up into the basins. We’ve got photographs.”

The #MyNameis campaign got underway yesterday with posters of homeless children’s faces going up right around the country.

The campaign was initiated after reports emerged of three children, aged six, nine, and 11, being given sleeping bags in the capital this summer when no emergency accommodation was available.

The organisers are asking people to use the hashtag #MyNameis on social media to start conversations about homelessness, to lobby councillors, TDs or prospective political candidates on the issue, and to get people to reflect on their skill or trade to see if they can volunteer an hour of their time to help an organisation in their area.


Rents at all time high, supply all time low – Daft.ie

“Housing Catastrophe coming down the road”- Fr McVerry  Interview on Radio

“For example Cerberus is to repossess 2,900 dwellings-77 court cases already taken in 2017

Only 75 local authority houses built in entire state last year.

 Government must make it illegal for banks or landlords to evict people into homelessness—Acquire property for social housing by compulsory purchase order if necessary

Some landlords are keeping property vacant so that they can sell it at a profit in a few years time, that is not acceptable. Government policy has failed.”


Rents at all time high, supply all time low – Daft.ie

As Governments Protects Big Landlords and the Super-Rich and FG-Ind Alliance-FF-Greens Oppose Formal Declaration of a Housing Emergency

RTE News  Tuesday, 22 Aug 2017 01:59

The average monthly rent nationwide in the second quarter of this year was €1,159, up 12%.

Average rental prices reached a new record high during the first six months of this year, while supply is at an all-time low.

That’s according to the latest rental report by property website, Daft.ie.

€1,159 – that’s the average monthly rent nationwide in the second quarter of this year, up 12%.

Daft.ie says this is the fifth quarter in a row a new all-time high has been set.

In Dublin, the increase in rents in the year to June was over 12%.

That means rents in the capital are up €260 a month since their previous peak in 2008.

Elsewhere, rents rose by 6.8% in Cork, while in Galway the average rent is €732 – 10% higher than a year previously.

At €525, Leitrim is the county with the cheapest average monthly rent.

The property website also says that there were just under 3,000 properties available to rent nationwide on August 1 – the lowest number they have ever recorded.

In its response to the latest Daft.ie figures, the Peter McVerry Trust has urged the Government to fund the building of affordable rental housing.

The national housing and homeless charity says the rising cost of rent is the main source of new homeless cases.

Focus Ireland has said the Government review of Rebuilding Ireland must include immediate action to ease the rental crisis and to get more vacant homes back into the housing stock.

Reacting to the latest Daft report, the Labour party’s spokesperson on Housing, Jan O’Sullivan, said it shows the absolute failure of the Government’s Rent Pressure Zone model to slow the pace of increases in the rental market.


Census Shows 765 Children Under 4 among  Almost 7000 Homeless !

Barnardos, Fr McVerry Support Call For FORMAL DECLARATION OF NATIONAL HOUSING  EMERGENCY Made By Seamus Healy TD In Dáil over 6 months ago 

People Facing  Homelessness Should Know:

Those who opposed the Amendment of Seamus Healy TD to the Housing Bill Declaring a National Housing Emergency are responsible

GOVERNMENT DEFEATED Amendment Calling For Formal Declaration of a National Housing Emergency with Support of Independent Alliance ,Labour Party and the Greens.  Fianna Fail and Rural Independents ABSTAINED



Housing Minister Coveney explained to the Dáil that he was advised by Attorney General Mara Whelan that due to the protection of private property clause in the Irish  Constitution the imposition on private property owners had to be “proportional”.

Accordingly he insisted that the property owner could evict tenants on sale of the property  unless the  the number of dwellings  being sold exceeded ten dwellings. The  landlord could also insist on the tenant leaving if the sale price with vacant possession exceeded the sale price with a continuing tenant by more than 20%

Seamus Healy TD pointed out that the protection of private property in the Constitution is not absolute but is subject to the public good. Accordingly the declaration of a national housing emergency would enable   all tenants to be protected. The government had already declared a national financial emergency which enabled private property in pensions to be confiscated. But it was refusing to make a similar declaration in the matter of housing which would enable tenants to keep a roof over their heads

Amendment to Housing Bill to Prevent Evictions by Seamus Healy TD

Deputy Seamus Healy: I move amendment No. 53:

In page 38, between lines 2 and 3, to insert the following:

