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December 3, 2019 Leave a comment

Wages

Worldbystorm    on Cedar Lounge Revolution

There’s so much else on it can be difficult to keep track of it, but there was this partly refreshing analysis on wages in this state from Cliff Taylor a week or so back in the IT where he notes that the median, not the average, wage is €592.60 weekly, which is about €30,000. And he draws the necessary conclusion:

(The Median is very important.  The mean or average can be driven artificially upwards by very high earnings-PH)

So the first message from the figures is that there are a lot of people living on modest incomes. Of course many families have more than one income. And in the majority of cases, though not all, people work part-time because they choose to, not because they have to. But still, the average median income at under €600 a week is modest.

That’s not the whole story, the media is variable depending upon location with it slightly higher than €600 in Dublin and then well well below that at its lowest, in Donegal. Then there’s this:

The CSO data gives further insights. It shows that 28.7 per cent of people earn less than €400 a week. The biggest group – 39.4 per cent – earn between €400 and €800 a week. And the remaining 31.9 per cent earn over €800, including 6.5 per cent of earners who make over €1,600 a week, before tax.

That’s a huge percentage when one thinks about it on the less than €400 wage, close enough to a third of those working.

Another very useful insight:

And regionally, the cities appear to be recovering, but outside of them the situation can be very problematic.

https://www.cso.ie/en/releasesandpublications/ep/p-eaads/earningsanalysisusingadministrativedatasources2018/

Wage rates: Are you paid above or below the average?

  Cliff Taylor, Irish Times Thursday, November 21, 2019, 08:26

The latest earnings data from Central Statistics Office provide a fascinating insight into who earns what in Ireland, broken down by where people live, where they work, their age, and whether they are male or female.

Drawn from Revenue and CSO data, the latest release – Earnings Data from Administrative Data Sources – is the clearest insight we have into the breakdown of earnings in Ireland. It shows big variations between different sectors, different age groups and parts of the country. Here are the main details and what they mean.

1. The overall numbers

First, it is important to understand what the figures relate to. What is being measured here are 2018 earnings from people who work in paid employment (outside agriculture).

It includes those who work full-time – the majority, as we know from other data – as well as part-timers. Separate data show that around 20 per cent of the workforce is made up of part-timers.

Overall the data shows average earnings at €740.72 a week. This is using what is called the mean – what most of us understand as the average. This adds all the earnings together and divides them by the number of people involved.

Another way of calculating the average is using what is called the median. This is the half-way house – the earnings figure where the number of people who earn more is exactly the same as the number who earn less.

This gives a different result, mainly because it removes the impact on the data of a small number of people who earn an awful lot of money. The median weekly earnings are €592.60.

So the first message from the figures is that there are a lot of people living on modest incomes. Of course many families have more than one income. And in the majority of cases, though not all, people work part-time because they choose to, not because they have to. But still, the average median income at under €600 a week is modest.

The CSO data gives further insights. It shows that 28.7 per cent of people earn less than €400 a week. The biggest group – 39.4 per cent – earn between €400 and €800 a week. And the remaining 31.9 per cent earn over €800, including 6.5 per cent of earners who make over €1,600 a week, before tax.

Annual data gives another perspective. Here the basis is slightly different. This data includes people who work at least 50 weeks of the year – full-timers plus part-time employees who work throughout the year.

This shows mean average annual earnings of €44,380 and median average earnings of €36,095. So again we can see the impact of excluding the highest earners from the average calculation.

2 .The earnings gap by sector

The gap between the highest and lowest earnings sectors is striking. The highest paying is information and communications technology (ICT), including a number of the big US multinationals, where average weekly earnings (mean) are €1,244. This is followed by the traditionally high-earning finance sector, at €1,091 a week. At the far end of the scale are accommodation and food services – restaurants, cafes and hotels – where pay averages €347.64 a week; arts, entertainment and recreation at €462.54; and wholesale and retail at €562.70.

The lower paying sectors would have a higher prevalence of part-time work. Strikingly, more than two-thirds of people working in accommodation and food services take home less than €400 a week. with 44 per cent of those in wholesale and retail in the same category.

Also, more younger people are on lower wages, with the median wage for those under 24 less than €300 a week, suggesting many are working part-time. By the way, the highest earning age category are 40-49 year-olds, followed by 50 to 59 year-olds.

Measured by annual average (mean) earnings, ICT pays €70,264 and finance pays €61,061, while accommodation and food services is just €21,914 and wholesale and retail is €33,327. Again the annual figures include people employed for at least 50 weeks a year on a full-time or part-time basis.

The gap between the mean and median for each sector can appear a slightly nerdy point – though the larger gaps do indicate sectors where there are more bigger earners, compared to general earnings in the sector.

3. The earnings gap by gender

Women earn less than men across the board. The figures do not tell us how much of that is due to different working hours – separate employment data shows that around 30 per cent of women work part-time, while the figure for men is 10 per cent.

The mean weekly average income for men in 2018 was €847.35, while for women it was €635.12. Looking at the median – excluding the impact of the salaries of the highest earners – the average male weekly figure was €659.58, while for women it was €517.62.

Male weekly wages have gone up about 9.2 per cent over the past five years, while the figure for women is 8.6 per cent, so the gap has grown a bit.

The male/female gap is greater in the private sector than the public. In the private sector, females earn 80 per cent of the average, while in the public sector it is 92 per cent. It is impossible to infer from the figures how much of this is due to a greater prevalence of part-time work among women, or how much is due to more mean working at a more senior level.

One point worth noting is the low income levels for females in accommodation and foods services – at just over €300 a week on average. This is no doubt an influence on the private sector figures.

4. The earnings gap by county

The regional breakdown is striking. Not surprisingly average incomes are highest in Dublin – by a distance – at €947.41 a week. Interestingly, next in line are the Dublin commuter counties of Kildare ( €792.87), Wicklow (€764.18) and Meath (€761.37). Louth, at just under €671 a week, doesn’t seem to gain as much as the others from its proximity to the capital.

Previous studies have shown that people in these counties who commute to work in Dublin earn more on average than those who stay and work in their home county. There are exceptions, of course, for example the presence of the giant Intel campus in Kildare.

Cork comes in at €740.27 a week, Limerick at €707.82, and Galway at €701.69. The evidence shows the concentration of a lot of higher-paid activity on the east coast, even though the three other big cities have significant industries of their own.

At the lower end, way behind the richer parts of the country, are Donegal (€564.53), Monaghan ( €590.97) and Longford (€614.80). It would be interesting to have up-to-date cost-of-living data to look at the gap in real living standards. But the figures show the concentration of higher paid employment around Dublin and in the big cities.

5. Are the rich getting richer?

Or, more accurately, are those with highest incomes getting bigger increases? There isn’t a straightforward answer to this. We saw above that men have done slightly better than women over the past five years. That is one area where income inequality has grown a bit.

In terms of different income levels, the picture is more complicated and there have been a variety of trends since 2013, following the crash when most income levels fell. The graphic lets you look at this year by year, with the 10th decile during the least well-off and the 90th the highest income group.

Over the five years, lower earners – those between the 10th and 40th percentiles – and those in the top 10 per cent the 90th percentile – have done best. Over the past two years, the best off and those in the 30th percentile have had the highest income gains , though the gaps aren’t that big.

However, in terms of the regions, the figures are stark, with the gaps widening between urban and rural Ireland. Income in Dublin are up nearly 12 per cent since 2012, with Kildare second at 10.3 per cent and Wicklow doing well at 9.2 per cent.

Interestingly the other larger cities have also shown significant increases led by Cork (9.8 per cent), Galway (8.8 per cent) and Limerick (8.5 per cent). However some of the poorer more rural counties are lagging further behind, with incomes in Longford up 3.8 per cent and Kerry, Leitrim , Sligo and Offaly all below 6 per cent over the five years.

So in terms of regional policy, there is evidence that some parts of the country continue to lag significantly.

The figures used in this article are contained in this CSO earnings analysis document

© 2019 irishtimes.com

Categories: Uncategorized

British Terrorism in Ireland

October 27, 2019 Leave a comment

Did Margaret Thatcher Sanction the Murder of Solicitor Pat Finucane??

Full Judicial Inquiry Needed Now!

By Seamus De BÚrca,   Oct 26, 2019,  Village Magazine  https://wp.me/pKzXa-1sl

Introduction: Margaret Thatcher and the cold blooded murder of an Irish lawyer.

On 12 February, 1989, the UDA assassinated Patrick Finucane, a highly regarded Belfast solicitor, at his North Belfast home. Finucane, who was 38-years-old, was shot 14 times by two masked UDA gunmen who sledgehammered their way into his house. His wife Geraldine was also injured during the attack which took place while the couple was enjoying a meal with their young family.

Prime Suspect Margaret Thatcher: she sank the Belgrano and permitted RUC and SAS shoot-to-kill operations in Northern Ireland and covered up the shooting of an acknowledged – yet unarmed – IRA unit in Gibraltar. She is now the prime suspect in the murder of Patrick Finucane.

In 2019 the Supreme Court in London ruled that the British Government had failed to investigate the murder properly. The only tenable reason for this is because the murder was organised by MI5, the intelligence service attached to the Home Office.

A retired Canadian judge, Peter Cory, investigated the murder on behalf of the British State. During his inquiry MI5 officers broke into his office and stole some of the evidence he had accumulated.

Cory also told Geraldine Finucane that he had seen a document relevant to her husband’s case which was marked  ‘for Cabinet eyes only’. Mrs. Finucane knows no more. This raises the distinct possibility that her husband’s case was discussed in Whitehall in sinister circumstances prior to the murder. These revelations formed part of BBC NI’s compelling seven part Spotlight  series,  ‘The Secret History of the Troubles’. They have been ignored by the mainstream British media.

Geraldine Finucane who was told by retired Canadian judge Peter Cory that papers relating to her husband Patrick were read at Cabinet level.  Was this before the shooting?  A full judicial inquiry is required to get to the bottom of the murder including this vital new revelation. For a start the inquiry should clarify when the file Cory described to Mrs. Finucane was created, what was in it and who read it. In particular, did Thatcher know about the MI5-FRU-UDA hit in advance?

Put simply, the finger of blame is now pointing at Margaret Thatcher. It now looks like she gave MI5 the green light to murder a perfectly respectable, law abiding lawyer. If Thatcher  and her circle did not order the murder, why are the Tory top brass so terrified of an inquiry?

MI5 was led by Sir Patrick Walker at the time the assassination was planned and executed. If MI5 was involved, it is inconceivable he did not call  the shots – literally.

When David Cameron was in 10 Downing Street he told the Finucane family that he could not order a public inquiry into the scandal. When Finucane’s brother Martin asked him why, he turned to Mrs Finucane and said: “Look, the last administration couldn’t deliver an inquiry in your husband’s case and neither can we”. According to Cameron this was because “there are people all around this place, [10 Downing Street], who won’t let it happen.” As he was saying this, he raised a finger and made a circular motion in the air.

David Cameron told the Finucane family he could not call an inquiry because of  forces more powerful than he. Was he really protecting Margaret Thatcher whom he admired greatly?

Theresa May, who was Cameron’s Home Secretary between 2010 and 2016, before she became PM, did not order a proper inquiry either.

Theresa May while British Home Secretary and in political control of MI5. Another admirer of Thatcher, she resisted an inquiry into the murder of Finucane too.

Now, only someone of integrity and ability such as Lord Saville, who led the successful Bloody Sunday Inquiry, is required to lead one into the Finucane murder. The opportunity and duty to do the right thing has passed to  Theresa May’s successor, Boris Johnson, and his Home Secretary, Priti Patel. Yet, will they prove every bit as corrupt as May and Cameron and continue the cover-up?

The evidence that continues to accumulate points to the probability that Finucane, a skilful lawyer, was targeted by the British State because he had mastered the intricacies of the Diplock Court system in NI and was representing his clients to the best of his very considerable abilities. In the mind of Thatcher and others in London, he had to have been a Provo and his death warrant was signed. The task of assassinating him was passed to Walker at MI5.

However, Finucane was not a Provo. On the contrary, he represented both Republicans and Loyalists. Moreover, he was married to a Protestant. Finucane was perfectly innocent of any involvement with the IRA although he was vilified as a member after his death.

Priti Patel, will she be the Home Secretary to finally order a full judicial inquiry into the murder of Patrick Finucane or the latest in a line of Tory politicians who believe it is perfectly acceptable to cover-up the murder of an Irish lawyer?

Insofar as the UDA was concerned, the kill-order was issued by Tommy ‘Tucker’ Lyttle, the UDA’s ‘brigadier’ or commander in West Belfast. Ian Hurst, who served with the Force Reconnaissance Unit (FRU) of the British Army, has stated “with cast iron certainty” that Lyttle was a British agent who was “handled” by the RUC’s Special Branch (RUCSB) using the codename “Rodney Stewart”.

Lyttle himself confirmed to an internal UDA inquiry that he had been a British agent, arguing that he had exploited the relationship to help the UDA.

The RUCSB served as MI5’s foot soldiers. Lyttle also told author Greg Harkin that his RUCSB ‘handler’ had asked him: “Why don’t you whack Finucane?”.

Boris Johnson, a notoriously shifty individual: he is unlikely in the extreme to risk Margaret Thatcher’s reputation and inflame the anger of members of the Tory Party by ordering an inquiry into the British State assassination of Patrick Finucane.

Village has uncovered fresh information that not only confirms Lyttle’s role as a British agent but places him at the heart of the MI5 and MI6 paedophile ‘honeytrap’ operation which swirled around Kincora Boys’ Home in Belfast in the 1970s. Lyttle was working for MI5 from the mid, if not early, 1970s.

The next three sections of this article will examine the sordid links between MI5 and the UDA, especially those involving Lyttle, before returning to the specifics of the murder of Finucane in Part Four. It will also examine aspects of collusion with the UVF.

[Regular Village  readers are asked to note that an earlier version of this story was published in February 2019 entitled ‘Her Majesty’s Hatchetman’.]

 

Categories: Uncategorized

There Will Be A Third World War Unless The Far-Right is Defeated in Several Countries by Mass Action! Remember Hitler Didn’t Have Nuclear Weapons!

September 9, 2019 Leave a comment

Stop Press!!! United States Says it Can Not Rule Out a “Retaliatory” Air Strike Against Iranian Oil Fields-RTE News at 6

Huge Reverse for Saudi Arabia and its US and British Allies as Yemeni Houthus Backed by Iran Take Out 50% of Saudi Oil Processing Facilities with Drones 

(Trump has withdrawn from Iranian Nuclear Deal and Re-Imposed sanctions on Iran and Iranian Oil)


Just Published :Article From Jerry Barmash for Daily Mail  PUBLISHED:  15 September 2019  

U.S. is ‘ready’ to deploy its oil reserves to stop disruptions to global markets after drone attack suspends operations at Saudi Arabian processing facility

  • Drone strikes from Yemen rebels hits oil supply in Saudi Arabia
  • Half of Saudi Arabia’s oil facilities were destroyed from Saturday attack
  • Yemen’s Houthi rebels, backed by Iran, take responsible for drone blasts  
  • Secretary of State Mike Pompeo accuses Iran of ‘launching unprecedented attack on the world’s energy supply’
  • President Trump said the United States ‘strongly condemns attack critical energy infrastructure 
  • Saudi-led coalition has been fighting the rebels since 2015 

The United States Energy Department said it is set to use resources from the Strategic Petroleum Oil Reserves, ‘if necessary, to offset any disruptions to oil markets,’ in the wake of a drone attack in Saudi Arabia on the world’s largest oil processing facility.

Full Piece

JERRY BARMASH FOR DAILYMAIL.COM

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Boris Johnson, Donald Trump, Marine Le Pen, Björn Höcke (Germany), Peter   Casey, are preparing the ground for the New Hitlers, Mussolinis, General O’Duffys (Blueshirts)  Remember: Peter Casey came second in the 2018 Irish Presidential Election. The second world war was preceded by capitalist economic crisis and heightened worl-wide inter imperialist rivalry including trade wars


In the lead up to a Third World War, what are the chances of the following line-up occurring at some stage: USA-Russia vs Franco-German Axis- Peoples Republic of China??  https://wp.me/pKzXa-1p2

Why is France Threatening To Veto any Brexit Extension?

Perhaps the final sentence in the statement of the French Foreign Minister is the most important: ‘We are not going to do (extend) this every three months,’ he said.

The Guardian and the Daily Mail have reported that France has threatened to Veto any extension  of the Brexit deadline beyond Oct 31. Perhaps the final sentence in the statement of the French Foreign Minister is the most important: ‘We are not going to do (extend) this every three months,’ he said. In the context of heightened inter-imperialist rivalry including trade/tariff wars between US and EU, it is to be expected that France will not tolerate “an enemy within” for very long. Johnson and the Tories are in League with TRUMP. While the UK remains a member of the EU, it has a veto on crucial political and economic matters. It can disrupt and paralyse the EU in the service of Trump with whom Johnson wishes to Ally.. France will not allow this to continue. Of course, as before the Second World War, inter-imperialist alliances can shift suddenly. Remember the Stalin-Hitler Pact.! Note Trumps recent kind words for Putin! When imperialist interests are in play, it would be wise not to rule anything out. States have no morals, just interests as we all know. My own opinion is that France will insist that the Brexit issue be fully resolved within months.

In the lead up to a Third World War, what are the chances of the following line-up occurring at some stage: USA-Russia vs Franco-German Axis- Peoples Republic of China??


