User Preferences

  • Language - en | ga
  • text size >>
  • make this your indymedia front page make this your indymedia front page
1 of indy - Wed Dec 13, 2017 23:01
We are publishing this piece by PANA explaining what PESCO is about and how it means the loss of our neutrality. Unfortunately since then on Dec 7th the Dail voted by 75 to 42 to join PESCO.
Some key points are:
1) PESCO is a binding agreement because it says so. The government claims it is not. It is.
2) PESCO commits us to spending 2% of GDP on military spending by 2022. This is a figure of € 5.5 billion. We currently spend 1/10th of that on defense. This makes a mockery of "fiscal space"
3) PESCO in the event of crisis places under NATO's command. Therefore we are no longer neutral.
4) PESCO is the side door to Ireland joining a EU Army / NATO and would have us involved in "humanitarian" bombing and "peace making" -in other words imposing the demands of the corporate interests that rule above all else.
The Irish Government is considering joining PESCO. This will be one of the most important decisions this FG/Independeny Alliance will ever make. There needs at the very least a serious debate on the issue, and in any genuine debate form all sides in the corporate media. On the evidence so far this is highly improbable, as is their total lack of coverage of the use of Shannon Airport by US troops
featured image
Looks like we have blindly picked Empire

We are publishing this piece by PANA explaining what PESCO is about and how it means the loss of our neutrality. Unfortunately since then on Dec 7th the Dail voted by 75 to 42 to join PESCO. Some key points are:
:
1) PESCO is a binding agreement because it says so. The government claims it is not. It is.
2) PESCO commits us to spending 2% of GDP on military spending by 2022. This is a figure of € 5.5 billion. We currently spend 1/10th of that on defense. This makes a mockery of "fiscal space"
3) PESCO in the event of crisis places under NATO's command. Therefore we are no longer neutral.
4) PESCO is the side door to Ireland joining a EU Army / NATO and would have us involved in "humanitarian" bombing and "peace making" -in other words imposing the demands of the corporate interests that rule above all else.


The Irish Government is considering joining PESCO. This will be one of the most important decisions this FG/Independeny Alliance will ever make. There needs at the very least a serious debate on the issue, and in any genuine debate form all sides in the corporate media. On the evidence so far this is highly improbable, as is their total lack of coverage of the use of Shannon Airport by US troops

Related Links: Government Ramming Through PESCO To Drag Us Into EU Army | Public Meeting - No EU Army Oppose PESCO -Mon 18th Dec | Germany Foreign Policy wonks gush about building EU Army | RTE report with appropriate spin on Dáil votes to join European defence organisation | EU Democray or Empire PDF or here


What is PESCO

The Irish Government is considering joining PESCO. This will be one of the most important decisions this FG/Independeny Alliance will ever make. There needs at the very least a serious debate on the issue, and in any genuine debate form all sides in the corporate media. On the evidence so far this is highly improbable, as is their total lack of coverage of the use of Shannon Airport by US troops.

These are the key points.

An article about the recent signing up to Pesco: http://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/press/press-releases/2017/11/13/defence-coo...

1) the NATO dimension; 2) the necessity to increase defence spending ("regularly increasing defence budgets in real terms in order to reach agreed objectives",); and 3) that the Petersberg Tasks are not as innocent at portrayed. The underlying thread of supporting the arms industry is also a huge point.
2. Also this article from French TV (http://www.france24.com/en/20171113-eu-defence-defense-joint-military-develop... ) which has the following:

"EU officials insist this is not just bureaucratic cooperation, but real investment that will help develop Europe's defense industry and spur research and development in military capabilities that the bloc needs most.

Mogherini said the move would complement NATO's security aims. The EU, she said, has tools to fight hybrid warfare - the use of conventional weapons mixed with things like propaganda and cyber-attacks - that the military alliance does not have at its disposal."

3. Also, this German news site: http://www.dw.com/en/pesco-eu-paves-way-to-defense-union/a-41360236 'EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini described the signing of PESCO as a "historic moment in European defense." The decision to launch PESCO indicates Europe's move towards self-sufficiency in defense matters instead of relying solely on NATO. The EU, however, also stressed that PESCO is complimentary to NATO, in which 22 of the EU's 28 countries are members.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg welcomed the launch, saying that he saw it as an opportunity to "strengthen the European pillar within NATO." Stoltenberg had previously urged European nations to increase their defense budget.

"I'm a firm believer of stronger European defense, so I welcome PESCO because I believe that it can strengthen European defense, which is good for Europe but also good for NATO," Stoltenberg said.

4. Finally interesting document re EU/NATO Council Conclusions on the Implementation of the Joint Declaration by the President of the European Council, the President of the European Commission and the Secretary General of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization: http://data.consilium.europa.eu/doc/document/ST-15283-2016-INIT/en/pdf

Dail Eireann Agrees to PESCO - Another Step Towards a European Army

A press conference hosted by the Peace and Neutrality Alliance (PANA) was held on 7th December to highlight government plans to rush a motion through the Dail to agree the new PESCO agreement. Peace and human rights campaigners fear a more militarised EU linked to NATO, and as opponents of the Lisbon Treaty 2009 suggested then and now, it will lead to a European Army

Later on in a rushed debate on PESCO, opposition TDs highlighted their concerns about Irish neutrality, allying ourselves with the imperial military forces of France, Germany and the US. Mick Wallace TD condemned the use of Shannon Airport by US military as a base to invade and terrorise nations around the world.

