Archive for March, 2013

In a priority question to the Minister for Agriculture in the Dail yesterday, Richard Boyd Barrett TD, People Before Profit/ULA challenged Minister, Simon Coveney over what he described as a “very suspicious veil of secrecy and lack of information surrounding the government’s plan to sell-off the harvesting rights to Ireland’s state forests.”

rbb finance cmteDeputy Boyd Barrett said there was a complete lack of open public consultation around the disposal plan. He said that neither the government, nor the state Forestry regulator, the Forest Service, had provided any analysis or detail on the current state of Irish forestry, the economic value of public forests or how privatisation might affect the sustainability of Irish forestry and employment in the sector.

Deputy Boyd Barrett described the plan to sell off Coillte’s rights under the Troika programme as, “the ultimate betrayal of the country and its citizens”, saying the disposal plan amounted to a plan “to asset strip the country of one of its most precious and valuable resources in order to pay off the gambling debts of bankers and transfer those resources into the hands of the very same bankers.”

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rbb-dailIn the Dáil yesterday, People before Profit/ULA spokesperson, Richard Boyd Barrett challenged TD Enda Kenny during Taoiseach’s questions on the influence of some of the World’s largest financial companies and banks on his department and on government policy.

In a statement today Richard Boyd Barrett TD said he will be questioning the Taoiseach on the Clearing House group.

Speaking ahead of Taoiseach’s questions, Richard Boyd Barrett said Irish state policy is being shaped by financial interests while the state acts as both a lobbyist for these interests inside the EU and constantly introduces legislative changes to facilitate them. Irish policy on financial services is effectively managed by the IFSC Clearing House Group, a body made up of top public servants and representatives of the financial services industry. It includes figures from Bank of America, Citibank, BNY Mellon, State Street and the Irish Bankers Federation.

Richard Boyd Barrett said, ‘The Clearing House group is not a lobbying agency because it is officially embedded in the key Department of the Taoiseach. It helps devise its strategy and advises on tax changes that are incorporated into the annual Finance Bills.

‘In addition, the chair of IFSC Ireland, the former Taoiseach, John Bruton promotes public lobbying for the IFSC. His position is funded by the industry but the IDA provides administrative support.

‘The Irish state’s collusion with financial interest was in evidence when the EU Commission proposed a small financial transactions tax. The Department of Finance convened a meeting of the main corporations operating in the IFSC and asked them to make their case against it.

‘No independent research was commissioned on the impact of such a tax on Ireland. Instead the state used material derived from a survey of financial corporations to come out vehemently against the proposal.

‘This corporate influence on Irish policy is unacceptable. If the EU Financial Transaction Tax was implemented it would have raised MORE money that the property tax.

‘It therefore begs the question; why are the majority of the Irish people paying for an economic crash that was cause by the very financial speculators who dominate the IFSC Clearing House group’


In a statement, Richard Boyd Barrett TD, People Before Profit/ULA, Finance spokesperson, has described the €910,000 salary, pension contribution and benefit-in-kind package received by Bank of Ireland CEO, Richie Boucher as “an obscenity” and a “another cruel kick in the teeth for hundreds of thousands of struggling families, who have paid a terrible price for the crisis caused by Bank of Ireland and other financial institutions.”

Richard_Boyd_BarrettDeputy Boyd Barrett said:

“It is a pure obscenity that Bankers like Richie Boucher can pay themselves over €900,000 a year, when vast numbers of families in this country are struggling just to survive and pay the bills, precisely because of the criminal gambling of those self-same banks.

This is another cruel kick in the teeth for hundreds of thousands of ordinary people who are paying a terrible price for bailing out banks such as Bank of Ireland.

Mr Boucher was directly complicit with the orgy of reckless lending into the property market that helped crash our economy. While in a senior position in Bank of Ireland, during the height of the property madness, Mr Boucher lobbied on behalf of Sean Dunne’s insane Jury’s Doyle property deal in Ballsbridge.

This was one the worst instances of developer and banking greed during the so-called “Celtic Tiger” – a deal which played a very significant part in generating the banking crisis that has brought this country to its knees. It simply beggars belief, that someone who was a party to this kind of activity, is still in charge of a Bank that the people of this country have bailed out and is also paying himself this obscene level of salary.

It is simply outrageous that the government continues to allow Banks that we have bailed out to act in this way. Whether, it is these utterly outrageous salaries of top executives, the failure to provide relief to distressed mortgage holders or the refusal to provide credit to struggling SME’s, this government seem happy to let the Banks act as a law unto themselves. Meanwhile they happily hammer ordinary people, year in year out, to pay the bill run-up by these same bankers.