Question to Me on Aubane List

What kind of Mass Action have you in Mind to Defeat the Far-Right?

REPLY by  Paddy Healy  https://wp.me/pKzXa-1p2

Social Democracy, The Communist Part and its linked trade unions had huge support in Germany as the Nazi movement grew. Trotsky correctly advocated a political and trade union united front of the two to stop Hitler. Both refused to take his advice seeing their rivals in the workers movement as the main enemy.

The actions of the proposed united front would include  voting pacts but above all the general strike.

In a capitalist economic and political crisis many workers and poor people , who have been betrayed by their traditional and Trade union leaders , become vulnerable to recruitment to Far-Right forces using false promises and scapegoating Jews, Muslims, Black people, immigrants etc (It is happening again to-day)

It is vital that traditional workers organisations use over-whelming power such as the general strike to defeat attacks on workers and to demonstrate to the poor that their problems can be solved by the workers movement

In Ireland the capitulation of ICTU to Austerity while the Irish super-rich massively prospered has opened the way to the  far right. Tony Blair in the UK, European social democracy and the French Communist Party have much to answer for on the European continent

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Trotsky Was First to Warn of Nazism

https://wp.me/pKzXa-1p2

From The Militant ,Volume 1X No 19, 12 May 1945, p. 5.
The course of events in Europe have given terrible confirmation to Trotsky’s repeated warnings of the dangers of fascism. Before Hitler came to power, the statesmen of the capitalist “democracies” viewed the rise of fascism with sympathy, while the heads of the Social-Democratic and Stalinist organisations retreated without fighting before the onslaught of the Nazi gangs. Trotsky on the other hand sounded the. alarm from the very beginning. Here is one of his first warnings in 1931:

“The decisive hour is very close … The coming into power of the German ‘National Socialists’ would mean above all the extermination of the flower of the German proletariat, the disruption of its organizations, the extirpation of its belief in itself and in its future. Considering the far greater maturity and acuteness of the social contradictions in Germany, the hellish work of Italian Fascism would probably appear as a pale and almost humane experiment in comparison with the work of the German National Socialists … The struggle of the proletariat, taken unawares, disorientated, disappointed and betrayed by its own leadership, against the Fascist regime would be transformed into a series of frightful bloody and futile convulsions …

From The MilitantVol. IX No. 19, 12 May 1945, p. 5.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for ETOL.

“It goes without saying, that some day triumphant Fascism will fall as a victim to the objective contradictions and to its own inadequacy. But for the immediate, perceptible future, for the next ten to twenty years, a victory of Fascism in Germany would mean a suspension in the development of revolutionary progress, collapse of the Comintern and the triumph of world imperialism in its most heinous and bloodthirsty forms.” (Germany – The Key to the International Situation, 1931)

Even before Hitler came to power Trotsky warned he would attack the Soviet Union:

“A victory of Fascism in Germany would signify the inevitable war against the USSR … Once Hitler comes into power and proceeds to crush the vanguard of the German workers, pulverizing and demoralizing the whole proletariat for many years to come, the Fascist government alone will be the only government capable of waging war against the USSR. Naturally, it will act under such circumstances in a common front with Poland and Rumania, with the other border states as well as with Japan in the Far East.” (Germany – The Key to the International Situation, 1931.)

As Hitler moved toward power, Trotsky, the founder of the Red Army, made a dramatic appeal to the Soviet Government to initiate a militant defense:

“In my opinion this is how the Soviet government OUGHT to act in case of a Fascist coup in Germany. Upon receiving the telegraphic communication of this event I would, in their place, sign an order for the mobilization of the army reserves. When you have a mortal enemy before you, and when war flows with necessity from the logic of the objective situation, it would be unpardonable light-mindedness to give that enemy time to establish and fortify himself, conclude the necessary alliances, receive the necessary help, work out a plan of concentric military actions- – not only from the west but from the east – and thus grow up to the dimensions of a colossal danger.” (Article in Liberty, July 16, 1932.)

Warn of War and Attack on USSR

After Hitler took power, many people thought he would not last long. Trotsky saw instead that Hitler was the harbinger of another world war:

“Simply to say that Hitler is a demagogue, an hysterical person and an actor is to shut one’s eyes so as not to face the danger! It takes more than hysteria to seize power, and method there must be in the Nazi madness. Woe to those who do not awaken to this fact in. time! The leaders of German working class organizations refused to take Hitler seriously: considering his program as a reactionary and Utopian one they proved incapable of estimating its force of action. Today, as a result of their ghastly mistake, their organizations have been shattered to bits. The same error might be repeated in the field of world politics.” (What Hitler Wants, 1933)

In face of the hope that Mussolini might become involved in conflict with Hitler, Trotsky pointed to the reality. Hitler, Trotsky said, was seeking allies.

“Hitler is counting upon the support of Italy and, within certain limits, this is assured him, not so much because their internal governments are similar – the purely German Third Reich is, as is known, a frankly Latin plagiarism – as because of the parallelism in many of their foreign aspirations. But with the Italian crutch alone, German imperialism will not rise to its feet. Only under the condition of support from England can Fascist Germany gain the necessary freedom of movement.” (What Hitler Wants, 1933)

Chamberlain, as the world knows, later appeased Hitler at Munich, thus fulfilling Trotsky’s prediction. But looking still further ahead, Trotsky foresaw a temporary pact between Stalin and Hitler:

“Hitler is preparing for war. His policy in the domain of economics is dictated primarily by concern over the maximum economic independence of Germany in case of war. To the aims of military preparation must also be subordinated the service of obligatory labor. But the very character of these measures indicates that it is not a question of tomorrow. An attack upon the West in the more or less immediate future could be carried out only on condition of a military alliance between Fascist Germany and the Soviets.” (What Hitler Wants, 1933)

While Hitler deluded the Allied statesmen with gestures over disarmament, Trotsky again and again warned that the main line of Hitler’s policy was directed toward war and attack of the Soviet Union.

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Far-right AfD makes big gains but fails to topple mainstream parties

Exit polls put party second in German state elections in Saxony and Brandenburg  https://wp.me/pKzXa-1p2

Kate Connolly,  in Berlin, Guardian, Sun 1 Sep 2019

The anti-immigration Alternative für Deutschland party made strong gains in two crucial state elections in Germany on Sunday, increasing its support significantly but failing to oust the mainstream parties.

But the sharp shift to the right in Saxony and Brandenburg – AfD came second in both states – is a blow to the ruling coalition of Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats (CDU) and the Social Democrats (SPD), both parties having lost thousands of voters to AfD.

The AfD was also able to mobilise several hundred thousand people who had never voted before, initial analysis showed.

Exit polls showed the CDU remaining the strongest party in Saxony but losing more than six points to secure 33%, while AfD reached 28.1% – a gain of 18 percentage points, and a larger share of the vote than pollsters had predicted.

In Brandenburg, the SPD, which has governed there since 1990, narrowly clung to first place, winning 26.6% and losing 5 points, while AfD secured 24.5%, a more than 10-point rise and a larger share than predicted.

AfD’s success in Saxony and Brandenburg, both in the former communist east, reflects the breakdown of support for Germany’s mainstream parties, the centre-right CDU and the left-of-centre SPD and, as elsewhere in Europe, the increasing fragmentation of the political landscape.

More than 5 million people were eligible to vote, about a 10th of the population.

Turnout was significantly higher than at the last elections in the states in 2014 – up 12 points to 60% in Brandenburg, and up 16 points to 65% in Saxony – in what was billed a historic poll, AfD’s first real electoral test in the region since it entered the national parliament as the leading opposition party two years ago.

Formed in 2013 as an anti-euro party, its strength has grown on the back of its opposition to the arrival in Germany of almost 1 million refugees in 2015.

It campaigned in Saxony and Brandenburg under the slogan “Vollende die Wende”, or “complete the transition” – promising to rectify the mistakes of the mainstream parties after German reunification almost three decades ago and to address the inequalities between citizens of the former east and west.

Björn Höcke, a leading AfD member based in the state of Thuringia, which votes on 27 October in what is expected to be another nail-biting election, said the polls offered “a strong indication that we’ll have a good future in Brandenburg and Saxony and in the whole of Germany”. Höcke represents AfD’s radical right contingent, whose influence in the party is likely to be strengthened by the result.

The Green party was celebrating gains in both states, of 3.3 points in Saxony, where it reached 8.6%, and 3.8 points in Brandenburg, reaching 10.2%, even though it failed to perform as strongly as had been predicted.

But it is likely to be an important player in the formation of coalitions in both Saxony and Brandenburg, where the SPD-Left party partnership lost its majority. All the major parties have ruled out forming a coalition with AfD, even though the CDU has come under pressure from its right wing to do so.

Because the slump in the performance of the mainstream parties was not as severe as predicted, the beleaguered grand coalition in Berlin under Merkel will gain some breathing space, as will the CDU’s chairwoman, Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer.

She has failed to convince as a leader since taking over from Merkel in December, but will probably benefit from the CDU’s better than expected showing in Saxony. Merkel, who has led the country since 2005, has said she will not stand for re-election. The next German federal election is expected to be held between August and October 2021.

Analysis of the results showed that in Saxony, home to the notorious anti-immigrant campaign group Pegida, often seen as the protest arm of AfD, voters’ main motivation for choosing AfD was out of conviction for its political message, while the majority of AfD supporters in Brandenburg said they voted in protest against the policies of the mainstream government.

 

Categories: Uncategorized

Can Catastrophic Climate Change be Avoided Under Capitalism?

September 3, 2019 Leave a comment

Capitalism in Last Chance Saloon on Climate Change Warns Financial Expert

 

Without far more ambitious targets and policies to combat global warming, an increasing number of people will come to believe that capitalism is the problem and not part of the solution

 

By ADAIR TURNER, Business Post Sep 3, 2019  https://wp.me/pKzXa-1os

Adair Turner, Chair of the Energy Transitions Commission, was Chair of the UK Financial Services Authority from 2008 to 2012.

 

This year, the evidence that global warming is occurring, and that the consequences for humanity could be severe and potentially catastrophic, has become more compelling than ever.

Record global temperatures in June and July. Unprecedented heatwaves in Australia and India, with temperatures above 50°C. Huge forest fires across northern Russia. All of these things tell us that we are running out of time to cut greenhouse-gas emissions and contain global warming to at least manageable levels.

The response has been growing demand for radical action. In the United States, proponents of the Green New Deal argue that America should be a zero-carbon economy by 2030. In the United Kingdom, activists of the “Extinction Rebellion” movement demand the same by 2025, and have severely disrupted London transport through very effective forms of civil disobedience. And the argument that avoiding catastrophic climate change requires rejecting capitalism is gaining ground.

Against this growing tide of radicalism, companies, business groups, and other establishment institutions urge caution and more measured action. Achieving zero emissions as early as 2030, they argue, would be immensely costly and require changes in living standards which most people will not accept.

Illegal actions that disrupt others’ lives, it is said, will undermine popular support for necessary measures. A more affordable and gradual path of emissions reduction would be better and still prevent catastrophe, and market instruments operating within the capitalist system could be powerful levers of change.

These counter-arguments are robust. The costs of achieving a zero-carbon economy will increase dramatically if we try to get there in ten years, not 30. Most forms of capital equipment naturally need replacement within 30 years, so switching to new technologies over that timeframe would cost relatively little, whereas switching over ten years would require companies to write off large quantities of existing assets.

Technological progress – whether in solar photovoltaic panels, batteries, biofuels, or aircraft design – will make it much cheaper to cut emissions in 15 years than today. And the profit motive is spurring venture capitalists to make huge investments in the new technologies required to deliver a zero-carbon economy.

Meanwhile, decentralised market mechanisms such as carbon pricing are essential to drive change in key industrial sectors, given the multiplicity of possible routes to decarbonisation.

Socialist planning will not be as effective: Venezuela is an environmental as well as a social disaster. And there is a real danger that excessively rapid action could alienate popular support.

After all, the gilets jaunes (yellow vest) movement in France was provoked by tax increases designed to make diesel cars uneconomic, but were imposed at a time when electric vehicles are not yet cheap enough and lack the range to be a viable alternative for less well-off people living outside major cities.

All developed economies should commit to achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2050

But it is also true that the capitalist system has failed to respond to the challenge of climate change fast enough; and in some ways, capitalism has impeded effective action. Venture capitalists financing brilliant technological breakthroughs have been matched by industry lobby groups successfully arguing against required regulations or carbon taxes.

If adequate policies had been adopted 30 years ago, we would be well on the way to achieving a zero-carbon economy at a very low cost. The fact that we did not is, in part, capitalism’s fault.

Massively accelerated action is now required. All developed economies should commit to achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. And zero must mean zero, with no pretence that we can continue burning large quantities of fossil fuels in the late 21st century, balanced by equally large quantities of carbon capture and storage.

Developing economies should get there by 2060 at the very latest. That would still leave us vulnerable to significant and unavoidable climate change, but climate science suggests that it would be sufficient to avoid catastrophe.

And as the Energy Transitions Commission described in its recent Mission Possible report, it is still possible to achieve that objective at relatively low economic cost, provided we adopt without delay the policies required to drive rapid change.

Carbon taxes should be introduced at a sufficiently high level, and with future increases declared well in advance, to drive the multi-decade investment plans required to decarbonise heavy industry. Carbon tariffs should be used to protect industry from being undercut by imports from countries that fail to apply adequate carbon prices. Airlines should face either steadily rising carbon prices, or regulations requiring them to use a rising proportion of zero-carbon fuels from clearly sustainable sources, with the percentage reaching 100 per cent before 2050.

Blunt but effective instruments – such as banning new sales of internal combustion engine autos from a specific future date, such as 2030 – should also be part of the policy armoury. And regulations should ban putting plastics in landfills and plastic incineration, forcing the development of a complete plastics recycling system.

None of these policies is anti-capitalist. Instead they are the policies we need to unleash capitalism’s power to solve the problem. Once clear prices and regulations are in place, market competition and the profit motive will drive innovation, and economies of scale and learning-curve effects will force down the costs of zero-carbon technologies. And if we do not unleash that power, we will almost certainly fail to contain climate change.

Believers in a market economy are dismayed by radical voices arguing that capitalism is incompatible with effective climate action. But unless capitalism’s defenders support the immediate establishment of far more ambitious targets and policies to achieve net-zero emissions by mid-century, they should not be surprised if an increasing number of people believe that capitalism is the problem and not part of the solution. They will be right to do so.

Adair Turner, Chair of the Energy Transitions Commission, was Chair of the UK Financial Services Authority from 2008 to 2012. See project-syndicate.org

 

Categories: Uncategorized

BREXIT

August 3, 2019 Leave a comment

Boris Johnson and EU Have agreed to Remove Legally Binding Regulation of Workers Rights from the Withdrawal Agreement! https://wp.me/sKzXa-brexit This will expose workers in the Six Counties.  Johnson has long denounced EU legislation protecting workers rights. He said that it is costing British Employers 8.5 Billion per year!

Any word from Northern Committee of ICTU ???

——————————————————————–

Today,in 2019, the Standard of Living of the Population in Northern Ireland  is 10% higher than that in the Republic of Ireland!!

“However, when public consumption is added to the mix, the overall standard of living in the North today is still probably around 10 per cent higher than on this side of the Border. While the gap with the Republic is lower than in 2012, when it was 15%, it is still there, in Northern Ireland’s favour.-Prof Fitzgerald https://wp.me/sKzXa-brexit

North’s economy is facing serious consequences from English nationalism

Prof John Fitzgerald, Irish Times, Friday, November 1, 2019

Measuring the standard of living in different locations can be difficult. Data for 2012 shows that, when controlling for price differences, output per head in the Republic was 15 per cent higher than in Northern Ireland. However, consumption is a better measure of the current standard of living. As a paper I did with Edgar Morgenroth highlighted, data on Northern Ireland’s consumption per head in 2012 showed it was 15 per cent higher than in the Republic that year.

Thus, immediately after the economic crisis, the population north of the Border enjoyed a significantly higher standard of living than those in the South.

Public spending in the North on social welfare, housing and policing is more than 120 per cent of the UK average

The really big difference in living standards between the two jurisdictions arose in government consumption – the provision of public services. In Northern Ireland, the more generous funding of services, such as health, made a major contribution to the higher standard of living.

There was little difference in government consumption per head, however, between the UK as a whole and the Republic. So Northern Ireland was an exception.

Since 2012, the positive gap in output has widened substantially in favour of the Republic. This has also facilitated the more rapid growth in personal consumption experienced in the South.

However, when public consumption is added to the mix, the overall standard of living in the North today is still probably around 10 per cent higher than on this side of the Border. While the gap with the Republic is lower than in 2012 (15%), it is still there, in Northern Ireland’s favour.

The national accounting data for 2012 also highlight the exceptionally low level of investment in the North. This helps explain its poor economic performance.

In most normal economies, investment needs to reach around 20 per cent of output to generate growth. In 2012, in the depth of the recession, investment was around 20 per cent of GNP in the Republic, 17 per cent in Britain but only 10 per cent in Northern Ireland. Unless there is a major increase in investment in the North over the coming decade, its economy will continue to languish.

Furthermore, as a quarter of the North’s investment was public sector, only around 7 per cent constituted private sector investment, underlining the weakness of its business sector.

In 2016, Northern Ireland received a transfer from the UK government of €11.4 billion, 22 per cent of its GDP. This is the highest transfer rate from UK central government to any region. It is also higher than it was before the Good Friday Agreement.

