Posts Tagged ‘ Austerity ’

News in Brief- Irish Emigrants Blamed For STD Influx In NZ

irishAlan Shatter is in trouble this week for apparently offending ‘old’ prostitutes. Honestly, the man has experienced anti-semitic hatred and cruel personal jibes recently and then he goes and calls prostitutes working in Ireland ‘old’. Actually, the story is not quite as clear-cut as tabloid headlines would have us believe, SHOCK and AWE. He wasn’t calling all prostitutes old, just some.

Our international reputation isn’t doing so well either after an article in the New York Times has caused uproar, depicting life in post-Tiger Ireland. According to the piece produced by Liz Alderman, there’s a man in Shankill in Dublin who shoots and BBQ’s pigeons to survive. The story has met widespread disapproval from locals and councillors of Shankill alike; Fine Gael TD Mary Mitchell O’Connor said she rejects the description of the town and the main subject of the article, who used to own boats and a five-bedroom house and now resorts to pigeon shooting on the street to survive. NIB isn’t sure, perhaps Shankill is the social equivalent of Mordor, I mean American’s don’t normally exaggerate do they? Continue reading

Crowe Criticises Budget Attack On Most Vulnerable

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Sinn Féin spokesperson on foreign affairs, trade and diaspora, Seán Crowe TD, has expressed his disappointment at the government’s decision to attack the most vulnerable in Ireland, and by also failing in their public commitment to eradicate poverty worldwide by cutting the Overseas Development Aid (ODA) budget by €19.4 million. Continue reading

News In Brief – Reilly Plans Free GP Care As Hotel Cancels Beauty Pageant

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Remember last week when Bob Geldof was off to space? If only every week was like that the world would be a happier place*. Instead we’ve got protestors and pageants.

What’s the difference between a blobfish (last week’s winner of World’s Ugliest Animal) and the Minister for Health? One understands the intricacies of government spending and the healthcare needs of the country, the other doesn’t. NIB will let you come to your own conclusion which is which . . . James Reilly meanwhile has told Sean O’Rourke on RTE how he plans to bring in free GP care for all Irish citizens and more freebies for kids! Hurrah! But how Mr Reilly? We haven’t got any cash. Ah. Well, it might be slightly ’ambitious’ he told Sean, but sure feck it anyway, it’ll be a bit of craic. Continue reading

News in Brief-Irish Lap Up Weather As Boris Rejects GAA Invite

ORANGE WARNING: IT’S too hot! The EU has ruled Ireland must enter Summer austerity as the heat wave continues leaving some parts of the Island hotter than popular holiday destinations and a severe shortage of paddling pools. Met Eireann’s expert Harm Luijkx accounted for the heat, it’s due to : ’long periods of sunshine every day.’ Tax the sun, tax the sun! NIB warned this day would come! Continue reading

Austerity Was A Mistake Says Former IMF Mission Chief

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A reliance on austerity as a measure of combating the economic downturn is actually counter-productive, said Professor Ashoka Mody, a former International Monetary Fund (IMF) mission chief for Germany and Ireland.

Speaking on RTE’s Morning Ireland, Professor Mody said that the Troika had other options besides the imposition of austerity, and added that the bondholders could have been forced to bear some of the burden. “We are seeing a belated recognition of the fact that the constraint imposed only by austerity was untenable,” he said on the programme. “Clearly the experience, if experience was needed, has demonstrated that reliance on austerity is counterproductive.” The option of burning the bondholders wasn’t considered at the time, because the government was concerned about causing further financial instability.

Continue reading

Brutal Noonan Unveils Bombshell Budget

Noonan_Budget_2013_dec052012Upon unveiling  Budget 2013 , the Minister for Finance Michael Noonan said there are signs that the country is emerging from the worst of the economic crisis but despite that he still implemented measures which make the richer richer and the poorer poorer.

He said the bailout programme was being fulfilled, but further cuts were still necessary as we are by no means out of the abyss.

The main highlights of Noonan’s brutal budget, which has no doubt been overseen by Germany prior to publication includes:

No increase in excise duty on petrol or diesel.

From midnight, a packet of 20 cigarettes increases by 10 cent while tobacco will also increase

From midnight, excise duty on a pint or beer or cider will increase by 10 cent, on a standard measure of spirits by 10 cent, and on a bottle of wine by €1.

The rate of VRT and motor tax will increase from 1 January.

Minister Noonan said a property tax would be introduced at a rate of 0.18 per cent — and for properties valued over one million euro it will be 0.25 per cent.

Unearned income for everyone else will become subject to PRSI in 2014.

From 1 July 2013, maternity benefit will be treated as a taxable income, but will continue to be exempt from the Universal Social Charge.

In his Budget speech, the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Brendan Howlin said Public Service staff numbers will be reduced to around 287,000 in 2013.

In health, the Budget measures will result in the current 50 cent per item prescription charge for medical card holders being increased to €1.50.