Under PESCO we will agree to allocate billions of euro to the EU Defence Fund; in other words we will give away money for the European military industry. Fianna Fail spokesperson Lisa Chambers TD voiced her full support for the Fine Gael motion; it is about being good Europeans, she said. The government won the day with Fianna Fail support. 75 votes in favour, with opposition TDs mustering a credible 45 votes against.

The campaign against Irish complicity in militarization and war goes on.

Src: http://shannonwatch.org/blog/dail-eireann-agrees-pesco-another-step-towards-e...

For a comprehensive report on PESCO and the significance of it, see the attached PDF document EU_Democracy_Empire

Some hidden costs of Ireland joining the embryo EU army


From PEOPLE?S NEWS News Digest of the People?s Movement, No. 177 3rd December 2017

Today Ireland spends relatively less on defence than any other EU member-state, and is among the very lowest spenders on defence in the world. But that will change if Ireland joins the EU?s ?permanent structured co-operation? (PESCO) ? the embryo EU army.

The joint notification, which Ireland is likely to sign at the December EU summit, states that ?PESCO is an ambitious, binding and inclusive European legal framework for investments in the security and defence of the EU?s territory and its citizens.? It includes a list of ?ambitious and more binding common commitments? that the member-states have agreed to undertake, including ?regularly increasing defence budgets in real terms in order to reach agreed objectives.?

During the past year EU states that are members of NATO agreed to increase military spending to reach a target of 2 per cent of GDP by 2022. These are a majority in the EU; and given that the objective of the ?common security and defence policy? in the Lisbon Treaty (2009) was to create a European pillar of NATO, it is likely that there will be pressure to reach this target should Ireland join PESCO.

Military missions are expensive! It is not common knowledge that the Irish-led EU Force in Chad in 2008 has already cost Irish taxpayers ?59 million.

PESCO also includes an annual budget of ?500 million [Editor -initially only but will rise to ?5 billion or 2% of GDP] for joint security and defence projects ?an amount that might be increased in the future. The problem here is that all our contribution would go to providing jobs in other ? mostly big ? EU states, as (thankfully) we don?t have an armaments industry of our own. (This is notwithstanding the fact that there is significant dual-use production in American transnational corporations based here.)

Our contributions to PESCO would also facilitate the development of weapons in countries over whose exports we would have no control. For example, Germany has been criticised for massively increa sing arms sales to the Middle East dictatorships of Saudi Arabia and Egypt. The German government approved the export of nearly ?450 million worth of weapons to Saudi Arabia and Egypt in the third quarter of 2017 ? more than five times the ?86 million it sold in the same quarter last year.

The military dictatorship in Egypt alone bought nearly ?300 million worth of weapons, making it the biggest export destination for German arms, while Saudi Arabia, at present conducting a blockade of Yemen, handed over nearly ?150 million. By comparison, the two countries imported ?45 million and ?41 million, respectively, in the third quarter of 2016.

The German government has not given details of the types of weapons exported, but a large proportion of the sales to Saudi Arabia probably consists of patrol boats.

Saudi Arabia and Egypt are responsible for thousands of deaths from their dirty war in Yemen, where there is a continuing civil war between Houthi rebels and Yemen?s government. The military intervention by a Saudi led coalition has led to the death of nearly ten thousand people and has created the world?s biggest humanitarian crisis, in one of the Arab world?s poorest states. Human rights organisations have said the Saudi-led coalition may have committed war crimes, and the United Nations has warned that some 7 million people face possible famine.

It used to be completely ruled out for Germany to deliver weapons to countries that were participating in wars; but exports began a few years ago when Turkey was sold weapons, despite its war with the Kurds.

We will be hearing a lot of reassuring and soothing sounds regarding ?neutrality? during the next few weeks; but the increased costs of military involvement, probable complicity in weapons exports to repressive regimes, and who knows what sort of military adventures, will put paid to any remaining vestiges of neutrality.

And we will have to ask ourselves whether we want to become involved in future resource wars and geopolitical manoeuvrings orchestrated by the EU?s former colonial powers, which can easily dominate Ireland in all EU forums.

src: See attached PN-177.pdf or http://www.people.ie/news/PN-177.pdf

Save The Hellfire & Masseys - Tue Sep 19, 2017 00:25
Monday the 24th of September at 5pm is the deadline for making submissions to An Bord Pleanála on the South Dublin County Council & Coillte plans for what is known as the Dublin Mountains Project for the Hellfire Club & Masseys Wood nearby. The plan is one dreamed up by the council and will cost € 19 million of taxpayer money i.e. collected property tax etc for what is basically a bit of a white-elephant project that will damage the environment, limit public access and charge a fee for what is now free and is expected to run at a loss for at least first 3 years, but yet the private contractors running it will be "insulated" from losses. In essence the project will put an valuable amenity that is in public hands effectively into private hands and give them a license to milk the public forever on it. If this gets through, it will be replicated all over the country in that arrogant and greed driven way we are all familiar with from the Celtic Tiger days and again today.
featured image
Aerial view of Hellfire and remains of passage tombs in front