Generous

The result of this transfer was that public expenditure per head in Northern Ireland was 120 per cent of the UK average, the highest of any region. Public spending in the next two poorest UK regions, the northeast of England and Wales, was between 105 per cent and 110 per cent of the UK average. This more generous treatment of Northern Ireland has been crucial to supporting its standard of living and in maintaining a high level of employment.

Public spending in the North on social welfare, housing and policing is more than 120 per cent of the UK average. Public investment in housing has been considerably higher than in the Republic, with more extensive provision of social housing.

Health expenditure per head in the North is on a par with the rest of the UK, and the National Health Service performs better than its more expensive counterpart the Health Service Executive in the south.

While Northern Ireland’s spending on education reaches 110 per cent of the UK average, it delivers the poorest outcome across the UK in terms of educational levels attained. Reform of the system, to substantially improve educational attainment, could bring about major long-term benefits for the North’s economy.

Northern Ireland has invested very little in transport or the environment, and this deficit shows in the quality of its infrastructure. Both public and private sector investment need to increase to enable the economy to flourish.

The North is clearly heavily dependent on the transfers from London. This leaves it open to changing attitudes in Britain. Brexit has resulted in a growth of English nationalism and impatience, and a lack of sympathy in London with the “nations” of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

In the painful aftermath of Brexit, it is quite likely that central government transfers may be rebalanced to favour poorer English regions over the Celtic fringe. If that occurs, a sharp reduction in transfers to Northern Ireland, superimposed on a weak economy, could have serious consequences for the standard of living there.

© 2019 irishtimes.com

 

————————————————————————————-Germany Fears that Its Businesses will be undercut by a low pay, Low corporation tax, no protection for workers, extreme market driven economy in post-Brexit UK

EU Mulls Brexit Delay as Leak suggests Johnson aims to Cut Workers’ Rights

Press Association, Saturday, October 26, 2019  https://wp.me/sKzXa-brexit

 

There are fears in some quarters of the EU – and especially in Berlin – that Boris Johnson is preparing to reform Britain into “Singapore-on-Thames”, a low-tax, lightly regulated economy on the edge of Europe, once it has left.    (more further Down)

Why have Irish Media Not Picked UP on This?  https://wp.me/sKzXa-brexit

Guardian:  Brexiteers want Britain to be Singapore on Thames

Why the Singapore model won’t work for the UK post-Brexit

The city state has a strange appeal to some Tories yet even Singapore’s  prime minister doubts its approach would work in Britain

Patrick Wintour, Guardian, Diplomatic editor Wed Jan 2 2019

Jeremy Hunt arrived at the Fullerton hotel in Singapore to deliver his address as part of the International Institute for Strategic Studies Fullerton Lecture. Photograph: Wallace Woon/EPA

The foreign secretary, Jeremy Hunt, on a visit to Singapore to learn how such a relatively isolated city state has become so successful is only the latest, but most explicit, of a long line of Tory ministers to extol it as the model for the UK post-Brexit.

Quite how Singapore, an authoritarian state capitalist economy akin to China, has become the pre-eminent Tory model for the UK post-Brexit, as opposed to other more democratic economies, is puzzling.

Margaret Thatcher was a great admirer of the former British colony, but more recently others who have been intrigued by Singapore’s success include Sajid Javid, the home secretary, Michael Gove as education secretary in 2012 and Owen Paterson, a luminary of the Tory Eurosceptic benches. Others, such as Sir James Dyson, the Brexiter businessman, speak with their wallet. He picked Singapore and not the UK post-Brexit to build his new electric vehicle. Javid at least speaks from experience – he earned £3m a year as head of Deutsche Bank’s Singapore trading division.

Hunt, quickly refashioning his modernising politics to suit an imminent date with a Tory party electorate, is a more surprising advocate for Singapore. He used an article in the Mail on Sunday before his visit on Wednesday to hail its remarkable transformation from a tiny territory devoid of natural resources into the world’s eighth-richest country, adding it was “a reminder of the tidal shifts that can exist within the ebb and flow of the changing world order”.

 

In taking this course, Hunt is taking a political risk both for himself and for Brexit. He risks burning his remaining bridges with the small modernising base in the Tory party, but he also risks associating Brexit at such a sensitive time with an economic and democratic model that may be anathema to wavering Brexit voters.

Brexit critics often claim the Tory party vision is for a deregulated Singapore-on-Thames, and here is a senior cabinet minister only weeks before the key Brexit vote travelling 6,700 miles to confirm this to be the case.

For EU negotiators, anxious that a bargain-basement Britain does not have privileged access to its single market, the warning could not be clearer.

 

At one level, the parallels with the birth of Singapore and post-Brexit Britain are worth drawing. Singapore was expelled in 1965 from its short-lived union with its larger Malaysian neighbours, something that proved to be a blessing in disguise for a small city state few thought could prosper alone.

At the time of independence, Singapore’s GDP per capita stood at just $512. Now it has the eighth-largest GDP per capita in the world and is consistently ranked among the tiger countries, with the highest density of millionaires relative to population. Its achievements in schooling and housing are striking.

“We had to create a new kind of economy, try new methods and schemes never tried before anywhere else in the world, because there was no other country like Singapore,” wrote Lee Kuan Yew, Singapore’s founder in his memoirs, From Third World to First.

But here the potential parallels between two nations reborn become more difficult. Lee explicitly refused to cede any ground to democracy while Singapore’s fellow Asian tiger economies were democratising.

Beginning in 1963, political rival the Socialist Front – a left-wing split from the ruling People’s Action party (PAP) – suffered mass arrests through the use of the Internal Security Act. Subsequent parliamentary elections have not exactly been cliff-hangers. Thanks to a mixture of bans, libel laws and media repression, the PAP manages to win all but three or four of the 80-plus seats up for contest.

Singapore had indeed modernised and developed economically, yet its authoritarian rule went unchallenged. As Milton Friedman, the great free-market economist observed in the 1990s, as much of the world succumbed to democratic rule, Singapore demonstrated that “it is possible to combine a free private market economic system with a dictatorial political system”.

Independent trade unions were so weakened that by the 1970s strikes and work stoppages had disappeared. Wages have been kept low through the use of state-sponsored trade unions and the widespread use of cheap migrant labour, something that Brexit is designed to halt. Income inequality has also widened, even if on most measures it is wider in the US.

Throughout his life, Lee defended this trade-off of democratic rights for growth, insisting that the former would have precluded the latter. “We decide what is right, no matter what the people think.”

Asked on BBC Radio 4 how Singapore fitted into his “invisible chain of democracies” Hunt simply changed the subject. In a speech to the International Institute for Strategic Studies in Singapore, he resorted to euphemism: “The British legacy of the rule of law, clean administration, independent courts and the English language have all been part of Singapore’s success.”

It is also not clear if Singapore’s transformation into an export-orientated manufacturing base for international capital is relevant to the modern UK. Singapore grew at a time when globalisation allowed multinational corporations to take advantage of different labour and production costs in manufacturing. There is little chance, for instance, of the UK becoming a major exporter of electronic goods based on low wages.

Singapore also grew through a form of state intervention more associated with the shadow chancellor, John McDonnell, than pro-Brexit economist Patrick Minford. Large infrastructure projects were financed from a fund based on state-compelled savings. State enterprise and public investment were at the heart of the growth. Housing is largely publicly owned.

Significantly, one of the observers most sceptical about the parallels between Singapore and Brexit is Singapore’s prime minister, Lee Hsien Loong. In an interview with Bloomberg in November he said: “The Singapore government accounts for 16% of GDP, maybe 17%. So to say that you’re going to be like Singapore, are you going to give up two-thirds of your government spending, state pensions and national health?”

Hunt would presumably answer in the negative, inviting the wider question as to what cause he is advancing by his visit.

 

—————————————————————Brexit is Thatcherism 2.0, Andrew Marr Told Ibec-hosted event last February in Dublin 

Eoin Burke Kennedy , Irish Times,Tuesday, February 26, 2019,https://wp.me/sKzXa-brexit

“There is an underlying logic to Brexit, but the problem is the people promoting it don’t talk about it in public. They don’t speak about it openly because it would frighten the horses.”

Advocates, he said, believe Britain should pursue an alternative economic model along the lines of the so-called Singaporean model, which would involve deep cuts to corporation tax and a wholesale jettisoning of regulations to attract inward investment.

“You slash corporation tax right down, way below where it is right now, you slash regulations, you tear up your environmental and worker protections and you go for broke, you go for bust,” he said.

“Now that is the underlying logic behind Brexit and, I think, a lot of Conservatives and certainly Ukippers privately would talk about it being Thatcherism 2.0,” he said. This is why many in the Leave camp were quite comfortable with a hard Brexit, he said.

Mr Marr said such a course of action was extremely high risk as it would involve massive cuts to the social spending that sustained the National Health Service (NHS) and the UK welfare state, as revenues from corporation tax would be much lower.

 

“Brexit is not a British phenomenon” but a European-wide revolt against Brussels, BBC presenter Andrew Marr has claimed.

While not advocating Brexit, he said there was an “underlying logic” to wanting to leave the EU in order to pursue an alternative economic model – something Brexiteers referred to as Thatcherism 2.0 – which was under-appreciated in the liberal media and in Ireland.

At event hosted by employers’ group Ibec in Dublin, the popular TV interviewer and pundit also warned that the possibility of Britain leaving without a deal remained “a very high possibility” despite recent parliamentary manoeuvres.

“I think in a kind of ‘oops, didn’t mean that’, butter fingers kind of way, no deal is still quite likely,” he said.

In a wide-ranging speech, he dismissed the notion that Brexit was an “irrational spasm” linked to the loss of empire. “We get a lot of stuff in the British media about Brexit being completely irrational. That it’s just a nationalistic, imperialistic, out-of-time spasm directed against modernity and the future,” he said.

“There is an underlying logic to Brexit, but the problem is the people promoting it don’t talk about it in public. They don’t speak about it openly because it would frighten the horses.”

Advocates, he said, believe Britain should pursue an alternative economic model along the lines of the so-called Singaporean model, which would involve deep cuts to corporation tax and a wholesale jettisoning of regulations to attract inward investment.

“You slash corporation tax right down, way below where it is right now, you slash regulations, you tear up your environmental and worker protections and you go for broke, you go for bust,” he said.

“Now that is the underlying logic behind Brexit and, I think, a lot of Conservatives and certainly Ukippers privately would talk about it being Thatcherism 2.0,” he said. This is why many in the Leave camp were quite comfortable with a hard Brexit, he said.

Mr Marr said such a course of action was extremely high risk as it would involve massive cuts to the social spending that sustained the National Health Service (NHS) and the UK welfare state, as revenues from corporation tax would be much lower.

The alternative economic model also depended on the UK striking free trade deals in a increasingly protectionist international environment, he said.

While Brexit was complex and multifaceted, it could be linked to two pillar events, Marr said: the financial crisis and the jump in immigration after EU enlargement in 2002.

“We have a situation where after the 2008 financial crisis lots of people across the EU and across Britain felt desperately excluded, economically damaged and badly hurt and wanted to hit back and they have hit back in all sorts of different ways across the EU,” he said.

“They have formed anti-immigrant parties like the AFD in Germany, they have formed insurgencies on the left like Podemos in Spain and Syriza in Greece. Everywhere you look there are these insurgencies.”

“Our form of the insurgency happened in Britain because we were offered a referendum at exactly the moment when people were feeling angriest,” he said.

It was a major political error by former UK prime minister David Cameron to hold the Brexit referendum, Mr Marr said.

“Here was somebody who was absolutely determined that we should stay inside the EU and who held a referendum which took us out of the EU. By any definition that must count as a fairly serious political error.”

But Mr Cameron’s biggest mistake was not securing a better deal from Europe on immigration. “Had he got that he’d have probably won the referendum,” Mr Marr said, noting net immigration from the EU rose from about 45,000 a year to nearly 200,000 a year after EU enlargement.

“That did have an effect on wages for people who were already feeling quite put upon and under pressure,” he said.

Mr Marr said Brexit may be just the beginning of a reshaping of British politics and that he found it hard to believe British prime minister Theresa May would be able to govern for another year given how split her party is and that an election “is not very far away”.

He said he did not believe there would be a second referendum .

“We are going to see Britain leaving the EU and we’re going to see after that a huge fight for the next direction of British economic and social policy,” he said.

© 2019 irishtimes.com

———————————————————–Comment from Basil Miller on piece below:  This (below) is exactly what Andrew Marr of the BBC suggested was the real motive behind Cameron’s Brexit poll when he (Marr) gave a lecture in Dublin back in the summer.

The difference with Singapore being that everything except financial services would be wound down, leaving an even more super rich class of wealthy, many of them non-Brits, ironically enough, and a totally impoverished precariat underclass clinging on for dear life — or becoming migrants from their own land.

EU Mulls Brexit Delay as Leak suggests Johnson aims to Cut Workers’ Rights

Press Association,c Saturday, October 26, 2019  https://wp.me/sKzXa-brexit

There are fears in some quarters of the EU – and especially in Berlin – that Boris Johnson is preparing to reform Britain into “Singapore-on-Thames”, a low-tax, lightly regulated economy on the edge of Europe, once it has left.

According to the FT’s report, the leaked Department for Exiting the European Union (DExEU) document said the way the political declaration – the agreement setting out the aims of the future trade negotiations between the UK and the EU – had drafted the workers’ rights and environmental protection commitments left “room for interpretation”.

Labour shadow Brexit minister Jenny Chapman said the documents, which reportedly had Downing Street input, “confirm our worst fears”.

She said: “Boris Johnson’s Brexit is a blueprint for a deregulated economy, which will see vital rights and protections torn up.”

 

Deliberations in Brussels over a Brexit delay have continued into the weekend, as a leaked document indicates the UK could deviate away from EU employee and environmental rights after exit day.

After a meeting of European Union ambassadors on Friday, a Brussels source said there was “full agreement on the need for an extension” and that “work will continue over the weekend”.

A final decision on whether they will opt for an extension until January or a shorter November delay – thought to be favoured by French President Emmanuel Macron – is not expected until Monday or Tuesday.

The weekend talks among the EU27’s teams are likely to be coloured by a leaked document, seen by the Financial Times, that indicates the Government could look to diverge away from the bloc’s rules on workers’ rights and environmental protections after Brexit.

 

There are fears in some quarters of the EU – and especially in Berlin – that Boris Johnson is preparing to reform Britain into “Singapore-on-Thames”, a low-tax, lightly regulated economy on the edge of Europe, once it has left.

According to the FT’s report, the leaked Department for Exiting the European Union (DExEU) document said the way the political declaration – the agreement setting out the aims of the future trade negotiations between the UK and the EU – had drafted the workers’ rights and environmental protection commitments left “room for interpretation”.

Mr Johnson this week told MPs the UK was committed to “the highest possible standards” on both sets of standards – a stance that helped to convince 19 Labour MPs to back his Withdrawal Agreement Bill at second reading on Tuesday.

The document is said to boast that “UK negotiators successfully resisted the inclusion of all UK-wide level playing-field rules” in the previous deal negotiated by Theresa May’s team, allowing Britain to compete against EU members by possibly watering down rights.

Labour shadow Brexit minister Jenny Chapman said the documents, which reportedly had Downing Street input, “confirm our worst fears”.

She said: “Boris Johnson’s Brexit is a blueprint for a deregulated economy, which will see vital rights and protections torn up.”

The Prime Minister visited a hospital on Friday and used interviews afterwards to call on opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn to “man up” and agree to a general election.

It follows the Conservative Party leader announcing on Thursday that he was prepared to give MPs more time to debate his Brexit deal in exchange for their support for a winter election on December 12.

Brexit Party chairman Richard Tice has offered a “Leave alliance” to Mr Johnson at the poll as long as he ditches his Withdrawal Agreement and campaigns to take Britain out without a deal.

Mr Corbyn has so far said Labour is waiting to see the result of the EU’s decision regarding the length of an Article 50 extension before clarifying whether he would whip MPs to back a fresh poll.

But senior figures in the party have urged him to deny Mr Johnson and instead continue to push for a second referendum and for a no-deal Brexit to be removed as an option.

Both Tony Blair, a former prime minister who won three general elections, and London Mayor Sadiq Khan called for him to stand firm.

I think he should go a bit further and be unequivocally pro remain and explain to those who are Brexiteers why he disagrees with them and have the argument

Mr Blair said Labour could not trust Mr Johnson not to push through a no-deal Brexit and should withhold permission for an election while the PM is void of a majority.

“That’s the core reason why, in my view, the Labour Party should not allow an election until he gives a definitive answer on the question of whether there’s going to be a no-deal outcome,” he told talkRADIO in a pre-recorded interview for Sunday.

Mr Khan, speaking to Italian newspaper La Repubblica, encouraged Mr Corbyn to be “braver” and start telling Leave voters they were “wrong”.

“I’d like the Labour Party to be braver and provide leadership on this issue,” said the former MP.

He added: “I think (Mr Corbyn) should go a bit further and be unequivocally pro remain and explain to those who are Brexiteers why he disagrees with them and have the argument.”

————————————————————–Could the Northern Ireland  Committee of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions Urgently Clarify the Position in Relation to Employment Law in Norther Ireland During the “Withdrawal period” of UK from EU and thereafter??