People over 70 years of age with a medical card will have it replaced with a GP only card, if their weekly income is €600 to €700 for a single person or €1,200 to €1,400 for a couple.

The amount private patients have to pay for medicines each month, before the State covers the cost, rises from €132 to €144, which will save €10 million.

The health budget for next year will be €13.6 billion which the Government says represents an extra €150 million.

With Budget 2013 comes another wave of hurt and austerity for the people of Ireland, we are no closer to emerging from the abyss despite what propaganda the government sell us.

News in Brief-De Burgh Funds Anglo Musical But What About Cowen?

Twelve Anglo men. We found out at the start of that week that the Irish Lothario with an eye for the ladies in red Chris de Burgh, is in fact one of a dozen wealthy individuals that helped bankroll Anglo: The Musical. Un-burgh-lievable, who knew he had it in him?
Producers have refused to name who else might have chipped in to stage the satirical puppet show based on Ireland’s economic crash however Marian Keyes and Sharon Corr are believed to have had some involvement. News in Brief is going to start a book on the other 11, 14-1 Brian Cowen paid for his own puppet.

It looks like It could go all quiet on the Dublin front. An initiative proposed by the city council want’s to see a delegated area become “quiet zones” as part of a European directive. These areas can be parks or gardens with a day time decibel level of no more than 55 and the dominant sounds those of birds calling or water splashing. All well and good you may say but how will this silence be enforced? If you take a fit of the sneezes down at Dollymount Strand can you expect to be carted off? Or wrestled (silently) to the ground before having gaffe tape plastered across your face? It all sounds a bit Orwellian, not too far from the thought police.

F*** your Honda Civic and your horse I’ve got an ambulance outside. Whilst paramedics attended a house in Blanchardstown, west Dublin this week, the crew were amazed to discover when they came back outside their fire brigade vehicle had been nicked. Presumably not by the tax paying cream of Irish society. A second emergency vehicle then had to be called to pick up the crew of the first. The first ambulance was later found crashed at Corduff Park. Great craic lads.

Apparently austerity is undermining our human rights, and there’s News in Brief thinking it was all a big laugh! Honestly cutting off electricity and gas supplies is just makes dodging the dog a fun after dinner game and eating a cardboard cereal box is even quicker than the Special K challenge.
No, we don’t need Amnesty International Ireland to tell us life isn’t all beer and skittles and the next budget is effectively going to pour salt into our open wounds but sure isn’t it great to have a fully funded conference.

And finally News in Brief was astonished to hear of the passenger that had to step in to help land a diverted Lufthansa flight from Newark to Frankfurt at Dublin airport this week. As I’m sure was Michael O’Leary . . .

1,700 Pay Household Charge While Activists Get Set For Protest

The Household Charge Project Board has said that people are quickly signing up to the site and arranging payment methods, with some having paid in full already.

The board says 1,700 people have paid by credit card or debit card and 400 more have set up direct debits.

The system went live on 1 January and people must register by the March 31st deadline. However should people wish to pay by instalments they must register by March 1st.

The board says an online system – householdcharge.ie – has been set up allowing homeowners to register their households and to make payment with a credit or debit card. Payment can also be made by cheque, postal order or at local authority offices.

However, opponents of the charge are stepping up their campaign against the controversial tax ladi out in last month’s budget.

The Campaign Against the Household Charge group are meeting next week ahead of a national protest scheduled for ten days’ time.

The group says it is confident that as many as 50% of households will not register for the charge while they also expect thousands to attend the protest.

Over 100 meetings of local groups have already taken place around the country, with meetings planned in Cork and Dublin tonight. The campaign is been spearheaded by independent politicians and member of the People Before Profit Alliance.

The Government says the household charge is an interim measure and that a comprehensive and equitable valuation-based property tax will be introduced in the future.

Will you be Paying the charge?

 

Clueless Politicians Spit in The Face Of The People

Everyone with an interest, and even those with none, expected Budget 2012 to be an unforgiving document. And they were not to be disappointed. What they may not have expected (or perhaps they did) was the foolishness; its greatest lesson, once again, that Irish politics is a joke, not seeking any real change, rather the support of the people so as to hang on to the fat pay checks and cushy pensions for as long as possible. For a budget delivered straight from Berlin, it lacked any of that famed German rigidness and stood cool in the face of pressure. Unsurprising, really, considering it was presented by a Fine Gael and Labour government who are looking increasingly out of their depth.

We’ve already seen one U-turn from Social Protection Minister Joan Burton, a politician who seems to attempt to contradict her title as much as possible in her recent war against the lower classes. The disability cuts to those who were supposedly under her care and protection were understandably and unavoidably met with uproar from the general public. And so, after careful considerations with her colleagues, “the reform is paused.” But why bother putting it in the Budget in the first place? If they are to be undone, then they are highly important, and an attempt shouldn’t have been made to make cuts at all. But, seeing as they were included at the beginning, then Minister Burton must have felt that hard savings could have been made in the interests of the country at large, and she should have stuck with her guns, insisting, as the rest of her crowd do, that we must all share the pain caused by people we have never met. Real leadership and determination are unfortunately rare qualities in politics anywhere today as much in Ireland as anywhere else.

