Archive for May, 2013

rbb x caseIn a statement at Leinster House this morning, Richard Boyd Barrett TD strongly criticised the government for the trampling of democracy as twenty four of his amendments to the Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest Bill 2013 were ruled out of order.

The government also imposed a guillotine on this bill which does not allow for adequate debate and consultation and is further evidence the government wants to ram this bill through before workers vote on Croke Park 2.5.

The amendments submitted by Deputy Boyd Barrett, following consultation with rank and file trade unionists, would have seen the protection of workers earning less than 100,000, the protection of pensioners earning less than 50,000 and the shifting of the burden of cuts to those earning more than 100,000.

Deputy Boyd Barrett also submitted an amendment proposing the deletion of the section that would give the Minister draconian new powers to change the pay and conditions of public sector workers at a mere stroke of his pen.

The Minister in question is Brendan Howlin and it is extraordinary that a Labour Party member would propose and push through legislation giving himself the power to trample on the democracy of the trade union movement and the hard won rights of workers.

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tfmrA group representing TFMR briefed TDs today on their concerns on the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill.

During the recent Oireachtas hearings on the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill, a number of groups who have concerns and amendments did not have the opportunity to participate.

The groups include, National Women’s Council of Ireland, Action on X, Abortion Rights Campaign, ICTU Women’s Committee, Irish Council for Civil Liberties, Irish Family Planning Association, Irish Feminist Network, Cork Women’s Right to Choose Group and Galway Pro Choice Group.

TFMR (Terminations for Medical Reasons) is one of the groups and it represents couples and families who have undertaken terminations due to the tragic presence of fatal foetal abnormalities in much wanted pregnancies. These terminations had to take place abroad because of the current legal situation surrounding terminations in Ireland but such situations are not provided for in the Bill being proposed, something TMFR feel is a missed opportunity.

Richard Boyd Barrett TD, who was hosting the briefing said, “The Oireachtas hearings were an important opportunity for all interest groups to have their say and influence the provisions of the bill. It is unfortunate that groups such as TMFR were not invited to participate and today’s briefing will give them a chance to brief TDs and Senators on the issues around which they are campaigning”.

Cllr Hugh Lewis, People Before Profit visits picket yesterday

Cllr Hugh Lewis, People Before Profit visits picket yesterday

In a statement today, the strikers at Shanganagh Waste Water Treatment Plant, announced that 2 workers have passed their picket line to carry out work at the plant.

The workers who passed the picket line this morning are believed to have been flown in from Spain by the Spanish section of the Management.

The workers have also raised serious health and safety concerns that, as the laboratory workers are not passing the picket line, the water quality may not be being tested at the site for three days now.

People Before Profit TD, Richard Boyd Barrett, will be visiting the workers at the site at 12.30 today to show his support for the workers.

SDD Shanganagh Water Treatment runs the Waste Water Treatment Centre in Shanganagh under a standard Public Private Partnership contract with Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council. SDD are responsible for all operations on site. The new plant was opened by Phil Hogan TD last January.

SDD is a partnership between SISK and a Spanish company called Drago Drace. It is believed that the workers who passed the picket line this morning are employees of Drago Drace in Spain.

The dispute at the plant is over pay and shift premium payments. Earlier this month the SIPTU workers had threatened strike action because management were refusing to recognise the union. The strike was called off when they agreed to start discussions. It was subsequently agreed to send the issues of dispute to the LRC but management did not proceed with this. Strike action started on Tues morning at 6.30am.

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People Before Profit TD to challenge Clearing House Group at Finance Committee over role in shaping government corporate tax policy and tax haven status

rbb finance cmteIn a statement today, Richard Boyd Barrett, Finance spokesperson for People Before Profit/United Left Alliance, said government denials that Ireland is acting as a tax haven were preposterous, in the aftermath of revelations about Apple’s use of Ireland to reduce its tax obligations to negligible levels.

The People Before Profit TD called for an immediate investigation and Dáil debate on the issue despite Taoiseach Enda Kenny’s claims at the summit of EU leaders in Brussels today, that Ireland’s tax regime is “ very transparent” when it is clear the opposite is the case.

Richard Boyd Barrett said also that he intended to challenge the IFSC Clearing House Group at the Oireachtas Finance Committee this afternoon, over their role in shaping Irish government policy in relation to corporate tax, the Financial Transaction Tax and other tax policies that favour the corporate sector.

The IFSC Clearing House Group is made up of senior civil servants, representatives of the IDA and Enterprise Ireland and representatives of the top banks and financial and legal companies in the state including Bank of Ireland, AIB, Statestreet, Citibank, PWC and others.

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Government claims that Ireland is not a corporate tax haven are “patent nonsense”, says People Before Profit TD – Dáil investigation needed.

Ireland is a tax haven – facilitating massive tax avoidance, financial speculation and dangerous “shadow banking”.

In a statement, Richard Boyd Barrett TD, Finance spokesperson for People Before Profit/United Left Alliance has rubbished Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore’s denials that Ireland is acting as a tax haven to facilitate corporate tax dodging by major multinational companies.

Deputy Boyd Barrett said a Dáil investigation, similar to those which have taken place in the US and Britain, into corporate tax avoidance and the corporate tax regime generally, was urgently required.

Deputy Boyd Barrett’s statement comes in the aftermath of the latest revelations from the US Senate committee that corporate giant Apple has used Ireland as base to avoid paying billions in corporate tax.

Deputy Boyd Barrett said also that Minister Gilmore’s claim that Ireland’s corporation tax regime was “very transparent” was “utterly ridiculous,” when the revelations about one of the Apple subsidiary’s based in Ireland (ASI) showed the company had only paid 0.2% in tax to the Irish state on €22 billion in profits.

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Nationwide Day of National protest on June 9th announced

Protestors demand clear government commitment that forest privatisation will be abandoned.

protest 6Hundreds of protesters attended a demonstration today at 5.30pm outside the Dáil as part of the Natural Resources Protection Alliance and The Woodland League campaign against the government’s proposal to sell the harvesting rights to Ireland’s public forests.

The protest announced details of a nation-wide day of action on June 9th, where “Walk in the Woods” protests will take place in Coillte woodlands in several different locations across the country.

The call for further nation-wide and local protests comes following the huge success of the “Walk in the Woods” protest at Avondale, Co Wicklow, in April, where over 4000 people rallied in opposition to the planned sale of Coillte’s harvesting rights.

protest 2Speakers at the protest included Richard Boyd Barrett TD, Catherine Murphy TD, Andrew St. Ledger, Woodland League, a former Coillte worker and others.

The Natural Resources Protection Alliance and the Woodland League believe that their Avondale protest and wider public outrage has put significant pressure on the government. However, they warned that off-the-cuff comments in the aftermath of the Wicklow protest by Minister Rabbitte about the sale plan being “unlikely” to go ahead, had little value until line Minister’s Howlin and Coveney made a definitive announcement.

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