Employment Law in NI  https://wp.me/sKzXa-brexit

It is not as simple as saying EU Labour Law will Continue in NI but not in the Rest of the UK!!!

https://app.croneri.co.uk/feature-articles/differences-between-employment-law-great-britain-and-northern-ireland

One of the most common mistakes people make is to confuse the terms “Great Britain” and “the United Kingdom (UK)”. The distinction is important not just for geographers, but also for employment lawyers. Great Britain, quite simply, consists of England, Scotland and Wales. The UK includes England, Scotland and Wales, but also includes Northern Ireland (NI). In this article Lynda Macdonald outlines the differences in employment law between Great Britain and NI, and throughout the term “Britain” is used to denote Great Britain.

Employment law for Britain is determined by the Westminster Government, ie it is not devolved to Scotland or Wales. Employment and discrimination law was devolved to the NI Assembly in 1998, although some legislation such as the Data Protection Act 1998 applies to NI as well as the rest of the UK. Over the years, most of the legislation passed by Westminster was also enacted in NI with the result that most employment rights are, in practice, the same as in Britain (although the legal references are often different due to NI specific legislation). There are, however, some divergences and this article explains what the main differences are.

Discrimination

In Britain, the Equality Act 2010 was brought into force in order to harmonise all the previous laws on discrimination into one comprehensive piece of legislation. Some new provisions were also introduced. Because this Act was not introduced in NI, the position there departs from the position in Britain in that NI retains different statutes dealing with different types of discrimination such as sex, race, disability and age discrimination.

There is also a notable additional piece of (UK)legislation (effective only) in NI — the Fair Employment and Treatment (Northern Ireland) Order 1998 — which specifically protects workers against discrimination on the grounds of religious belief and political opinion. This has no direct equivalent in Britain.

https://wp.me/sKzXa-brexit

(The above refers to an Order In Council issued by The UK Government–  The Fair Employment and Treatment (Northern Ireland) Order 1998)

You are here:

 

Other Differences  at link above

 

Future EU Directives on Employment Rights-   These now have to be ratified by Westminister Parliament

When UK eaves EU, such ratification will not then happen EVEN DURING THE TRANSITION PERIOD. How can such directives be then “extended” to NI??

—————————————————————JUST NOW 6.45am-Irish MirrorBrexit blow for Boris Johnson as DUP rejects his hopes for last-minute deal

Boris Johnson has been dealt a damning Brexit blow after the DUP rejected his hopes for a deal – hours before a crucial EU summit.  https://wp.me/sKzXa-brexit

The pound fell by 0.5% after the Northern Irish party’s leader Arlene Foster issued a 6.45am statement saying she cannot support the Prime Minister’s plan “as it stands”.

That means even if Mr Johnson secures a deal at today’s summit with 27 EU leaders, it’s likely to be voted down in Parliament on Saturday.

Ms Foster said the sticking points were customs, consent and VAT rules.

She is thought to be concerned about plans for a customs border down the Irish Sea.

And the DUP also fear current plans to consult the Stormont Assembly over any future deal could leave them without a veto.

Ms Foster and DUP Westminster leader Nigel Dodds said: “We have been involved in ongoing discussions with the Government.

“As things stand, we could not support what is being suggested on customs and consent issues and there is a lack of clarity on VAT.

————————————————————–Siptu is calling on Minister of Finance Paschal Donohoe to set out a code of conduct with the banks to provide for emergency bridging finance at reduced rates (to small and medium sized companies) and flexibility on debt redemptions for a defined period in order to save jobs and protect income.

https://wp.me/sKzXa-brexit

“Larger companies may well have the benefit of an internal treasury, significant cash holdings or access to working capital from abroad. For smaller companies, that cushion will be largely non-existent. This is where the role played by the banks will be vital,” said Ms Sherlock.

“Safeguards can be worked out to prevent abuse but the overriding purpose must be to introduce a degree of flexibility for companies to survive the initial shock. That this support is provided at a reduced fee is very important – the prospect of our banking sector generating additional profits off the back of a crisis among importing and exporting businesses would be the ultimate irony,” SIPTU Head of Policy, Marie Sherlock said.

Brexit: Shock awaiting Irish firms ‘like nothing ever experienced’ (via @IrishTimes) https://www.irishtimes.com/business/economy/brexit-shock-awaiting-irish-firms-like-nothing-ever-experienced-1.3975564

FULL TEXT:

The shock awaiting Irish companies in the event of a no-deal Brexit “will be like nothing ever experienced before”, Siptu has warned.

Questioning whether the Government’s contingency plan goes far enough to protect small and medium-sized businesses, the trade union said the State must be prepared to force lenders to step in and help SMEs in the event of a disorderly Brexit.

“The Department of Finance needs to ensure that there will be a co-ordinated and consistent response by the main retail banks to businesses experiencing the impact of Brexit. That the Government has sought assurances from the banks simply does not go far enough,” said Siptu’s head of policy Marie Sherlock.

She said while there may be concern that forcing lenders to support businesses will delay plans to return the country’s three main banks to full private ownership, Ms Sherlock said such moves should be put on hold “for the greater need of the Irish economy”.

The call comes amid concerns from Siptu members that there is insufficient support for companies who face liquidity issues should a no-deal Brexit take place.

 

The overriding purpose must be to introduce a degree of flexibility for companies to survive the initial shock

Siptu is calling on Minister of Finance Paschal Donohoe to set out a code of conduct with the banks to provide for emergency bridging finance at reduced rates (to small and medium sized companies) and flexibility on debt redemptions for a defined period in order to save jobs and protect income.

 

Larger companies

 

“Larger companies may well have the benefit of an internal treasury, significant cash holdings or access to working capital from abroad. For smaller companies, that cushion will be largely non-existent. This is where the role played by the banks will be vital,” said Ms Sherlock.

“Safeguards can be worked out to prevent abuse but the overriding purpose must be to introduce a degree of flexibility for companies to survive the initial shock. That this support is provided at a reduced fee is very important – the prospect of our banking sector generating additional profits off the back of a crisis among importing and exporting businesses would be the ultimate irony,” she added.

Categories: Uncategorized

Threat To State Old Age Pensions By Fine Gael Minister carried out in Budget 2020

All Pensioners on Contributory and Non-Contributory Old Age Pensions To Be Confined to Minimum Essential Standard of Living in their Old Age After A lifelong Contribution to Irish Society According to Minister Regina Doherty

“All State pensions should not be equal”, says Minister

——————————————————————-

There must be Lower Contributory Social Insurance Pensions and Benefit Payments in Lower Cost Areas of Ireland-Minister for Social Protection,

But no mention of Lower Contributions!!!!

The same payments for similar households in different parts of Ireland may not be appropriate, she said, adding that political and public “buy in” would be needed to explain to the “lady in Donegal” why she was going to get “more, or less” than “the lady somewhere else” in the State.

Ms Doherty said she wants to reform the welfare system and bring an end to €5 top-ups on every welfare payment being announced on budget days.

Minister said “all pensions should not be equal….. she wants to reform the welfare system and bring an end to €5 top-ups on every welfare payment being announced on budget days. Kitty Holland Irish Times July 6

————————————————————————————————————————————-

Second Stage of Social Welfare (No 2) Bill Being Debated, Today, Nov 13 in Dáil :Social Welfare No 2 Bill   2019  Bill 89 0f 2019 Bill entitled an Act to amend and extend the Social Welfare Acts; to amend the National Minimum Wage Act 2000 and the National Training Fund Act 2000; and to provide for related matters.

No mention in Social Welfare Bill of Commitment in  Government Pensions Roadmap to index Contributory Social Insurance Pensions and Benefits to average industrial wage.

Instead these are frozen in 2020 despite 1.4 billion euro surplus of contributions over pay-outs from Social Insurance Fund in 2019, and an accumulated surplus of 3.9 billion over the last four years

Was ICTU sold a pup by Government???

Lorraine Walsh,  Irish Independent , August 20, 2019 Full Article Below

Plans to ensure the State pension keeps its value are being blocked by a Government department, it has been claimed.

A senior union official, Pensions Policy Officer, Dr Laura Bambrick, ICTU,  said the Department of Finance is putting the brakes on proposals to give older people greater security.

This would be done by ensuring the value of the State pension never drops below the equivalent of 34pc of the average wage.

————————————————————–Freezing Contributory Social Insurance Payments In Budget Was Part of A Long Term Government Strategy to Means Test Contributory Benefits

Minister Outlined Her Plan Last July-3 months before Budget  https://wp.me/pKzXa-1ma

All State pensions should not be equal, says Minister, Kitty Holland, Irish Times

Saturday, July 6, 2019, 01:00

It is not “fair” that some older people receive State pensions that are more than they need while others on the same amount live in poverty, Minister for Social Protection Regina Doherty has said.

Ms Doherty said she wants to reform the welfare system and bring an end to €5 top-ups on every welfare payment being announced on budget days.

She said everyone should have a basic minimum income guaranteeing that they can participate in society but that the current system was not delivering this.

The Minister said “if we are really serious about everybody enjoying the benefits of a recovering economy, well then we need to look at those who are most at risk of poverty and the people in consistent poverty as opposed to just doing a little bit for everybody”.

The same payments for similar households in different parts of Ireland may not be appropriate, she said, adding that political and public “buy in” would be needed to explain to the “lady in Donegal” why she was going to get “more, or less” than “the lady somewhere else” in the State.

“So a long conversation will be needed,” she said, adding that the changes would not be achieved in one budget cycle.

Ms Doherty said that despite a recovering economy and increases in welfare payments, 120,000 children still lived in consistent poverty, while some welfare recipients were getting more than they needed, including pensioner couples in urban areas.

“It’s not just about the rates. It’s about ensuring everyone has a minimum standard of living. What we have at the moment is people being left behind because we’re quite happy to leave everybody the same and everyone is not the same.”

© 2019 irishtimes.com

———————————————————-Despite Raiding 3.9 Billion Accumulated Surplus from Social Insurance Fund from 2016 to 2019, Government Froze Unemployment Benefits and Pensions in 2020, costing beneficiaries 168 Euro per year due to rising prices  https://wp.me/pKzXa-1ma

Mr McKeon, Secretary General of Department of Social Protection, will tell the Dáil’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC) that the SIF had an accumulated surplus of €2.3bn last year(2018) after spending of €10bn. It’s anticipated that the accumulated surplus will reach €3.9bn by the end of this year (2019).–Irish Independent Nov 7

HAVING FROZEN THE BENEFITS for 2020 Government Raided  the estimated 1.4 billion surplus in 2019, having raided 2.5 billion accumulated surplus up to 2018, giving a total raid of 3.9 billion since 2016 and an even bigger accumulated surplus in 2020 as the number at work continues to increase!  https://wp.me/pKzXa-1ma

If the government had continued the 5 euro rise in maximum individual payments with proportionate increases for lower payments, the additional pay out would have been approximately 400 million at most, leaving the Social Insurance Fund with a continued large annual surplus of at least 1 billion and an accumulated surplus of 3.4 billion since 2016!

2016       2017       2018       2019
Surplus(July) ^1                              453         730       1,135      1,436
Surplus(November)                        453         730        1,140     1,400

Accumulated Surplus (est)            453        1183       2300        3900
^1 Pay Related Social Insurance, Tax Strategy Group – 19/06 July 2019

Oireachtas Website

https://www.oireachtas.ie/en/press-centre/press-releases/20191106-pac-to-examine-department-of-employment-affairs-and-social-protection-annual-report/

Public Accounts Committee 6 Nov 2019, 03.46

“The 2018 Social Insurance Fund shows receipts of €11.2 billion and payments totalling €10.06 billion in the year. An Exchequer subvention was therefore not required in 2018”

2018 (Billions)

Receipts            11.20

Paid Out            10.06

Surplus                1.14

 

Looming pensions time bomb will lead to €3bn deficit in social welfare fund

Cormac Quinn   Irish Independent, November 7 2019

The pensions time bomb is set to contribute to a €3bn-a-year deficit in the Social Insurance Fund (SIF) by 2030. (but it had a surplus of 3.9 billion in 2019 which was raided  by government which froze payments for 2020-PH)

Department of Social Protection boss John McKeon will warn of the looming black hole in the fund that covers welfare payments like pensions and jobseeker’s benefit when he appears before the Dáil’s spending watchdog this morning.

Mr McKeon is expected to say that the SIF appears to be in “robust financial health” at present, but that Ireland’s ageing population and “pension pressures” will inevitably see it enter into deficit.

It comes a week after the Government signed off on Social Protection Minister Regina Doherty’s plan to bring in an auto-enrolment pension scheme for private sector workers as part of efforts to offset the demographic time bomb.

Mr McKeon will tell the Dáil’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC) that the SIF had an accumulated surplus of €2.3bn last year after spending of €10bn. It’s anticipated that the surplus will reach €3.9bn by the end of this year.

However, Mr McKeon’s statement to the committee warns that such surpluses can be wiped out very quickly.

He will give the example of a €3.4bn surplus being eliminated in 15 months during the economic crisis.

He says that future demographic trends will significantly increase expenditure of the SIF “as the number of older people in our society increases”.

Next year will see increased spending from the SIF of around €520m, with more than €330m of that due to “pension pressures”.

Mr McKeon says: “This trend will continue with the result that it is inevitable that even with positive economic conditions the fund will enter into and remain in deficit.”

The most recent actuarial review forecasts an annual spend of about €15bn and yearly deficit of around €3bn by 2030.

Mr McKeon says this “sets a challenging context for the development of medium to long-term policy”. The Government’s latest national risk assessment has identified the pensions issue as one of the most significant issues facing the State in the coming years.

The number of people entitled to the State pension is set to more than double over the next 36 years.

The auto-enrolment scheme for pensions is not due to be launched for another two years, despite being 20 years in gestation.

It will apply to 585,000 private sector workers who have no pension provision at present. These people will be automatically opted into the new scheme.

Those aged between 23 and 60 and earning more than €20,000 will pay 1.5pc of their pay for the first three years.

Their contribution will rise by 1.5pc every three years after that, until it reaches 6pc of their wages at the beginning of year 10.

Employers will make the same contribution, under the plan signed off by the Cabinet.

Separately, Mr McKeon will update TDs on the impact of Brexit on social protection services. He says the department has signed an international convention with the UK which “fully protects the interests of citizens from both jurisdictions regardless of the nature of any Brexit”.

“People will have access to the same benefits on the same terms under this agreement as they do at present,” Mr McKeon will say.

Irish Independent

————————————————————-Auto-Enrolment (compulsory private sector occupational pension) should be a good thing. But will it be used by Government to freeze CONTRIBUTORY Social insurance Pension?

Contributory Social Insurance(sometimes called social welfare or PRSI) Pensioners got no increase in budget.  Siptu economist Michael Taft said pensioners would have needed an extra €168 a year added to their payments to keep pace with inflation. https://wp.me/pKzXa-1ma

In July Ms Doherty said she wants to reform the welfare system and bring an end to €5 top-ups on every welfare payment being announced on budget days. Only those below the poverty threshold(MESL) should receive them! She promised Irish Congress of Trade unions that the contributory social insurance pension would be indexed to the average industrial wage. But tis didn’t happen in the budget. Government just froze the pensions though prices will continue to rise. IN HER STATEMENT YESTERDAY , THE MINISTER DIDN’T MENTION INDEXATION EITHER! Many retired public servants also have contributory social insurance pensions as part of their pension remuneration

Will ICTU/SIPTU  Do  anything About It??? 

Discussion of Auto-Enrolment on RTE

Interview With Dr Laura Bambrick, Pensions Officer, ICTU,

and

Dr. James Charles Stewart
Adjunct Asistant Professor, Trinity Business School

on Sean O’Rourke, RTE Radio 1 yesterday morning, Oct 31,   https://www.rte.ie/radio/utils/share/radio1/21647391

Auto-Enrolment: Almost 600,000 workers to pay into new compulsory private sector pension scheme-IRISH Times

A total of 585,000 workers will pay up to 6pc of their wages into a new automatic enrolment scheme to be rolled out in three years

Anne-Marie Walsh, Irish Times,  October 30 2019

A total of 585,000 workers will pay up to 6pc of their wages into a new automatic enrolment scheme to be rolled out in three years.

They will be forced to pay into the long-awaited scheme for six months at a rate of 1.5pc of their pay – after which they can opt out.

The new scheme aims to ensure a better retirement income for most of the workforce who have nothing but the state pension to rely on in old age.

Under the final design of the scheme announced this evening, workers will pay 6pc of their wages after ten years.

Those aged between  23 and 60 and earning more than €20,000 will pay 1.5pc of their pay for the first three years.

Their contribution will rise by 1.5pc every three years afterwards until it reaches 6pc  of their wages at the beginning of year ten.

Employers will make the same contribution, under the plan signed off by cabinet this morning.

However, employees would have ended up with a bigger pension pot under the government’s original proposal.

An initial  ‘strawman’ plan would have meant that contributions would rise for workers and employers  from 1pc to 6pc over just six years.

Details of the government’s contribution were not revealed this evening.

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection Regina Doherty said this has yet to be decided.

She  said the longer timeframe for increasing contributions from the original proposal was due to concerns expressed by both employees and employers.

She said concerns were raised about the strawman proposal to escalate the contribute rate from 1pc to 6pc over a shorter timeframe.

Details of the final design of the scheme that has been promised for over 20 years were unveiled this evening.

Ms Doherty said the government aims to have a system in place by 2022 that ensures all pensioners have enough to lead a comfortable life in retirement.

She denied that the new scheme would replace the state pension, which she described as the bedrock of the pension system.

But! But! But!

Contributory State Pensions to Be Treated as Social welfare Handout at Discretion of Government!

