International

Socialist Party TDs have referred to the Irish Independent’s front page article yesterday, 1st of February as ‘tantamount to incitement to hatred.’

‘The impression created by the paper’s front page article yesterday was that unemployment was being chosen and relished. The original article, appearing in Polish newspaper Gazeta Wyborcza reveals a situation exactly the opposite to this. The level of inaccuracy cannot be put down to a careless mistranslation but rather it amounts to an
attack on foreign national workers, which, as the Polish Ambassador alluded to yesterday, is an ugly feature of history in times of economic recession,’ Clare Daly, Socialist Party TD for Dublin North stated today.

The Indepedent’s original article on the subject claimed that the Polish woman living in Donegal, pseudonymously called ‘Magda’ had stated that living on Social Welfare was ‘like a Hawaiian massage.’ In fact, she had referred to having studied a FAS course in massage and was hoping to earn a living from this skill in the future. She also
specifically stated in the original article ‘“I have a big problem with being unemployed, I don’t want to live at the State’s expense and for that reason I use this assistance to allow me start up my own business”.

Joe Higgins TD said, ‘In the context of continuous attacks on Social Welfare both here and in the UK, where the current Social Welfare Bill aims to slash billions from the welfare state, it is unacceptable that the Independent would publish such an inaccurate and yes, racist article, which would create a backlash against foreign national
workers.’

Clare Daly continued, ‘The Independent should print a front page apology, dealing with the issue in equivalent length to the original article which they published with abandon. The confusion and controversy which the article generated has created a lasting false impression in relation to the experience of people on Social Welfare and should be addressed comprehensively. It is an abuse of the newspapers position that they have done this.

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Environment

I echo the point that this is a modern disaster. It is an absolute tragedy for the families concerned. They have been evacuees from their homes for more than 100 days now. As we sit here not a single thing is being done to rectify those homes. Work is not being undertaken and they are no nearer to returning to another home. They do not want to return to the home they had because it could not be called a home.

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Economy, International

United Left Alliance TDs challenge Troika on doomed austerity policy

Payment of unsecured bondholders and threatened sell off of state assets raised

Today United Left Alliance TD Clare Daly and Richard Boyd Barrett’s had an hour long meeting with the EU/ECB/IMF troika along with a delegation of Independent TDs. At the meeting Deputies Boyd Barrett and Daly challenged the troika on their doomed austerity policy and focused particularly on the drive for the privatisation of state assets and other austerity policies that have facilitated the ongoing payments to senior unsecured bondholders.
After the meeting Clare Daly said:

“I pointed out that the austerity policy of the passed four years and the strike of private investment has destroyed hundreds of thousands of jobs. Rather than selling off state assets which is the typical neo-liberal response we should be investing to expand state enterprises and public works as the only guarantee to create jobs in the massive numbers required.
“I don’t accept the parameters of the supposed debate between the government and the troika on the scale of the proposed sell offs. €2 billion is €2 billion too much never mind the €5 billion we are told is being sought by the troika. The fact is that the sell off of any or all of the assets under discussion would not even reach these figures.
“The experience of eircom and Aer Lingus as well as that of the sell offs in the neo colonial world demonstrates to us the consequences of pursuing this policy from the point of view of jobs, conditions of work and vital infrastructure.
“Therefore I would urge workers in the companies whose privatisation is under consideration to ready themselves for a fight.”

Richard Boyd Barrett said:

“Both the IMF and ECB among others have predicted in their forecasts that growth will return to the Irish economy in 2013 and had previously predicted a return to growth for 2012. IMF policies are failing and failing disastrously as can be seen from the down-grading of European and Irish growth projections, rating down-grades of major European economies and the EFSF, and the possibility of a second bail-out.

“‘We challenged the Troika on their disastrous failure to resolve the deepening economic crisis in both Ireland and the wider European
economy.

“I questioned the Troika on precisely what role it had it terms of requiring the full repayment of senior bondholders and the Anglo-Irish promissory note and the more general policy of bank-bail-outs and austerity.

“We need to break from the failing policies of IMF-EU austerity. The ULA proposals taxes on wealth and assets, rather than the regressive or socially unjust taxes and cuts being imposed on low and middle income families. There is still lots ofmoney in Ireland, we need to use that wealth to rebuild our society not to pay greedy bondholders and speculators”.