As Troika arrive in town, Ireland must break from the death grip of debt and austerity, or face economic depression
A second bailout would mean even more austerity, more privatisation of social services
In a statement to coincide with the arrival of the EU-IMF “Troika” for the fifth review of the EU-IMF programme for Ireland, Richard Boyd Barrett TD, Finance spokesperson for the United Left Alliance, warned that continuing down the road of “Troika” dictated bank bailouts and austerity was a dangerous slope leading to a 1930’s style economic depression.
Deputy Boyd Barrett said that with Ireland now facing the certainty of a second bail-out, it was clear that the policy of austerity and propping-up toxic banks was not working, and warned that any such new bail-out programme would be accompanied by demands for even more severe and damaging austerity.
Richard Boyd Barrett said: “As the Troika waltz into Ireland again today to give us another pat on the back while shoving more austerity down our throats, there is already talk of a second bailout over and above the existing €85 billion loan. This is proof that what the United Left Alliance has been saying all along is correct: the debt is unsustainable, the austerity measures imposed are depleting the economy and the markets know this – which is why they will not lend us money at reasonable cost. A second bailout, as irresponsibly advocated by Willhem Buiter of Citigroup, would mean further privatisation of public services, further pay cuts, more sales of state assets, and more austerity. Not only would a second bailout be tantamount to pouring water into a bottomless trough, but it may also lead to a 1930’s style economic depression.
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CALLS ON KPMG TO IMMEDIATELY PAY WORKERS OUTSTANDING CHRISTMAS WAGES & CALLS FOR GOVERNMENT INTERVENTION
In a statement today, following a visit to the La Senza workers occupation at Liffey Valley, Richard Boyd Barrett TD of the United Left Alliance has described the treatment of 111 La Senza shop workers at several outlets around the country as “completely shameful”
Deputy Boyd Barrett called on the administrators of La Senza, accountancy firm, KPMG, to immediately contact the workforce – which they had failed to do – and to pay them their outstanding wages for work done over the Christmas period.
Deputy Boyd Barrett also called on Minister’s Joan Burton and Richard Bruton to urgently intervene to assist the shell-shocked workforce in their desperate financial plight and to ensure the full protection of their rights and entitlements, given their “shameful treatment” by both the company and KPMG.
Deputy Boyd Barrett said he intended to raise the issue as a matter of priority when the Dail recommences tomorrow and would submit a “topical issue” debate to the Ceann Comhairle, which he hoped would be selected for debate tomorrow afternoon.
Richard Boyd Barrett TD said: “The treatment of the La Senza workers, by both La Senza and administrators KPMG, is absolutely outrageous and shameful. The workers were informed at less than a days notice that their jobs were gone and that the company was being put into administration – leaving them unpaid for work over the Christmas period.
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We need to build a significant movement between now & budget day before further austerity brings our economy to a standstill
In a statement today, Richard Boyd Barrett, TD for the People Before Profit Alliance, said that it was pathetic for our government to take pride in the Troika findings presented today. Deputy Boyd Barrett said that austerity was crippling the prospects for economic growth both in Ireland and across Europe and that for the government to take pride in imposing more of it is insane. He urged the public to resist the austerity agenda in the run into to the forthcoming budget and stand up to the policy of economic and social doom planned behind closed doors.
Boyd Barrett said: “The Eurozone’s star pupil has received its report card from the Troika headmasters, with a little pat on the head. But the Troika is no benign headmaster – the Troika is a vulture that has its eye on Ireland’s assets and resources and wants to ram privatisation down our throats.” He continued: “We have apparently passed with flying colours and we are told that our tax revenues are ahead of schedule. It’s absurd that the establishment is placing a positive spin on a process of austerity that has so obviously failed across Europe. It really is pathetic.”
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In a statement, People Before Profit Alliance TD, Richard Boyd Barrett has described the special sitting of the Dail (Monday May 9th) to celebrate Ireland’s membership of the EU as “the sick joke of an already bankrupt government” in the context of an EU-IMF deal which was inflicting brutal and economically crippling austerity on Ireland, in order to pay-off the gambling debts of European bankers and speculators.
Deputy Boyd Barrett attended a protest outside the Dail prior to the special Dail sitting and will over the coming weeks be involved in a sustained effort to build a mass campaign of opposition to the EU-IMF deal as part of the recently established “Enough” campaign.
The ‘Enough’ campaign was established at a recently held public meeting in Dublin, organised by Deputy Boyd Barrett, attended by almost 500 people, and addressed by an Icelandic MP involved in the referendum campaigns against the bank-bail-outs in that country.
A follow-up meeting of the ‘Enough’ campaign was held yesterday in Dublin where activists agreed plans for a sustained national campaign of opposition to the EU-IMF deal and the austerity measures contained within it.
The campaign has agreed to continue a nationwide push to demand a referendum on the EU-IMF deal as well as an intensive effort to mobilise mass public resistance to some of the key planks of the austerity programme including campaigns on: unemployment, special needs and education cuts, public transport cuts, plans to sell-off state assets, any attacks on low-paid workers under the review of JLC’s and REA’s, and social welfare cuts.
The campaign plans further public meetings in cities and towns across the country in the coming weeks and a major demonstration in mid-July during the next quarterly review of the EU-IMF package. Further demonstrations are planned in the autumn in the approach to the new coalition government’s first full budget.