Auto-Enrolment (compulsory private sector occupational pension) could be a good thing. But will it be used by Government to freeze Social insurance Pension?

Contributory Social Insurance Pensioners got no increase in budget.  Siptu economist Michael Taft said pensioners would have needed an extra €168 a year added to their payments to keep pace with inflation. https://wp.me/pKzXa-1ma

In July Ms Doherty said she wants to reform the welfare system and bring an end to €5 top-ups on every welfare payment being announced on budget days. Only those below the poverty threshold(MESL) should receive them! She promised Irish Congress of Trade unions that the contributory social insurance pension would be indexed to the average industrial wage. But tis didn’t happen in the budget. Government just froze the pensions Though prices will continue to rise

 

All State pensions should not be equal, says Minister

Kitty Holland

 

Last Updated: Saturday, July 6, 2019, 01:00

It is not “fair” that some older people receive State pensions that are more than they need while others on the same amount live in poverty, Minister for Social Protection Regina Doherty has said.

Ms Doherty said she wants to reform the welfare system and bring an end to €5 top-ups on every welfare payment being announced on budget days.

She said everyone should have a basic minimum income guaranteeing that they can participate in society but that the current system was not delivering this.

The Minister said “if we are really serious about everybody enjoying the benefits of a recovering economy, well then we need to look at those who are most at risk of poverty and the people in consistent poverty as opposed to just doing a little bit for everybody”.

The same payments for similar households in different parts of Ireland may not be appropriate, she said, adding that political and public “buy in” would be needed to explain to the “lady in Donegal” why she was going to get “more, or less” than “the lady somewhere else” in the State.

“So a long conversation will be needed,” she said, adding that the changes would not be achieved in one budget cycle.

Ms Doherty said that despite a recovering economy and increases in welfare payments, 120,000 children still lived in consistent poverty, while some welfare recipients were getting more than they needed, including pensioner couples in urban areas.

“It’s not just about the rates. It’s about ensuring everyone has a minimum standard of living. What we have at the moment is people being left behind because we’re quite happy to leave everybody the same and everyone is not the same.”

© 2019 irishtimes.com

————————————————————-Pensioners will be €168 worse off next year due to inflation.  Siptu economist Michael Taft said pensioners would need an extra €168 a year added to their payments to keep pace with inflation.

Anne-Marie Walsh, Irish Independent, 

Pensioners will be €168 a year worse off due to price hikes next year after failing to get another €5 in the Budget.

The Government’s forecasted increase in the cost of living would wipe €3.22 a week – or €168 a year – off the value of the full contributory pension in 2020.

Inflation is set to jump from 0.9pc this year to 1.3pc next year, and 1.4pc in 2021, according to the Government’s Economic and Fiscal Statement released on Budget day.

The pension would therefore have to rise by the same amount to keep up with predicted price rises.

Siptu economist Michael Taft said pensioners would need an extra €168 a year added to their payments to keep pace with inflation.

“The failure to, at a minimum, increase weekly payments by the level of price increases means that pensioners – and all those reliant on social protection payments – will suffer a cut in living standards,” said Mr Taft, who addressed a Nevin Economic Research Institute seminar on Budget 2020 in Dublin yesterday.

“There is no doubt this will increase poverty.

“This is the logical result of the Government’s failure to protect those on the lowest incomes.”

He said although there was a €2 a week hike in the fuel allowance and it is paid to many pensioners, not all get it as it is means tested.

However, he said the allowance would not make much of an impact on incomes as it only covers a limited number of weeks over the winter.

Mr Taft said it contrasts sharply with a big tax break for those set to inherit up to €350,000. “It’s nice enough if you have that coming down the line,” he said.

He called for a supplementary budget if there is an “orderly” Brexit because the Government’s calculations were based on a worst case scenario.

Age Action spokesperson Corona Joyce said Budget 2020 eroded the gains that the previous four budgets gave to older people.

“Budget 2020 did not offer the majority of older people the support they need to meet the rising cost of living that is anticipated by the impacts of Brexit and an expected increase in inflation,” she said.

“For example a person over 80, not living alone, received €1.08 per week to cope with Brexit, the carbon tax increase and rising cost of living.”

Michelle Murphy of Social Justice Ireland said welfare recipients will be left behind if rates don’t keep track with increases elsewhere in the economy.

Meanwhile, economist Robert Sweeney of social change think tank, TASC, said tax cuts in recent times have increased the Government’s reliance on corporation tax.

——————————————————————-Government To Give No Priority to Social Welfare rises In Next Election if Brexit Deal Agreed between EU and UK

Tax Cuts to be Prioritised Instead!

Donohoe  said once Brexit is clear – particularly if there’s a deal – ” it will be possible to continue to make progress on reducing the point at which taxpayers pay the higher rate of income tax.” And he signalled that it will be a central part of Fine Gael’s next election manifesto

Government Snatched over 1 Billion Euro from Social Insurance fund in 2019 to be used for purposes other than Social Welfare Payments  https://wp.me/pKzXa-1ma

PRSI TAX STRATEGY GROUP July 2019

Social Insurance Fund(SIF) income and expenditure, 2016 to 2019.

Outturn                    2016                 2017               2018  (provisional)    2019  estimate

€ Millions          € Millions                € Millions                € Millions

SIF income                       9,217                 9,816                 10,625                            11,240

SIF expenditure                8,764                9,086                  9,491                              9,803

Surplus                               453                    730                    1,135                              1,436

KPMG Projection for Department of Social Protection! Completely Wrong!!!

Receipts are underestimated though the number at work and  average pay was increasing!

Receipts    Payments        surplus            % of GDP

2018                      9.8                 9.5                  0.2           0.1%
2019                      9.9                 9.9                  0.0          0.0%

The Total Increase in all Social Welfare payments in 2019  will be  361.6 million including the 5 Euro per week budgetary increase in maximum payments

The excess of Social Insurance Contributions over Total Contributory Social Insurance Benefits was FOUR TIMES THIS FIGURE at 1.436 BILLION

If the number at work and pay increases continue in 2020 as in 2019, the government will snatch over 2 billion euro from the fund as the 5 Euro increase in maximum rates has been discontinued.

The contributions to the Social Insurance Fund come from employees and employers. As the employer contribution is a labour cost it effectively comes from the labour of employees.

Budget 2020 to hit poorer households harder – Economic and Social Research Institute

Robert Shortt RTE Economics Correspondent

“The decision by the Government not to adjust income tax rates or raise welfare payments in Budget 2020 will hit everyone in the pocket next year.

This is because wages and prices are going up and so if people earn more, they will pay more in tax. Those on welfare will be left behind.

The ESRI has calculated that the Budget will reduce the incomes of the poorest 10% of households by 3% but leave the highest earning 10% of households worse off by just 1%”

Budget 2020 ‘betrayed the vulnerable’, Social Justice Ireland has said 

 Kitty Holland, Wednesday, October 9, 2019, 21:38

A supplementary budget will be necessary to protect the most vulnerable in the event of a hard Brexit, Social Justice Ireland has warned.

In its analysis the think tank said Budget 2020 had “betrayed the vulnerable and left many further behind”. While most of the poorest had seen no increases in their incomes as a result of the Budget, Brexit would deliver an increase in the cost of living of between €892 and €1,360, per household, per year.

The poorest 30 per cent would be hit hardest, particularly with rising food costs, said the organisation’s chief executive Sean Healy.

“While TDs will see their salaries rise by about €1,600 in the coming year (€30 a week) many of the most vulnerable will see their welfare payments unchanged. Among other things they will face additional increases in the cost of food and higher charges for public transport as a result of the increased carbon tax.

“The choices made by Government in Budget 2020 will mean that vulnerable people will see their standard of living fall and they will slip even further behind the rest of society. This is not acceptable.”

SJI had called for a €9 per week increase in welfare payments to ensure rates kept pace with wage increases. It expressed “regret” there was no increase to core welfare rates and that a recommended 30c increase in the national minimum wage – to €10.10 an hour, has been shelved pending Brexit.

“Despite the necessary Brexit-induced caution we believe the resources to deliver an increase in welfare rates were there.”

There had been “no progress” in addressing poverty among people with disabilities.

“Among people who are unable to work due to illness or disability more than one in three (35.4 per cent) live on an income below the poverty line. . . Budget 2020 did not take the necessary steps to improve services and funding in this area [and]did not move to introduce a cost of disability payment.”

Its call for an effective corporation tax of six per cent, which was based on the “principle of fairness”, was not delivered. This was “regrettable”.

“SJI has continually highlighted the fact that Ireland is a low-tax economy with its total tax-take among the lowest in the EU.”

Mr Healy said the poorest must not be made pay for a hard Brexit adding he would “fight hard” for a supplementary budget to protect this cohort in such an event.

© 2019 irishtimes.com

—————————————————————-Social Justice Ireland Wants 9 Euro Welfare  Rise to Protect Poorest from Brexit

Dr Seán Healy said: “Poverty will rise if welfare rates do not keep pace with these changes in Budget 2020. This is why Social Justice Ireland is calling for an increase of €9 in minimum social welfare rates in Budget 2020.”

Irish Examiner, Tuesday, October 01, 2019  https://wp.me/pKzXa-1ma

Social Justice Ireland say the poorest people in society need to be protected from the potential economic shock of Brexit.

The Government is set to release its budget for 2020 on Tuesday next.

However, the Irish Fiscal Advisory Council is warning Britain’s exit from the EU could hit the State’s tax take hard.

Dr Seán Healy, chief executive of Social Justice Ireland, said social welfare payments need to go up to protect the poorest from the effects of Brexit.

He said: “We are one week away from a Budget that is being shaped by Brexit. It is vital that available resources are prioritised on protecting communities, jobs and the vulnerable.

“In practical terms this means investing in communities, in indigenous enterprise and jobs creation, and it means ensuring that those who are reliant on social welfare are not left even further behind.”

Michelle Murphy, Research and Policy Analyst at Social Justice Ireland, said: “In order to protect the most vulnerable while preparing for Brexit we must ensure that we close the gap between current minimum social welfare rates and the benchmark of 27.5% of average earnings.

“In Budget 2020 it would take an increase of €9 to close that gap between the current rate and the benchmark to average earnings and to make sure people on social welfare do not fall further behind.”

“This gives an indication of just how important social welfare rates are in protecting the most vulnerable in our society. We should not lose sight of this as we face into a period of potential economic upheaval”

Dr Healy said: “Poverty will rise if welfare rates do not keep pace with these changes in Budget 2020. This is why Social Justice Ireland is calling for an increase of €9 in minimum social welfare rates in Budget 2020.”

—————————————————————This article from the Irish Independent , including Statements by ICTU Pensions Officer, Dr Laura Bambrick, is an informative and accurate summary of the current impasse on contributory social welfare pensions. https://wp.me/pKzXa-1ma

ICTU submission and Government Policy Statement are also available below

Irish Independent: Plans to give pensioners more security are ‘being blocked in Government’

“The Department of Social Protection has informed us the delay in progressing the legislation is with Finance,” said Irish Congress of Trade Unions social policy officer DR Laura Bambrick.

When asked by Irish Independent if it is blocking the plan, a Department of Finance spokesperson said the query “is appropriate” to the Department of Social Protection.

Irish Independent, Anne-Marie Walsh, August 20 2019

Plans to ensure the State pension keeps its value are being blocked by a Government department, it has been claimed.

A senior union official, Pensions Policy Officer, Dr Laura Bambrick, ICTU,  said the Department of Finance is putting the brakes on proposals to give older people greater security.

This would be done by ensuring the value of the State pension never drops below the equivalent of 34pc of the average wage.

At the moment, the pension is not pegged to any economic markers – and pensioners are dependent on the goodwill of politicians at budget time for increases like the extra fivers given in recent years.

The Government has been urged to move on its commitment to link the pension with pay after missing its own deadline to roll out the proposal.

The Governments Roadmap for Pensions Reform said it would set a formal benchmark of 34pc of average earnings for the pension by the end of last year.

It also promised to roll out a process whereby payments would be “explicitly linked” to inflation and average wages in the same timeframe.

“The Department of Social Protection has informed us the delay in progressing the legislation is with Finance,” said Irish Congress of Trade Unions social policy officer DR Laura Bambrick.

She said its reluctance may be down to potential costs and a loss of power over budget priorities. It is vital the changes are brought in ahead of a planned auto-enrolment pension scheme in 2022, she added, so the public can be confident the Government does not plan to replace the State pension over time.

When asked if the deadlines were missed or why, the Department of Social Protection did not say.

In a response, it said it is “currently considering options” to implement benchmarking and indexation.

When asked if it is blocking the plan, a Department of Finance spokesperson said the query “is appropriate” to the Department of Social Protection.

The Government’s pensions roadmap highlighted a need to benchmark the pension to provide a “basic level of pension adequacy”.

It said current pension rates already meet this objective – but future increases should be linked to the cost of living and wage levels in order to ensure the value of the State pension is maintained.

“As pensioners generally have fixed incomes, and can expect 20 or more years when they may be at least partially reliant on the State pension, any uncertainty about future rates can cause anxiety, particularly among pensioners with no other source of income,” it said.

It said Ireland is atypical among EU countries by giving discretionary increases through political decisions in annual budgets.

“The Government believes a regime of automatic indexation would introduce greater long-term certainty for our retirees,” it said.

Meanwhile, pensioners have no idea how many years’ contributions they will need to qualify for a full State pension in future.

The department said it is designing a new “total contributions” approach for post-2020 pensioners and the minister will bring a proposal to government “in the near future”.

 

——————————————————————–

Government to Raid Worker and Employer Contributions to Fund which Pays Contributory Old Age Pensions and Unemployment Benefit to Pay Increases in Other Benefits and Alowances which Should Come from General Taxation

Irish Independent 28/0/2019  https://wp.me/pKzXa-1ma
“The (Budget) allocation for the Department of Social Protection is still being negotiated, but Mr Donohoe will target payments aimed at low-income families rather than broad welfare top-ups as occurred in recent years.”
This is just spin. There is no intention to impose a penny in tax on the assets of the top 10% of financial asset holders who now have 50 billion more than they had at peak boom level in 2006.

As the Consumer Price index is up 0.7% ( CSO) since last year all contributory benefits would have to be increased by 0.7%,  to retain their value. To provide no increase would be a cut.

The PRSI Fund has been in surplus for the past 3 years as confirmed to Seamus Healy TD in Dáil by the Minister. The surplus was transferred to the exchequer. This means that the the government raided the FUND  for other purposes

——————————————————————–Will Trade Unions Stand Idly By as Government Plans to Phase Out Contributory Old Age Pensions by Falsely Treating it as a Social Welfare Handout

https://wp.me/pKzXa-1ma

Contributory Old Age Pensions are funded by employee and employer contributions

Private and Public Service Pensioners who have both an occupational pension and a contributory old age pension are most at risk but not only these.

The phasing out is to be done by failing to raise the contributory old age pension in line with the cost of living in the budget each year.

The Minister for Social Protection has recently stated that only those below the Minimum Effective Standard of Living (MESL), a poverty threshold, should get annual increases

Irish Times: “Secretary General of the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection John McKeon noted that unlike private pension funds, the Social Insurance Fund does not operate on a prefunded basis whereby contributions made today would be invested to fund future disbursements. The fund operates on a ‘pay as you go’ basis with current year expenditure funded by current year revenues, he said, adding that deficits are funded by an Exchequer subvention paid form a central fund.”

Paddy Healy: “Mr McKeon failed to mention that when the fund has been in surplus as it was in  2016, 2017, 2018, government raids the fund for other purposes.”

 —————————————————————————————————————————————-

ICTU Submissions on Pension Changes and Government Documents  https://wp.me/pKzXa-1ma

Total Contributions Approach Consultation: Submission on behalf of ICTU…

https://www.ictu.ie/…/total_contributions_approach_submission_finaljune_ 2018.pdf

 

File Format: PDF/Adobe Acrobat

entitlement to the contributory pension, and agree in principle with a move to a Total ContributionsApproach. The key issues for Congress in switching to an …

 

Your Quick Guide to Government’s Proposed Changes to the Old …

https://www.ictu.ie/download/pdf/factsheet_pdf.pdf

File Format: PDF/Adobe Acrobat

principle with the move to a ‘Total Contributions Approach‘. However, Congress rejects a number of the rules and conditions being proposed and are actively …

Congress Concerned at Proposed Changes to State Pension …

https://www.ictu.ie/…/congress-concerned-at-proposed-changes-to-state-pe/

 

May 27, 2018  This option is to be withdrawn in 2020, when the Total Contributions Approach will be the only method of assessment available to applicants …

Pension Reform Plan ‘potentially significant’; Congress commits to …

https://www.ictu.ie/…/pension-reform-plan-potentially-significant-congre/

 

Feb 28, 2018  Congress General Secretary Patricia King said that “the plan to move to a Total Contribution Approach will go some way towards addressing …

initial response of the irish congress of trade unions to the oecd …

https://www.ictu.ie/…/congress_response_to_oecd_pensions_review_may_ 2013.pdf

File Format: PDF/Adobe Acrobat

The report – if acted on – will change Ireland’s approach to the welfare of older people. The …. total contributions approach from 2020 onward. • The best two …

Report of Executive Council

https://www.ictu.ie/…/14878_congressbdc_executive-report_r7_final.pdf

 

File Format: PDF/Adobe Acrobat

Jan 28, 2019  agrees in principle with the move to a ‘TotalContributions Approach‘. However, Congress rejects a number of the rules and conditions.