Then, of course, we have Michael Noonan, who claims to be our finance minister. The drop in numbers taking Higher Level Mathematics in Ireland certainly seems to be showing in those entering government in this country as our financial leaders show themselves seemingly incapable of using a simple calculator. Coming after the billion euro mix-up which was laughably surreal, Mr. Noonan has apparently miscalculated the savings made by the controversial introduction of the €100 household charge. Now, a few thousand of a mistake wouldn’t be much. Hell, even a million could be explained by changes in number of household, people moving abroad and so on. Unfortunately, this mistake was actually in the region of €60 million. It seems that when our government makes a mistake, they don’t make it by halves.

And so, despite surely working hard to squeeze every last penny out of every last unfortunate soul who still remains on this island, our fearless leaders must return to the drawing board yet again, to find savings off the backs of yet another group in our society only to quaver at the backlash and relinquish their cuts once again. It really is easy to see why we’ve become the financial laughing stock of the world.

There’s no point in going into the many ineptitudes and failing of the current crop of cockroaches currently scuttling around Dáil Éireann. They are out there, in plain view, for everyone to see. But looking back on the history of our country, one can’t help but feel a little ashamed.  What always strikes me as odd is the likes of Enda Kenny, who still represents the cronyism and sheer stupidity we thought we had removed from Leinster House, sitting under the portrait of Michael Collins, who surely must be rolling around in his grave anxious to fix the mess we find ourselves in with his uncanny financial ability and sheer focus and determination, to show them what a real politician looks like.

Once Again, the Many Bear the Burden of the Few

‘A Government of the people, by the people, for the people.’ These were the now iconic words spoken by Abraham Lincoln at Gettysburg, nearly 150 years ago. An ideal we wish was still in use today.

The Irish cabinet has met, discussing changes which would see a drop of €8 in social welfare and €10 in child benefits. This drop has been casually referred to as only a pack of cigarettes. Such a description only serves to demean further the worst off in our society.

€8 less means one meal less. Less paid off a bill, a loan, a mortgage.  One commentator said, “That €8 is the difference between whether or not I can light the fire for next few days or whether or not I have the money to get the bus into town to go to my next hospital appointment or not.” There are undoubtedly those in Ireland today who live off the system as leeches, who see a life on social welfare as a desirable path. But today, with such job losses as Ireland has seen, more often than not the queues at the dole office each week are packed with fathers and mothers who have lost their jobs and can barely pay the rent, the mortgage, the ESB. And for what? For the continued payments to Europe, the ever increasing measures of austerity, ensuring the survival of the elite class, whose actions threatened that of those beneath them?

Madness has entered the country and our psyche. Wages and benefits are falling rapidly as prices rise. In the background, politicians like Mary Harney have the gall to feebly attempt to justify thousands of euro in salaries and pensions, for their ‘services to the country.’ Services which, when history has finished judging, will amount to little more than a paragraph of brown envelopes and evening soirees with bankers and builders. It’s really surprising that our streets aren’t filled with protestors, mobs baying for blood, the likes of which Paris and Cairo have and are continuing to see. What is it about our country that sees us take cutbacks and austerity measures with little more than a moan or a whimper, after which we roll over and accept, conceding that it may be hard, but sure isn’t it in the best interests of us all? Sure, the students come out in force every once in a while against the student fees. And yes, the Occupy Movement has taken root in Dublin’s Dame Street, slowly spreading across the country. But however noble their intentions, however justified they are, such efforts will never succeed.

I don’t condone violence. Violence, it has been said, is the recourse of the uncivilised man. I also don’t say that violence has never succeeded. The Easter Rising was not fought with placards and tents pitched across the city. Michael Collins did not wage the War of Independence camped out in front of Dublin Castle’s gates.

We can blame Europe. We can curse the names of Merkel and Sarkozy and the day they were born. We can even blast the IMF and those who seek our money and took our sovereignty. And we would be right too. It’s very cathartic. But really we need look no further than Dáil Éireann. Parties come and go, but as is our way, the ethos will never change. Change is never more than skin deep. Those in power will only do what they must to retain that power.

€8 is more than a pack of cigarettes. It’s an indication of where or who the government places value these days. It tells us once again who the government is willing to sacrifice in order to fix the mistakes they and their kind have made. History repeats itself. The sacrifices are forced upon the many by the few.

The 1916 Proclamation set in place the values upon which our country was built. The Republic, it stated, ‘declares its resolve to pursue the happiness and prosperity of the whole nation and of all its parts, cherishing all the children of the nation.’

Think about Ireland today. Does that ring true?

Not anymore.