Archive for April, 2014

Richard Boyd Barrett TD, People Before Profit Alliance today again raised the issue of an independent public inquiry into the Cynthia Owen case with Minister for Justice Alan Shatter in the Dail.

Richard Boyd Barrett TD, People Before Profit national director of elections said at the launch of the People Before Profit Manifesto for Local Government that “The expectation of the Irish people of local authorities is low because there has been a systematic policy of centralisation and transfer of power to unelected city or county managers. People Before Profit however are determined to bring real change on these bodies”.

Speaking at the launch,  Melisa Halpin –a candidate for Dun Laoghaire –said, “One of our first moves will be to pass a  resolution to demand powers to impose rent controls. Wages have been cut and incomes have been shrunk by stealth taxes. We need rent control in Dublin just as much as people need them in many other cities in Europe.


Click on image to read the Manifesto

Brian Finucane, candidate in Listowel, Kerry, said: ‘People Before Profit will oppose the junket culture on local authorities. We will press for the abolition of a system whereby chairs of committees are paid an extra €6,000 a year. We will oppose the involvement of private companies in organising conferences which become an excuse for junkets. We shall demand that the salaries of the new CEOs of local authorities are cut.

Another candidate, Tina MacVeigh – for Dublin Crumlin-Kimmage said: ‘People  Before profit will also act as a watchdog on how private interests are leeching off the public purse. We are totally opposed to the use of giving consultancy contracts to large corporations who charge exhorbitant fees for often poor advice. We will also demand that any company entering into a contract with a local authority must first agree beforehand to waive claims for ‘commercial secrecy’ and be fully transparent on costings and profit’.

John Lyons, candidate in Dublin Beaumont-Donaghamede said that People Before Profit will press local authorities to take concrete steps to solve the housing crisis.

‘We will demand that they build more social housing. We will press for rent controls and in conjunction with a rise in the rent caps to reflect the real level of rent. We shall demand that suitable unoccupied buildings controlled by NAMA shall be used to accommodate the growing homeless population. We shall demand that no council property is left vacant for more than one month and support a policy that gives immediate access to council accommodation in return for an indemnity against insurance claims.’

A full list of People Before Profit Alliance Candidates available HERE

Continuing campaign of protest promised until housing crisis addressed

rbb dailIn a statement, Richard Boyd Barrett TD for the People Before Profit Alliance in Dun Laoghaire has said he will bringing a whole number of families currently affected by the deepening housing and homelessness crisis into the Dail on Thursday to observe the debate and vote on the Dail Technical groups private members motion calling for emergency action on the issue.

Deputy Boyd Barrett will give the closing speech on the Technical group’s motion early on Thursday afternoon at 2pm before a vote is taken. He also welcomed the recent establishment of a housing campaign group among a number of families affected by the crisis and their supporters in his constituency.

The group has already organised two protests at recent meetings of Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown Co. Council and is planning a round-the-clock sleep out protest at the first meeting of the new Council after the forthcoming local elections.

Deputy Boyd Barrett has brought families affected by the housing crisis into the Dail on a number of occasions over the last three years and has repeatedly raised the issue of the housing and homelessness crisis with the Taoiseach, The Táiniste, the Minister for the Environment and the Minister for Housing since entering the Dáil.

Deputy Boyd Barrett proposed to the Technical group, at a recent meeting, that they should put forward a motion to address the growing crisis before the summer recess and is delighted that this was agreed and that issue will finally take centre stage in a Dáil debate.

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People Before Profit Alliance will be standing seven candidates for the local elections in Dun Laoghaire Rathdown.

DSC_1043The candidates today completed the nomination process at Town Hall in Dun Laoghaire. Pictured left with Richard Boyd Barrett TD are six of the candidates. All the candidates are listed below:

Clr Melisa Halpin – Dun Laoghaire
Karl Gill – Dun Laoghaire
Cllr Hugh Lewis – Ballybrack/Killiney/Shankill
Cillian Doyle – Ballybrack/Killiney/Shankill
Nicola Curry – Glencullen Sandyford
John O’Dowd – Dundrum
Lola Hynes – Blackrock

At the recent Dun Laoghaire Rathdown Council meeting, People Before Profit councillors looked for support from Labour, Fine Gael and Fianna Fail to pass a motion to raise the rent allowance caps and look for Dun Laoghaire specific emergency accommodation. However, ALL Labour councillors voted against discussion of the motion. There was huge anger at this decision and over 50 people- homeless families- have begun an occupation of the council buildings. Read more about the issue HERE

Watch the People Before Profit Alliance councillors attempting to have the issue discussed here:

“Extra” funding -A Tiny fraction of the social housing cuts in recent budgets

housingIn a statement, Richard Boyd Barrett TD, has slammed Minister Jan O Sullivan’s announcement today of “extra” funding to local authorities to renovate “vacant” council houses as“a meaningless ball of smoke designed to cover-up to the true extent of the growing housing and homelessness crisis – and the government’s responsibility for it.

Deputy Boyd Barrett, who has repeatedly raised the issue of the housing crisis in the Dáil over the last two years, and on a number of occasions brought families in crisis into the Dáil gallery, said:

“The absolutely paltry sum of €15 million announced by the Minister O Sullivan today will not even dent a crisis where 96,000 families are on the housing list, waiting up to 15 years, and record numbers of families declaring as homeless. This is a pathetic and thread-bare attempt to appear to be doing something when you are actually doing nothing. The proximity to the local elections is, of course, no coincidence.”

Deputy Boyd Barrett pointed out that the figure announced was a “tiny fraction of the cuts in overall funding to social housing provision and rent allowance contained in the last two budgets and is an effort to distract from the disastrous effect of those far bigger budget cuts – which are now manifesting in a housing emergency.”

