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People Before Profit TD says Dun Laoghaire Harbor company “flotel” tender is another example of the hair brain solo-runs of a discredited unaccountable quango
Minister must dissolve Harbour Company and bring vital amenity and asset fully under public control
In a statement, Richard Boyd Barrett TD, for the People Before Profit Alliance in Dun Laoghaire has hit out at the Dun Laoghaire Harbour Company for issuing a public tender yesterday on e-tenders for a “flotel” in Dun Laoghaire Harbour, describing the move as “yet another example, in a long line, of hair-brain solo runs by an unaccountable and discredited quango.”
Deputy Boyd Barrett pointed out that Dun Laoghaire Harbour Company had wasted millions of euros of public money over recent years on ill-considered and inappropriate plans for high-rise apartments, a giant cruise berth, floating swimming pools, while consistently ignoring the calls of the public for more appropriate amenity developments.
Currently, a harbour Company planning application for a giant cruise berth in the middle of Dun Laoghaire Harbour is before An Bord Planala, despite being met with overwhelming public opposition and the opposition of the elected members of Dun Laoghaire Co. Council.
Deputy Boyd Barrett said, it “beggars belief that while the cruise Berth proposal remains unresolved and the subject of such huge public opposition, that the harbour Company would unleash yet another hair-brain plan, without any consultation with the public, the Council or other elected representatives.”
Deputy Boyd Barrett called on the Minister for Transport, Shane Ross, to move immediately to dissolve the Harbour Company and put Dun Laoghaire Harbour under fully public control by integrating into Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown Co Council, as allowed for under the recently passed new Habour Bill.
Richard Boyd Barrett concluded:
“This discredited and unaccountable quango must be dissolved by Minster Ross without delay. The over-paid and out of touch executives of the harbour company are wasting vast amounts of public money simply to justify their own existence, without any reference to what the public actually wants for this unique and vital harbour amenity.
Dun Laoghaire Harbour is too important a public amenity and piece of unique maritime and cultural heritage to be left in the hands of quango that is simply a law unto itself.”
Pays tribute to the work of the Migrant Rights centre Ireland for their work opposing the Bill
Brid Smith TD has said that she is delighted that a proposed Fianna Fail bill concerning Au Pairs has been rejected by the Dail in a vote this afternoon. Deputy Smith said that this Bill would have left vulnerable young migrant workers without any protection or access to the states Workplace Relations Commission (WRC).
Deputy Smith paid tribute to the Migrant Rights Centre Ireland for their sterling work in opposing the Fianna Fail Bill.
Deputy Smith said “Our amendment to Fianna Fail’s ‘Au Pair Placement Bill’ urged TDs to allow workers continued access to the WRC to hear their grievances over low pay and long hours. There have also been reports of some of the worst examples of gross exploitation in the sector.”
Deputy Smith continued to say “the Au Pair Placement Bill is ill designed and could have had horrendous consequences for people working as Au Pairs as their work is already undervalued. This Bill talked about pocket money and light domestic duties; it doesn’t reflect the reality of domestic work today and seems instead to hark back to some idealised past of Au Pair work as something a student did as a rite of passage.
“I Au paired myself when younger but an unintended consequence of this bill would be to remove protections and laws from the most vulnerable of workers. We have a child care crisis in this country which can’t be dealt with by legislating to allow people to import cheap child care dressed up as cultural exchange.
“The recent cases before the WRC give lie to that argument and exposed an industry which unfortunately is dominated by gross exploitation. We must stand against that.
“I would like to say well done to the Migrant Rights Centre Ireland for their work on this matter. Migrant workers have rights too and as workers they should have equal access to the mechanisms of the Workplace Relations Commission.”
Call comes after reports of economic growth of 26%
People Before Profit TD, Gino Kenny, has demanded that the HSE respond to and inquiry he made about special needs school places, therapists and waiting times for services for special needs children.
After a very successful meeting with parents, People Before Profit had written to the HSE in search of answers as to where the supports for special need children such as Occupational Therapists, Speech and Language Therapists and Special Needs Assistants were.
Children with conditions like ASD, Speech and Language Impairments or Dyspraxia, who are experiencing difficulty acquiring skills such as speech, language and physical coordination, need help from Speech and Language Therapists (SLTs) and Occupational Therapists (OTs). They also need support in school from Resource Teachers, Special Needs Assistants (SNAs) and special classes.
Deputy Kenny questioned, due to the reports of 26% growth in the Irish economy, where the tax revenue for this increased growth was and why some of it was not being directed to services for special needs children such as SNAs, OTs and SLTs.
Deputy Kenny said: “We have written to the HSE demanding a reduction in waiting times for services and therapy for special needs children and the hiring of more SNAs, OTs and SLTs to work with these children.