“29. Dáil Éireann formally declares that a housing emergency exists in the State and while this emergency continues the right of any person to remain in the dwelling in which the person currently resides will take precedence over any property right of any other person—

(a) accordingly no court or other authority shall order the removal of the current occupant of a dwelling, or by its decisions enable such removal notwithstanding the provisions of any Act currently in force including the provisions of the Land and Conveyancing Law Reform Act 2013,

(b) the housing emergency declared in this section can only be terminated by a vote of Dáil Éireann, and the Government, including any Minister of the Government, are precluded from annulling the housing emergency without approval in such a vote,

(c) in view of the housing emergency declared here, the power of any Minister of Government to raise the market value threshold of €75,000 for single or multiple dwellings for consideration of possession of dwellings cases by the Circuit Court by activating or commencing sections of existing Acts without approval by a vote of Dáil Éireann, is cancelled.”.

I will speak particularly to amendments Nos. 53 and 80. The former concerns the declaration of a housing emergency; the latter is the Focus Ireland amendment regarding buy-to-let properties and the eviction of tenants on the sale of such properties.

The Government proposals in the Bill will mean that tenants in buy-to-let properties being sold by landlords will have to leave the property if the landlord can get at least 20% more in the sale price with vacant possession than with continuing tenants. At a time of a huge lack of housing, it is lawful under the Bill to evict a tenant in order that the landlord can secure 20% extra on a sale, which is outrageous. It is cruel and anti-human. Focus Ireland tells us that a third of homeless people have had to leave buy-to-let properties on the sale of those properties. Children in these cases must go to a hotel, temporary accommodation, hostel accommodation or other unsuitable accommodation in order that a landlord can make more money from a sale. This situation is dealt with in other jurisdictions to the effect that on the sale of a property by a landlord, the tenancy continues. We simply must ensure that such a measure is adopted here and that tenants are treated reasonably, fairly and respectfully and that they are not thrown out on the road when buy-to-let landlords sell properties. There are already 2,500 children and 6,800 adults who are homeless. We are adding to these figures and we simply must stop that.

This is all in the context of the Government itself evicting householders and families through the banks it owns, namely, AIB, PTSB and EBS. In response to a question asked at a recent Oireachtas finance committee meeting, a representative of AIB said 2,879 court hearings relating to owner-occupied mortgage debt were in progress at the end of June of this year and 767 orders for possession had been granted. This has been widely reported in the press and was dealt with at the committee. We own Allied Irish Banks. The Minister can instruct the bank not to continue with repossessions. Such repossessions are adding to our housing crisis and emergency.

This year is the 100th anniversary of 1916. The first Dáil in 1919 proclaimed:

We declare in the words of the Irish Republican Proclamation the right of the people of Ireland to the ownership of Ireland, and to the unfettered control of Irish destinies to be indefeasible, and in the language of our first President. Pádraíg Mac Phiarais, we declare that the Nation’s sovereignty extends not only to all men and women of the Nation, but to all its material possessions, the Nation’s soil and all its resources, all the wealth and all the wealth-producing processes within the Nation, and with him we reaffirm that all right to private property must be subordinated to the public right and welfare.

The 1916 Proclamation reads, “We declare the right of the people of Ireland to the ownership of Ireland and to the unfettered control of Irish destinies, to be sovereign and indefeasible.”

We have an absolute housing emergency. The Minister has acknowledged this on numerous occasions. However, he and his Government refuse to have such an emergency declared in Dáil Éireann. They are prepared to declare a financial emergency and have done so and extended that emergency in June to ensure cuts to the pay and pensions of public service workers but they refuse to declare an emergency to ensure that families have roofs over their heads, that evictions are stopped and that we have rent certainty and security of tenure. Unfortunately, not alone will the Bill before us not help the situation, but it will make matters worse. It is a pretence. As I said earlier, tenants can be removed from buy-to-let properties in the circumstances I have outlined. We need to stop this. We need to support the Focus Ireland amendment to ensure that tenants, on the sale of these buy-to-let properties by landlords, remain in their properties and that we do not add to the already very difficult and traumatic situation faced by families and children.

The declaration of a housing emergency by this Dáil is absolutely necessary to ensure we can deal with the housing emergency and to ensure the right to a roof over one’s head takes priority over private property. Everything else in the Bill and the many other suggestions, such as the rent strategy, are all very fine but they do not deal fundamentally with the problem we have. The declaration of a housing emergency is required to stop, as I said, the evictions, to ensure rent certainty and rent control and to build local authority houses.

