Archive for October, 2012
Over 2,000 teachers and student teachers took part in a protest today against education cuts outside Dail Eireann today. Student teachers marched from Colleges of Education to join serving teachers from across Dublin in protest at recent attacks on Newly Qualified Teachers pay and cuts in general to education.
Richard Boyd Barrett TD raised the issue with Taoiseach Enda Kenny in Leaders Questions today- see HERE.
The Dublin Council of Trade Unions have called an anti-austerity protest for Novemeber 24th to which people were encouraged to attend.
At Leader’s Questions this morning ahead of today’s teacher’s protest, People Before Profit TD, Richard Boyd Barrett, accused the government of introducing “wage apartheid” with its new salaries for newly qualified teachers (NQT’s).
The starting salary for NQT’s is €30,700 – 25% lower than teachers who began their careers last year. Over the course of their working life new teachers will earn nearly a quarter of a million less than their colleagues who are just one year ahead of them.
Richard Boyd Barrett TD said: “The Taoiseach may feel “special” after his conversation with Angela Merkel on Sunday but this feeling of being special is not shared by the thousands of teachers who are going to march this afternoon against the cuts to education over the last years.
The Taoiseach was a teacher himself and should understand more than most, the impact of these cuts that have not only seen the NQT’s earning 25% less than their colleagues but have also seen drastic cuts at all levels of education. Class sizes have been increased, supports for children with special needs have been slashed and fees have been introduced at third level.
Now the government is threatening a further 77 million cut to the education budget. If the Taoiseach really wanted our children and those who care for them to feel “special” he would make sure that the super wealthy and the corporations paid the price of this crisis rather than presiding over the destruction of our education system.
In Dail Eireann this afternoon, People Before Profit TD, Richard Boyd Barrett has accused the Minister for the environment of contempt for public consultation and EU law in relation to the granting of a foreshore licence to Providence Resources to drill an exploratory well in Dublin Bay.
Minister Phil Hogan granted a foreshore licence to Providence Resources to drill an exploratory well just 6km from the coast of Dublin earlier this month. This licence was granted without an Environmental Impact Assessment or a public inquiry despite the fact that more than 300 submissions from the people of Dublin specifically called for a public inquiry and many of them also called for an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA).
The EU Environmental Assessment Directive states that “Member States shall adopt all measures necessary to ensure that, before consent is given, projects likely to have significant effects on the environment by virtue inter alia, of their nature, size or location are made subject to an assessment with regard to their effects.”
The Aarhus Convention or the Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters, that Ireland signed up to last June calls on member states to grant the public rights regarding access to information and public participation in matters concerning the environment.
Richard Boyd Barrett said: “The Minister for the Environment is the political equivalent of an accountant that specializes in tax avoidance. When it comes to austerity – this government is applying EU directives to the letter of the law, but when it comes to matters of public consultation and the environment, rather than apply the highest standards aspired to in the Environmental Directive and the Aarhus Convention, the Minister has looked to avoid any real consultation with the people of Dublin on this very important issue.”
“There seems to be a common thread in this government’s attitude to EU rules. When they protect the interests of corporate business and the profiteers the government implements them, but when they might hurt the profits of these businesses they ignore them.”
“This license should not have been granted without an EIA or a public inquiry. The Minister tries to draw a distinction between the license to explore and a future license to extract which he claims will be accompanied by an EIA. The problem with this is that Providence are involved in an age old industry favourite – “project splitting”. In reality the exploration and the extraction are all part of the same project.”
An application for an exploratory licence to drill for oil just 6km from the coast of Dublin Bay has been granted by the Minister for Environment, Phil Hogan for Providence resources, headed up by Tony O’Reilly.
Despite a lack of public consultation and over 250 submissions made by concerned individuals and organisations earlier this year, the government has once again ignored the will of the people and granted the licence.
A public meeting has been called to discuss the next steps in this urgent campaign.
Thursday, October 25 at 7:30pm at Fitzpatrick Castle Hotel
Speakers include; Richard Boyd Barrett TD, Fergal McLoughlin; An Taisce, Frank Connolly; Author of The Great Corrib Gas Controversy & William Hederman; journalist & campaigner.
Facebook Event: http://www.facebook.com/events/464281210277757/
Over 400 people took part in a march from O’Connell Street to Dail Eireann in support of Home Helps.
Speakers at the protest included Richard Boyd Barrett TD, Joe Higgins TD and a number of Home Help workers.
John Lyons, of the Home Help/Home Care Action Group, said 500,000 hours of care have been cut in January, with proposals for a further reduction of 450,000 hours recently announced.
“These are absolutely despicable cuts directly threatening the welfare of our most vulnerable citizens,” Mr Lyons said.
“They must be immediately reversed.