“Despite the strong evidence for the success of these inputs, parents and children experience long delays, and are frequently missing services, when they try to access assessments and treatments. 15,000 children are waiting for SLT alone. Waiting times are up to two years in some areas. Therapists on leave are not being replaced and school places are not available locally. This is disgraceful and has to stop immediately. We need investment in these areas.
“It is absolutely criminal that the government are allowing these children to be held back by lack of funding. These children have rights, civil, human but also economic rights where they should be given access to these vital services that are required to live their lives equal to that of their peers.
“I am calling on the government to outline why the funding for these services has been pulled, why it has not being restored and furthermore, what proportion of the 26% economic growth will be taxed and how much of that money will be directed to restoring these services.”
Richard Boyd Barrett condemns Sean Barrett for coming out to bat for the privatisation agenda of Dun Laoghaire Harbour Company
Barrett’s comments confirm the biased agenda and Fine Gael intentions in regard to Dun Laoghaire Harbour
Dun Laoghaire Harbour should be developed in the interests of the people and the various harbour user groups
People Before Profit TD for Dun Laoghaire, Richard Boyd Barrett, has lashed out at the “biased” and “disgraceful” statements made by Fine Gael Deputy, Sean Barrett, in the Dail chamber today in which he suggested that the best thing for Dun Laoghaire Harbour would be to retain the Harbour Company quango.
In his contribution today, Deputy Sean Barrett, “came out to bat for the privatisation agenda” according to Ricard Boyd Barrett.
Richard Boyd Barrett is a long-time campaigner, with Save Our Seafront and various other harbour user groups, for the sustainable and appropriate development of the harbour in the interests of the people and the many different groups who use the harbour on a daily and weekly basis.
The Dun Laoghaire People Before Profit TD, has consistently called for the dismantling of the Harbour Company and for the Harbour to be brought under the democratic control of the Council and interest groups.
Deputy Boyd Barrett also rubbished the claim made by the Fine Gael TD that the local authorities have not the skills to run a harbour.
Deputy Boyd Barrett said: “I am disgusted at the biased claims made by Deputy Sean Barrett in which he has essentially called for the privatisation of our harbour. The harbour is a public amenity which is the property of all the people of Dun Laoghaire/Rathdown and indeed the entire city.
“The Harbour Act that was brought in by FG/Labour last year means that a decision on the future governance of the harbour will be made in the very near future. Sean Barrett’s comments can only be welcomed in that they end the fence sitting of our Fine Gael TD’s in Dun Laoghaire. Clearly he supports the retention of the Harbour Company that has wasted thousands of euro in paying top executives 6 figure salaries and expenses that have been questioned on a number of occasions in Dail Eireann and at Dail committees. He seems to want to see floating hotels, supersized cruise ships and private apartments within our harbour.
“Our vision for the harbour is entirely different it is about democratic control, a diaspora centre, a national water sports centre – a harbour for the people not the profiteers and developers.
“Barrett’s plans are entirely in sync with the Fine Gael agenda that wants to put all public services and facilities into private for profit hands. The harbour is a landmark and asset of Dun Laoghaire of huge historical importance. Millions of people emigrated from this country through the harbour, countless families and children have walked the pier and used all the wonderful facilities that the harbour provides. It is for the people of Dublin and indeed the visitors to our city, to whom the harbour belongs, we will continue to oppose this disgraceful push for privatisation.
“The people, residents groups and civil society groups, sailing clubs and many other groups have all come together to oppose the privatisation of the harbour. I as chair of the Save Our Seafront campaign will continue to oppose the neo-liberal push to take the harbour into private ownership in the strongest possible way.”
In response, to the Cassell’s report on third level education, Richard Boyd Barrett TD, Education spokesperson for People Before Profit has called for the government to implement a system of fully state funded higher education payed through progressive central taxation. People Before Profit say this option is the only way to increase the numbers of young people with the ability to access third level education and allow graduates to have more disposable income which would benefit the real economy.
Deputy Boyd Barrett said options including the retention of fees should be rejected, as should any student loan system, which would leave students with personal debts after they finished 3rd level or higher education, as these options disadvantage less well-off students and families and discourage participation.
Deputy Boyd Barrett said the government must acknowledge that education is a right, not a privilege and should be free at the point of use.
Deputy Boyd Barrett said a fully state funded system should be paid for through progressive central taxation and, in particular, by requiring profitable corporations to make a much larger corporate tax contribution to share the cost of developing an educated and skilled workforce from which they disproportionately benefit.
In addition to a fully state funded system of higher education, People Before Profit have also called for the student grants to be increased and schemes such as the back to education scheme, expanded. They also called for the reversal of the commercialisation of the higher education system and cuts to higher education and the Institutes of Technology, which have seen precarious work for staff increase over the past number of years.
