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People Before Profit TD, Bríd Smith, clashed with Minister Mary Mitchel O’Connor at a meeting of the Jobs and Enterprise Joint Committee on Thursday.

Deputy Smith rounded on the proposed 10 cent per hour increase in the minimum wage proposed by the Low Pay Commission calling it “embarrassing” and an “insult”. She also told the Minister that the area’s most given to low pay, such as retail and hospitality had experienced large increases in profitability and turnover in recent years, as highlighted by a minority report of the Low Pay Commission.

The minister was also asked to explain why the IDA was supporting companies such as Uber who have a record of usurping labour laws and worker’s rights across the globe. The Taxi App company are embroiled in court cases in a number of countries over their insistence that workers are not employees of their companies but “service suppliers”. As such the company is not bound by minimum wage rights or other labour laws.

Deputy Smith told Minister O’Connor that it was a disgrace that the state should in any way support a company renowned for trying to bypass workers’ rights legislation. She also questioned why the IDA was also providing support for other so called ”client” firms such a Coke Cola, Amazon and Credit Suisse and requested a detailed breakdown of what support the IDA was providing to these.

The AAA-PBP Strategy Meeting took place at the Hilton Hotel, Kilmainham – Friday 23rdSeptember.

The grand coalition of Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil and independents will walk back into the Dáil next week under fire from a huge section of Irish society. Having gone to bat to defend outrageous tax evasion by Apple and other multi national companies, this government is more discredited than ever.

This is a viciously pro big business government but it is also a weak and ineffective one. Despite their best efforts to implement water charges, they failed – likewise they failed on green bin charges and have been knocked back on other issues. We now see the growing resolve of transport worker’s for pay justice and growing confidence among other worker’s for pay restoration. Despite the charade of a citizens assembly they face the growth of a hugely popular movement by women and young people for social change and Repeal of the 8th. These battles represent just the tip of the iceberg in terms of a growing challenge to this Government.

Workers, women and those looking for change will find fuel in the international growth of radical left alternatives represented by the movement around Jeremy Corbyn in Britain, Stein and Sanders in the US and similar political movements in Europe.

Ireland will not be exempt from this phenomena and among the parties and groups in the Dáil AAA-PBP clearly reflects this more than any other grouping. AAA/PBP will continue to challenge the neo liberal agenda and rule of the 1and we look forward to the further growth of the left during this Dáil session.

At the meeting AAA / PBP TD’s and activists discussed and focussed on the following;

  • Support for the Dublin Bus & other transport workers in dispute along with other workers struggles and the need to address low pay
  • Repeal and 8thand a woman’s right to choose along with the need for separation of church and state.
  • Irelands low tax regime for the rich and corporate sector and growing economic inequality
  • The housing crisis and the need for a major local authority house building programme
  • The building of a radical left alternative to this government and the bankrupt policies of neo-liberalism, privatisation and capitalism

TD slams stealth cuts to medical card

In a statement today Brid Smith, People Before Profit TD, is calling on the Government to immediately re-instate all drugs that have been removed from the GMS Medical Card scheme since 2014

medical_card“The Government’s proposed reduction in the Autumn Budget of the threshold in the Medical Card is pointless while they are systematically removing the availability of key drugs from the Medical Card List.” according to Deputy Smith.

One example of a drug recently removed is Macushield which prevents the growth of brown spots within the eye, a consequence of Type 2 Diabetes which affects a huge cohort of pensioners.

The additional cost to an individual will amount to almost €1,000 per year for the patient with Type 2 Diabetes. This will be an enormous burden on a very vulnerable section of the population.

In 2008 when the Fianna Fail/Green Government attempted to remove the Medical Card from Pensioners, there was a national revolt of the Grey Voters against the move and the Government were forced to retreat following protests of tens of thousands of pensioners.

This Government and their predecessor are removing the value of the GMS Medical Card Scheme by stealth.

Deputy Brid Smith has stated: “This is an outrageous attack on those dependent on the Medical Card. We have to establish how many drugs are and have been removed and how many people will be affected by these moves.

“I have asked the Minister to clarify the number and names of drugs removed and the number of people who will be effected by this. 

“In one case brought to my attention an individual pensioner will have to pay out €82 per month from their OAP allowance. This is unconscionable and must be stopped. I call upon the Minister Simon Harris to reinstate the drugs removed from the scheme.”

