Archive for December, 2013

Richard Boyd Barrett TD joins opposition TDs in walk-out in protest at water charges

water billThe Water Services Bill 2013, which will see the introduction of water charges and the wholesale transfer of infrastructure from local authorities to Irish Water is being rammed through the dáil today.

People Before Profit TD, Richard Boyd Barrett said today during the debate in the dáil that “it is a cynical move on behalf of the government to ram through this bill in such an undemocratic fashion”.

The People Before Profit TD walked out of the Dáil chamber today along with other opposition TDs in protest both at the undemocratic manner in which this issue has been debated and in protest at these charges.

Richard Boyd Barrett said, “Charging for water to drink, to wash, to live is a despicable act by this government”. “Robbing our water to sell to their mates who will sell it back to us at a profit is totally unacceptable. The shocking back-drop of this is that one of the companies involved is Siteserv – which is owned by Denis O’Brien”.

“I walked out in protest today because the government made any engagement on this issue in a democratic fashion absolutely impossible and in protest against these charges being imposed on the people of the country already suffering immense hardships”.

As housing and homelessness crisis deepens “government is stoking up property speculation and profiteering

housingResponding to the latest published figures showing 90,000 families currently on Council housing lists Richard Boyd Barrett TD, for the People Before Profit Alliance has described “the chronic housing crisis” as a “social disaster” and has said the crisis is a “direct consequence of an abysmal failure in government housing policy.”

He said: “Council housing waiting lists in Dublin that a decade ago, were six to seven years long, are now twelve to thirteen years long – leaving tens of thousands of families, households and individuals in insecure, often temporary and quite often appalling housing conditions – prey to arbitrary rent rises, notices to quit and adds saying “rent allowance not accepted.” This is particularly cruel on children. For many vulnerable or mentally ill people, the system is simply unmanageable and leads to the streets.”

Deputy Boyd Barrett condemned particularly the decision of the government to abandon the direct provision of council housing in favour of leasing arrangements with private landlords and reliance on the voluntary sector – a policy set out in a document published by the Department of the Environment June 16th 2011. (See attached)

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During discussion on Pre Eurpean Council Meeting, Richard Boyd Barrett TD (People Before Profit Alliance) clashed with Taoiseach Enda Kenny over demanding more from Europe. In his speech Deputy Boyd Barrett also raised the plight of Lufthana Technik workers in Rathcoole and their redundancy payment.

Debt Mountain and EU Fiscal Rules will result in further decade of stagnation without major growth boost

rbb x caseIn a statement responding to the publication of the government’s Medium-term Economic Strategy, Richard Boyd Barrett TD, Finance spokesperson for the People Before Profit Alliance has described the document as “wildly optimistic,” given Ireland’s enormous debt, the requirement to meet EU excessive deficit and fiscal rules and the persistent failure of all previous growth forecasts to materialise.

Deputy Boyd Barrett said the requirement to pay billions in interest on Ireland’s debt mountain was robbing the country of the funds it needed to deliver substantial economic growth and would likely result in a decade of stagnation or low growth.

Deputy Boyd Barrett said also that there were worrying signs that the government was now complicit in stoking up a new property bubble by introducing tax incentives to property speculators.

Richard Boyd Barrett said: “Really, this growth strategy document is more government hype but with very little evidence to back up its assertions. To date almost every forecast made by the government about a return to growth has been proven wrong – always wildly optimistic about growth that then fails to materialise. This is because the government consistently fails to acknowledge the scale of damage that is being done to the economy as a result of the brutal austerity measures they are imposing.

Crucially, the government simply cannot face up to the fact that the level of investment required to stimulate significant and sustained growth must come from the state and this cannot happen while up to €9 billion is being forked out in one year alone in interest on an odious debt.

The funds we need to stimulate real growth are being sucked out of the country in debt interest and will continue to be for at least a decade because of EU deficit procedures and fiscal treaty rules on debt. That is a recipe for economic stagnation.

The government imagine private investment is going to come charging over the hill to rescue the economy and deliver the growth but that is highly unlikely and will never be enough to deliver the sort of boost that could significantly lift the economy.

Typical of the bankruptcy of the government’s strategy is the emerging property bubble in Dublin. The government, incredibly, are incentivising renewed speculation in the property sector. If this is how they think you help an economy recover and move to a sustainable path – they must be out of their minds. This is not sustainable investment – it’s another accident waiting to happen.

