Archive for the ‘Dáil Issues’ Category

Economy, Environment

The Household Tax announced by the government today is a burden too many for the majority of ordinary people in this State.

Low and middle income workers have seen their living standards severely depressed over the last three years by wage cuts and savage impositions such as the Universal Social Charge. This latest tax, part of the EU/IMF memorandum, adds insult to the injury of working people, pensioners and the unemployed occasioned by being forced to salvage Irish and European banks from the consequences of their reckless speculation in the Irish property market.

1990s water tax defeated by non payment

Initial €100 would rocket to €500 and beyond
If this Household Tax were accepted everybody knows it would rocket to €500 and upwards within a short period. It would be a curtain raiser for further burdens such as water charges and a property tax on every home.

Anti Household and Water Tax Campaign Already established
On Saturday,16 July a meeting of activists and members of left parties and groups, following on from some initial meetings last year, resolved to launch a national campaign of opposition to new household and water taxes as soon as they were announced by government. A final name for the campaign has not yet been decided until the government clarified its proposals.

The Campaign is calling for a boycott of the charge and a mass non-payment campaign to make it unenforceable.

The Anti Household and Water Tax campaign is open to all those prepared to fight the new tax. Although members and public representatives of left groups will play an important role, it will not be affiliated to any political party or organisation and will have fully democratic structures in place.

A major series of public meeting s in cities and towns around the country will kick off in September to establish local groups in what will be a very active campaign.

Anti Water Charges campaign 1980s & 1994-‘96
The mass campaign against water charges in the 1980s and especially in Dublin from 1994-’96 under the leadership of the Federation of Dublin Anti Water Charges Campaigns serves as a model for the new campaign against the Household Tax. Tens of thousands of householders were involved in a major non-payment campaign. Attempts by Councils to intimidate householders were met by local mobilisations, defence of householders in the courts and political action. This major campaign of people power won a measure of justice for PAYE when the water tax was abolished in December 1996.


Following a large and angry demonstration of parents, special needs assistants, teachers and pupils outside the Dáil a debate took place on a motion presented by United Left Alliance and Independent TDs from the Dáil Technical Group opposing the Governments cuts.

Protesters came from all over the country and moving testimony was given from the speakers platform of the impact of these cuts. However despite this and the points made by TDs in the debate including Clare Daly Fine Gael and Labour shamefully stood over their cuts.

A national coordinated effort has emerged for a bigger protest against these cuts which will take place on the opening of the Dáil after the summer break.

Children and Youth Affairs

Responding to the Cloyne Report Joe Higgins TD said:

“Words are inadquate to describe the harm that has been done to those who have been abused by the clergy but I want to put on record my and my party’s solidarity to the abused and commend them for their bravery in stepping forward to tell their story to the Commission.

“The fact that these crimes were perpetrated after 1996 by which time the Church was supposed to have had child protection measures in place in the wake of the Brendan Smith case demonstrates that the public repentance by the hierarchy cannot be taken at face value.

“The lack of prosecutions post the Murphy report will likewise means that there is no certainty the perpetrators exposed in the Cloyne report will see justice. The Minister of Justice must account for this.”

Bishop Magee of Cloyne

Clare Daly TD said:

“Between the Murphy Report and the Cloyne Report it is clear that the Vatican was party to a criminal conspiracy to prevent the Irish authorities being informed in a timely fashion of reported cases of abuse.

“The refusal of the Papal Nuncio to respond to questions posed to them by the enquiry is a calculated snub not just to the authors of the report but to Irish society at large and the victims of abuse in particular.

“The Vatican is the ultimate seat of power for the Catholic Church internationally but also has the status of a nation state with the Papel Nuncio playing the role of ambassador in Ireland. I call on the Minister of Foreign Affairs Eamonn Gilmore to expel the Papal Nuncio as a minimal response to the belligerence of the Vatican who instructed the church locally not to inform the authorities of reports of abuse in the first instance.

“This coupled with concrete measures to make real the separation of Church and State is part of dealing with the legacy of abuse.”

Children and Youth Affairs, Protests

On Wednesday 13 July, parents, teachers, special needs assistants, and pupils, will gather outside the Dail in a Day of Protest to demand a reversal of the devastating cutbacks that the government is standing over in primary education, particularly in relation to services for children with additional needs.

The protest action is coinciding with a discussion in the Dail around a motion initiated by TDs in the United Left Alliance and the independent TDs in the Technical Group demanding an end to this vicious attack on one of the most vulnerable sections of society.

The details of the events on Wednesday 13 July are:

3pm – Protest at Dail, Kildare St, Dublin, to coincide with Dail motion on special needs cutbacks.
4pm – Meeting to establish a national campaign committee, Buswells Hotel, Kildare Street, Dublin.

It is clear that Minister Quinn thought he could cynically cut across any opposition on this issue, by delaying the announcement of SNA resource cuts until the last week of the school term. How wrong he was!
Across all areas, groups are organising to demand justice on this issue.Important meetings have been held in every corner of the country under many different banners. It is absolutely crucial that these groups come together in united action to force a u-turn.

The 13 July can be an important date for this issue. On the one hand it is an opportunity to step up the pressure. There was already a determined protest of parents from schools in Wexford and Lucan outside the Dail in late June, and it is hoped that 13 July can serve to bring groups together for a major offensive on the issue in the autumn.

These cuts will have a seriously detrimental effect on the lives of children with special educational needs, their teachers, families, classmates and indeed society as a whole. Not to mind the SNAs who will lose their jobs.

The previous Government decided in December 2010 to cap the number of whole time equivalent posts at 10,575. At present there are 10,802 posts which is 227 over the cap to be reached by the end of 2011. While the Department is committed to meeting the cap figure of 10,575, the government is trying to create an illusion that the needs of all children will be met. This is patently untrue.

Already parents and teachers have been told of resources being axed. The role of the SNA has evolved to incorporate an educational remit, which was not previously envisaged. There is currently no alternative that would deliver the need for SNAs to deliver pedagogical support to children with special educational needs. Not only must the cap be lifted, but the numbers increased to take account of population growth.

Similarly the cuts in resource teaching hours and support for Travellers and children for whom English is not their first language must be reversed, along with the cuts in rural transport.

All of these issues will be debated in the Dail. It is a scandal that while children’s futures are being traded in this way, the government plans to repay hundreds of millions in unsecured bonds at Anglo Irish Bank later in the year. This is not good enough.

It is hoped that a national campaign group can come together, to initially organise a major protest outside the Dail when school resumes, on Wednesday 14 September. Let the government take note – parents, teachers and SNAs will not rest until this injustice is reversed.