Archive for the ‘Communications Energy and Natural Resources’ Category
It is almost ironic that as we put up our Christmas trees, Coillte the State forestry board tasked with managing 1.2 million acres of public forests as well as increasing our low average tree cover, is selling off another lot of public forestry property, 1000 acres in Donegal.
The reason the Government should not sell a 25% stake in Aer Lingus is that it would realise a pittance for it. Bearing in mind the Government’s share and the 15% staff shareholding, one realises the State would lose a vital strategic link and connectivity with Heathrow and other areas. The company has been in existence for decades and has provided secure, permanent, pensionable employment and a good service.
The Labour Party has some neck to posit the sale of State assets as some great move towards job creation. What an absolute betrayal of the people who voted for it. It told them it would protect valuable State concerns although the dogs on the street know that every privatisation inevitably results in job losses. We saw this with Eircom, in respect of which at least 7,000 more jobs were lost. Some 3,500 jobs were lost in Aer Lingus since its part and majority privatisation. We should consider the valuable job creation prospects that would exist if we were to retain the semi-State industries in our control.
We must consider this discussion against the backdrop of the collapse of private sector investment in our economy. This collapse has amounted to €30 billion since 2007. Where will the jobs come from, bearing in mind that the State could be the main mover in job creation? Rather than hiving off parts of our assets, why are we not investing in research, wind and wave energy? The Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources told us 10,000 jobs could be created in the wind and wave energy sectors. Where is this investment? Why is the State not investing in the semi-State concerns?
It is inevitable that workers in the companies in question will resist any attempts to sell off vital assets. They will be supported by the public. I ask that the agenda put forward by the United Left Alliance be accepted and that the workers be supported.
“The proposed Water Services Amendment Bill to enable inspection of septic tanks is part of the further privatisation of public services. The local authorities already know that all houses not connected to a public sewer dispose of effluent to a cess pit, septic tank or package treatment plant so what is this registration process for other than to get the charge accepted so that it can be increased in the future?
“The local authority Water Services already have staff capable of compiling all the information required in relation to the type of system in use and the associated percolation areas. In addition, the legislation proposes that the local authorities be ignored again as the EPA will organise an inspection service – application fee to register as inspector is €1,000 This is all part and parcel of the plan to privatise the water services which will inevitably impose more costs on householders already stretched to the limit.
“Eamon O’Cuiv has made similar points but has some neck given his party’s role in government and on local authorities over the past decades where they used Section 4 legislation to overturn planning advice. The failure of FF, FG the Greens and Labour in Government during this period has created the situation whereby probably 50% of the individual house treatment systems are not compliant with many not having any secondary treatment.
“When these systems inevitably fail the initial inspection the house owner will be faced with significant works to enable compliance with the EPA standards – a new septic tank and percolation system, testing of soil for infiltration characteristics, civil engineering works and professional fees.
“Taxpayers in rural areas- not all rural residents – can justifiably feel hard done by given that billions have been spent during the past decade on upgrading of waste water treatment systems to benefit urban areas.
“While the upgrading of septic tanks and other treatment systems is definitely needed, the attempted privatisation should be resisted.
“Better by far, that a government task force employ thousands of the unemployed engineers, technicians and other building workers to systematically inspect and remediate the treatment systems throughout the country and to connect as many as possible to public sewers and ugrade or new public waste water treatment plants.
“Where’s the money going to come from? The €715 million of bankers debt handed over to unknown bondholders by Fine Gael and Labour this week would have made a good start.”
FIANNA FAIL and the Green Party are pressing ahead with their plans for a domestic water tax. Environment Minister, John Gormely, has stated that he hopes to raise €1 billion in revenue – from the 1.1 million households in the country. This would average out at €1000 per household!
The Green Party, attempting to justify hitting working people with more taxes, have claimed that installing meters and giving people a “free allocation” of water is a progressive measure. This is a lie. There is nothing to stop future governments from lowering the amount of “free allocation” and thereby increasing the bills for people. The abolishment of the bin tax waiver and the massive increased cost of bin charges illustrates that once these charges are established the burden on people increases. Instead of wasting €500 million plus installing water meters, these monies should be used instead to start a campaign to fix the leaking pipe and bring them up to European standard given that UK studies show that meters/charging do not reduce water usage in the long term.
Because of the determination of this government to make us pay for the economic crisis, there is now the real possibility that instead of waiting for water meters to be installed, the government may push ahead with a flat charge from December’s budget.
I believe water charges should be resisted whether they are based on metering or as a flat charge. Bin charges which have led to an ever-increasing financial burden on households and to privatisation of the sector show that the proposed water tax is not in the interests of ordinary people.
A mass campaign based in the communities is necessary to force the government to back down and I am committed to helping build the new Anti Water Tax Campaign and prepare the ground for a mass non-payment campaign.