“As a caring society, we should be looking to increase the hours of home help so as to meet the needs of our elderly and disabled citizens rather than constantly attacking what is a critical care service.”
The campaign has held meetings across the country over the last several months and distributed thousands of leaflets and posters to promote the protest.
“The level of support from communities right across the country has been amazing,” Mr Lyons continued.
“People are outraged when they hear what James Reilly and the HSE are doing to the home help service, and many have joined the campaign to help in the fight to have these despicable cuts reversed.”
Richard Boyd Barrett, of People Before Profit/ULA, said everybody concerned about the welfare of the elderly and disabled should support the home help workers.
“These are absolutely despicable cuts directly threatening the welfare of our most vulnerable citizens,” he said.
“A cut of an hour to a half-an-hour of home help can be the difference between the home help being able to properly help an elderly or disabled person have a shower or cook a meal, and not being able to do that.
“This can make an enormous difference to the quality of life for old and disabled people who are often lonely and isolated and really require the human touch that properly motivated home helps provide.
“We urgently need people power on the streets to stop this despicable agenda of cuts and profiteering.”
(Pictures from Rabble)
Troika in denial about economic and social damage resulting from austerity
In a statement following a meeting with representatives of the Troika this morning, Richard Boyd Barrett TD, Finance spokesperson for People Before Profit/ULA condemned the ECB for ruling out debt forgiveness for Ireland on debts incurred bailing out the Irish and European Banking system.
Deputy Boyd Barrett said also that the Troika “were in denial” about the extent of the damage being dome both to the Irish and other European economies as a result of their austerity policies.
“The most telling feature of the meeting with the Troika today was the very categorical assertion by the ECB representative that debt right down for Ireland was not on the cards for monies borrowed over recent years to bail-out the banks.
The ECB representative said that re-payment of money borrowed to bail-out the banks was a legal requirement and would not be altered. Disgracefully, the ECB summarily dismissed what he referred to as“historic views” among many in this country that these debts were incurred primarily because of ECB demands that the Irish state provide a blanket guarantee for the banks in order to prevent contagion to European Banks.
The ECB’s views utterly contradict the government’s assertion that the separation of sovereign and bank debt promised at the June EU Council summit would be retrospective and apply to legacy debts incurred by Ireland as a result of the bank bail-out.
If the ECB position is the factual position, then the government has been effectively misleading the Irish people. There is going to be no debt relief and the people of Ireland are left with the full cost of the bank bail-out. This is utterly unsustainable both socially and economically and will crush our economy and our society for years to come.
The Troika also completely failed to acknowledge how their austerity approach, both in in Ireland and in Europe, had done much more damage to the economy than they had predicted it would. They accepted that some damage had been done but refuse to accept that austerity is, in fact, incompatible with growth, even though the evidence is as clear as day that austerity is turning recession into depression.
It is absolutely clear, that both the Troika and the Irish government are utterly addicted to failed strategy of bank bail-outs and austerity and are completely incapable of even contemplating alternative approaches.
Just as is happening in other countries we need protests and people’s movement on the streets if we are to stop the economic and social destruction being wrought by the Troika and their accomplices in the Irish government.”
In a statement this morning, Richard Boyd Barrett TD, People Before Profit/ULA has called for the public to support the demonstration called by the Home Help/Home Care Action Group – a group established by home-help workers over recent weeks – which will assemble today at 3pm at the Spire at O’ Connell St, Dublin, before marching to Leinster House.
The protest, organised mainly by home help and home care workers , is calling for a reversal of more than a million hours of home-help this year and moves by the government to outsource home-help services to private for-profit companies, at the expense of services previously provided by not-for-profit organisations and by the HSE.
Richard Boyd Barrett said, “Everybody concerned about the welfare of our elderly and disabled citizens and concerned to protect the public health system should come out and join the home-helps in their protest tomorrow.
These are absolutely despicable cuts directly threatening the welfare of our most vulnerable citizens. A cut of an hour to a half an hour of home-help can be the difference between the home-help being able to properly help an elderly or disabled person have a shower or cook a meal, and not being able to do that. This can make an enormous difference to the quality of life for old and disabled people who are often lonely and isolated and really require the human touch that properly motivated home-helps provide.
We urgently need people power on the streets to stop this despicable agenda of cuts and profiteering. Tomorrow’s protest will be the first of many heading into this budget and we need to make those protests to get bigger and bigger as we head towards December when even bigger health cuts are due to be imposed by Reilly and this government. It’s also clear our campaign is having an impact as other parties in the Dáil are now starting to raise the issue as well.
Many of the people most affected by these cuts which include the elderly and the disabled are housebound and unable to march today which is why I am urging as many people as possible to come out today and amrch with the home helps”