We hear a lot these days about how the key to solving Ireland’s economic woes lies in building a “knowledge economy.” Fianna Fáil’s education minister, Batt O’Keefe, was a big fan of throwing this phrase around. And, as in so many other ways, Fine Gael and Labour have continued Fianna Fáil’s empty rhetoric.
How odd, then, that both Fianna Fáil and FG/Labour have continually advocated policies that have done serious damage to the Irish educational system. Class sizes in primary schools have risen continuously over the last five years and 85% of primary students in the Republic are now in classes of 20 or more, well above the EU average.
Adam Smith, that high-priest of free-market economics, believed that there were four principles for running a capitalist taxation system. Taxes should be equitable, non-arbitrary, convenient
to pay, and with some kind of return for citizens. These four ideas are said to underpin how capitalists think a taxation system should be run. It is ironic, then, that the new property tax proposed in this week’s budget fails to meet even one of these four principles. This is a government pursuing a form of nakedly neo-liberal capitalism that would make even Adam Smith blush.
Marie from North County Dublin has had a home help carer for 18 years. Earlier this year she had this provision cut from 7 hours per week to 2.5 hours and last month this was further cut to two ½ hour slots on a Thursday and Friday morning.
Marie, who lives alone, has Osteoporosis, pathological fractures in her spine and has had mobility problems for over fifteen years. She has degeneration in her hips and is awaiting a hip replacement. Her medical condition causes her severe pain and greatly limits her mobility.