Personal Statement

Jan
2013
29

Features

On Monday evening after meetings in the Dáil, I attended a meeting in Swords and left at 9.30pm for another meeting requested by a family of longstanding political acquaintances in the Southside of the city near the Canal. I arrived after 10pm and spent almost two hours discussing political issues which I had raised in the Dáil. Before I left I was offered a hot whiskey for a cold. I had no food since lunchtime and did not realise the implications of taking this house measure of hot whiskey.

I left at midnight and not being familiar with the area found myself on the road to Ballyfermot at Kilmainham and took a right turn onto the South Circular Road trying to get back onto the Northside – unfortunately there is no right turn at this junction. A passing Garda patrol car saw the turn and pulled me over and this was brought to my attention by Gardai in a car who stopped me. I was breathalysed but this was not satisfactory and was brought to the Kilmainham Garda Station where a urine sample was taken.

I accept full responsibility for what is a serious lack of judgement and while I find it surprising that the Gardaí in Kilmainham released this information to tabloid journalists before 11am, I believe that the Gardaí implementing road safety have a job to do and I support them.

Should the test result on the sample provided prove to be above the statutory limit, I will accept the consequences and resolve that this will not happen again.

Features

United Left Alliance
Press statement
January 27th 2013.

The United Left Alliance regrets the decision taken by Joe Higgins TD and the Socialist Party to leave the Alliance. We believe that they have made a serious mistake. The need for a new, broad and inclusive left, which will not on principle enter right wing governments with either Fine Gael or Fianna Fail is today more urgent than ever.

Faced with a massive attack on jobs, pay, pensions, working conditions, welfare payments and entitlements, health and education and other essential social services, working people need an independent and radical political movement which will seek to represent them, help organise them, and above all, fight on their behalf.

The ULA was formed with the intention to bring together existing left groups along with individual members to help lay the basis over time to enable a new party of the left to come into existence. It was inevitable that there would be difficulties in bringing together groups who have had a long period of independent activity and indeed rivalry.

We believe it is necessary to work to overcome such problems and to create the conditions in which the ULA can achieve its undoubted potential.

It is unfortunate that the Socialist Party feels it necessary to create or exaggerate political differences to justify their action in leaving the Alliance. In reality their decision reflects an inability to put the urgent task of building a broader movement to more effectively represent working people before the narrow interests of their own small grouping.

Richard Boyd Barrett TD. Clare Daly TD. Joan Collins TD.

Economy

For five years now, the Greek people have been on the receiving end of a massive programme of forced austerity.  Living standards have fallen, on average, by at least a quarter. Unemployment has risen to 1 in 4 of the labour force; youth unemployment is, officially, a staggering 50% and the real figure is far higher.  Suicide rates have risen by 40%– a shocking indicator of the human cost of this failed neo-liberal ideology.

Right from 2008, there has been massive opposition to austerity in Greece.  Large-scale protests, student walk-outs, occupations of businesses and government offices, and strikes, including general strikes, have all become common occurrences across the country.  That the Greek state, despite three changes in government in the last five years, has ignored these protests and continued with austerity, is only one element in a broader erosion of the very fabric of Greek democracy.
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Health, Worker's Rights

Student Nurses Protest Wage Cuts

The recent announcement by the HSE to recruit 1,000 new graduates at 80% of the current salary is a blatant attack on the living standards of essential front line workers. Nursing and midwifery graduates, qualifying in 2009, started on the second point of the salary scale, which was €33,470.  In January 2011, the government imposed a 10% cut to all new entrants into the public sector, which reduced salaries to €28,539. In February 2012, the Department of Health issued a circular directing management to put newly qualified nurses/midwives on the first point of the salary scale which is €27,211. In December 2012, the government announced that they were going to recruit 1,000 newly qualified nurses/midwives on two year contracts at only 80% of the 1st point of the staff nurse salary scale, which equates to €22,000 per year. This means that newly qualified nurses/midwives will have incurred a cut of €11,470 in just three years.   This 34% salary cut is a discriminatory attempt to undermine the working conditions of professional frontline workers.
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