Archive for January, 2011

The People Before Profit Alliance condemns the collusion of Labour and Fine Gael in facilitating the passing of the Finance Bill. This bill gives legal effect to a budget that will devastate wages, public services and social welfare. No political party has a mandate to either pass or facilitate the passing of this budget.

People Before Profit / United Left Alliance candidate for Dun Laoghaire, Richard Boyd Barrett commented: “For hundreds of thousands of people the reality of this Finance Bill is already beginning to bite with the introduction this month of the Universal Social Charge. Once again it is clear that this government’s operating principle, at all times, is to make ordinary working people pay for this crisis. It is too complicated to tax the obscene bonuses of the bankers who created this crisis but it’s a national priority to attack wages, social welfare and the minimum wage.”

“We also need to be absolutely clear about this, Fine Gael and Labour have colluded with this government by allowing the Finance bill to be passed. You cannot oppose the bill out of one side of your month and facilitate its passing out of the other.”

  • Fine Gael and Labour conspiring with Fianna Fail to rush Finance Bill is a cynical betrayal of Irish people
  • General Election should be called immediately with provisions of Finance Bill and economic policy at heart of national debate

Cllr. Richard Boyd Barrett, People Before Profit and ULA candidate for Dun Laoghaire said “The posturing by Fine Gael and the Labour Party over the Finance Bill almost puts Fianna Fail and the Greens to shame. The Finance Bill gives legal effect to the budget. Therefore you can’t be against the budget and at time express a willingness to ‘facilitate’ it passing through the Dail in a week. This is utter hypocrisy.

“If they were really opposed to this budget they would be demanding an immediate general election where the budget could be debated. The truth is that both the Labour party and Fine Gael have no alternative to budget cuts and austerity policies and are committed in principal to the EU/IMF bailout agreement. They may be willing to play around with the details of the budget cuts but they are committed to implementing €15 billion in cuts because they argue there is no alternative. We say there is an alternative and it begins with tearing up the EU/IMF Memorandum of Understanding and burning the bondholders. It certainly does not involve pouring money into a failed banking system and the private pockets of property developers.”

Listen to audio clip of the Press Conference held today, Monday 24th Jan:

ULA Press Conference 24-01-11

In a statement, Cllr Richard Boyd Barrett has condemned the compulsory lay-off of five harbour employees, a 40% pay cut on remaining harbour workers and what he says is now a very serious threat of harbour privatisation – a threat confirmed by the Harbour Company CEO in a recent meeting with Cllr Boyd Barrett on the future of the harbour.

The statement follows the imposition of compulsory redundancies on five harbour policemen and demands by the company for up to 40% pay cuts on remaining harbour workers.

Cllr Boyd Barrett also strongly criticised fellow Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown Co Councillors for their failure to challenge the Harbour Co over the redundancies. Cllr Boyd Barrett had put forward an emergency motion to discuss the redundancies at the January Council meeting (Jan 10) but councillors from Fine Gael, Labour and Fianna Fail refused to support it. A number of councillors on the board of the Harbour Company are also believed to gone along with the exclusion of the boards’ staff representative from a board meeting where the redundancies were being discussed.

According to Cllr Boyd Barrett, Stena is, in fact, deliberately worsening the harbour Company’s financial position and pushing it towards privatisation through its plan to remove the HSS from Dun Laoghaire, substantially reducing revenue to the Harbour Company.

Cllr Boyd Barrett said he welcomed suggestions other from the Harbour Company that the Carlisle Pier would now be developed as a public amenity, following a planned public consultation over the coming weeks, but said such plans would mean little if harbour jobs were slashed and the harbour company was privatised.

Cllr Boyd Barrett said that in his capacity as chairperson of the Save Our Seafront (SOS) group he would be holding a public meeting over the coming weeks.

Cllr Boyd Barrett said: “It really is a scandal that the company has axed the jobs of five harbour employees, rather than come to some fair arrangement with them to make savings while keeping the jobs. These job losses are devastating for the five people involved and their families.

It is a disgrace that councillors from all the main parties – Fine Gael, Labour and Fianna Fail – refused to support my proposal at this month’s Council meeting to discuss the planned job cuts and give some support to the harbour workers. It also very disappointing, if the reports I have heard are true, that the councillors on the harbour board agreed to the exclusion of the only workers representative on the board from a meeting where the planned redundancies were decided.

In my meeting with Gerry Dunne, he confirmed that moves by Stena to remove the HSS from the harbour this year – leaving only a small passenger ferry – would significantly reduce revenue to the harbour company, while at the same time Stena have also expressed an interest in acquiring the harbour if it comes up for sale as a result of the Mc Carthy proposals.It is not difficult to put two and two together here: Stena are deliberately pressuring the Harbour Company towards handing the Harbour over to them, and this is being facilitated by the government and the Mc Carthy agenda to sell-off semi-state companies.

At my meeting with Mr Dunne, he indicated the Harbour Company’s intention to develop the Carlisle Pier for public amenities and to engage in a public consultation on the harbour’s future. As far as it goes, this is a victory for the public protests against previous plans for high-rise apartments on the pier. However, such proposals will mean little if the harbour is privatised.

Given the very serious developments now taking place in the harbour, I intend to organise public meetings over the coming weeks to inform the public about what is going on. It is vital the public make their voices heard and that we fight to keep the harbour fully in public hands

Last night (12th January) at the Cork launch of the United Left Alliance Cllr Richard Boyd Barrett condemned the Greens for continuing to prop up a failed government. Mr Boyd Barrett, who will be a candidate in the General Election in Dun Laoghaire/ Rathdown, said “Its now clear this government has acted at the behest of bankers and developers. It is quite astonishing that the Greens are prepared to believe that the Taoiseach and Seanie Fitzpatrick had a round of golf and all they discussed was their swing and the weather.

Richard Boyd Barrett (Pictured left)

Its now clear that this awful government has acted only in the interest of bankers and developers. The Greens have gone along with all of this and clearly value being in power above all else. They are clearly afraid to face the electorate because they know they are going to be slaughtered.

The Greens will go the same route as other new parties who believed you could control the representatives of big business and developers. Those of us in People Before Profit and in the ULA will not go down this road. We stand for a new principled approach to politics. We will not coalesce with right wing parties with an agenda of cuts, attacks on the poor and tax for the small people only.

We now have an historic opportunity to build a real movement for change in this country. The ULA has struck a chord with many people throughout the country who want to see real change. The ULA will have a significant number of TDs in the next Dail. We will not be lobby fodder for the big parties.
It is foolhardy of Labour to believe that any real change can come from forming a government with Fine Gael: a party committed to attacking workers and selling off state companies.

We say this to Labour:
Which side are you on? Will you reject the cuts agenda of the right and the IMF and and join with the left in fighting for real change? Will you work for a just solution to the economic crises which makes the rich pay?

If you don’t we pledge to oppose you every time you attack those you claim to represent.

The ULA will be the real opposition to any FG/Labour coalition in the next Dail. We plan to let the new government know we are there. We will use our position in the Dail to launch a radical movement which will seriously change the political landscape”

Contact Richard Boyd Barrett 0867814520