Archive for July, 2014

Richard Boyd Barrett TD for the People Before Profit Alliance has said that the failure of the EU and US to impose sanctions on Israel in response to its “murderous” assault on Gaza, “exposes the utter moral bankruptcy of the western powers.”

Deputy Boyd Barrett contrasted the speed with which the EU and US imposed sanctions on Russia for its activities in Crimea and Eastern Ukraine with its refusal to impose any sanctions on Israel – despite “its utterly barbaric assault on the people of Gaza” and its “systematic, on-going persecution of the Palestinian people and weekly theft of ever more Palestinian land through the expansion of illegal settlements.”

Deputy Boyd Barrett called on the Irish government to impose immediate sanctions on Israel by expelling the Israeli ambassador and ceasing all trade with Israel until the Gaza assault ends.

Deputy Boyd Barrett said: “Once again, Israel is engaged in a criminal and murderous military assault against the people of Gaza – deliberately slaughtering men, women and children in an act of collective punishment against the Palestinian people that flies in the face of every standard of human rights and international law. Yet incredibly, the US and the EU stand idly by and allow Israel to inflict this massacre – imposing no sanctions, whatsoever.

Indeed, far from sanctioning Israel for these atrocities and its on-going, systematic persecution of the Palestinian people and weekly theft of Palestinian land through the expansion of illegal settlements, the EU and US continue to give massive financial and military support to Israel.

The moral bankruptcy and double standards of the western powers in allowing Israel to kill Palestinians with impunity without imposing any sanctions is utterly nauseating. Look how fast the EU and US imposed political and economic sanctions on Russia over its activities in Ukraine.

Yet when Israel is engaged in the murder and collective punishment of hundreds of innocent men, women and children, they do absolutely nothing.

If the EU or US had even a scintilla of moral decency and consistency informing their foreign policies, they would immediately impose economic and political sanctions on Israel and demand that they stop this barbaric military assault on Gaza.

Equally, if the Irish government had any decency at all, they would act unilaterally where the EU has failed to act. The government should immediately expel the Israeli ambassador and cease all trade with Israel until massacre stops.”


As Israel invade Gaza and deaths mount, flag is removed by Councillor in Dun Laoghaire

In a statement today, Cllr Hugh Lewis (People Before Profit)says he, along with People Before Profit members and supporters, has removed the Israeli Flag from Dun Laoghaire Harbour. As a ground invasion begins in Gaza last night and the number of Palestinian deaths rises to over 260, including over 50 children, the Israeli flag was flying this morning in Dun Laoghaire Harbour despite numerous requests to the Harbour Company to remove it.

The Dun Laoghaire Harbour Company, in conjunction with the Royal St, George Yacht Club has, for the past week, been flying the flag of Israel as part of a European Sailing Competition.

Despite a stream of calls and pleas from the public in Dun Laoghaire to have the flag taken down as a mark of respect for the dead, injured and traumatised in Gaza, the Harbour Company has so far refused.

Cllr Hugh Lewis is a long time anti war activist and was a crew member of the Irish Ship to Gaza, which was intercepted en route to Gaza and captured by Israel in 2011.

Speaking today Cllr Hugh Lewis said “I have received dozens of calls from constituents who are disgusted that the Israeli state flag is flying at a time of so much brutality and violence and while war crimes are being perpetrated by that state on the Palestinian people.

It is completely unacceptable and inappropriate that after hundreds of people have been in contact, demanding that the flag be taken down out of solidarity and respect, it flies high in our town.
The Harbour Company have refused to listen to the people of the county so I, along with some Pro Palestinian activists went down to the harbour and I have taken the flag down.

Over 3,000 people marched in Dublin last week in solidarity with the people of Gaza and even higher numbers will attend another demonstration at the Spire at 2pm tomorrow. The support for Palestine has been overwhelming, the Harbour Company should have responded to the hundreds of calls they received and not have it come to this.”


imageAt tonights meeting of Dublin City Council, City Councillors unanimously called for an immediate end to Israel’s attacks on Palestine and for a delegation led by the Lord Mayor to meet with the Minister for Foreign Affairs to further demand that the Irish Government use its influence to condemn the barbaric attacks that have left 162 Palestinians dead, 137 of them civilians.