Richard Boyd Barrett said:
“The student fees or student loans systems should be rejected out of hand, as they will only maintain the current failing model and financially punish students. The loan scheme model will push us even further towards the American system which sees students leaving 3rd level colleges with mountains of debt which they spend most of their working lives paying off, all in the interest of bankers and profits.
“It is clear to us in People Before Profit that there is only one feasible option from the findings in the Cassells report which is available to the government. Minister Bruton must select the fully state funded model where our third level education system is funded through progressive central taxation.
“It is also vital that we rescind all the cuts to higher education staff, remove the precarious nature of their employment and address the falling numbers of educators in our third level institutions.
“Education is a right, not a privilege and should not be a method of private banks and lenders making money off the backs of the student population. I am calling for the Minister to take the financial burden off our students and implement an education system, paid through progressive central taxation which is fee at the point of use. While doing this we have to get the multinationals to pay their full tax obligations of 12.5%, charge for Financial Transaction Tax and increase the taxes of the higher earners in our society.
“Big and profitable corporations, in particular must be forced to increase their currently pitifully low corporate tax contribution. These companies benefit directly and disproportionately from the existence of an educated and skilled workforce. They must be made to contribute a lot more towards the education of the workforce they need. ”
After Chilcot Blair should be indicted for war crimes and US troops should now be denied access to Shannon, says organiser of 100,000 strong anti-war demonstration in 2003.
Fianna Fail also has blood of hundreds of thousands on their hands for facilitating Bush and Blair’s illegitimate war in Iraq.
In a statement, Richard Boyd Barrett TD, one of the key organisers of the 100,000 strong demonstration in Ireland against the then planned US/UK led war in Iraq in February 2003, has said that former British Prime-Minster, Tony Blair, should now be indicted for war crimes, following the publication of the Chilcot report.
Deputy Boyd Barrett said also that the Fianna Fail government at the time of the war, along with Tony Blair and former US President, George Bush Jr, had the blood of hundreds of thousands who died during the Iraq war on their hands, because of the decision to facilitate US military machine at Shannon airport.
Deputy Boyd Barrett said, that the only fitting response in Ireland to the Chilcot report was “even at this late stage, to deny the US war machine access to facilities at Shannon airport.”
Richard Boyd Barrett said: “The Chilcot report confirms everything that those of us, who organised and marched against Bush and Blair’s bloody war, said back in 2003.
For the hundreds of thousands who were slaughtered in a war that was wholly immoral, unjustified and, almost certainly, criminal, Chilcot comes far too late. However, justice demands, at the very least, that those like Blair who made false and exaggerated claims to justify that war should now be indicted for the mass murder and destruction they inflicted on the people of Iraq and their own servicemen.
The Fianna Fail government that facilitated the Bush and Blair war on Iraq, by allowing the US war machine to use Shannon airport to prosecute that criminal war, should also hang their heads in shame. They, along with Bush and Blair, have the blood of hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqi’s on their hands.
Fianna Fail refused to listen to the 100,000 people who came onto the streets in Dublin in February 2003 – an unprecedented demonstration demanding that Ireland should play no role in supporting an immoral and illegitimate war. They chose instead to listen to the lies and exaggerations of Tony Blair and George Bush and assist these warmongers with a bloody slaughter that destroyed Iraq and ultimately led to the horrors we are now witnessing in Syria. Surely, there can be no greater crime and failure of duty than that.
Although it is too late for the hundreds of thousands that have been murdered, and the millions who have been displaced in Iraq and Syria, the only fitting response here in Ireland to the Chilcot report is to now deny the US war machine the use of facilities at Shannon airport.”
One down, more to go until the water commission and water charges is abolished
In a statement, People Before Profit TD, Brid Smith, has said while she is happy that Joe O’Toole has stepped down from the water charges commission there still remains the overarching issue of the rest of the clearly biased commission members who must be removed.
It is important, according to Deputy Smith, that Mr O’Toole “is not used as a scape goat to try and divert attention away from the glaring democratic deficit surrounding the creation of this commission and those members on it.”
Deputy Smith continued to say that “the people spoke clearly during the water charges demonstrations, the largest mass mobilisations of people that this country has ever seen and during the general election when a majority of the TD’s in the Dail were elected on mandate of abolishing water charges completely. These events have rocked the political establishment and the only option for them is abolition of charges and Irish Water for good.
“Whilst I am pleased that Mr O’Toole has now stepped down, the more serious issue of the commission itself still remains. The commission contains a lot of people who accept, as a fact, that water services should be paid for through user charges. There is no way that this commission can be seen as impartial. There is not one person from the Right2Water movement on this commission. It is clear that the only aim of this commission is to try to sneak water charges in the back door or as Simon Coveney said “create acceptance” among citizens as to how best to pay for water.
“The will of the people of this country was to put the issue of water charges and Irish Water to bed and fully abolish this toxic entity and consign water charges to the dust bin of history where they belong.”