This Government and previous Governments have refused to build local authority houses since about 2002. They privatised the local authority housing. Local authorities have not been allowed to build houses since about 2002. I think 75 houses were built last year. In the 1970s, we built up to 10,000 local authority houses every year. We simply must get back to this level of building because there are huge numbers of families out there who will never be able to buy their own home. Because of the manner in which families now get on local authority lists – or maybe do not – a very significant section of the population neither qualifies for a loan or a mortgage nor to get on the local authority list. They are caught in the middle with absolutely no support whatever. They cannot rub two euro together. They exist, unfortunately, from hand to mouth. I meet them every day of the week, as I am sure many, if not all, Deputies meet similar people. They are caught in a situation in which they neither have a mortgage nor are they on a local authority housing list. The income limit for local authority housing lists has been slashed, as has the number of local authority mortgages and bank mortgages given out to people who are effectively working but who are the working poor. These people find themselves paying astronomical and extortionate rents in many cases. I came across a case recently in which a landlord had increased the rent from €560 per month to €750 per month, and that is not the only case. Rents are simply unaffordable for everybody, but particularly for this category of people who do not even qualify for the HAP scheme, as bad as the HAP scheme is.

Deputy Catherine Connolly TD and Barrister:

Catherine Connolly:  “I agree with Deputy Seamus Healy on the need for the Government to declare a national emergency. He has asked for it as have I and other Dáil colleagues. Although there is a national housing emergency, the Government has not declared it.”

VOTE ON CALL FOR DEClaration of Housing Emergency

Amendment put:

The Dáil divided: Tá, 34; Staon, 24; Níl, 59.

Staon Níl
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Tellers: Tá, Deputies Seamus Healy and Ruth Coppinger; Níl, Deputies Regina Doherty and Tony McLoughlin.

Amendment declared lost.

The Dáil divided: Tá, 34; Staon, 24; Níl, 59.

Tá  Independent Seamus Healy,Rural Independent Michael Collins, Sinn Féin,AAA, PBP,Independents 4 Change

Formal Abstention, Fianna Fail

Against     LABOUR, INDEPENDENT ALLIANCE (Including Finian McGrath), Rural Independent Michael Fitmaurice, Indepenent Michael Lowry, Fine Gael

Missing : Rural Independent Mattie McGrath,Independent Dr Harty,  D Healy Rae, M Healy Rae, John Halligan (Independent alliance),Some FF and FG Deputies also missing


Seamus has officially complained to Ceann Chomhairle that the Minister made no attempt to answer the specific questions asked and has sought that the Minister be instructed to answer the questions asked-Paddy


DÁIL QUESTION addressed to the Minister for Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy)
by Deputy Seamus Healy
for WRITTEN ANSWER on 12/07/2017

To ask the Minister for Housing; Planning; Community and Local Government his views on a media report by a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Details Supplied)

Interview With Patricia King on Morning Ireland

Will he agree that “We now have a housing emergency and that the Market system has failed and is entirely dysfunctional in housing and that Local authorities should be immediately funded to build social housing with State and Local authority Lands being used to build social housing only That enough of the 200,000 voids identified in Census to solve the crisis should be taken over quite quickly, using Compulsory Purchase Orders (CPOs) where necessary; That 3.5 billion from AIB share sale should not be used to pay down debt but to build social housing-there are over 90,000 families on housing lists; That we do have a choice , That we must tell Financial Europe-“We do need to write down the debt but you have to wait-our housing needs come first”” and Will He and his government IMPLEMENT The Actions Advocated by The ICTU General Secretary; Interview With Patricia King on Morning Ireland


This Government recognises the housing access and affordability pressures faced by many households, particularly in certain parts of the country. It is for this reason that the overarching objective of  the Rebuilding Ireland Action Plan for Housing and Homelessness is to increase the supply of new homes to 25,000 per annum by 2020 and, in particular, to boost the supply of high quality social and affordable homes, to buy or rent, as quickly as possible, in areas where demand is greatest.

With particular regard to the needs of those on the social housing waiting lists, Rebuilding Ireland set a target of delivering 47,000 social housing units through build, refurbishment, acquisition and leasing over the period to 2021, alongside an accelerated roll-out of the Housing Assistance Payment Scheme to some 80,000 households.

