Archive for October, 2013

PBPA Finance Spokesperson to challenge Troika over so called bail-out “exit” at meeting today

End of bail-out a mirage and fantasy – while debt mountain remains, Troika will suck our blood for many Halloween’s to come, says TD

rbbPeople Before Profit/United Left Alliance TD and Finance spokesperson, Richard Boyd Barrett will meet the Troika today as part of a delegation from the Dail Technical Group. The meeting will take place in the Department of Finance at 3pm.

Deputy Boyd Barrett says he will challenge the Troika over the terms and conditions surrounding the “so-called bail-out exit,” which he claimed last week in the Dail was” a mirage and government inspired fantasy.”

He said that as long as Ireland was required to pay-off the enormous burden of bank related debt that had been imposed on Irish citizens, Ireland’s economy would remain under the effective control of the Troika and austerity would continue.

Deputy Boyd Barrett said the bankruptcy of the Troika’s austerity policies was clearly apparent with the current crisis in the country’s water infrastructure, the impending crisis in the health service, and the debacle over the property tax which he said arose directly out of Troika policy prescriptions.

Deputy Boyd Barrett said: “We have argued consistently over the last two years that whether or not the government formally exits the current Troika programme, Ireland’s economic policies will remain under the control of the Troika and international lenders as long as it is forced to shoulder the burden of debts arising out of the banking crisis. This means all this government hot air about“exiting” the bail-out is nothing but a mirage and a fantasy – another attempt to spin the lie that austerity is working when clearly it is failing disastrously. It’s appropriate that all this talk of exiting bail-outs is happening at Halloween, because, in reality, while the debt remains, the vampires of the Troika will continue to suck our blood for many Halloween’s to come.

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rbb dailRichard Boyd Barrett TD last night brought an amendment to a bill proposed by Fianna Fail. This amendment called for a reversal of all cuts to the Medical Card Entitlements.

The original Motion made no such call and this was the only amendment.

Richard Boyd Barrett expressed his grave disappointment that this, the only amendment, was defeated.

However, he notes that Fianna Fail voted with his amendment despite that the original motion did not call for this.

“I am delighted that, when it came to a vote, my amendment, seconded by John Halligan TD was supported by all the opposition parties including Fianna Fail. It is, however, surprising, that they were so enthusiastic to support a reversal of cuts to medical cards that they themselves initiated exactly 5 years ago”

“It is probably understandable that Fine Gael would support these kind of cuts but it is galling that Labour Party members would oppose a progressive measure to protect the elderly and the chronically ill that even Fianna Fail in their new incarnation saw fit to support.”

Richard Boyd Barrett calls for an emergency programme of social housing and an end to massive subsidies for landlords

At Minister’s Questions in the Dail this afternoon, Richard Boyd Barrett TD, lambasted the Minister for Housing for failing to deal with the housing crisis and homelessness.

He condemned the policy of funnelling over €600 million annually to private landlords in leasing schemes and denounced the announcement of €30 million lottery money for social housing as a con and will have little or no impact on the housing waiting list of 112000 individuals and families.

Deputy Boyd Barrett also criticised consistent efforts by the government to close down Dail debate on the issue of social housing.

Richard Boyd Barrett said: “The government’s social housing strategy is a shambles and a disgrace.”

“The Minister’s announcement that she intends to provide 4000 new houses next year is an utter joke against a background where in just 2 years the numbers on the social housing lists have jumped from 96000 to 112000.

“The government’s new social housing provision will cover less than half of the additional demand that has been generated as a result of the financial and economic crisis – a demand that is accelerating rapidly as banks repossess houses and families are forced to hand their homes back.”

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rbb lolaRichard Boyd Barrett TD submits amendments to Dail private members business this evening calling for reversal of budget cuts by this current government and last government

Speaking after the protests by pensioners this afternoon where thousands took to the streets in opposition to the cuts announced by the government last week, Richard Boyd Barrett said the protests by pensioners this afternoon need to continue to escalate pressure on the government to reverse these cuts. The protest organised by the Senior Citizens Parliament called for a reversal to inhumane cuts to the bereavement grant, the telephone allowance and changes to eligibility for medical cards.

DSC_0496The People Before Profit TD has submitted amendments to a Fianna Fail Private Members Business that will be debated in the dail at 7.30pm this evening. The Fianna Fail amendment calls on the government to maintain all public services for older citizens but the amendments submitted by Richard Boyd Barrett calls on the government to reverse previous cuts to the Household Benefits Package and Fuel Allowance and for the full restoration of the full entitlement to the medical card for all pensioners over 65, reversals that could be paid for by progressive taxation on higher incomes instead.

