Archive for April, 2015

Copper fastening the two tier health system in this country

Leo-VaradkarIn a statement, People Before Profit TD, Richard Boyd Barrett, has reiterated his condemnation of Minister for Health, Leo Varadkar, for waging a campaign of fear on those who do not have private health insurance. Today 30th April is the deadline for people to sign up for private health insurance and avoid a “late signup fee”.  The Lifetime Community Rating will penalise people, over 34 years of age, who miss the deadline.

Richard Boyd Barrett said: “The actions by the Minister are quite frankly a scandal. He is engaging in scare tactics and acting like a henchman of the private health insurance companies. This is absolutely disgraceful; the Minister for Health who is responsible for the public health system in this country is acting as a tout for private health insurers. The Minister is copper fastening the two tier health system that has emerged in this country.

“The Lifetime Community Rating scheme discriminates against older people. People who are over the age of 34 will pay a 2% penalty if they sign up late, a 50 year old will pay 32% and people over 69 will pay 70%. This is a campaign of fear which is being waged by the Minister for Health in the name of private health insurers. 

“Private health insurance is outrageously over priced as it is in this country. Some of the most basic plans range from 394 to just under 1,500 per year. How are people on low incomes or struggling with mortgage arrears and property taxes, supposed to pay these fees? Instead of trying to promote private health insurers the Minister should concentrate on improving the public health system, which has continued to be a basket case under his watch.

“I am calling for the Minister for Health to make a statement explaining to the people of this country why he is waging a campaign of fear upon the population”.

People Before Profit launched their campaign for a ‘YES’ vote in the upcoming Marriage Equality referendum today in Buswells Hotel on Molesworth Street in Dublin. The People Before Profit Yes to Marriage Equality Campaign was launched by People Before Profit Chair and member of the YES EQUALITY campaign, Ailbhe Smyth; Richard Boyd Barrett TD, Adrienne Wallace, People Before Profit candidate in the Carlow-Kilkenny by-election and Cllr Barry Martin who is a People Before Profit candidate in the upcoming general election representing North County Dublin and People Before Profit spokesperson on Equality and Youth Affairs.

CD1d_8eWMAATyuM.jpg largePeople Before Profit believes that Constitutional rights should apply equally to all the citizens of Ireland. Marriage is a civil right, and should be available to all citizens whatever their gender. People should be free to marry if that is what they wish. We strongly support the YES EQUALITY campaign and will continue to fight to achieve full equality for LGBT people, and for all the people of Ireland. People Before Profit have been campaigning rigorously for a Yes vote in the Marriage Equality referendum as well as holding public meetings all across the country. There has been particular emphasis on getting young people registered to vote and encouraging them to get out on the 22nd May to vote.

ailbhe smythAlibhe Smyth said: “A win in the Marriage Equality referendum on 22nd May would send a crystal clear message to LGBT people, and especially to young LGBTS, that we are equal citizens in every respect. It would send a crystal clear message that discrimination, prejudice and intolerance have no place in modern Ireland. This referendum is about equality, justice and human rights. A ‘yes’ vote means very simply that we believe LGBT people should have the same rights as everyone else”.

Richard Boyd Barrett said: “This is a watershed moment for Irish society. It is a once in a lifetime opportunity to leave a dark past of prejudice, oppression and discrimination behind us and look forward to a future of equality and justice. We should not be deflected by the disingenuous arguments of those who wish to drag us back to a dark past. This referendum is about establishing a republic of equals. It is in the spirit of the 1916 proclamation which called for a republic which cherished all of the children equally. In a decent society no-one should have to live in fear or shame or be treated as lesser because of who they are. This isn’t simply about the right to marriage for LGBT people, it is about making a statement that equality of rights and freedoms for all of our citizens is the hallmark of our society. I would urge everyone to come out and vote ‘Yes’ on May 22nd.

nDF-mGSUAdrienne Wallace said: “This referendum is solely concerned with enabling the gay community to have the same rights to civil marriage that the straight community have. It has nothing to do with marriage in the Catholic Church, or any other religious institute, and it has nothing to do with adoption or child rearing. Gay parents can already adopt through the Child & Family Relationships bill passed by the Dáil. If you vote ‘yes’ you are ensuring that they will live in a society that treats them the same as everybody else. This referendum is about human rights, the right to be treated with dignity, the right to be treated equally. Love transcends all boundaries- acknowledge that and respect it. Vote Yes on May 22nd”.  Continue reading