Speaking after the meeting tonight, People Before Profit Councillor Tina MacVeigh, who moved the motion, stated: ‘This is the third massive offensive perpetrated by Israel on the Palestinian people in five and a half years. Israel’s acts of barbarism are always the subject of great public and moral outrage, condemned by many democratically elected institutions, however, Israel is never held to account. Tonight’s motion is important as it condemns Israel’s perpetual use of illegal activites such as collective punishment and Administrative Detention, while calling on the Irish Government to take decisive actions where many governments remain silent and continue to trade with Israel. Hundreds of thousands of people all over the world, including Ireland, have taken to the streets to protest Israel’s barbaric actions and it is time that our government and our media pay heed’.

Tonight’s motion specifically calls for an immediate end to Israeli attacks on the people of Gaza as a vital precondition to a lasting ceasefire agreement, reiterates Dublin City Council’s 2010 calls for an end to the illegal Israeli-imposed siege of Gaza and for the EU to suspend Israel from the Euro-Med preferential trade agreement, Article 2 of which states that the ‘provisions of the Agreement itself shall be based on respect for human rights and democratic principles, which guides their internal and international policy and consitutes an essential element of this Agreement’.

Dublin City Council tonight joins the international call from Palestinian civil society and human rights organisations like Amnesty International for an arms embargo of Israel.

Calling on the recently appointed Minister for Foreign Affairs Charlie Flanagan to meet immediately with the Lord Mayor’s delegation, Cllr. Tina MacVeigh finished by saying ‘If these acts of collective punishment do not rage us, if we do not take decisive action, then we must question our collective humanity’

Only abolition of property and water taxes, reversal of cuts and major social housing programme can save Labour

dail-chamberSpeaking before the much awaited announcement of the cabinet reshuffle today, People before Profit TD  Richard Boyd Barrett said this reshuffle is totally irrelevant without real change in government policy.

Speaking in advance of the announcement, Deputy Boyd Barrett said that only the abolition of property and water taxes, the reversal of cruel cuts and a major social housing programme can save the Labour Party now.

Richard Boyd Barrett will be responded to the announcement in the Dáil today.

Richard Boyd Barrett said, “The drama around the cabinet re-shuffle is totally irrelevant unless there is a radical shift in policy by this government – and that almost certainly not happen. The background to all of this is the hammering the government parties got, particularly the Labour Party, in the recent local elections.

The Labour Party got savaged in the elections because of the cruelly unjust policies they have imposed and all the broken pre-election promises. It has nothing to do with personalities. The only thing that will save Labour from future electoral destruction is if they abolish the property tax, abandon plans for water charges, reverse the cruel cuts they have imposed and deliver a serious social housing  programme.

Let’s remember it is the new Labour leader, Minister Burton, whose cuts in rent allowance and other cuts affecting some of the most vulnerable that contributed most to Labour’s disastrous results in the recent elections. Labour are deluding themselves if they think the Minister who inflicted those cruel cuts can save them. In reality, unless Labour leave coalition with Fine Gael and repudiate the austerity policies they have imposed, they are doomed.

Sadly, it looks like the lure of office and ministerial trappings will trump any principled approach to policy”.

10496189_10152065288582134_4488769031463974411_oToday People Before Profit, Dun Laoghaire protested to demand empty sites be used to build council houses.

Today Housing campaigners, those waiting for housing and People Before Profit representatives and supporters gathered at the “Deerhunter” site at the Glenageary roundabout to highlight the scandal of this site lying vacant for the best part of a decade when there are more than 4000 families in need of housing in Dun Laoghaire/Rathdown.

Rising rents, inadequate rent caps,  a chronic lack of social housing and repossessions are all coming together to create a massive housing crisis.

People Before Profit have been working with those on the housing list calling on the government to embark upon an emergency house building programme to deal with this crisis.

The “Deerhunter” site is land that could well be used for housing and community amenities including a playground.  The site is in receivership and a recent planning application for a discount supermarket, a fast food outlet and a coffee shop was refused by the council.  Campaigners are demanding that this site be acquired by the government and given to the council for social and affordable housing.

Cllr Melisa Halpin People Before Profit said: “The housing crisis is spiralling out of control.  Over 4000 people are on the Dun Laoghaire Rathdown housing list and only 15 houses are going to be built in the next year! This has gone beyond a joke and we are calling on the government, and in particular the new Tanaiste, who has promised to make housing a priority, to stop crying crocodile tears and deliver a social house building programme as a matter of urgency.”

“There are hundreds of sites like “The Deerhunter” site that are lying derelict and in receivership all across the country.  Many of these sites are owned by the banks that are in public ownership and they should be immediately handed over to the councils to build on.”

Richard Boyd Barrett TD added: “Today is just the beginning of our campaign.  In many areas across the country people affected by the housing crisis are getting organised and we will be holding protests all over the city in September and taking this issue to the gates of Dail Eireann in October.