This activity is being supported through a significantly increased investment programme of €5.35 billion, comprising €4.5 billion in capital funding and €844 million in support of programmes funded from current expenditure.  A further €226 million is provided for the Local Infrastructure Housing Activation Fund for investment in key enabling infrastructure to open up lands for early development.

While still at an early stage of implementation, there is already strong evidence that the focus on increasing and accelerating housing supply in Rebuilding Ireland is yielding results.  In terms of social housing, in 2016, the housing needs of over 19,000 households were met through a range of social housing programmes, supported by expenditure of over €935 million.  A further €1.3 billion has been provided in 2017 to support the accelerated delivery of social housing and the achievement of the 2017 target to meet the housing needs of over 21,000 households.

In terms of housing more broadly, a suite of measures have been put in place to make housing construction viable at more affordable price points, including the €226m Local Infrastructure Housing Activation Fund; leveraging the value of State-owned lands to deliver a more affordable rental offering in Rent Pressure Zones; streamlined planning systems for housing developments; and other planning reforms to provide flexibility to deliver viable housing schemes and apartment developments in the right locations.  In addition, analysis of vacant dwellings data from the Census 2016 provides strong evidence for targeted policies to maximise the number of vacant properties that can be brought back into use, especially in our cities and large towns where demand is greatest.

While we are coming from a low base, all recent key indicators show that the house-building sector is continuing to gather strength and pace. Planning permissions for 17,934 new homes were granted in the twelve-month period to end March 2017, representing a 39% increase year on year. Commencement Notices for 15,579 new homes nationwide were submitted in the twelve-month period to end May 2017, a 42% increase year on year. ESB connections for the twelve-month period to end May 2017 reached 16,340 across the country, showing a 19% increase year on year.  Furthermore, the recently published RTB Rent Index shows a significant moderation in the rate of rent increases, with rents virtually flat during the first quarter of 2017.

While this is encouraging, considerable further progress is needed and we will continue to closely monitor trends in that regard. In addition, a focused review of Rebuilding Ireland is now underway, targeted for completion in September. The aim of the review is to build on the significant progress already being made, strengthen the measures in place and identify additional measures to underpin further momentum in the months and years ahead.





Limerick families facing eviction as fund seeks to sell off city apartments



Nick Rabbitts

Limerick Leader 20 Apr 2017

esidents Alex Grigorjeus, Alan McCarthy and Ryan Mowat with Cllr Gilligan

UP to 14 families are facing eviction from their homes in Limerick city as their new landlord seeks to sell on the apartments.

Residents in a number of two bed apartments at Fishermans Quay at the Grove Island woke up on Good Friday morning to notices informing them they had to leave their homes on various dates throughout the summer.

The letters sent on behalf of their landlord, Munster Pensioner Trustees Ltd, state that due to the fact they intend selling the property, the current tenants must “vacate and give up possession of the dwelling”.

The Leader understands the pension fund purchased the properties earlier this year.

Residents have pledged to fight to stay in their homes and have gained the support of local Independent councillor John Gilligan, who said that while the landlord’s action is legal, “it’s almost certainly immoral”.

Alan McCarthy, who lives with his only son Daniel, 19, in one of the apartments, said once he received the termination notice he “couldn’t stop being sick”.

“My whole life has been turned upside down. I had just come back from walking on the Canal Bank and a poor swan had hit the wire. I had to dive him to save him from drowning. I thought I had my good deed done for the day. But no good deed goes unpunished apparently,” he said.

Alan – who pays rent of €550 a month – added: “I think it’s all about money. Someone is trying to make a fast buck at our expense”.

The Property Price Register, the national database of all residential sales, currently lists two apartments as sold at Fishermans Quay. One sold for €111,000, the other for €89,300, both in the last month.

A number of other apartments in the complex are on the market from €100,000, while a unit there was recently listed for rent at €900 per month.

Alan also criticised the timing of the letter, adding: “It just suggests a total lack of any heart. I’m not particularly religious, but on Good Friday – come on! That’s not particularly nice.”

The letter was dated Thursday, April 13, but Alan says he received it the following morning.

Ryan Mowat, 20, has lived in the complex for five years with his father Andy.

He said: “We were shocked, and taken aback. We’ve been living here the last five years and have never been happier.

“To get a letter telling us to pack up and go – because we don’t want you – is not right.”

Cllr Gilligan condemned the letters, saying: “These people will have no place to go. These people have the indignity of being kicked out on the side of the road.

