Economy

Responding to the emerging debate on debt forgiveness for people in difficulty with their mortgages Clare Daly TD (Socialist Party/United Left Alliance Dublin North) said:

“It is rank hypocrisy for Minister Hayes to deem debt forgiveness for householders an ‘unrealistic option’ when one considers how his and the previous government have done somersaults to relieve banks of their bad loans and make them the responsibility of ordinary people including those struggling to maintain their home.

Overpriced houses from bubble era

“The opposition of Fianna Fáil finance spokesperson Michael McGrath parroting the same arguments as the government is equally galling.

“Whatever the precise cost of providing such forgiveness we can be sure that it is a figure that would be dwarfed by the scale of the bank bailouts. The Socialist Party consistently raised during the housing bubble its opposition to people being enslaved to 30 and 40 year mortgages for overpriced houses in order to obtain a home. We now say that a retrospective revaluation of all houses sold during the bubble during the last decade must take place and future payments worked out based on the true value of the home and people’s ability to pay.

“The United Left Alliance has already taken initial steps in launching a campaign of active opposition to repossessions and will seek to present a bill this autumn in the Dáil outlawing repossessions.

“The fact a debate is taking place at all and that even some pro-capitalist economists support a debt forgiveness scheme is a reflection of the reality that tens of thousands of people simply cannot meet the inflated terms of their mortgage. It is also a reflection that their is a growing climate of opposition to people being repossessed of their homes. The Socialist Party and the United Left Alliance will play its part in giving that opposition an active form in the months ahead.

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.

Education

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.”