Auto-Enrolment Retirement Saving Scheme: Submission on behalf …

https://www.ictu.ie/…/auto_enrolment_submission_ictunov_2018.pdf

 

File Format: PDF/Adobe Acrobat

Congress recognises that the current voluntary approach to supplementary …. The Strawman proposes a total minimum contribution of 14 per cent of wage …

 ______________________________________________
For Written Answer on : 23/07/2019
Question Number(s): 2704 Question Reference(s): 32494/19
Department: Employment Affairs and Social Protection
Asked by: Seamus Healy T.D.
______________________________________________

QUESTION
To ask the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the outturn figures for the excess of receipts overpayments in the PRSI fund in each of the years 2016 to 2018; and if she will make a statement on the matter.

REPLY
This question is being answered on the understanding that it relates to the excess of Social Insurance Fund income over expenditure in the years 2016 to 2018.

The following table shows the excess of receipts over expenditure of the Social Insurance Fund for 2016, 2017 and 2018 (provisional):

 2016  2017  2018
 €m  €m  €m
 452.4  730.9  1,134.0

 

(Statements by the Minister and by Senior Civil Servants in the Articles below are Grossly misleading-PH)

Ageing population leading to ‘significant annual deficits’ in pension fund

Sorcha Pollak

 

Last Updated: Thursday, November 29, 2018, 16:07

Billions of euro may be needed in the near future to support and maintain the State’s pension fund as Irish people continue to grow older and live longer, the Dáil Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has heard.

Secretary General of the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection John McKeon told the meeting the State’s Social Insurance Fund was projected to suffer “significant annual deficits” in the coming decades with billions needed to prop up the scheme as increasing numbers retire and reach pension age.

While the fund is projected to have a surplus value of €2.8 billion by the end of 2018, Mr McKeon warned that the fund had run deficits in six out of 10 of the past years and that “during the great recession”, the total value of deficits amounted to €11 billion.

“This data indicates that the value of benefits paid by the fund greatly exceeds the value of contributions made into the fund,” said Mr McKeon, adding that the value of the State pension alone was worth more than the value of contributions made.

“For this reason, given the projected increases in the numbers of older people and increasing life expectancy, the actuarial review projects significant annual deficits in the future,” he said.

Thursday’s Dáil committee meeting examined the results of the latest actuarial review into the Social Insurance Fund which is conducted every five years to project the “likely evolution” of social insurance funding based on a “defined set of assumptions”.

In July, the Government warned the Irish pensions system was facing a number of “very serious demographic, adequacy and sustainability challenges” and that the Social Insurance Fund was forecast to accumulate a potential deficit of up to €335 billion over the next fifty years.

In its National Risk Assessment, the Government estimated that the number of people at State pension age and older would more than double from 586,000 in 2015 to 1,402,000 by 2055. It also warned that Ireland had a very low level of private pension coverage.

Comptroller and Auditor General Séamus McCarthy underlined to the PAC that the actuarial review was “a valuable exercise as it enables informed discussion about the expected long-term implications of current decision making”.

He warned that a “substantial” exchequer subvention would be required in the coming years to meet the spending costs of the insurance fund and that this cost would “increase rapidly”. The review estimates the insurance fund could need an additional €1.7 billion by 2025; an additional €5.6 billion by 2035 and an additional €11.4 billion by 2045.

Pay as you go

Mr McKeon noted that unlike private pension funds, the Social Insurance Fund does not operate on a prefunded basis whereby contributions made today would be invested to fund future disbursements. The fund operates on a ‘pay as you go’ basis with current year expenditure funded by current year revenues, he said, adding that deficits are funded by an Exchequer subvention paid form a central fund.

The Social Insurance Fund was set up to provide security to people currently in employment but who will experience periods out of employment including people in retirement, on illness leave and on maternity leave.

Most employers and employees over the age of 16 and under 66 pay PRSI (pay related social insurance) contributions into the fund and for this employees receive benefits for the periods they spend out of employment. The fund expenditure policy is set by the Minister for Social Protection and Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform.

© 2019 irishtimes.com

 

 

 

Will Trade Unions Stand Idly By as Government Plans to Phase Out Contributory Old Age Pensions by Falsely Treating it as a Social Welfare Handout?

Contributory Old Age Pensions are funded by employee and employer contributions

Private and Public Service Pensioners who have both an occupational pension and a contributory old age pension are most at risk but not only these.

The phasing out is to be done by failing to raise the contributory old age pension in line with the cost of living in the budget each year.

The Minister for Social Protection has recently stated that only those below the Minimum Effective Standard of Living (MESL), a poverty threshold, should get annual increases

Irish Times: “Secretary General of the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection John McKeon noted that unlike private pension funds, the Social Insurance Fund does not operate on a prefunded basis whereby contributions made today would be invested to fund future disbursements. The fund operates on a ‘pay as you go’ basis with current year expenditure funded by current year revenues, he said, adding that deficits are funded by an Exchequer subvention paid form a central fund.”

Paddy Healy: “Mr McKeon failed to mention that when the fund has been in surplus as it was in  2016, 2017, 2018, government raids the fund for other purposes.”

 

 

 

 

______________________________________________
For Written Answer on : 23/07/2019
Question Number(s): 2704 Question Reference(s): 32494/19
Department: Employment Affairs and Social Protection
Asked by: Seamus Healy T.D.
______________________________________________

QUESTION
To ask the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the outturn figures for the excess of receipts overpayments in the PRSI fund in each of the years 2016 to 2018; and if she will make a statement on the matter.

REPLY
This question is being answered on the understanding that it relates to the excess of Social Insurance Fund income over expenditure in the years 2016 to 2018.

The following table shows the excess of receipts over expenditure of the Social Insurance Fund for 2016, 2017 and 2018 (provisional):

 2016  2017  2018
 €m  €m  €m
 452.4  730.9  1,134.0

 

(Statements by the Minister and by Senior Civil Servants in the Articles below are Grossly misleading-PH)

Ageing population leading to ‘significant annual deficits’ in pension fund

Sorcha Pollak

 

Last Updated: Thursday, November 29, 2018, 16:07

Billions of euro may be needed in the near future to support and maintain the State’s pension fund as Irish people continue to grow older and live longer, the Dáil Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has heard.

Secretary General of the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection John McKeon told the meeting the State’s Social Insurance Fund was projected to suffer “significant annual deficits” in the coming decades with billions needed to prop up the scheme as increasing numbers retire and reach pension age.

While the fund is projected to have a surplus value of €2.8 billion by the end of 2018, Mr McKeon warned that the fund had run deficits in six out of 10 of the past years and that “during the great recession”, the total value of deficits amounted to €11 billion.

“This data indicates that the value of benefits paid by the fund greatly exceeds the value of contributions made into the fund,” said Mr McKeon, adding that the value of the State pension alone was worth more than the value of contributions made.

“For this reason, given the projected increases in the numbers of older people and increasing life expectancy, the actuarial review projects significant annual deficits in the future,” he said.

Thursday’s Dáil committee meeting examined the results of the latest actuarial review into the Social Insurance Fund which is conducted every five years to project the “likely evolution” of social insurance funding based on a “defined set of assumptions”.

In July, the Government warned the Irish pensions system was facing a number of “very serious demographic, adequacy and sustainability challenges” and that the Social Insurance Fund was forecast to accumulate a potential deficit of up to €335 billion over the next fifty years.

In its National Risk Assessment, the Government estimated that the number of people at State pension age and older would more than double from 586,000 in 2015 to 1,402,000 by 2055. It also warned that Ireland had a very low level of private pension coverage.

Comptroller and Auditor General Séamus McCarthy underlined to the PAC that the actuarial review was “a valuable exercise as it enables informed discussion about the expected long-term implications of current decision making”.

He warned that a “substantial” exchequer subvention would be required in the coming years to meet the spending costs of the insurance fund and that this cost would “increase rapidly”. The review estimates the insurance fund could need an additional €1.7 billion by 2025; an additional €5.6 billion by 2035 and an additional €11.4 billion by 2045.

Pay as you go

Mr McKeon noted that unlike private pension funds, the Social Insurance Fund does not operate on a prefunded basis whereby contributions made today would be invested to fund future disbursements. The fund operates on a ‘pay as you go’ basis with current year expenditure funded by current year revenues, he said, adding that deficits are funded by an Exchequer subvention paid form a central fund.

The Social Insurance Fund was set up to provide security to people currently in employment but who will experience periods out of employment including people in retirement, on illness leave and on maternity leave.

Most employers and employees over the age of 16 and under 66 pay PRSI (pay related social insurance) contributions into the fund and for this employees receive benefits for the periods they spend out of employment. The fund expenditure policy is set by the Minister for Social Protection and Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform.

© 2019 irishtimes.com

 

 

 

 

 

EARLIER MESSAGE

All Pensioners on Contributory and Non-Contributory Social Welfare Old Age Pensions To Be Confined to Minimum Essential Standard of Living in their Old Age After A lifelong Contribution to Irish Society According to Minister Regina Doherty: All State pensions should not be equal, says Minister

Shocking Threat To Old Age Pensions By Fine Gael Minister https://wp.me/pKzXa-1ma
Minister says welfare system ‘not working’ for many and needs to be changed (At Cost to “Better Off” Social Welfare Recipients-PH) It is not “fair” that some older people receive State pensions that are more than they need while others on the same amount live in poverty, Minister for Social Protection Regina Doherty has said. Ms Doherty said she wants to reform the welfare system and bring an end to €5 top-ups on every welfare payment being announced on budget days.
Kitty Holland , Irish Times: Saturday, July 6, 2019, 01:00

Full Holland Article Here  https://wp.me/pKzXa-1ma

Pensioners with Occupational Private Sector Pensions and Occupational Public Sector Pensions as well as contributory PRSI Pensions being targeted by FG /Ind Alliance Government

—————————————————————-Minister says welfare system ‘not working’ for many and needs to be changed (At Cost to “Better Off” Social Welfare Recipients-PH)

It is not “fair” that some older people receive State pensions that are more than they need while others on the same amount live in poverty, Minister for Social Protection Regina Doherty has said.

Ms Doherty said she wants to reform the welfare system and bring an end to €5 top-ups on every welfare payment being announced on budget days.

Kitty Holland , Irish Times: Saturday, July 6, 2019, 01:00

The welfare system is not “working” for thousands of households living in poverty, and radical change to systems is needed, Minister for Social Protection Regina Doherty has said. Signalling an intention to end traditional across-the-board welfare increases on budget day, the Minister said she wanted a far more targeted approach to guarantee a minimum basic income for everyone.

“As a society we would like to ensure that everybody has at least a floor which they will never go under,” she said.

Speaking on the fringes of her department’s pre-budget forum, at which advocacy groups set out their “asks” for the budget in October, Ms Doherty argued that the welfare system should guarantee a minimum essential standard of living (MESL) for everyone.

The MESL for six household “types”, in rural and urban settings, is calculated annually by the Vincentian Partnership for Social Justice. The adequacy of welfare payments to meet this is assessed, with shortfalls recorded as “adequacy gaps”.

This year’s report finds the deepest income inadequacy is “now exclusively found in households headed by one adult, ie single working-age adult and lone-parent households, or in households with older children”.

A single parent of two children – one in primary school and one in secondary, on welfare and living in a town – will need €428.50 per week for a MESL, but gets only €358.90 – an “adequacy gap” of €69.60.

The same family in a rural location needs €500.44 a week, gets the same as the urban family, and struggles with an “adequacy gap” of €141.53.

Pensioner couple

In contrast, an urban pensioner couple dependent on welfare needs €314.60 a week for a MESL, but gets €425.82 – €111.22 more than they need. The same couple in the countryside needs €386.11, gets the same as the urban couple, and so has €39.71 more than they need each week.

“These issues raise important questions about the relativities between social welfare rates,” says the report.

Ms Doherty said a new approach, if achieved, would require systems change, legislative change and political as well as societal “buy-in”. It would not happen in one budget cycle, she said, but she wanted discussions on moving towards such an approach.

“It’s not about deserving more or less because everyone deserves an essential standard of living. But if you live in an area where you have public transport outside your door and can get on your bus with a free travel card well then you don’t have that cost…whereas if you live in Glenroe and you have no public transport and you have to have a car or a bicycle [your costs are higher].”

Levels of poverty

She said it could be administratively onerous, but this was not a reason to ignore the persistent levels of poverty among some groups – particularly lone-parent families and households headed by people with disabilities – despite welfare increases and a recovering economy.

“When you break it down there are some who are taking more than a minimum essential living standard from the State but there are a lot of people who are not….So there is a whole different variety of circumstances that need to be looked at, that doesn’t get addressed when you give everybody the same, across-the-board, because you still leave the people at most risk behind.”

© 2019 irishtimes.com

All State pensions should not be equal, says Minister

Kitty Holland

 

Last Updated: Saturday, July 6, 2019, 01:00

It is not “fair” that some older people receive State pensions that are more than they need while others on the same amount live in poverty, Minister for Social Protection Regina Doherty has said.

Ms Doherty said she wants to reform the welfare system and bring an end to €5 top-ups on every welfare payment being announced on budget days.

She said everyone should have a basic minimum income guaranteeing that they can participate in society but that the current system was not delivering this.

The Minister said “if we are really serious about everybody enjoying the benefits of a recovering economy, well then we need to look at those who are most at risk of poverty and the people in consistent poverty as opposed to just doing a little bit for everybody”.

The same payments for similar households in different parts of Ireland may not be appropriate, she said, adding that political and public “buy in” would be needed to explain to the “lady in Donegal” why she was going to get “more, or less” than “the lady somewhere else” in the State.

“So a long conversation will be needed,” she said, adding that the changes would not be achieved in one budget cycle.

Ms Doherty said that despite a recovering economy and increases in welfare payments, 120,000 children still lived in consistent poverty, while some welfare recipients were getting more than they needed, including pensioner couples in urban areas.

“It’s not just about the rates. It’s about ensuring everyone has a minimum standard of living. What we have at the moment is people being left behind because we’re quite happy to leave everybody the same and everyone is not the same.”

© 2019 irishtimes.com

 

Categories: Uncategorized

Anglo-Irish Bank Fraud on Small Investors With Collusion of Government–Full Dossier

Report on Director of Corporate Enforcement (ODCE) on Collapse of Sean Fitzpatrick Trial Still Not Published in July 2019!!

2016-Many Billions in Pension Lump Sums, Redundancy Lump Sums, Life Savings of Retired Small Traders including Sole Traders, Shares held by Credit Unions etc, Wiped Out Through Fraud Committed by Convicted Leading Bankers With The Collusion of Central Bank, Financial Regulatory Authority and Government’s Department of Finance https://wp.me/pKzXa-1lF

Sunday July 24, 2016-Paddy Healy

Has a Dirty Deal Been Hatched Between Defence and Prosecution (the Government) to Protect the State from Being Forced to Compensate Small Shareholders in Anglo?-Paddy Healy

Will the then regulator, the then head of the central bank, the then secretary of the Department of Finance be called (by sub-poena) by Defence to give mitigation of sentence evidence as to whether they encouraged the fraudsters or simply allowed the fraud to continue? Had they full advance knowledge? Or has a Dirty Deal on Length of Sentence been Done between Government(DPP) and the Fraudsters?

The stench is rising! Damning files reveal Central Bank’s role in €7bn banking fraud – The Sunday Business Post  19/06/2016

MINISTER NOONAN FAILS TO ANSWER DEMAND FOR COMPENSATION FOR SMALL SHAREHOLDERS IN ANGLO BY SEAMUS HEALY TD IN DAIL REPLY TO PARLIAMENTARY QUESTION-PENSIONERS, REDUNDANT WORKERS, RETIRED SOLE TRADERS ETC DEFRAUDED –Government, Department of Finance had Full Knowledge!!

<!– [if lt IE 9]> http://www.businesspost.ie/wp-content/themes/smart-mag/js/html5.js <![endif]–>

“Official files and secret notes reveal that a €7 billion fraud that led to the criminal conviction of three bankers earlier this month was “potentially based on encouragement” from the Central Bank, The Sunday Business Post can reveal.

The secret documents reveal how the state had intimate knowledge that the two banks were helping each other out during the financial crisis in order to make their balance sheets appear stronger to investors and the stock market.

The day before Anglo Irish Bank was nationalised in January 2009, Con Horan, the regulator’s then prudential director, told a high-powered meeting that his banking watchdog had an “awareness” that the bank was “working together” with Irish Life & Permanent, using what was called “back-to-back loans”.

He then told senior Department of Finance, NTMA and Central Bank officials that this working relationship was “potentially based on encouragement from Dame Street”.

Horan said he was meeting the bank’s auditors to discuss the arrangement. He also explained how the circular transaction worked in January 2009 in order to use money from IL&P to boost Anglo’s customer deposits.

Horan was asked by Mary O’Dea, another senior official in the Central Bank, whether or not the €7 billion deal would have to be disclosed in Anglo’s accounts.

Horan said: “Auditors are comfortable… Current accounts will have lot more disclosures.”

On February 25, 2009 documents marked “secret” by the Financial Regulator also saw the state’s banking watchdog admit internally that Anglo and IL&P bankers might be able to argue that the €7 billion fraud was only carried out because of “encouragement”–

“In a document prepared for its board, the regulator admitted: “There is also information available that might be argued to support a defence against accusations of market abuse, specifically in relation to knowledge within the Financial Regulator/Central Bank, but also more generally in relation to the role of the Department of Finance, Central Bank and Financial Regulator encouraging institutions to co-operate with each other in extremely difficult circumstances where the very existence of the Irish financial system was in some doubt.”