Brid-Smith-2a-241x300People Before Profit TD, Bríd Smith, accused the Government and Minister Dennis Naughton of dangerous inaction after recent revelations over the safety of the Sellafield nuclear facility. Deputy Smith said the Minister’s statement that they are seeking a meeting of the “UK-Ireland Contact Group on Radiological Matters” was farcical considering the seriousness of the recent revelations.
Deputy Smith said that recent revelations highlighted by a wistleblower on the BBC’s Panorama program, only confirmed longstanding fears from campaigners about the site. “There is a long history of scares, radioactive leaks, near misses and unsafe practices at this site. The recent revelations confirm the British Government’s own National Audit Office complaint from 2012 about the management of 50 year old storage ponds. We were told then it was being sorted just as we are being reassured now. The Government’s attitude is incomprehensible considering the potential disaster that awaits if a fire or accident were to happen.”
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dub-busA number of Dail deputies including Richard Boyd Barrett and Brid Smith staged a protest outside the Department of Transport Office on Leeson Lane, Leeson Street, today to highlight what they describe as the ministers “astonishing silence and indifference” over the current bus dispute in the capital. 
The deputies were joined by workers from unions representing Dublin Bus workers.
Deputy Smith claimed the minister seemed fond of high profile interventions such as those in the Rio Olympics but seemed untouched by the impact of a mass transport strike in the city. 
Deputy Boyd Barrett added that Minister Ross’s claim that he would not use the government’s chequebook to solve the dispute rang hollow in the light of the Apple tax scandal and the fact that his department had consistently cut the funding to Dublin Bus over recent years. “Whatever about taking the chequebook out if he simply pledged to restore funding to its previous levels this dispute would be over”.

Right2Water Political Pillar call people to take to the streets on Saturday

The political pillar of Right2Water are urging people to come out on the streets in Dublin this weekend to protest and reiterate their demand  for water charges and Irish water to be abolished. There are blatant double standards in Ireland where rich corporations pay no tax and the people get battered with austerity.

The Right2Water demonstration will take place in Dublin this Saturday. Groups will be meeting in Hueston and Connolly at 2pm to protest against the imposition of water charges and Irish Water.

The demonstration has been called for this Saturday to coincide with the reconvening of the Dáil. The majority of DáIl TD’s, including Fianna Fail, are democratically mandated to get rid of water charges and Irish Water.

The call comes in the wake of submissions to the Expert Water Group by all political parties, groups and independent TD’s in the Dáil.

Bríd Smith TD, of People Before Profit, called for people to take to the streets of Dublin this Saturday and demonstrate their total rejection of Irish Water, water charges and the “unfairness and double standards that the government apply to the multi-nationals as against the people”. She said that “since 2008 working people in this country have taken the sharp edge of austerity, cuts and levies brought on by the reckless gambling of a wealthy elite. Furthermore, the government have been exposed as valuing the profitability of multi-nationals and vulture funds over the wellbeing of the people of this state.

“Water charges and Irish Water were the last straw for many people and have seen an unprecedented popular rebellion by the people against the toxic agenda of charging people for water, which we know is destined to end up privatised unless these charges are abolished. The majority of TD’s, including Fianna Fail, are democratically mandated to get rid of water charges.”

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Demand complete abolition of Irish Water and water charges; water services and infrastructure to be funded through progressive central taxation

aaa pbpThe Anti-Austerity Alliance- People Before Profit group (AAA-PBP) have entered their submission to the Expert Water Commission.

The submission calls for the abolition of water charges and Irish Water. It says that the funding for water services and infrastructure should be paid for through central progressive taxation, that the delivery of water services should be transferred back to the Local Authorities and coordinated and managed by a single national water and sanitation board. They have also called for a referendum to be held to amend the constitution to guarantee the public ownership of the public water system and natural resources in the constitution.

AAA-PBP said that abolition of the charges and Irish Water should be accompanied by an amnesty for outstanding bills and a refund for those who have paid and charges related to water charges protest activity should be dropped. It also calls for a ‘fair deal’ for rural dwellers that are not part of the public water system.

Bríd Smith TD said “We have made this submission to the Expert Water Commission despite the obvious fact that it is a mechanism to stall the water charges issue. Water charges must be abolished, that is what the people have said through a 73% boycott of Irish Water bills, through the mass mobilisations which saw hundreds of thousands take to the streets all over the country and through the election where the majority of TD’s were elected on an anti-water charges/anti-Irish Water mandate. For the government to try to stall this is anti-democratic.

“Irish Water has also been incredibly wasteful. The cost of the metering programme, consultancy fees, the conservation grant and advertising amongst other things have cost a fortune and have not purified one drop of water or fixed one pipe.”

