Archive for the ‘Dáil Issues’ Category


Press statement


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Payment of over €700 million to unsecured Anglo bondholders is an obscenity


Anglo bondholders hold an estimated combined wealth one hundred times greater than Ireland’s GDP!


Responding to the handing over of €715 million of tax payers money to senior unsecure bondholders Joe Higgins TD said –


“The economist and documentary maker David Malone estimates that the Anglo bondholders being paid off today by the Irish government have control over combined funds of €20.8 trillion, that is one hundred times Ireland’s GDP in 2008 before the crash!


“Is there a more glaring equation that demonstrates the asymmetry of economic relations in the world of today that you can have a transfer of wealth wrung from ordinary people through savage austerity to these ‘masters of the universe’ ?


“David Malone goes on to conservatively estimate that Anglo only accounts for one five thousandth part of the total funds managed by bond holders the world over. Yet our Taoiseach and Minister of Finance today would have us believe that the non payment by this state of private debt arising from risky investments in property by these geniuses would set off a global chain reaction that would result in catastrophe for the Irish economy.


“What world are these people living in? I see the catastrophic consequences of three years of failed austerity measures with more to come if this government gets it way.


“The refusal of the Government to have this handover of money debated and voted upon today in the Dáil is simply a disgrace.


Clare Daly TD commented:


“The word ‘masochistic’ springs to mind when I hear the Taoiseach boast of how much punishment the people of this country will take in terms of paying fully the private losses incurred by speculators.


“The write down obtained on the Greek debt has rightly put the spotlight on this government and its failure to hold true to its promises to reduce the debt.


“The referendum announcement from Athens now puts a new spotlight on the government here. They have no mandate to pay the unsecured bondholders in Anglo. This and the whole EU/IMF austerity strategy should be put to a vote of the people.


“The Taoiseach is correct when he lists the terrible cuts in living standards still demanded of the working people and unemployed of Greece despite this write down which is why I hope the people there go all the way in rejecting the bailout deal. Let’s be clear, we say not one cent of private debt should be paid by the ordinary people of Europe.


“Non payment by itself is not a solution but it is a start. It has to be supplemented by policies that involve seizing the key wealth and assets in society and investing them in the creation of jobs. This is the only way to lift society out of the crisis.”




United Left Alliance calls for ‘No’ vote in Dáil Inquiries Constitutional Referendum 

United Left Alliance calls for a ‘Yes’ vote on Judge’s Pay referendum but reiterates call for salary cap for senior public servants 

The United Left Alliance TDs, Richard Boyd Barrett, Joan Collins, Clare Daly, Seamus Healy and Joe Higgins are calling for a ‘No’ vote in next week’s Dáil Inquiries Referendum. 

The need for an efficient, fair and transparent system for holding inquiries that throws a light on the workings of the state and its agencies, including the Gardaí as well as how the rich and powerful operate in this country and where appropriate bring out evidence and findings that could be used to prosecute wrongdoing is not contested by the United Left Alliance. The Tribunals of Inquiry we have seen over the last two decades have often fallen short on all of these counts. 

In that sense the government’s proposal that is being put to a referendum is a missed opportunity. In fact if it is passed the powers that will be bestowed upon the government to hold inquiries into any matter of its choosing and make findings against an individual or individuals is open to abuse.
If this amendment is passed it will be up to a Dáil majority – in effect the Government – to decide on the subject-matter of an inquiry and the balance between the rights of individuals and the public interest. This power should not be entrusted solely to the government of the day. A more independent mechanism could have been proposed, such as Article 44 of the German Basic Law i.e. “[The Bundestag] shall have the right, on a motion of one quarter of its members, to establish an investigative committee, which shall take the requisite evidence at public hearings”.

In a briefing on the referendum by senior officials in Minister Howlin’s department to ULA and Technical group TDs and staff it was confirmed that no legal aid provision would be made to an ordinary citizen being compelled to appear before an Oireachtas inquiry as a witness or as an accused person. In other words only the rich and powerful would have the wherewithal to try to contest through the courts an attempt by an Oireactas enquiry to compel somebody to attend and be adequately represented in an inquiry scenario.


The reality is that there is no equality before the law or in this case before an Oireachtas inquiry. In both cases ones ability to acheive justice or defend oneself depends to a huge degree on the representation one can afford, if any.


Referendum on Judge’s Pay


Regarding the referendum on Judge’s pay the United Left Alliance advocates a Yes vote from the point of view that we oppose the special status afford to the judiciary, as high paid public servants, regarding matters of salary. In calling for a Yes vote we also take the opportunity to reiterate our opposition to the massive pay differentials that exist in Irish society, both public and private sector.


Yesterday in the Dáil during the debate on reforming public sector pensions we reiterated our call for a salary cap of €100,000 across the public service. This coupled with a steeply progressive system of income tax which would go some way to addressing the massive pay inequality that exists in this country.



Fingal bin service privatised:  Transfer of workers from Greyhound to Panda could see industrial action in the sector on a par with Oxygen strike.  Unions protest at Fingal County Council HQ in Swords. Report to follow. see pictures from event. 
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Responding to the news of Etihad Airways interest in buying the state’s 25% stake in Aer Lingus Dublin North TD and Aer Lingus SIPTU Shop Steward Clare Daly said: 


“The proceeds of any sale like the sale of other state assets are intended purely to clear the private debt the state has taken on. The final sums the 25% stake in Aer Lingus might fetch at this juncture would barely make a dent in that colossal debt. 


“The rationale behind the government maintaining a stake in Aer Lingus, we were told, was that regardless of the fact it has become an essentially private interest it was of strategic importance to our island economy. If that was the case at the time of the previous sell off of shares I ask the government what has change? 


“It is clear to me and to anybody else familiar with the airline industry the Etihad’s interest in Aer Lingus lies not with maintaining and expanding routes between Ireland and the rest of the world but rather Aer Lingus’s 23 Heathrow slots which they would like for trans Atlantic routes. 


“Such an outcome would come at the cost of jobs. My colleagues in Aer Lingus will have to ready themselves for further battles in the months and years ahead. The sell off of the government’s stake in Aer Lingus is a final chapter in a story of economic treason which workers in other commercial semi states should draw lessons from when the government comes after them .”