There is also evidence in notes kept of meetings of the Domestic Standing Group – made up of the Department of Finance, the Central Bank and the Financial Regulator – that the state was monitoring how Anglo and IL&P were working together in the months before the €7 billion fraud…. SB POST

Full Article:

http://www.businesspost.ie/damning-files-reveal-central-banks-role-in-e7bn-banking-fraud/

Business Post   19/06/2016

 

——————————

Sentencing of Anglo and Irish Life and Permanent Top Dog Fraudsters Adjourned until Friday

Thousands lost their life savings due to the fraud!

Wed July 27,2016

Is there a dirty deal between the Government and the Defendants To Protect the state from compensation claims?

At the sentence hearing on Monday Last, defence pointed out that there was no loss to the bank or to the state due to the fraud

There are no reports of the Prosecution on behalf of the Government pointing out that thousands of small investors, including pensioners,redundant workers, retired small business and trades people, credit unions etc, were defrauded of their life savings

There were several high ranking character witnesses called in support of mitigation of sentence by the defence

But there were no victim impact statements allowed by defrauded pensioners etc though these are criminal convictions for defrauding these victims.

Prosecutor O’Higgins SC,for the prosecution (State),  told the judge that the maximum effective sentence was ten years according to newspaper reports

But  no  demand for the maximum sentence to be applied was reported.

The defense on behalf of the convicted bankers did not call the then regulator, the then governor of the central bank, the then secretary general of the Department of Finance

Had the defence, instructed by the bankers and the government (who instructs the prosecuting lawyers) done a deal to prevent small investors getting their money back???

Lawyers for the defendants and the Government must take instructions from their clients unless such instructions are illegal, unethical or in breach of court rules.

Hence the players in any deal are not the lawyers but the government and the convicted bankers. The interests of those actually defrauded were not represented!!!

Noonan’s Non Reply To Seamus Healy TD in Dáil: Will Small Shareholders be Compensated??

QUESTION NO:  115

DÁIL QUESTION addressed to the Minister for Finance (Deputy Michael Noonan)
by Deputy Seamus Healy for WRITTEN ANSWER on 23/06/2016

 

“To ask the Minister for Finance if he will recommend that small shareholders be compensated by the State at least to the extent of the entitlement of depositors under the Bank Deposit Guarantee Scheme, given the conviction of two former executives of Anglo-Irish Bank on a charge of conspiring to defraud investors, that Government and his Department, the Office of The Regulator and the Central Bank were all aware of the relevant transaction in advance of the publication of the misleading accounts of the affairs of the bank and the other evidence and remarks of the Judge in Court (details supplied see further down); and if he will make a statement on the matter.-Seamus Healy TD

REPLY Of Minister NOONAN

“As previously outlined to the Deputy in my answer to parliamentary question number 108 on 16th June 2016, Anglo Irish Bank was nationalised on 15 January 2009 and on that date the Minister for Finance acquired all of the ordinary and preference share capital by virtue of the provisions of the Anglo Irish Bank Act 2009, therefore, as of that date, the ownership of the shares in Anglo Irish Bank would have transferred to the Minister for Finance. If the Government had not nationalised Anglo Irish Bank, the Bank had the potential to collapse and impact on the entire Irish banking system. At that time, shares were valued on the market  in the region of €0.22, however in the event of the Bank failing, Anglo Irish Bank s shares would have been worthless.

Sections 22-32 of the Anglo Irish Bank Corporation Act 2009 provide that the Minister for Finance shall appoint an Assessor at an appropriate time having regard to the public interest. The job of the Assessor is to independently determine the fair and reasonable aggregate value, if any, of the transferred shares and extinguished rights and the consequent amount of compensation, if any, that may be payable to persons in respect of Anglo Irish Bank shares transferred and rights extinguished under the Act. Since the liquidation of IBRC in February 2013, there has been no timeframe set for the appointment of an Assessor.

An update on the liquidation of IBRC can be found at http://www.finance.gov.ie/sites/default/files/Progress%20update%20report_31%20Dec%202015_0.pdf

The Deposit Guarantee Scheme (“DGS”) was established to protect depositors in the event of a bank, building society or credit union authorised by the Central Bank of Ireland being unable to repay deposits. The DGS is part of the Central Bank of Ireland s strategy to ensure that the best interests of consumers of financial services are protected. The DGS is administered by the Central Bank of Ireland and is funded by the credit institutions covered by the scheme. The DGS was not established to protect equity investors.”-Minister Noonan

 

 

Details Supplied by Seamus Healy TD to Minister Noonan With His Parliamentary  Question.

Sunday Business Post 19/06/2016

“In a document prepared for its board, the regulator admitted: “There is also information available that might be argued to support a defence against accusations of market abuse, specifically in relation to knowledge within the Financial Regulator/Central Bank, but also more generally in relation to the role of the Department of Finance, Central Bank and Financial Regulator encouraging institutions to co-operate with each other in extremely difficult circumstances where the very existence of the Irish financial system was in some doubt.”

There is also evidence in notes kept of meetings of the Domestic Standing Group – made up of the Department of Finance, the Central Bank and the Financial Regulator – that the state was monitoring how Anglo and IL&P were working together in the months before the €7 billion fraud.-Sunday Business Post, 19/06/2016

Full Report

http://www.businesspost.ie/damning-files-reveal-central-banks-role-in-e7bn-banking-fraud/

Business Post   19/06/2016

Remarks of Judge in Court- Colm Keena, Irish Times, June 9,2016

“These were classic back-to-back transactions, done for public optics only,” the judge said in his February ruling. He said he believed the regulator “condoned optics-based balance sheet management” as it did not want Irish banks to “go down”. The Irish authorities were frightened by what they had seen with Northern Rock and they had seen central banks in other jurisdictions help their banking systems.

Neary and Hurley were “hands on” and entirely involved in the effort to save the Irish banking system, the judge said. They had put the green jersey into Casey’s mind, and Casey had acted on it.  

Declan Brennan,Irish Times, , May 5, 2016, 18:07

 

Mr Peter  Fitzpatrick (Irish Life and Permanent) who was acquitted of the conspiracy to defraud investors said in a statement to gardai quoted in court:

“He said that prior to January 2009, ILP never received any request for clarification from Anglo or its auditors, the then financial regulator Patrick Neary or the then Central Bank governor John Hurley

‘Political expediency’

“I feel that the matter was dealt with as a matter of political expediency with no reference to the substance of the transaction.

“I believe that the actions of the [financial] regulator post 30 September 2008 effectively shows [sic] that he tacitly if not explicitly approved such actions. Without this understanding the transaction would have in all certainty not have taken place,” he told gardaí­.

————————————————————————————————-

Sunday Independent, 12/06/2016

Dearbhail McDonald Legal editor

 

 On one end of the line was John Bowe, Anglo’s head of capital markets. At the other was Mary Elizabeth Donoghue from the Office of the Financial Regulator.

The call occurred on October 28, 2008, weeks before publication of Anglo’s preliminary results on December 3, 2008. Critically, it also came weeks after the execution of a spectacular €7.2bn scheme of circular transactions between Anglo and Irish Life & Permanent…..

“Let’s call a spade a spade,” said Donoghue as Bowe explained the motivation behind the balance sheet window dressing exercise, insisting it had nothing to do with the liquidity crisis then engulfing banks around the globe, including our own.

The conversation included this exchange:

Bowe: “This was purely about avoiding an issue of confidence in the bank.”

Donoghue: “Yeah, so it looked like an asset manager had placed money with yourselves?”

Bowe “Exactly.”

Donoghue “It forms part of the… the customer deposit, yeah.”

Bowe: “Exactly.”

Donoghue: “Yeah. That’s fine, that’s grand, that’s what I – even my limited reading of it now that’s what I read it to be and I just wanted – let’s not get too excited about what’s happening here and let’s call it what it is. That’s fine.”      

————————————————–

Drumm Trial Irish Independent  06/06/2018

https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/courts/long-read-former-anglo-ceo-drumms-confidence-trick-on-the-market-not-just-a-cheat-but-a-crime-36984340.html

 

Ken Foy

Irish Independent January 5 2017 2:30 AM

 

 

 

Three former bank executives who are serving sentences for criminal conspiracy in a €7bn market deception scheme spent the festive period in jail at Loughan House open prison in Co Cavan.

The trio are former Anglo Irish Bank executives John Bowe (52), Willie McAteer (65) and former Irish Life and Permanent (ILP) group chief executive Denis Casey (56).

None of the men was granted temporary release from the open prison – although it is not known if any of them even applied to get out over the Christmas period.

Bowe, McAteer and Casey were transferred together to the Co Cavan facility in late September after spending two months in Mountjoy Prison’s training unit.

Jail sources said the three disgraced bankers had an “impeccable” behaviour record since being locked up last July.

Bowe, from Glasnevin, Dublin, McAteer, of Greenrath, Tipperary Town, and Casey, from Raheny, Dublin, had all pleaded not guilty to conspiring together and with others to defraud by setting up a €7.2bn circular transaction scheme between March 1 and September 30, 2008 to bolster Anglo’s balance sheet with the intention of misleading investors.

On day 89 of the longest-running criminal trial in the State’s history, a jury convicted Casey. It had already returned guilty verdicts on Bowe and McAteer a week earlier.

Jailing McAteer for three-and-a-half years, Judge Martin Nolan told him he had authorised the transactions when he knew what he was doing was underhand, deceitful and corrupt.

He told Bowe that he was the chief man in Anglo’s treasury room and he had failed to act with honesty.

He imposed a two-year sentence on Bowe, telling him the lower sentence was because he was “a lesser functionary” and not a board member at the bank.

Judge Nolan told Casey that he had made a grave error of judgment in authorising the transaction with Anglo. He jailed him for two years and nine months.

In October, it emerged that the trio were to appeal against their convictions at a hearing that is due to take place in March.

The three men lodged appeals against their convictions and a hearing date was fixed for the week beginning March 6.

Mr Justice George Birmingham said a week-long appeal hearing would be “the longest appeal” since the court was established in 2014.

 

 

Sentencing of Anglo and Irish Life and Permanent Top Dog Fraudsters Adjourned until Friday

Wed July 27,2016

Anglo trial: Sentences of two to three-and-a-half years for trio convicted of fraudulent €7.2 billion transaction

Denis Casey, William McAteer and John Bowe were found guilty of conspiracy to defraud last month.

Journal.ie   Jul 29th 2016,

Updated 11.55am

THREE FORMER BANKING executives have been jailed for conspiring in a “deceitful and corrupt” €7 billion market deception scheme.

Judge Martin Nolan said that former former Anglo Irish Bank executives John Bowe (52) and Willie McAteer (65), and the former Group Chief Executive of Irish Life and Permanent plc. (ILP), Denis Casey (56) took part in a scheme that was “deceitful, dishonest and corrupt”.

He said they had failed to act with honesty and integrity by manufacturing €7.2bn in deposits in what were obviously “sham transactions”.

The deals were done in September 2008 in order to make Anglo’s books look healthier than they actually were.

Serious matter

Judge Nolan said that it was a serious matter than two blue chip companies conspired together to manipulate public accounts.

He said that individual depositors and investors relied on and made decisions based on the public accounts of companies.

He said that if the public cannot rely on probity of blue chip companies and banks we lose all trust in them. He said that money was important to people, especially to older people who have nest eggs invested in banks.

“They are entitled to rely on honesty and integrity. In this case honesty and integrity were sorely lacking,” Judge Nolan said.

He said this conspiracy potentially affected thousands of people and that the starting point for his sentence was eight years.

The judge said that certain State authorities turned a blind eye to “optically driven balance sheet management” which he said was a euphemism for banks entering into transactions which have little or no effect.

Evidence

The evidence during the trial was that Bowe believed the attitude of Financial Regulator was one of “I’m not looking” and that Casey became involved with the transactions after being told by the regulator that Irish banks needed to “don the green jersey” and help each other out during the unprecedented global credit crunch.

Judge Nolan said that Anglo’s former CEO, David Drumm, was the driving force behind the scheme. He also said that it beggared belief that Anglo’s auditors Ernst&Young (now EY) had signed off on Anglo’s end of year accounts.

“They should have known what was occurring if they were doing their job properly,” he said, and commented as to whether it was a case of “blindness or wilful blindness”.

Not guilty pleas

Bowe from Glasnevin, Dublin, McAteer of Greenrath, Tipperary Town, Co Tipperary and Casey from Raheny, Dublin had all pleaded not guilty to conspiring together and with others to defraud by setting up a €7.2 billion circular transaction scheme between March 1st and September 30th, 2008 to bolster Anglo’s balance sheet with the intention of misleading investors.

On day 89 of the longest running criminal trial in the State’s history a jury convicted Casey. They had already returned guilty verdicts on Bowe and McAteer a week earlier. The jury deliberated for a total of 65 hours.

Jailing McAteer for three and a half years, Judge Nolan said he had authorised the transactions when he knew what he was doing was underhand, deceitful and corrupt. He said he was a respected leader of huge experience whose actions in 2008 were reprehensible.

He told Bowe that his was the chief man in Anglo’s Treasury room and he had failed to act with honesty. He told him that in law following orders was no defence.

He imposed a two year sentence on Bowe, telling him the lower sentence was because he was “a lesser functionary” and not a board member.

He told Casey that he had made a grave error of judgement in authorising the transaction with Anglo. He said he was a man who should have known better. He jailed him for two years and nine months after telling him that Anglo were the authors of the scheme but that he had behaved disgracefully and reprehensibly in co-operating with it.

Casey told gardaí that he only agreed to the short term loans with Anglo on condition that there was no risk to his company and that he did not know or intend that Anglo would misrepresent the loans as customer deposits.

McAteer is the only one of the three to have a previous conviction. He was convicted in 2014 of providing unlawful loans from Anglo Irish Bank to ten property developers, dubbed the ‘Maple Ten’, in July 2008 in breach of Section 60 of the Companies Act.

He carried out 240 hours of community service in lieu of a two-year prison sentence.

The court also heard that McAteer had a large shareholding in Anglo that was once very valuable and had lost “tens of millions” of euro when the shares collapsed in value.

Judge Nolan said that none of the men had gained from the scheme and that there was no loss to the State or the banks as the inter-bank loans cancelled each other out.

Originally published 6.04am

Read: Former CEO of Irish Life and Permanent convicted of €7.2 billion conspiracy to defraud

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Anglo trial: Three ex-bankers jailed over €7bn fraud

Ruadhán Mac Cormaic

 

Irish Times: Friday, July 29, 2016, 12:29

Three former bankers have been handed prison sentences for their roles in a €7 billion fraud.

Former Anglo Irish Bank executive Willie McAteer has been sentenced to three and a half years in jail while his Anglo colleague John Bowe was given a two year term.

Denis Casey, the former group chief executive of Irish Life and Permanent, has been jailed for two years and nine months.

The three men did not react when the sentences were handed down. They conferred briefly with their lawyers before being led out of court through a side-door.

McAteer briefly glanced at judge Martin Nolan when he confirmed all three men would receive prison sentences, but otherwise the three former bankers stared at the floor throughout the hearing.

The judge said he imposed a two year sentence on Bowe, telling him the lower sentence was because he was “a lesser functionary” and not a board member.

The three men have 28 days to lodge a notice of intention to appeal the sentences.

Last June, a jury at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court convicted Bowe (52) and McAteer (65), and the former Group Chief Executive of Irish Life and Permanent plc (ILP), Casey (56) of conspiring to make Anglo’s books look €7.2 billion healthier than they actually were.

The three men were involved in setting up a circular scheme of billion euro transactions where Anglo moved money to ILP and ILP sent the money back, via their assurance firm Irish Life Assurance, to Anglo.

The scheme was designed so that the deposits came from the assurance company and would be treated as customer deposits, which are considered a better measure of a bank’s strength than inter-bank loans.

‘Dishonest, deceitful and corrupt’

Handing down the sentences after the longest running criminal trial in Irish history, judge Martin Nolan said the transactions at the heart of the case were “dishonest, deceitful and corrupt”, adding: “There is no other way of describing it.”

He said they were “sham transactions”.

“All they did was to create the impression that Anglo Irish Bank had€7.2 billion more in corporate deposits than it had.”

People were entitled to rely on the public accounts published by companies, the judge said.

While he was “very much aware of the involvement and non-involvement of State authorities” and of the broader background to the case, the judge said he regarded the offences as “very, very serious.”

“The public is entitled to rely on the probity of blue-chip companies and blue-chip banks… If we cannot rely on blue-chip banks, we lose trust in institutions.”

Members of the public were entitled to expect “integrity and honesty” from big firms. “Honesty and integrity was sorely lacking in these transactions,” he added.

Judge Nolan described McAteer as a man of “huge experience” who was a board member of Anglo and close to the leadership of the institution.

His actions in relation to the transactions at the centre of the case were “grossly reprehensible” and “a huge error of judgment”.

‘Saving the bank isn’t everything’

“I can appreciate the desperation of the moment. I can appreciate that everyone at Anglo wanted to save the bank. But saving the bank isn’t everything.”

Judge Nolan said Bowe was the “de facto treasurer” of the Anglo at the relevant time. “He was the chief man in the treasury room,” the judge said.

“He should have known what he was doing.”

In law, the judge said, following orders was not a defence. “If Mr Bowe had told them not to do it, he would have fulfilled his function.” He did not do that, the judge added.