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Campaign calls for a referendum on the Repeal of the 8th Amendment and for the provision of free, safe and legal abortion to be available in Ireland

pbp-choice

Today, People Before Profit launched their Pro-Choice campaign in Buswell’s Hotel. People Before Profit are a pro-choice party who believe that abortion should be available without limitations other than the consent of the woman concerned like for the decision to access any other medical procedure. People Before Profit are calling for a referendum to be held within the next six months on the issue of the 8th Amendment.

People Before Profit will be calling for a full Repeal of the 8th and will be campaigning for the provision of free, safe and legal abortions to be made available in Ireland.

People Before Profit announced a series of events leading up to the moving of the AAA-PBP Bill for a referendum to be held to Repeal the 8th Amendment including a public meeting to be hosted by Bríd Smith TD in the Central Hotel in Dublin on the 13th September and the annual March for Choice on the 24th September. At the public meeting on the 13th, People Before Profit will launch their Repeal the 8th– Time for Choice booklet.

People Before Profit are calling for their Private Members Bill to be accepted in a vote by Dáil Éireann so that the people of Ireland, and most importantly the women of this country can have their say over this barbaric piece of the constitution which denies them their basic human rights of bodily autonomy.

Attending the press launch were Bríd Smith TD; Adrienne Wallace, People Before Profit member and pro-choice activist; Dr Peadar O’Grady, Doctors for Choice.

Bríd Smith said that it is essential that the Dáil votes in favour of the AAA-PBP Bill to hold a referendum on the 8th Amendment. She said “for too long women in this country have been persecuted by this barbaric section in the constitution. It is about time that women had a chance to vote for the abolition of the 8th. I am calling for the TD’s in the Dáil to vote in favour of our Bill so that the country can vote in a referendum to Repeal the disgusting 8th Amendment.

“The presence of the 8th Amendment in the Irish constitution represents an attack on the human rights of all women in this country. Due to the 8th Amendment women are unable to have bodily autonomy like men do in Ireland today. Twelve women every day in Ireland make the journey abroad to England or elsewhere to have abortions. This has to be stopped.”

“I have been campaigning for the Repeal of the 8th for a long time. In this day and age it is a scandal that such an article still exists in the constitution of a supposedly modern country. The statistics are there for all to see in regards to public opinion. The people in this country not only want their say on the matter via a referendum, but we can also see, in the Amnesty International/Red C Research & Markets poll, stats which showed 87% of the public want access to abortions to be widened and 72% of people want abortion decriminalised.

“People Before Profit are proudly a pro-choice party and we will be campaigning for full Repeal of the 8th Amendment. Only women can make the decision on what they want to do with their bodies. Women cannot wait, we must Repeal the 8th.”

Adrienne Wallace said “The 8th is a barbaric piece of the constitution which discriminates against women and essentially treats women in Ireland as second class citizens due to the fact that it prevents us from having full bodily autonomy- something which men have.

“There are many other women who are not reported as procuring abortions or who are unable to travel due to the financial cost. Due to the fact that they cannot afford to travel abroad for an abortion working class women are punished doubly.”

“There is no argument at all for holding off on a referendum to Repeal the 8th. The government are merely stalling by confusing the matter with a citizen’s assembly. We already have a citizen’s assembly- the Dáil. We the people elected the TD’s in there to deal with matters such as this. There is no need for a citizen’s assembly.”

Dr Peadar O’Grady of Doctors for Choice said “It is clearly unacceptable that Ireland’s laws criminalise women who access medical abortions and drive other women abroad. Abortion should be regulated, like any other part of the health service. There is no medical need for specific laws to regulate abortion. Abortion is a healthcare issue; restricting access to abortion is a political issue. We need to Repeal the 8th Amendment and take politics out of healthcare.”

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PBP TD highlights evidence in Revenue figures of a massive increase in profit shifting by Apple and select group of MNC’s in aftermath of 2007 tax ruling, which nail’s lie that government and tax authorities did not collude with tax dodging.

In a speech in the Dail today, Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett of the People Before Profit Alliance has condemned the Dail speeches of Fine Gael, Fianna Fail and Labour party spokes people, who he said continued a “dishonest cover-up of their own collusion and the collusion of Ireland’s tax authorities with the tax dodging activities of Apple and a select group of multi-national corporations.”

He said the establishment cover-up and protection of Apple’s tax dodging activities and Irish collusion with them led Fine Gael, Fianna Fail and Labour to vote down a People Before Profit proposal in 2013 to the Finance committee to bring Apple, Facebook and Google into the Dail for questioning, and to further vote to turn off the public camera’s during the debate on the motion.