“These are hard working decent families who should not be treated like this. Nobody should accept this kind of treatment by a faceless individual.”

Munster Pensioner Trustees Ltd – which has an address in Castletroy – referred queries from the Leader onto the management firm in the area Kersten Mehl Property Management.

Mr Mehl said: “We have managed this complex for the last eight years. I received instructions to issue these notices on a number of two bedroom apartments, as the landlord wished to sell them.”

While local residents claim 14 apartments are subject to these notices, Mr Mehl said that number is closer to eight.


Categories: Uncategorized

European Economic and Political Crisis

April 16, 2017 Leave a comment

Following the Brexit Referendum and the commencement of the Article 50 process of Britain leaving the EU, Europe now faces a presidential election followed by a General Election a year later.

FRANCE -THE CHOICE by Michael Roberts

It’s only a week to go before the first round of the French presidential election and it seems that the race is wide open.  Only two candidates can take part in the second round in May.  But who will those two be?  Extreme right-wing Front National candidate Marine Le Pen has been the front runner in the polls over the last year, but her support has been slipping.  Ex-socialist minister and centrist darling of the bourgeois media, Emmanuel Macron is neck and neck with Le Pen, both at around 22-23%.  The official conservative (Republican) candidate Francois Fillon should be ahead, but he has been damaged by the expenses scandal of his wife and children getting huge government-funded salaries for parliamentary work which they did not do.  Even so, Fillon is getting about 18-19% share of those saying they will vote.  The big surprise in the last few weeks had been the rise of Leftist candidate Jean-Luc Melenchon, whose polling has leapt from 10-11% to around 19% now.  In so doing, the official Socialist party candidate, Benoit Hamon, has seen his vote slump to 6-7%.

It is still most likely that it will be Le Pen and Macron in the second round, with Macron more than likely to win the presidency by some distance over Le Pen.  But all combinations are possible, with the worst for French capital being a battle between leftist Eurosceptic, anti-NATO Melenchon and racist Eurosceptic Le Pen.

Back in February I analysed the state of the French economy, the second-largest in mainland Europe and one of top ten capitalist economies globally.  The profitability of French capital is at a post-war low (profitability is still down a staggering 22% since the peak just before the global financial crash in 2007), real GDP growth is only just over 1% a year, well below that of Germany.  The unemployment rate remains stuck close to 10% compared to just 3.9% in Germany.  Youth unemployment is 24%. Business investment has stagnated in the ‘recovery’ since 2009.

Because of the actions of the French labour movement, inequalities of income and wealth have not risen as much as in other G7 countries like the US and the UK in the last 30 years.

Neoliberal policies have been less effective in getting profitability up and workers down under the thumb of capital.  French capital needs a president that can and will do this now.  Can it find one?

If we look at the programs of each candidate, we can see it is Francois Fillon who offers the best programme for the interests of French capital.  Fillon aims to end the key gain of the French labour movement, the official 35-week, often firmly enforced.  Under Fillon, workers would have to put in 39 hours before overtime or time-off in lieu is paid.  Fillon would slash the public sector workforce by 500,000 (or 10%), while increasing the working week for those who keep their jobs.  The retirement age would be raised to 65 from 62 now and everybody would have to work to that age or face pension loss.  Unemployment benefits would be cut.

Severe fiscal austerity would be imposed with a cut in public sector spending from the (astronomically high for capitalism) 57% of GDP to 50%, with a ‘balanced budget’. The cuts would be necessary because Fillon wants to cut corporate tax rates to 25% and other ‘burdens’ on the business sector, while raising VAT for purchases by French households by 2% pts.  He would scrap the current wealth tax on the rich. One area of extra spending would be more police and more prisons, while reducing gay rights.

This is an outright neo-liberal program that no French president has been able to impose successfully in the last 30 years.  But French capital demands it.  Unfortunately, for big business, Fillon is unlikely to make the presidency.

But what of Macron, the ex-banker and socialist minister, the man most likely to get into the Elysee Palace (the French White House)?  Macron’s program is a mix that attempts to appeal to labour and capital, as though they could be reconciled.  He wants to merge public and private pension and benefit schemes.  He claims that he will get the unemployment rate down to 7% through an investment plan.  And yet he plans to cut public sector spending and run a tight budget.

