Archive for the ‘Economy’ Category
Austerity is not working and everybody knows it. Everybody outside the Chamber certainly feels it, yet it is the only medicine that has been dished out by the Government today. What a pitiful disappointment for the tens of thousands of people who voted for the Government parties in the hope that they would represent something different. Far from being a crusading Minister coming to deliver something radical, the Minister, Deputy Howlin, is merely responsible for more of the same. He said his guiding principles for this delivery were fairness, jobs and reform, which is unfortunate, as these are precisely the three areas where the Government has fallen down. The only positive is that we will not have to listen to the Government parties bleating that this is all the fault of Fianna Fáil. This budget was its doing and it has chosen to continue the policies of its predecessors and to make ordinary people pay.
I agree with Deputy Patrick Nulty. The cut in the capital infrastructure programme represents a gross missed opportunity. However, the Deputy has a neck to make these points, as he is a member of a party which is in government and responsible for the axing of the metro north project, among others. If he was serious, he would make a stand like Deputies Naughten and Penrose and vote against the Government in the upcoming budget. His constituency colleagues told us before the general election that they would support the metro north project, but the Ministers, Deputies Leo Varadkar, Joan Burton and James Reilly, now have nothing to say about it. This is an insult to the people of Deputy Patrick Nulty’s constituency, but more than this it will have a detrimental impact on jobs in the area. This is a shovel-ready project that could immediately employ 600 people and would open up the north side of Dublin for economic development. It is a magnificent project which would transform the lives of citizens in the area. Given that it would cost the Government only €700 million in the course of the next couple of years, it is lunacy to shelve it. I appeal, even at the eleventh hour, to have the project be re-inserted in the capital budget.
Responding to the speculation of an immenent announcement from Minister for Transport Leo Varadkar of the cancelling of the Metro North project Socialist Party/United Left Alliance TD Clare Daly said:
“This announcement kills the prospect not only of a vital piece of infrastructure for the northside of Dublin but also the hope many thousands of unemployed construction workers had of getting back to work.
“This comes as no surprise coming on the back of the promised €750 million cut in capital spending in budget 2012. Precisely when state investment in jobs is needed most because of the collapse of private sector investment this government does the complete opposite of what is required.
“The timing of the announcement is cynical in the extreme. The Socialist Party and its candidate in the recent Dublin West by election, Ruth Coppinger, who topped the poll in the Swords part of the constituency strove to make Metro North alongside Metro West a key point of debate about how to combat unemployment during the election campaign.
“Labour and Fine Gael however remained silent on the issue. The Labour by election victor Patrick Nulty, after opposing a debate and vote last week on the €715 million Anglo bailout has another opportunity to prove himself to be true to his word when he promised to be ‘a voice that will be heard’ within the government. We should not hold our breath!”
“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.”