Deputy Boyd Barrett pointed to the fact that deductions allowed to corporations, which allowed those corporations to reduce the amount of their profits that would be liable to tax, jumped from €2 billion a year in 2003/2004 to €21 billion by 2011. Deputy Boyd Barrett said the figures showed that by far the biggest jump in these write-off’s, which would have benefited Apple and a small number of other multinationals, happened directly after the controversial tax ruling given to Apple in 2007. The deductions allowed by revenue following the ruling jumped from €6 billion in 2007 to €19 billion in 2009 and this massive increase in allowable deductions thus reduced by €20 billion the amount of corporate profits that were subject taxation.  (Ref: Dept. of Finance Technical paper on Effective rates of Corporation Tax in Ireland pp27-28)

Deputy Boyd Barrett said that the Department of Finance has admitted  in a Technical paper on effective rates of corporation tax in Ireland, produced in 2013, that the vast bulk of this enormous increase in tax write-offs were as a result of patent royalty payments of Multinational Corporations to their own non-tax resident  subsidiaries  (i.e. the Double-Irish tax avoidance scheme.) (Ref: Dept. of Finance Technical paper on Effective rates of Corporation Tax in Ireland pp27-28)

Deputy Boyd Barrett said it was “simply inconceivable that both government and tax authorities did not notice this enormous jump tax in the write-off’s claimed by Apple and other MNC’s, following the 2007 tax ruling, and that they did not know that these write-offs were a massive exercise in tax dodging – shifting profits to companies registered in Ireland but liable to tax no-where in the world.”

Deputy Boyd Barrett said, the only conclusion one can draw is that “both the government and the tax authorities knew exactly what Apple and others were doing and turned a blind eye to it or worse helped design the system of tax dodging in collusion with Apple.”

Deputy Boyd Barrett said, it was clear from the figures that “Apple and other MNC’s were effectively allowed to write their own tax bills and shift as much profit as they wanted outside any tax net with the full knowledge of the authorities here – a privilege not allowed to ordinary taxpayer’s or business in the country.”

Deputy Boyd Barrett also pointed out that,  “contrary to repeated claims by the government that the double-Irish tax scam, which allowed Apple and others to evade taxes has not been abolished but will continue to operate until 2020, potentially allowing billions more to be evaded in corporate tax by Apple and others.”

Deputy Boyd Barrett said the government should “drop the appeal against the EU ruling, launch a major investigation into likely tax evasion by other MNC’s, and bring representatives of Apple, Google and Facebook into the Dail to face questions about their tax affairs in Ireland.”

Calls for government to drop appeal to European Commission

Calls for a investigation into all other multi-nationals that may have avoided paying the full rate of corporate tax in Ireland

Anti-Austerity Alliance- People Before Profit will today submit an Amendment to the Governments Apple motion.

The amendment condemns the governments decision to appeal the European Commission Apple ruling and lists a number of other demands such as the development of a plan to invest the back taxes owed by Apple into health, housing and education and also be used for major public investment in green energy and technology sectors, creating tens of thousands of jobs.

It calls for the government to waive confidentiality and publish the European Commissions ruling and notes that the so-called “double-Irish” has not been abolished, is only being phased out and is still there for still available for multi-nationals, including Apple to use to avoid paying billions in corporate tax.

The amendment also calls for an immediate investigation into the tax affairs of all other companies that may have avoided paying the full corporate tax rate using the same or similar mechanisms which Apple used and the recovery of all such unpaid tax. 


AAA-PBP TD Richard Boyd Barrett said “The purpose of our amendment is to try to get the government to drop their appeal against Apple paying back these billions in unpaid corporation tax. The 13 billion or so that could be collected would do amazing things for the people of this country. We have suggested in our amendment that the money should be collected and used to help end the housing crisis, fix the health system which is crumbling and invest in our education system. We also suggest that this money could be used to create tens of thousands of real jobs in the green energy and technology sectors for example.

“We do not accept all the efforts of the government and Fianna Fail to explain all this away with nonsense about the integrity of our tax system.

“The government and the tax authorities allowed Apple to set up paper companies here, which they must have known were liable for tax nowhere in the world and then shift a huge proportion of their profits to these companies on the grounds they were royalty payments. The tax rulings provided by Revenue essentially allowed Apple to hide their own tax bill each year.”

“The government and Revenue provided the window for Apple and almost certainly a select number of other multi-national companies jumped through that window taking tens of billions in the tax free profits with them.”

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