Even the Troika and the Irish Fiscal Advisory Council have warned that all the risks to growth are on the “downside.” Yet the government’s document only puts forward two scenarios – one optimistic and one wildly optimistic. Oddly they have included a “down-side” scenario even though that’s what IFAC and the Troika have said is more likely.

So, as is often the case with this government, spin and hype has triumphed over clear-headed analysis.”

Government still locked into billions in further cuts, enormous debt, falling industrial production and renewed property bubble

rbb-dailIn a statement, Richard Boyd Barrett TD, Finance spokesperson for the People Before Profit Alliance has said that government hype and celebrations around the so-called “exit” from the EU-IMF programme is bordering on the ridiculous.

Deputy Boyd Barrett said that beyond government spin, Ireland remained fully locked into to a programme requiring billions in further budget cuts in 2014, debt re-payments of 1 billion in the coming year, an odious debt mountain, declining industrial production, flat economic growth and an alarming return of a property bubble.

He pointed out that between the various EU and Fiscal treaty budgetary requirements and troika post programme surveillance, Ireland’s economy will remain firmly in control of the same people who were in control during the bail-out programme.

Deputy Boyd Barrett said that meaningful economic recovery could not take place without large-scale public investment in strategic enterprise and infrastructure and this was precluded as a result of enormous annual interest payments on Ireland’s odious debt that would continue for the next decade, at least.

Richard Boyd Barrett said: “All this hype and spin around the so-called exit from the programme is pretty ridiculous. Next year the government is still required to make billions in further cuts and we are still totally bound into budgetary monitoring and surveillance by the EU-IMF. They do not need a programme anymore to control us because the government have signed us into a permanent troika austerity programme called the fiscal treaty.

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Richard Boyd Barrett TD, People Before Profit Alliance challenges Minister Brendan Howlin (Labour) over latest attack on public service workers through attacks on sick pay & illness leave in the debate on the Public Service Management Bill 2013 in the Dail on Thursday 12th December 2013.

rbb dailIn a statement, Richard Boyd Barrett TD for People Before Profit Alliance and member of the Oireachtas Committee on Finance, Public Expenditure & Reform has said that the leaked EU Commission draft Report on the Irish economy, confirms that the much trumpeted “exit” from the EU-IMF bail-out is largely meaningless and that harsh austerity and external control of Ireland’s budgets would continue.

“This report confirms something we have said repeatedly since the government announced with such fanfare the great so-called “exit” from the EU-IMF programme – namely that nothing whatsoever has changed.”

“We are still going to be force fed billions in further cuts and austerity in the next budget and the EU commission will be breathing down our necks and telling us what to do for years to come, until we pay-off the tens of billions borrowed from them to bail-out the banks.”

“The bail-out “exit” was just more pyrotechnics and spin from the government that is nothing more than a spin machine. Meanwhile, the EU commission report confirms that in the real world the crushing meat-grinder of austerity and external diktat will continue regardless.”

“The report also confirms that yet again that optimistic growth forecasts – essentially predictions of economic recovery – have all failed to materialise and that the economy is still on the floor. This should be seen for what it is – an indirect admission from the architects of austerity that their policies have failed and are actually preventing economic recovery.”

At a Press Conference this morning the People Before Profit Alliance announced that Brid Smith, an elected Dublin City councillor (Ballyfermot/Drimnagh ward) will run as the Party’s candidate in the Dublin constituency for next year’s European elections.

bridsmithCllr. Brid Smith, a leading member of the People Before Profit Alliance, is a long-standing campaigner and trade union activist who has played a leading role in struggles against the bin charges and the property tax.

Commenting today Cllr. Smith said: “I am delighted to announce that I will be running as People Before Profit’s Dublin candidate for the European elections. We believe there is an alternative to austerity in Ireland and in Europe. Instead of pouring billions into bailing out banks and bondholders, we can protect our schools and hospitals; we can invest in jobs and provide for social protection. We need a different Ireland and a different Europe; one that puts the interests of ordinary people before those of bankers and bondholders. My campaign for Europe will be part of this urgent struggle.”

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Richard Boyd Barrett TD, People Before Profit Alliance, raised the issue of Fatal Foetal Abnormalities in the Dail today (Tuesday 10th December) with Taoiseach Enda Kenny.