Education

Environment, Local Issues

* MINISTER RABBITTE REFUSES TO RESPOND TO DAMNING NEW HEALTH EVIDENCE IN RELATION TO EAST WEST INTERCONNECTOR

* DALY CALLS ON MINISTER TO ACT

Socialist Party TD Clare Daly had an angry exchange in the Dail today (07/03/2012) with Labour’s Minister Pat Rabbitte over the Minister’s refusal to intervene in relation to the fact that it has emerged that Eirgrid submitted seriously inaccurate information during the oral hearing into the East West Interconnector and the very serious potential health effects for residents, especially children.

Deputy Daly was questioning the Minister in relation to whether he was satisfied with the electro magnetic field information submitted by Eirgrid to An Bord Pleanala. She slammed his assertion that he had “no reason to believe that any relevant information in relation to EMF had been withheld or misrepresented”.

She said, “The Minister has every reason to believe that this happened. This information was brought to his attention, where Rush Community Council explained how Eirgrid had incorrectly stated during the planning process that the magnetic field would be static only. They now admit that the actual magnetic filed will have a time varying component, and that this knew this all along, but try to say that this information is insignificant.”

“This is absolutely not the case. The fact that one of the government’s own former advisor’s Professor Anthony Staines said, “It now appears that the evidence as to the induced magnetic field presented at the oral hearing was SERIOUSLY INACCURATE….. the potential adverse health effects of the cable system’s magnetic field have not been assessed..low frequency magnetic fields increase the risk of childhood acute lymphoblastic leukaemia, “should be the decider in the government demanding an immediate inquiry and full re-examination of the planning process.”

“That minister Rabbitte dismisses these concerns is an affront to the community of Rush. It is now up to the Minister for Health, Dublin north’s Dr. Reilly to immediately take action,” Deputy Daly said. “Failure to act is akin to criminal neglect of residents in the area and particularly children. I really hope that residents get active again and demand that Eirgrid are called to account”

Communications Energy and Natural Resources

The reason the Government should not sell a 25% stake in Aer Lingus is that it would realise a pittance for it. Bearing in mind the Government’s share and the 15% staff shareholding, one realises the State would lose a vital strategic link and connectivity with Heathrow and other areas. The company has been in existence for decades and has provided secure, permanent, pensionable employment and a good service.

The Labour Party has some neck to posit the sale of State assets as some great move towards job creation. What an absolute betrayal of the people who voted for it. It told them it would protect valuable State concerns although the dogs on the street know that every privatisation inevitably results in job losses. We saw this with Eircom, in respect of which at least 7,000 more jobs were lost. Some 3,500 jobs were lost in Aer Lingus since its part and majority privatisation. We should consider the valuable job creation prospects that would exist if we were to retain the semi-State industries in our control.

We must consider this discussion against the backdrop of the collapse of private sector investment in our economy. This collapse has amounted to €30 billion since 2007. Where will the jobs come from, bearing in mind that the State could be the main mover in job creation? Rather than hiving off parts of our assets, why are we not investing in research, wind and wave energy? The Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources told us 10,000 jobs could be created in the wind and wave energy sectors. Where is this investment? Why is the State not investing in the semi-State concerns?

It is inevitable that workers in the companies in question will resist any attempts to sell off vital assets. They will be supported by the public. I ask that the agenda put forward by the United Left Alliance be accepted and that the workers be supported.

Worker's Rights

If state institutions like the National Museum of Ireland ignore LRC recommendations why would private sector employers bother paying any heed to them?

Responding to a situation at the National Museum brought to her attention by constituents Clare Daly TD said:

“On three separate occasions in recent years the Labour Court has made recommendations over disputed measures in favour of staff in the National Museum of Ireland, a state agency. These concerned matters around incremental credit, senior claims and rostering. On each occasion the employer has ignored the recommendations.

“Labour Court recommendations are not binding on employers and oftentimes are disregarded by bosses in the private sector. Nevertheless successive governments to this day always recommend to workers that they use the states industrial relations institutions to resolve disputes as an alternative to industrial action.

“Would it not therefore be reasonable to assume that the state as an employer would respect its own institutions? Not in the case of the National Museum of Ireland! Furthermore it seems that this poor attitude on the part of the state as an employer towards recommendations of the Labour Court is shared in other departments.

“For example the Labour Court made a recommendation for an enhanced redundancy for a former employee of the Irish Refugee Council it was likewise ignored. Now the Irish Refugee Council is not a state agency but does receive state funding and rightly so because it does admirable work. However I don’t think its treatment of the former employee in question was admirable. I raised this matter with the Minister of Justice his short response included the following idiotic passage:

However, it should be noted that were a Department to place more onerous obligations regarding Labour Court recommendations on a certain class of employer, i.e. non governmental organisations (NGOs), who are in receipt of Departmental grants, such grants given to help these NGOs in the provision of services could instead end up financing, for example, redundancy payments on foot of Labour Court recommendations.

“The position of the Socialist Party and many others active in the trade union movement that justice is more often than not unobtainable for workers in the Labour Court is being borne out. In the final analysis the traditions methods of struggle including strike action is all we are left with.”