Boyd Barrett questions Minister on cosy cabal of Dun Laoghaire Harbour Company

People Before Profit TD, Richard Boyd Barrett, to challenge Minister in Dail tomorrow over future of Dun Laoghaire harbour and calls for a campaign of people power against an €18 million cruise berth
New plans public mtgIn a statement today, People Before Profit TD and Chair of Dun Laoghaire’s Save Our Seafront group, Richard Boyd Barrett, has called for “a major campaign of people power against the planned cruise berth and to protect the future of the harbour as a public amenity.”
Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett will be questioning the Minister in the Dail, tomorrow morning on the future governance of the harbour and the democratic control of this important historical and cultural public asset.
The Dun Laoghaire TD announced a major Public Meeting to launch a campaign on Thurs 30th April at 7.30pm in The Kingston Hotel.
The People Before Profit TD outlined 3 major concerns with the plan:

 – the cost and financing of the project at €18 million means that the harbour Company will have to borrow using its existing assets, where no proper business case has been produced.  This puts the very future of the harbour at risk.
– the entire plan has been hatched by an un-elected board of the harbour Company, Council Executives and local business people who ran a sham of a public consultation over the two weeks of the Easter Holidays.
– the scale of the luxury liners at 300 meters long and 59 meters high will dwarf the harbour and reduce public access and public enjoyment of the most intact Victorian Harbour in Britain & Ireland.
Deputy Boyd Barrett said: “These plans raise very serious questions about the future of the harbour.  The Government is in the process of publishing legislation that will bring the Harbour under the control of the council.  If the Harbour Company borrows €18 million for a project which could well fall flat on its face, it will be the people of Dun Laoghaire Rathdown that will be paying the interest into the future.”

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Richard Boyd Barrett TD’s spring economic statement challenges the government’s line on so-called “economic recovery”

The following statement has been agreed between the People Before Profit Alliance, the Anti-Austerity Alliance and some independent activists including Cllr Brendan Young.

The anti-water charges movement, which has seen hundreds of thousands mobilise and become active in campaigning, has transformed politics in this country. It has forced climbdowns by the government and given people confidence and hope that the austerity agenda can be defeated. It has opened a potential to build a significant Left, working class political movement.

We welcome the initiative by the trade unions involved in Right2Water to host conferences in May and June to discuss a political initiative. The fact that a number of significant unions are discussing launching a political platform and considering support for a range of candidates is a very important development. It could create a political pole of attraction for many who are fighting austerity and oppression – and who are looking for a political formation that fights for genuine social equality.

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Public Meeting on new plans for harbour and seafrontleaflet

rbb housingMotion sent to Finance Committee calling for Minister for Finance, Department of Finance officials and former senior IBRC figures to give evidence on Siteserv and other IBRC transactions.

PPBA TD says Minister Noonan, Finance Department, Mike Aynsley, Alan Dukes and Denis O’Brien should answer questions publicly before Finance committee.

Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett, People Before Profit TD and member of Joint Committee on Finance Public Expenditure and Reform has today written to committee chairperson Liam Twomey requesting that the matter of the sale of Siteserv by IBRC and other similar transactions, and the involvement of the Minister for Finance and the Department of Finance be examined by the committee.

Deputy Boyd Barrett has put down a motion for the next meeting of the Joint Committee, which will take place on Wednesday 29th April, calling for Minister Noonan, Department of Finance officials, Mike Aynsley, Alan Dukes and other relevant parties, such as Denis O’Brien to answer questions before the committee on the controversial Siteserv sale and other similar IBRC transactions.

Richard Boyd Barrett said,

“It is in the public interest that the extremely murky circumstances surrounding the sale of Siteserv by IBRC and other similar transactions should be investigated urgently and in an open and transparent manner.

Minister Noonan, Department of Finance officials, Mike Aynsley, Alan Dukes, Denis O’Brien and others involved all have very serious questions to answer. We are talking about €100 million worth of debt in one transaction alone that was written down with public money by a financial institution whose previous activities had bankrupted and beggared the nation. We are talking of very serious questions about why one bid in what was, even at the time, a very controversial transaction, was preferred over other bids and whether the public interest and public money were properly protected.

Given the huge contract for installing water meters that was then given to a Siteserv subsidiary and the huge public controversy surrounding that issue it is absolutely imperative that this whole matter is openly and publicly examined.

Now that the Comptroller and Auditor General has confirmed that he does not have the legal power to investigate this matter, the Finance Committee should step in and look for the answers that the public are demanding”.