Archive for September, 2012

Richard Boyd Barrett TD will this evening propose amendments to the Children’s Bill as it goes through its final stages in the dáil. The proposed amendments will call on the Government to put resources in place to make sure this bill is more than aspirational.

The People Before Profit TD welcomed the Bill that aims to protect the rights of all children and shares the aspiration to uphold Children’s Rights but believes these rights must be backed up by adequate resources.

The amendments being proposed would ensure that the Government would be legally obliged to provide the material resources to protect Childrens Rights.

Before you establish rights of children to be cared for and loved you need to have all the resources in place.

The UN Convention on the rights of the child acknowledges all rights including socio-economic rights we should be including socio-economic rights in this important bill. We need the Children’s First recommendations to be implemented. Resources must be in place to investigate and to support children and families where there are deficits detected. Child care teams need to be fully resourced.

There has to be an end to long waiting lists for counselling and assessments, family support workers, home helps, personal assistants, family support workers. If all this is to happen and Childrens rights are to be upheld how does the government propose to honour that commitment when it is planning major cutbacks such as the €700m in cuts expected in Budget 2013 .

The Bill as proposed by the government says. ‘The State recognises and affirms the natural and imprescriptible rights of all children and shall, as far as practicable, by its laws protect and vindicate those rights.’

Deputy Boyd Barrett will be proposing the deletion of ‘as far as practicable’ as this weakens the commitment to ensure full rights for all children. He will also be being proposing that ‘the right to healthcare services, secure housing, and the right to live free from abuse, neglect and poverty’ be included as the imprescriptible rights of all children as they are outlined in the UN convention.’

In a statement Richard Boyd Barrett said, “It took five years to put this bill together so it is unfortunate that it is now being rammed through without due consideration and a proper committee stage”

“The UN convention on the rights of the child is widely recognised as the best criteria for ensuring Childrens rights are upheld and it includes socio-economic rights so why are we not putting socio-economic rights in this important bill?”

“ This bill has to be more than just words and aspirations and in light of all the cuts people are facing in the next budget it is clear children will also bear the brunt of the austerity policies and this bill does not address that reality”

Taoiseach challenged at leaders questions over home-help cuts and privatisation

Home help cuts reveal privatisation as real government agenda for health services

At leader’s questions in the Dail today, Richard Boyd Barrett TD challenged Taoiseach Enda Kenny over further government cuts in home-help hours for the elderly and disabled, and moves to privatise the provision of help-help services. (Click HERE or on image opposite for video of Dail speech)

In the recently announced €1.3m budget cut Minister James Reilly cut home-help services by 600,000 hours. This comes on top of previous cuts of 500,000 hours earlier in the year.

Minister Reilly has also moved to outsource home-help services to “for profit” private and multi-national companies, where these services were previously supplied by “not for profit” voluntary and community organisations.

Deputy Boyd Barrett is involved in supporting a campaign by home-helps and service users recently established to oppose the cuts and moves towards privatisation and brought 40-50 home-helps into the Dail public gallery today to view the exchange between himself and the Taoiseach on the issue.

Deputy Boyd Barrett claimed in the Dail that the cuts in home-help hours and the moves to privatise home-help services represented a “despicable attack on the elderly and the disabled and on the pay and conditions of the already low paid home-help workers who provide those services.”

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Today (Tuesday 25th September 2012) Richard Boyd Barrett TD, People Before Profit/United Left Alliance, challenges Taoiseach Enda Kenny over cuts to Home Helps during Leaders Questions in Dail Eireann.

At a press conference today TDs for the United Left Alliance announced plans to launch a public campaign of resistance to property tax and austerity. The ULA will be supporting with the Campaign Against Household and Water Taxes (CAHWT) in organising public meetings across the country focused on mobilising resistance and protests against the property charge and austerity prior to December’s budget.

The key objective for the ULA over the coming months is to unite and mobilise the different groups under attack from vicious austerity measures into a campaign of resistance.

Richard Boyd Barrett TD said in a statement, “We are reaching tipping point in terms of the vicious attacks being planning imposed on ordinary families in order to bail-out bankers and protect the super-wealthy. Huge numbers of low and middle income workers, the unemployed, pensioners, the elderly, the disabled, pensioners and young people, quite simply cannot take anymore. The property tax and planned budget cuts in social welfare and health will push hundreds of thousands of people over the edge. We intend to spend the coming months out on the ground organising people to unite, resist and protest against this unjust austerity – just as we did with the household charge. We will challenge the cynical divide and rule tactics of this government designed to play different sectors of our society off against one another and arguing for a broad united movement of resistance against austerity and the continuing bail-out of the banks in the run-in towards the budget. Our society and our economy will be crushed unless we stop this austerity juggernaut with a mass movement of people power on the streets. Building such a movement will be our priority over the coming weeks.”

In her statement, Joan Collins TD said, “Linking the household charge to the processing or payment of student 3rd level grants is the lowest of the low. Local authorities have no authority to do this. The Student Act 2011 does not provide for withholding of the payment of a student grant in foot of non-payment of the household tax. Any council who attempts to make this link will be challenged by the CAHWT and I urge student unions around the country to do so also”.

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In a statement, Richard Boyd Barrett TD for the People before Profit Alliance/ULA has condemned as “outrageous” the move by Clare Co. Council to deny third level grants to applicants whose parents have not paid the household charge.