The judge described Casey’s decision to involve himself “to help a fellow Irish institution” as “a grave error of judgment”, adding: “He was a man who should have known better.”

In his remarks, which took just over 20 minutes to deliver before a packed but silent courtroom number nine, Judge Nolan also said it “beggared belief” that the accounting firm Ernst and Young had signed off on Anglo’s interim accounts.

“They should have known what was happening if they did their job properly,” he said. “It seems incomprehensible how these accounts were signed.”

He said he did not know if it was blindness or wilful blindness.

Judge Nolan said the transactions carried out by the three former bankers did not cause the collapse of the Irish banking industry. Nor did the banks lose money as a result of the transactions.

“But what they did nonetheless was extremely wrong.”

In view of the seriousness of the crimes, the judge said, he had to impose prison sentences on all three men.

He said he did this while taking into account all that they and their families had suffered, and the adverse effect their convictions would have on their records and their futures.

He said he had taken into account that the three men did not profit from the transactions. “All three men acted in what they thought would be in the interests of their companies,” he said.

He also took into account their backgrounds, what they had achieved in life and what they had done for their communities. They were “good, honourable men who contributed to their families, their communities and their companies,” he said.

The judge acknowledged the three men had lost their jobs and had been subjected to “public odium and ridicule”, while their lengthy trial had been “a very stressful experience”.

On the background to the case, the judge recalled 2008 was “a chaotic year in the financial world”, that there was “dysfunction” in financial markets and that people in the industry were under stress.

“These crimes came out of that background,” he said.

The judge said his “starting point” in sentencing in the case was eight years.

Longest running criminal trial

Bowe from Glasnevin, Dublin, McAteer of Greenrath, Tipperary Town, Co Tipperary and Casey from Raheny, Dublin had all pleaded not guilty.

On day 89 of the longest running criminal trial in the State’s history a jury convicted Casey. They had already returned guilty verdicts on Bowe and McAteer a week earlier. The jury deliberated for a total of 65 hours.

Sentencing McAteer to three and a half years, Judge Nolan said he had authorised the transactions when he knew what he was doing was underhand, deceitful and corrupt. He said he was a respected leader of huge experience whose actions in 2008 were reprehensible.

He told Bowe that his was the chief man in Anglo’s Treasury room and he had failed to act with honesty. He told him that in law following orders was no defence. He imposed a two year sentence on Bowe, telling him the lower sentence was because he was “a lesser functionary” and not a board member.

He told Casey that he had made a grave error of judgement in authorising the transaction with Anglo. He said he was a man who should have known better. He jailed him for two years and nine months after telling him that Anglo were the authors of the scheme but that he had behaved disgracefully and reprehensibly in co-operating with it. Casey told gardaí that he only agreed to the short term loans with Anglo on condition that there was no risk to his company and that he did not know or intend that Anglo would misrepresent the loans as customer deposits.

Previous conviction

McAteer is the only one of the three to have a previous conviction. He was convicted in 2014 of providing unlawful loans from Anglo Irish Bank to 10 property developers, dubbed the “Maple Ten”, in July 2008 in breach of Section 60 of the Companies Act. He carried out 240 hours of community service in lieu of a two year prison sentence.

The court also heard that McAteer had a large shareholding in Anglo that was once very valuable and had lost “tens of millions” of euro when the shares collapsed in value.

Judge Nolan said that none of the men had gained from the scheme and that there was no loss to the State or the banks as the inter-bank loans cancelled each other out.

© 2018 irishtimes.com

 

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State had intimate knowledge that the two banks were helping each other out

 

SB POST   By Tom LyonsJun 19, 2016

Official files and secret notes reveal that a €7 billion fraud that led to the criminal conviction of three bankers earlier this month was “potentially based on encouragement” from the Central Bank, The Sunday Business Post can reveal.

The secret documents reveal how the state had intimate knowledge that the two banks were helping each other out during the financial crisis in order to make their balance sheets appear stronger to investors and the stock market.

The day before Anglo Irish Bank was nationalised in January 2009, Con Horan, the regulator’s then prudential director, told a high-powered meeting that his banking watchdog had an “awareness” that the bank was “working together” with Irish Life & Permanent, using what was called “back-to-back loans”.

He then told senior Department of Finance, NTMA and Central Bank officials that this working relationship was “potentially based on encouragement from Dame Street”.

Horan said he was meeting the bank’s auditors to discuss the arrangement. He also explained how the circular transaction worked in January 2009 in order to use money from IL&P to boost Anglo’s customer deposits.

Horan was asked by Mary O’Dea, another senior official in the Central Bank, whether or not the €7 billion deal would have to be disclosed in Anglo’s accounts.

Horan said: “Auditors are comfortable… Current accounts will have lot more disclosures.”

On February 25, 2009 documents marked “secret” by the Financial Regulator also saw the state’s banking watchdog admit internally that Anglo and IL&P bankers might be able to argue that the €7 billion fraud was only carried out because of “encouragement”.

In a document prepared for its board, the regulator admitted: “There is also information available that might be argued to support a defence against accusations of market abuse, specifically in relation to knowledge within the Financial Regulator/Central Bank, but also more generally in relation to the role of the Department of Finance, Central Bank and Financial Regulator encouraging institutions to co-operate with each other in extremely difficult circumstances where the very existence of the Irish financial system was in some doubt.”

There is also evidence in notes kept of meetings of the Domestic Standing Group – made up of the Department of Finance, the Central Bank and the Financial Regulator – that the state was monitoring how Anglo and IL&P were working together in the months before the €7 billion fraud.

On June 10, 2008 a note of a DSG meeting involving Patrick Neary, the financial regulator, Horan, Kevin Cardiff, then assistant secretary of the Department of Finance, and Brian Halpin of the Central Bank shows that the state discussed Irish Life & Permanent’s balance sheet in detail just prior to its half-year results to the stock market.

The DSG notes say that the state knew that Anglo was putting several billion onto IL&P’s balance sheet just prior to its year-end in order to make IL&P’s financial position look stronger.

The notes say that in relation to IL&P it expected just before its reporting date in June 2008 to receive “2 billion from Anglo (maybe 3) – short-term”.

Neary states that any support “has to be commercial”.

Horan is also described as saying a senior IL&P executive had already been told to be “careful in use of language”.

The DSG then discusses replacing Gillian Bowler, a former travel agent, as chairperson of the stockmarket-listed IL&P.

“Changing chair is high risk,” the DSG noted before discussing the possibility of requesting David Went, the former chief executive of IL&P, to take on her job.

However, Paul O’Higgins (for the DPP) brought an application at an early stage in the trial to prevent any evidence about the Financial Regulator’s knowledge or otherwise of the fraud being put to the jury.

“Now, there’s no doubt about it, the regulator had a fair degree of knowledge what was going on here,” Judge Nolan concluded.

“He certainly had a fair degree of knowledge of the June transaction and I think from the conversations involving some of the employees of the regulator, they certainly had a knowledge of what had occurred in March . . . So, the regulator did know to a degree what was going on, but the regulator cannot condone criminal behaviour. It doesn’t give a defence to any party that they knew about it . . . ”

In comments to the jury, Judge Martin Nolan said that the origins of Irish Life & Permanent working with Anglo Irish Bank could be traced back to the Central Bank’s concern that IL&P was too reliant on funding from the European Central Bank and what would happen if this was disclosed to the stock market.

“Now, the ironic thing, if you want to call it that, it seems from the interview, from what everybody said, that Mr Casey was happy enough with his image before he met Mr (John) Hurley (the governor of the Central Bank) and Mr Hurley changed all of that. Mr Hurley wasn’t happy with his image.”

 

 

Sentencing of Anglo and Irish Life and Permanent Top Dog Fraudsters Adjourned until Friday

Thousands lost their life savings due to the fraud!

Wed July 27,2016

Is there a dirty deal between the Government and the Defendants To Protect the state from compensation claims?

At the sentence hearing on Monday Last, defence pointed out that there was no loss to the bank or to the state due to the fraud

There are no reports of the Prosecution on behalf of the Government pointing out that thousands of small investors were defrauded of their life savings

There were several high ranking character witnesses called in support of mitigation of sentence by the defence

But there were no victim impact statements given though these are criminal convictions

Prosecutor O’Higgins SC,for the prosecution (State),  told the judge that the maximum effective sentence was ten years according to newspaper reports

But  no  demand for the maximum sentence to be applied was reported.

The defense on behalf of the convicted bankers did not call the then regulator, the then governor of the central bank, the then secretary general of the Department of Finance

Have the defence, instructed by the bankers and the government (who instructs the prosecuting lawyers) done a deal to prevent small investors getting their money back???

Lawyers for the defendants and the Government must take instructions from their clients unless such instructions are illegal, unethical or in breach of court rules.

Hence the players in any deal are not the lawyers but the government and the convicted bankers.

Noonan’s Non Reply To Seamus Healy TD in Dáil: Will Small Shareholders be Compensated??

QUESTION NO:  115

DÁIL QUESTION addressed to the Minister for Finance (Deputy Michael Noonan)
by Deputy Seamus Healy for WRITTEN ANSWER on 23/06/2016

To ask the Minister for Finance if he will recommend that small shareholders be compensated by the State at least to the extent of the entitlement of depositors under the Bank Deposit Guarantee Scheme, given the conviction of two former executives of Anglo-Irish Bank on a charge of conspiring to defraud investors, that Government and his Department, the Office of The Regulator and the Central Bank were all aware of the relevant transaction in advance of the publication of the misleading accounts of the affairs of the bank and the other evidence and remarks of the Judge in Court (details supplied see further down); and if he will make a statement on the matter.

REPLY.

As previously outlined to the Deputy in my answer to parliamentary question number 108 on 16th June 2016, Anglo Irish Bank was nationalised on 15 January 2009 and on that date the Minister for Finance acquired all of the ordinary and preference share capital by virtue of the provisions of the Anglo Irish Bank Act 2009, therefore, as of that date, the ownership of the shares in Anglo Irish Bank would have transferred to the Minister for Finance. If the Government had not nationalised Anglo Irish Bank, the Bank had the potential to collapse and impact on the entire Irish banking system. At that time, shares were valued on the market  in the region of €0.22, however in the event of the Bank failing, Anglo Irish Bank s shares would have been worthless.

Sections 22-32 of the Anglo Irish Bank Corporation Act 2009 provide that the Minister for Finance shall appoint an Assessor at an appropriate time having regard to the public interest. The job of the Assessor is to independently determine the fair and reasonable aggregate value, if any, of the transferred shares and extinguished rights and the consequent amount of compensation, if any, that may be payable to persons in respect of Anglo Irish Bank shares transferred and rights extinguished under the Act. Since the liquidation of IBRC in February 2013, there has been no timeframe set for the appointment of an Assessor.

An update on the liquidation of IBRC can be found at http://www.finance.gov.ie/sites/default/files/Progress%20update%20report_31%20Dec%202015_0.pdf

The Deposit Guarantee Scheme (“DGS”) was established to protect depositors in the event of a bank, building society or credit union authorised by the Central Bank of Ireland being unable to repay deposits. The DGS is part of the Central Bank of Ireland s strategy to ensure that the best interests of consumers of financial services are protected. The DGS is administered by the Central Bank of Ireland and is funded by the credit institutions covered by the scheme. The DGS was not established to protect equity investors.

 

 

Detail Supplied: “In a document prepared for its board, the regulator admitted: “There is also information available that might be argued to support a defence against accusations of market abuse, specifically in relation to knowledge within the Financial Regulator/Central Bank, but also more generally in relation to the role of the Department of Finance, Central Bank and Financial Regulator encouraging institutions to co-operate with each other in extremely difficult circumstances where the very existence of the Irish financial system was in some doubt.”

There is also evidence in notes kept of meetings of the Domestic Standing Group – made up of the Department of Finance, the Central Bank and the Financial Regulator – that the state was monitoring how Anglo and IL&P were working together in the months before the €7 billion fraud.-Sunday Business Post, 19/06/2016

Full Report

http://www.businesspost.ie/damning-files-reveal-central-banks-role-in-e7bn-banking-fraud/

Business Post   19/06/2016

  Remarks of Judge in Court

“These were classic back-to-back transactions, done for public optics only,” the judge said in his February ruling. He said he believed the regulator “condoned optics-based balance sheet management” as it did not want Irish banks to “go down”. The Irish authorities were frightened by what they had seen with Northern Rock and they had seen central banks in other jurisdictions help their banking systems.

Neary and Hurley were “hands on” and entirely involved in the effort to save the Irish banking system, the judge said. They had put the green jersey into Casey’s mind, and Casey had acted on it.  Colm Keena, Irish Times, June 9,2016

Mr Peter  Fitzpatrick (Irish Life and Permanent) who was acquitted of the conspiracy to defraud investors said in a statement to gardai quoted in court:

“He said that prior to January 2009, ILP never received any request for clarification from Anglo or its auditors, the then financial regulator Patrick Neary or the then Central Bank governor John Hurley

‘Political expediency’

“I feel that the matter was dealt with as a matter of political expediency with no reference to the substance of the transaction.

“I believe that the actions of the [financial] regulator post 30 September 2008 effectively shows [sic] that he tacitly if not explicitly approved such actions. Without this understanding the transaction would have in all certainty not have taken place,” he told gardaí­.—Declan Brennan,Irish Times, , May 5, 2016, 18:07

 On one end of the line was John Bowe, Anglo’s head of capital markets. At the other was Mary Elizabeth Donoghue from the Office of the Financial Regulator.

The call occurred on October 28, 2008, weeks before publication of Anglo’s preliminary results on December 3, 2008. Critically, it also came weeks after the execution of a spectacular €7.2bn scheme of circular transactions between Anglo and Irish Life & Permanent…..

“Let’s call a spade a spade,” said Donoghue as Bowe explained the motivation behind the balance sheet window dressing exercise, insisting it had nothing to do with the liquidity crisis then engulfing banks around the globe, including our own.

The conversation included this exchange:

Bowe: “This was purely about avoiding an issue of confidence in the bank.”

Donoghue: “Yeah, so it looked like an asset manager had placed money with yourselves?”

Bowe “Exactly.”

Donoghue “It forms part of the… the customer deposit, yeah.”

Bowe: “Exactly.”

Donoghue: “Yeah. That’s fine, that’s grand, that’s what I – even my limited reading of it now that’s what I read it to be and I just wanted – let’s not get too excited about what’s happening here and let’s call it what it is. That’s fine.”      Dearbhail McDonald Legal editor, Sunday Independent, 12/06/2016

 

 

 

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Sunday July 24

Has a Dirty Deal Been Hatched Between Defene and Prosecution (the Government) to Protect the Elites?

Will the then regulator, the then head of the central bank, the then secretary of the Department of Finance be called (by sub-poena) to give evidence as to whether they encouraged the fraudsters or simply allowed the fraud to continue? Had they full advance knowledge?

The stench is rising!

Damning files reveal Central Bank’s role in €7bn banking fraud – The Sunday Business Post

MINISTER NOONAN FAILS TO ANSWER DEMAND FOR COMPENSATION FOR SMALL SHAREHOLDERS IN ANGLO BY SEAMUS HEALY TD IN DAIL REPLY TO PARLIAMENTARY QUESTION-PENSIONERS, REDUNDANT WORKERS DEFRAUDED

Government, Department of Finance had Full Knowledge!!

<!– [if lt IE 9]> http://www.businesspost.ie/wp-content/themes/smart-mag/js/html5.js <![endif]–>

“Official files and secret notes reveal that a €7 billion fraud that led to the criminal conviction of three bankers earlier this month was “potentially based on encouragement” from the Central Bank, The Sunday Business Post can reveal.

The secret documents reveal how the state had intimate knowledge that the two banks were helping each other out during the financial crisis in order to make their balance sheets appear stronger to investors and the stock market.

The day before Anglo Irish Bank was nationalised in January 2009, Con Horan, the regulator’s then prudential director, told a high-powered meeting that his banking watchdog had an “awareness” that the bank was “working together” with Irish Life & Permanent, using what was called “back-to-back loans”.

He then told senior Department of Finance, NTMA and Central Bank officials that this working relationship was “potentially based on encouragement from Dame Street”.

Horan said he was meeting the bank’s auditors to discuss the arrangement. He also explained how the circular transaction worked in January 2009 in order to use money from IL&P to boost Anglo’s customer deposits.

Horan was asked by Mary O’Dea, another senior official in the Central Bank, whether or not the €7 billion deal would have to be disclosed in Anglo’s accounts.

Horan said: “Auditors are comfortable… Current accounts will have lot more disclosures.”

On February 25, 2009 documents marked “secret” by the Financial Regulator also saw the state’s banking watchdog admit internally that Anglo and IL&P bankers might be able to argue that the €7 billion fraud was only carried out because of “encouragement”–

“In a document prepared for its board, the regulator admitted: “There is also information available that might be argued to support a defence against accusations of market abuse, specifically in relation to knowledge within the Financial Regulator/Central Bank, but also more generally in relation to the role of the Department of Finance, Central Bank and Financial Regulator encouraging institutions to co-operate with each other in extremely difficult circumstances where the very existence of the Irish financial system was in some doubt.”

There is also evidence in notes kept of meetings of the Domestic Standing Group – made up of the Department of Finance, the Central Bank and the Financial Regulator – that the state was monitoring how Anglo and IL&P were working together in the months before the €7 billion fraud…. SB POST

Full Article:

http://www.businesspost.ie/damning-files-reveal-central-banks-role-in-e7bn-banking-fraud/

Business Post   19/06/2016

Categories: Uncategorized