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“The result of the Icelandic referendum is a fantastic example of people power. For the second time in just over a year the people of Iceland have stood up to their politicians, defied the threats of international bankers, financers and governments, and issued a second resounding ‘No’ to a deal that would nationalise the €4 billion losses of the failed Icesave bank. Almost one in three Icelandic voters opposed the deal even though seventy percent of the parliament supported paying and the government were opposed to even holding a referendum. “Here in Ireland we are being told that we must put €70 billion into a toxic banking system to compensate gamblers and speculators for their losses. Meanwhile, hundreds of thousands of people have lost their jobs, tens of thousands are emigrating, people are struggling to repay mortgages and our public services are collapsing. “I believe there is a stark alternative before us: Are we going to continue to bow to dictates of ‘the market’ or the European Central Bank, and see our public services privatised, our natural resources auctioned off to the highest bidder and our communities destroyed? Or, are we going to follow the example of the people of Iceland and the bankers and the EU/IMF that we will not pay? “Last week over three hundred people attended a meeting in Dublin calling for a referendum on the EU/IMF. In a democratic vote at the end of the meeting it was unanimously decided to set up a campaign, ‘Enough’ to fight for a referendum. There is an obvious and overwhelming democratic case for putting an agreement with such profound implications for the economic and social future of our country to a Referendum and in the coming weeks we hope to build a national campaign that will force this government to be accountable to people.”
Organised by Richard Boyd Barrett TD Open Meeting Speakers: Richard Boyd Barrett TD, Mick Wallace TD, Andy Storey (Afri), Jimmy Kelly (Unite Trade Union), Rita Fagan (Community Activist) Tuesday 5th April, 8pm, Gresham Hotel, O’Connell St
Protest at the Dail, 6th April, 6pm
On behalf of the People Before Profit Alliance, and along with my colleagues in the ULA, I will not vote in favour of Deputy Kenny’s nomination as Taoiseach. The reason for that relates to a comment Deputy Martin made about the need to break from certain bad traditions in Irish politics. One of the worst traditions in politics, which we seem to have a particular capacity for in this country, is saying one thing during an election campaign when one is looking for votes and then doing something very different as soon as the votes are in the ballot box. That is precisely what has happened with the new programme for Government. Deputy Kenny said that the EU-IMF deal was a bad deal for Ireland and it was a bad deal for Europe. There was a clear implication that something would be done about that and that we would stand up to those institutions that were trying to unload the cost of a financial crisis created by bankers and speculators on to the backs of ordinary people. This deal will cause immense suffering for them and it will cripple our economy for years to come. The rhetoric about standing up and doing something about the IMF-EU deal has disappeared in the programme for Government, which sets out clearly the intention to continue the programme of austerity and cuts implemented by the previous Government in the interests of paying off the bankers and bondholders at the behest of the EU and the IMF. Another promise emblazoned on almost every Fine Gael poster was to get Ireland working, yet the plan to get Ireland working is reflected in one of the few specific commitments in the programme for Government, which is to slash 25,000 public sector jobs. One does not have to be an economic expert to realise one will not get Ireland working by axing 25,000 jobs. That will mean an additional 25,000 people unemployed, less money being spent in the economy and more suffering. It is particularly depressing that the Labour Party will support Deputy Kenny, the incoming Government and the programme for Government. Labour Party Members should be ashamed of themselves for signing up to a programme that will axe the jobs of 25,000 of the people who very particularly voted for them in the hope and expectation that their jobs would be safe. They should be ashamed that when asked about the issue of water charges on national television and in the national media, they made solemn promises that they would not introduce such charges and now they have signed up to a programme for Government that sets out to implement such charges. They should be ashamed to sign up to a programme that talks about selling off State assets to pay off the bankers, bondholders and speculators. It is shameful to sell the family silver and to strip the assets of this country in the name of paying off bankers and bondholders. What about the promise to do something about the universal social charge, which has savaged the incomes of low and middle income families who have lost hundreds of euros, as a result of which many cannot meet their mortgage repayments or pay other bills? What about the promise that the Labour Party would recalibrate the taxation system so that those earning more than €100,000 per year would be subject to increases? That has also been abandoned and all we have been told is that there will be a review. For all those reasons, it is impossible to support the incoming Government which has abandoned all its promises related to the desperate cry for change which the people expressed during the election campaign for a programme for Government, which is simply a plan to do more of the same and cause suffering to ordinary people and which will cripple our economy for years to come. Last weekend, Deputy Gilmore said he feared he would see forests of placards as he and Labour Party. He should fear and so should the incoming Government. The pledge of the United Left Alliance—–is to support those groups in society which through no fault of their own are being targeted with job losses, brutal pay cuts that will put families under, and savage cuts to the public services on which they depend. We will facilitate, support and encourage people to take up their placards and to democratically resist this counterproductive, unjust and economically unsustainable programme for Government that will do nothing to realise the hopes for change people expressed in the election campaign. That is the pledge of the ULA over the coming period.
United Left Alliance will be the radical opposition in the Dáil & will advocate strategy of people power protest against austerity
Speaking at a United Left Alliance press conference today, People Before Profit Alliance TD for Dun Laoghaire, Richard Boyd Barrett said: “The United Left Alliance will be the consistent radical opposition in the Dáil to the Fine Gael/Labour/IMF government. We will use the platform of five Dáil seats to likewise argue for a fundamentally alternative way of organising society in the interests of people before bankers and speculators. We will also use our positions to advocate an active response from working people and the unemployed to the attacks this government want to inflict on them. The United Left Alliance will be active on the ground in the communities, workplaces, schools and colleges building resistance in the form of strikes and people power protests in the months and years ahead. Having made our breakthrough in this election we will go on to build the ULA as a nationally as a mass left alternative to the political establishment.”
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