The government’s twisted priorities and the brutal injustice of what is going on in this country couldn’t be clearer. It’s an utter disgrace.”

Cypriot protests already forcing concessions from their Government and the Troika

ula press conf - CopyIn a statement, Richard Boyd Barrett, Finance spokesperson for People Before Profit/United Left Alliance has said that it would be good for Ireland and Europe if the protests of the Cypriot people forced their parliament to reject the demands of the Troika that the government raid the savings of ordinary citizens, in exchange for a so-called “bail-out”.

Deputy Boyd Barrett said, Irish people should take note that the protests of the Cypriot people had already forced their government and the Troika to start re-negotiating the plan to raid the savings of less well-off Cypriot citizens, within days of the plan being agreed.

Deputy Boyd Barrett said a Cypriot rejection of the Troika plan, and if necessary a Cypriot default, would raise the possibility that Europe’s bankers and bondholders taking responsibility for the crisis they had created, rather than again imposing the cost of the crisis onto the backs of ordinary European citizens.

Richard Boyd Barrett said: “It would be very much in the interests of Ireland and Europe, if the protests of the Cypriot people forced their government to reject the outrageous plan of the Troika to raid the savings of ordinary Cypriot citizens.

Already the people of Cyprus have shown the effectiveness of protesting. Because of the outrage they have expressed on the streets they have forced their government to start re-negotiating the plan to raid the savings of less well-off citizens.

It should be noted by Irish people and other European citizens who have been forced to pay the full price for the crimes of Europe’s bankers, that just a few days of protests in Cyprus have forced the Troika to back-track on their plans to do the same to the people of Cyprus.

By taking to the streets and expressing their outrage, the people of Cyprus have achieved more in a few days than Enda Kenny and Eamon Gilmore have achieved in two years, in terms of forcing the Troika to re-negotiate.

Let’s hope, the Cypriot people go the whole way now and reject this so-called bail-out, which is not a bail-out for them but is purely a bail-out for Europe’s gambling banks and bondholders.

Of course, there is no problem whatsoever, forcing big corporate depositors, bondholders or Russian oligarch’s to take a hit, but the idea that ordinary Cypriot citizens should have their hard-earned savings stolen from them is utterly outrageous.

As has been the case, since the crisis broke in 2007, people on the streets show far more economic and political intelligence than all the politicians, experts and commentators – and when they act it gets results. Irish people should take a leaf from the book of the Cypriot people.”

Only across the board write-down of unsustainable family home mortgages can resolve problem and revive economy

Richard_Boyd_BarrettResponding to today’s announcement by the government of their latest plan to resolve the mortgage crisis, Richard Boyd Barrett TD, Finance spokesperson for People Before Profit/ULA said, the plan was a “wholly inadequate response to the scale of the crisis and would give Banks greater licence to harass already distressed mortgage holders.”

Deputy Boyd Barrett added that “only across the board write-down of unsustainable mortgages on family homes could resolve the problem relieve the crippling impact the mortgage crisis is having on the wider economy.”

Richard Boyd Barrett said: “This latest announcement by the government is a wholly inadequate response to the mortgage crisis that is blighting the lives of 180,000 families in this country and is suffocating the wider economy.

Setting targets for the so-called ‘restructuring’ of unsustainable debts is largely useless if it means the banks simply stringing these bloated debts over a longer period of time. This is a recipe for tens of thousands of families to spend a lifetime in financial misery with the knock-on effect of continuing to choke the wider domestic economy.

The problem here is that the banks are failing to take responsibility for their own reckless lending and their role in creating the crazy property bubble that caused this crisis in the first place. Until the banks accept their responsibility for causing this crisis and write-down unsustainable and unfair debt burdens, we are going nowhere with this crisis.

The removal of restrictions on the right of banks to harass distressed mortgage holders is utterly reprehensible and gives licence to the banks to add further to the stress and anxiety being suffered by thousands of families.

The only way to resolve this enormous crisis, which is causing so much suffering and damage to the economy, is to force the banks to give across the board write down to homeowners in mortgage distress who bought during the property bubble period.

The government’s piece-meal and inadequate response to the mortgage crisis is even more ridiculous in the context of their plan to impose an extra burden of hundreds of euros in property tax on 180,000 families that are currently unable to pay their mortgages. The government’s financial and economic arithmetic simply doesn’t add up.”