Richard Boyd Barrett said, ” Today’s fantastic protest shows the huge anger that exists over the utterly inhumane nature of these cuts. My office has had calls from pensioners from all over the country who are afraid of what will happen when they can’t afford essential medication.”

DSC_0497“It is vitally important that these protests continue and escalate if the government is to be defeated. The pensioners have led the way but they need to link up with the young people protesting tomorrow about cuts to unemployment benefit, the women protesting on Friday about changes to maternity benefit and the many other groups affected by yet another vicious austerity budget. It is the only way to best these unsustainable attacks on vital services and supports”.

Message from the Irish Senior Citizens Parliament:

sen cit parliamentSince Budget Day it has become clear that the old, the sick, the poor and young people who are unemployed have been worse affected.

Older People have been affected by

  • the further reduction on the Over 70 Medical Card Limit
  • the increase to €2.50 on the prescription charge
  • the Ending of the Telephone Allowance
  • the Ending of the Bereavement Grant

The Parliament has been inundated with ‘phone calls and emails from Older People and their families on these matters. We are actively campaigning to seek to get Government to reverse these decisions.

Untitled-1In response to the many people who have been on to us we are organising a protest for next Tuesday 22nd October at 1.15pm Molesworth Street. We urge you all to make a special effort and to attend in large numbers.

Each and every one of your organisations can play a vital role in seeking to have these measures reversed. You must start NOW by

  • lobbying all your local representatives especially those from the Government Parties i.e. Fine Gael and Labour as well the other Political Parties. (If media reports are to be believed Government TDS are not experiencing “TOO MUCH HEAT” from older people). LET’S CHANGE THAT NOW. IT IS TIME TO SHOUT STOP
  • call to their clinics and meet them in their constituencies over the weekend. Seek to speak to them politely but firmly and impress on them the concerns you have regarding these proposals.
  • remember In the space of two years the Over 70s Medical Card Limit has been reduced by €300 gross for a couple and €250 gross for a single person. The prescription charge has been increased by 500% and the telephone allowance has been abolished.

Get out there, Get working, Get talking to your local politicians and demand that changes be made.


Read Richard Boyd Barrett’s Budget Statement 2014 HERE



dept finance newIn a Budget Day statement, Richard Boyd Barrett TD, People Before Profit has denounced the government for a budget in which he says, even before its formal publication, “it is already clear that the sick, the poor, the young, the old and vulnerable are getting it in the neck again, while corporate profits and the very wealthy are protected.”

Deputy Boyd Barrett said, flagged government proposals to cut mortgage interest supplement, the scrapping of the pensioners telephone allowance, increased prescription charges, increases in DIRT on ordinary savers and cuts to social welfare payments for 22-25 year olds were “vindictive and inexcusable attacks on the most vulnerable.”

Read the Alternative Budget 2014 Documents here:



tax table


Deputy Boyd Barrett also condemned further planned across the board cuts in Departmental budgets, the effect of which may not emerge for weeks or even months but will “inflict further suffering on those who need services and support the most.”

Deputy Boyd Barrett also singled out the flagged cut of €170-200 million in the Dept of the Environment budget, in the area of housing as “utterly despicable against a background of a disastrous housing crisis across the country and spiralling homelessness.” He said government assurances that homeless services would be protected are ludicrous, when homelessness is already at record levels and government cuts in rent allowance and council house provision were directly leading to homelessness.”

Deputy Boyd Barrett’s statement was accompanied by his own set of Alternative Budget Proposals in which People Before Profit and the United Left Alliance proposed a series of alternative budget measures to raise revenue, finance a jobs programme and avoid further austerity being imposed the least well-off and most vulnerable sectors of society.

Deputy Boyd Barrett’s alternative budget proposals included the following measures:

  • Establishing a minimum effective corporation tax rate to ensure all companies pay at least 12.5% in corporation tax rate and increase in the nominal rate to 15%
  • Three new income tax bands for earnings over 100,000, 150,000, 200,000 and a new sliding scale of minimum effective income tax for top earners
  • Imposition of a Financial Transactions Tax
  • A wealth tax of 5% on wealth assets (excluding family homes and farms) in excess of €1 million.
  • A moritaurium of debt interest payments on Ireland’s national debt
  • An emergency public works and public investment programme of €24 billion over 3 years, including a major public housing programme. (See: Alternative Budget Proposals)

“The simple fact is that there are alternatives to these cruel and relentless attacks on the less-well-off and the vulnerable as much, as the government try to deny it. While the government hide behind nonsense about “hard choices”, they are in fact making a cold calculated decision to protect super-profitable corporations and the very wealthy and make those who have little or nothing take the pain. It’s inexcusable”, said deputy Boyd Barrett.