Deputy Boyd Barrett said there had been a 36% cut in overall funding for social housing provision since 2008, including significant cuts in all of the budgets delivered by the Fine Gael Labour government since they entered office.

Deputy Boyd Barrett said “recent government cuts had led to an almost complete halt in council housing construction and combined with rent allowance cuts, spiralling rents, and a dramatic increase in demand for social housing, has produced one of the worst housing and homelessness crises in the recent history of the state.

Deputy Boyd Barrett pointed out that in Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown, where the crisis was particularly acute because rents were among the highest in the country, todays’ announcement would mean only one extra council house available for allocation in 2014 against a background of 4000 families on the housing list and dozens of families currently homeless or facing the imminent threat of homelessness.

Deputy Boyd Barrett said: “Our office is currently dealing with over 20 families with young children involved, who are either in homeless services, sleeping on family member’s couches, or facing imminent homeless as landlords seeking higher rents terminate their tenancies. I am extremely worried about the mental and physical health and welfare of these parents and children. This crisis has been growing for two years but is now worsening on a weekly basis and is fast becoming a social emergency. It will continue to get worse unless very urgent action and a radical change of policy are undertaken by the government.

Real action means, as an emergency stop-gap, increasing rent caps to realistic levels and sourcing more emergency accommodation. However, to solve the real problem we must begin building new council houses immediately and, at least, at a level of ten thousand per year for the next five years. This is the absolute minimum required to prevent a social emergency turning into an utter disaster.”

Richard Boyd Barrett TD speaking on RTE’s Morning Ireland on the fight against Water charges on 16th April 2014.

Video of People Before Profit Women Candidates Press Conference which took place 16th April 2014. The People Before Profit Alliance has the highest percentage of women candidates of any political party running in the 2014 local elections with 17 women from around the country contesting the local elections. In addition, Cllr. Bríd Smith is also the People Before Profit candidate for Dublin in the European Election.

40% of People Before Profit Alliance candidates are women

pbp women 1The People Before Profit Alliance has the highest percentage of women candidates of any political party running in the 2014 local elections with 17 women from around the country contesting the local elections. In addition, Cllr. Bríd Smith is also the People Before Profit candidate for Dublin in the European Election.

Ailbhe Smyth, leading feminist and People Before Profit’s National Convener said: “For too long Irish politics has been dominated by men with only 91 women elected to the Dáil since the foundation of the State. In fact Ireland has one of the worst gender imbalances in the world. Women currently hold 25 seats out of 166, a figure of just 15.1%. Although low, this is a record high for the number of women elected in a general election in Ireland. This is simply not good enough and must change. People Before Profit is proud to lead the way by bringing more women into politics by fighting against austerity policies that compound inequality between men and women.”

pbp women 2Cllr. Bríd Smith local election and Euro election candidate commented: “This government pays lip service to gender equality. They pretend that they are serious about promoting equality while at the same time they implement austerity policies that disproportionately effect women like cuts to maternity benefit and the lone parent allowance. Cuts to essential public services like respite care and attacks on children with special needs mean that it is often left to women to pick up the pieces and endure even more care burdens.”

Cllr. Melisa Halpin, running in Dun Laoghaire said: “Everyday People Before Profit councillors see the lived reality of government austerity. Cuts hit women on low incomes the hardest. This government promised to protect ‘the vulnerable’ yet their whole recovery strategy is focused on keeping the markets happy regardless of the damage done to society as a whole.”

pbp women 3Tina Mac Veigh, People Before Profit candidate for Dublin Crumlin-Kimmage also commented: “The neoliberal agenda is at its most vicious when it targets working class women and their local communities. That is why all of us, men and women, need to fight together to resist the brutal austerity that is threatening to destroy our communities.”

Nicola Curry, People Before Profit candidate for Dublin Glencullen-Sandyford added: “It is no accident that so many of People Before Profit’s candidates are women. Very often it is women who have been at the forefront of local and community resistance to government imposed cuts that has devastated the lives and communities of working class people.”

For a full list of our candidates see HERE

Midlands wind farms or Dublin Bay plans have nothing to do with tackling climate change and everything to do with corporate grab of natural resources

In a statement, Richard Boyd Barrett TD, People Before Profit TD, commended communities from the midlands region for marching to the Dail today in opposition to plans to site thousands of giant wind turbines across a number of midland counties.


Richard Boyd Barrett TD at the protest in Dublin

Deputy Boyd Barrett said that “Ireland urgently needs to develop renewable energy but the plans to build thousands of giant turbines across the midlands will contribute little to tackling climate change and were, in reality, motivated by a corporate grab for control of Ireland’s natural resources and the pursuit of private profit.”

Deputy Boyd Barrett said: “the large-scale corporate industrialised approach to developing renewable energy had failed to make a convincing case in terms of environmental efficiency but will certainly do significant damage to Ireland’s natural heritage and landscape and represented a serious threat to the health and safety of rural communities and local economies.”

He added that: “before any such projects are even considered, there needs to be a root and branch re-evaluation of energy and natural resources policy to ensure that the development of the countries resources gives the maximum benefit and protection to local communities, to the citizens of the country generally, and are genuinely sustainable – in the real meaning of the term.”

“There are major question marks over whether these huge turbines actually reduce carbon when you look at the amounts of carbon that produced building them and all the associated transport costs. Meanwhile, we can say with certainty, they will do significant damage to the amenity, heritage and wildlife value of the countryside where they are located. There are also major health safety concerns for the communities living near them.”

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