Deputy Boyd Barrett said it was also unacceptable that the Minister for Education would allow Clare or any other Council to engage in this sort of bullying, with money that was not their own but which was given to them by the government specifically to provide grants for third level applicants, who were entitled to them.

Deputy Boyd Barrett called on the Minister for Education, Ruairi Quinn, to intervene in the situation and instruct Clare Co. Council and all other Council’s that such abuse of grant funding must cease immediately.

Deputy Boyd Barrett said: “It is simply disgraceful that any Council should threaten to deny any young person access to third level education in an effort to strong-arm their parents into paying an unjust austerity charge.

It really is indicative of the depths to which the government has sunk that it would allow local authorities to blackmail families over the future of their children in an effort to force them to pay a totally unjust tax.

This money does not belong to the County Councils. It is a totally separate stream of funding to the Local Government Fund which Phil Hogan has reduced. The grant funding is specifically provided for third level grants to ensure access to third level education for the children of families who could not afford it through their own resources. So, this is a despicable misuse of education funding that will, yet again, affect low income families and potentially threaten the education and career prospects of those young people.

Minister for Education, Ruari Quinn, should immediately intervene in this situation and tell Clare County Council and any other Council that is considering such action to get their hands off grant funding.”




Home Helps to protest at Dáil at 6pm today

As the Dáil reconvenes today, Home Help workers, their clients, supporters and campaigners will protest outside Dáil Eireann against the decision by the government to cut 600,000 home help hours and 800 home care packages. They will be calling for an immediate reversal of the cuts.

Home care for some of the most vulnerable people in society is being cut by Health Minister James Reilly. As well as cutting the hours and home care packages, the government also want to privatise the home help service. Up to now, most home help care has been provided by voluntary, not-for-profit organisations that are funded by the HSE. Now the HSE wants to turn over home care services to multi-national companies such as Comfort Keepers.

About €140 million of taxpayers’ money is being channelled into these private corporations that will cut wages and attack working conditions. This race to the bottom approach has seen some not-for-profit organisations being forced to cut wages.

There are 13,000 home help workers in Ireland that play a valuable role in Ireland’s health services. The Carers Association estimate care in the home rather than in hospitals, Nursing homes or residential institutions saves the state €400 million a year.

In a statement Richard Boyd Barrett TD said, “The fact that this push to reduce home help services is being pushed by a Minister who is himself a stakeholder in the private healthcare industry is disgraceful. Once again this government is attacking the most vulnerable in our society while protecting the wealthy in this country”

“The disability campaigners who stayed overnight at the dáil to protest against cuts to their personal assistant hours showed that protests do work but it is time for all these campaigns to join together ina show of strength before the budget”

Home Care Community Action Group spokesperson John Lyons, said: “We’ve seen the true face of austerity this past month, the supposed “silly season”, according to the Taoiseach Enda Kenny. Fine Gael and Labour, under pressure from their ‘troika’ paymasters to reduce the health budget, decided to target the disabled, children with life-limiting illnesses and the elderly, those in our community who depend upon personal assistants and home helps in order to live quality, independent and dignified lives. A new low in Irish politics was reached. Shameful”.




Mass street protests needed before further health and social welfare cuts and property tax pushes people over the edge

In a statement, Richard Boyd Barrett TD of the People Before Profit Alliance/ULA has said that public anger and suffering in the face of further planned austerity measures in the forthcoming budget is reaching“tipping point”.

Deputy Boyd Barrett said that flagged budget cuts in health and social welfare and the proposed property tax would push huge swathes of the population “over the edge,” and he said it was now an urgent necessity for all those sectors of society who are the targets of existing or planned austerity to unite and take to the streets in protest.

Richard Boyd Barrett said: “Quite simply, huge numbers of people in this country cannot take any more of this cruel and unjust austerity. Vast numbers of unemployed, low and middle income families, the disabled and the elderly have already been pushed to the very edge. We are fast approaching the tipping point in terms of public anger and suffering. A million and half people in this country are hanging on by their finger-tips at the moment. They simply cannot afford to take any further hits. If the government press ahead with the planned further cuts to the health and social welfare budgets, to pensions, or attempts to impose a property tax on ordinary households, they will push huge swathes of our population over the edge.

The only answer to the economic and social madness now being pursued by the government and the Troika, is for the victims of this austerity to unite and take to the streets. The government are doing their best to play a divide and rule game in order to push through their austerity attacks – playing old off against young, abled versus disabled, public sector worker against private sector worker, urban dweller versus rural dweller, employed against unemployed. We have to resist these nasty and cynical government tactics and unite all those on low and middle incomes, workers and the unemployed, and all the vulnerable sectors of our society into a major movement of popular resistance on the streets. We need to get out and protest in the largest possible numbers in advance of the budget or the next wave of austerity will simply crush our society and our economy.

As the Dáil reconvenes, there is a lot of blather from the government and the main opposition parties, but the reality is that nothing is going to change for the better unless the people demonstrate their resistance to unjust austerity on the streets over the coming weeks and months.

In People Before Profit and the United Left Alliance our main priority will be to use the platform of the Dáil to mobilise resistance out on the streets against this disastrous austerity agenda.