Like Fillon, he would cut corporate tax for businesses to 25% of declared profits.  He keeps the 35-hour week, but companies would be allowed to ‘negotiate’ a longer week.  Low-wage earners would be exempted from certain social welfare levies, a measure that would put an extra month’s wage per year in the employee’s pocket (but no clarity on how this would be paid for, except through ‘higher growth’).  He too would boost police and prisons but also provide a ‘payment for culture’ to students and reduce school class sizes.  He would cut the number of MPs and reduce time for re-election of officials, while banning Fillon-type payments to family members. This programme is thus a mix of help to business and wishful thinking for labour.  But it seems to appeal to just enough voters over the neoliberal alternative of Fillon.

Both Fillon and Macron are pro-EU and pro-euro.  This is the one big policy difference with Le Pen and Melenchon.  Le Pen’s program is a mixture of racist, anti-immigrant, anti-EU policies alongside pro-labour measures for the public sector and wages.  Le Pen would ‘re-negotiate’ the EU treaty with the rest of the EU and if that failed, call a referendum on leaving the EU within six months.  If French voters decided to stay in the EU, she would resign the presidency.  If they voted to leave, France would end the euro as its currency and re-introduce the franc.  Such a policy would be shattering for the French economy and probably sound the death-knell of the EU and the euro as we know it.

Le Pen would get on with ending immigration, strip many French muslims of citizenship, revoke international trade treaties and NATO operations and confine free education to French citizens only.  Companies employing foreigners would pay an extra 10% tax and foreign imports would be subject to a 3% tax.  And, of course, the police forces would be expanded.

Like the Brexiters in the UK referendum, she claims that she can cut taxes on average households and raise welfare benefits by saving money on EU membership and regulations (that has turned out to be a myth in the UK, where austerity has increased).  The number of MPS would be halved.

But Le Pen also aims to help (small) business with lower taxes.  And instead of raising the retirement age, as Fillon proposes, she would cut it to 60 years, increase benefits to the old and to children, while keeping the working week at 35 hours and overtime tax-free!

Le Pen’s economic policy is thus anathema to French capital and attractive to French labour, but combined with racist and nationalist measures.  But, of course, there is no real attack on the hegemony of French big business.  So this policy of raising wages and benefits while leaving the euro and introducing protectionism, in an economic world of low growth and a possible new economic slump, is utopian. Neither the needs of labour nor capital will be met.

When we turn to Melenchon, we see a similar utopianism, if from the perspective of defending the interests of labour over capital.  His economic program is similar to that of Corbyn’s Labour in the UK, if going further.  He proposes a 100-billion-euro economic stimulus plan funded by government borrowing and some nationalisation in sectors such as the motorway network.  He says he would raise public spending by 275 billion euros to fund the plan, to raise minimum and public sector wages, create jobs to reduce the unemployment rate to 6% and also, like Le Pen, cut the retirement age to 60.

This extra spending would, Keynesian-like, fund itself from higher economic growth and employment.  But with big business needing profits to invest, calling for more taxes on business (as well as the rich), may deliver the opposite of faster growth.  At the same time, he too would cut corporate tax rates to 25%!

Melenchon would also renegotiate the EU treaties, ignore the EU fiscal austerity pact, call for a devaluation of the euro, take national control of the Banque de France from the ECB and leave NATO and the IMF.  And following Le Pen, if these measures are blocked, he would have a referendum on EU membership.

Melenchon’s program is similar to that of socialist Francois Mitterand (although somewhat less radical than Mitterand’s) when the latter won the presidency in 1981.  He too wanted to take France on an independent line from the rest of Europe in expanding the economy through public spending, nationalisation and more taxes on business and the rich.  That program fell down in face of the deep global slump in 1980-2, when financial investors fled France and the franc.  The choice then was for Mitterand to go the whole hog and take control from French capital or capitulate to neoliberal policies.  He chose the latter with his so-called “tournant de la rigueur” (austerity turn) in 1983.  That choice would soon face Melenchon, in the unlikely event that he won the presidency.

Apart from the economic utopianism of Le Pen and Melenchon under capitalism, they both face an immediate political problem.  In June, the French vote for a new National Assembly, which, at least right now, would probably elect a majority of conservative pro-capital, pro-EU MPs who would be backed by a media campaign from big business, the EU Commission and other EU governments aiming to shackle the new president.  The battle would be on from day one, while the euro and French financial assets reel from the shock.

But it probably won’t happen.

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