There are over 90,000 families on the housing list nationally, this means hundreds of thousands of men, women and children who have no secure home; children who do not know if they will be in the same home or school from one year to the next.  This cannot continue and we need an immediate commitment from this government to build social houses rather than give tax breaks to developers who have no interest in providing homes for those in need.

Protest to demand social housing at “Deerhunter site, Sallynoggin , Friday 11th July 1.30pm.

There will be a protest at the Deerhunter Site on Glenageary Roundabout at 1.30pm on Friday the 11th of July to demonstrate that there is plenty of space to build homes in the Dun Laoghaire area.

There are over 4,000 people on the housing waiting list in Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council and 90,000 people nationally.

We have empty spaces all across the area such as the Deerhunter site, Cherrywood, The Cottage Homes, Abbeyview House, Church Road etc.. Each of these places the government could fill with social housing. However they have decided to continue to fill their rich landlord friend’s pockets with Rent Allowance and the new Housing Assistance Payment instead of giving people a home.
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PBPA TD proposes amendments to guillotined Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland bill seeking to widen its mandate and prevent repeat of bank guarantee disaster

20140710-094718-35238372.jpgRichard Boyd Barrett TD, of the People Before Profit Alliance and member of the Dáil Finance committee, has submitted a number of amendments to the Strategic Banking Corporation Bill 2014 which is being pushed through the Dáil in a single day today, calling for the mandate of the proposed new strategic bank to be widened to address the mortgage arrears and housing crises, job creation generally, as well as the credit crisis facing SME’s.
Deputy Boyd Barrett has further proposed an amendment to the bill, which would prevent the Minister for Finance giving up to €4 billion in state guarantees to private investors in the Bank, without those guarantees first being debated and authorised in Dáil Eireann.
Deputy Boyd Barrett condemned the fact that such a vital piece of legislation, dealing with the establishment of a new state-owned strategic bank was being guillotined and rushed through the Dáil in a single day.
Deputy Boyd Barrett will speak on the bill in the Dáil today at 12.45 (approx) and will move his amendments later in the afternoon when the later stages of the bill will be taken.
Richard Boyd Barrett said: “The establishment of a state owned strategic bank is a belated recognition of the failure of the mainstream banking system – the banks that we bailed out to the tune of tens of billions – to address key financial problems in the economy.”
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While the tragic deaths of three Israeli teens have grabbed news headlines, the blood reprisals committed by the Israeli state against ordinary civilians since the teens first disappeared have received typically less attention in the media.

It should be noted that during the Israeli trawl in the West Bank, 9 Palestinians, some youth or children, have also been killed. Early on Tuesday morning Israeli forces shot a 16 year old Palestinian teen in the chest and killed him in Jenin refugee camp.

In the state-sponsored reprisals, Israel has also arrested hundreds arbitrarily, including 24 members of parliament. Incitement to collective punishment is being lead by politicians while social media outlets such as Facebook have become rife with groups calling for revenge against Palestinians.

A Facebook page that called for the murder of “a Palestinian every hour” until the three Israeli teens were found had amassed tens of thousands of followers, for example.

Richard Boyd Barrett said:

“While the killing of the three teenagers is reprehensible and inexcusable, the same must be said of the killing of Palestinian youth by the Israeli state and military. The name of Israel’s latest casualty, 16-year-old Yousef Abu Zagha, will not become known in the Western media. And yet his parents will grieve no less than the parents of the three Israeli settler teens.

“The climate of revenge that the Israeli government is creating now, will doubtless continue a downpour of violence on Palestinian collective heads. Netanyahu has referred to the unknown killers of the teens as “human animals” and has used the word “revenge” in a clear indication of what is still to come. Such terminology amounts to hate speech.”

Instances of dehumanizing hate speech by members of parliament are frequent and unchecked by the media. For instance, a former Israeli lawmaker Michael Ben-Ari has just referred to Palestinian children as “little terrorists” and Palestinian population areas as “jungles”.

The Israeli government is not like other governments- at the highest level they are aggressively pursuing a policy of ethnic cleansing and at policy level want to annex 60% of the West Bank.

Richard Boyd Barrett added:

“As long as Palestinians remain stateless, they lack state institutions that can protect them from the random violence inflicted upon them by the Israeli state apparatus. In most refugee camps in the West Bank there is no police. Everyone has to fend for themselves and the environment is ripe for predatory gangs to form.”

“The international community should call on Israel to immediately halt the arbitrary killing of Palestinian youth, and the world community should call for the occupation and settlement of the West Bank to end immediately.“
Palestinian flag