Monday the 24th of September at 5pm is the deadline for making submissions to An Bord Pleanála on the South Dublin County Council & Coillte plans for what is known as the Dublin Mountains Project for the Hellfire Club & Masseys Wood nearby. The plan is one dreamed up by the council and will cost € 19 million of taxpayer money i.e. collected property tax etc for what is basically a bit of a white-elephant project that will damage the environment, limit public access and charge a fee for what is now free and is expected to run at a loss for at least first 3 years, but yet the private contractors running it will be "insulated" from losses. In essence the project will put an valuable amenity that is in public hands effectively into private hands and give them a license to milk the public forever on it. If this gets through, it will be replicated all over the country in that arrogant and greed driven way we are all familiar with from the Celtic Tiger days and again today.

Related Links: Public Meeting: Save Hellfire Club and Massey's Wood in Dublin Mts | SaveTheHellfire.com | Friends of Massey's Wood Facebook


The Council as required under Planning law carried out via their consultants an Environmental Impact Assessment Report (EIAR). As expected it is a large document designed to intimidate by it size in the hope that nobody would read it and it is heavy on PR and spin. Instead it is supposed to be the definitive authoritative document on the impact to the environment,. From the start this project was all about privatising a public asset in all but name and creating a mechanism to fleece the public of money to pay for something they currently have for free. The EIAR is in two volumes and attached at the end in PDF form. One should check through the Planning Statement which is attached as a PDF too.

It has a few token buzzwords about sustainability and protecting wildlife but this project is nothing of the sort and those words were merely added to give it an air of acceptability and to try fool the public and hide the true motives.

Why You Need to Make a Submission

However these sentiments are all fine but this project won't be stopped unless you the concerned citizen do something about it and put something in writing and make a submission. With these sort of issues, what matters is not that a few organisations object but that large number of people do too. There are several ways you can do this. You can lodge your own submission, you can group together with friends or neighbours and combine your submission or if you are involved in an organisation that would be affected such as a hiking club, wildlife group, scouting or whatever then you can get them to lodge an appeal. Details on how to go about this are in the box below.

In making a submission of appeal you have to be reasonably objective and the points you make are supposed to address the reasons why you think this particular plan is a bad idea and why it should not go ahead.

The details of the plan are on the Council website and was sold in a slick presentation to all the councillors earlier this year. Unfortunately for them they were not in a position to look at it objectively but when you do, holes appear all over it. Here are just some of them and they tend to be highlighted in the EIAR, the Planning Statement and through various statements made by the council and their PR representatives.

Some Preliminary Deficiencies

For example on wildlife the EIAR only identifies one red squirrel drey (squirrel nest/den) when in fact those familiar with the area know of many more. The authors spent a very short time physicalyy on site and not enough to understand the wildlife and the habitat and the impact of a massive number of visitors and a large carpark and visitor centre located on the side of the mountain. They surveyed for various animals at the wrong time of the year when it was known they would not be about. The EIAR found far fewer bird species than known to be present. This is like counting cars in a supermarket carpark when it is closed.

There are several Natura 2000 Annex 1 and possibly Annex 4 species which must have full protection under the EU Natura 2000 directive and requires public consultation and under the Natura 2000 directive Annex I/4 species protection they cannot be disturbed. In addition if there is a Natura site within close to your development you are supposed to take that into account too.

To get around these "problems", in the feasibility study they "screen out" most of the Wildlife considerations in a legal slight of hand in an attempt to exempt them for any further consideration. But since there are two Natura 2000 Habitats within 2 km of the site they must be considered. They have applied for exemption to disturb the nesting location of some of the wildlife to make way for the "Sky Bridge". Instead these animals are supposed to be protected not moved. Again as part of the Annex I/4 species protection under Natura 2000

You can see in the Planning Statement how they expect to get away with this when they simply say in sec4.4.5 they imply minimal impact and even claim benefits because they are saying they will increase protections. This is simply not true because their entire wildlife survey and assessment and responsibilities are critically flawed. They indirectly suggest it is this plan or the place would be left to decay as if that was the only plan. There are plenty of plans that could be sustainable but not this one.

The council's plan seems primarily focused on the commercial aspect and how to increase the number of visitors for the purposes of ensuring the revenue stream is high enough to support the business plan. This seems to be the only real priority. This is despite stating in their South Dublin County Council Development Plan 2016-2022. Reading it, you would never think this was the same council planning this project.

The Dublin Mountains and associated uplands occupy the southern side of the County and extend into the adjoining counties of Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown and Wicklow. The diverse topography and landcover of the Dublin Mountains includes areas of natural beauty and ecological importance (including 3 of the County?s Natura 2000 Sites) and is a key element of the County?s Green Infrastructure network. The mountains also offer significant recreational and amenity value, with popular orienteering courses, climbing areas and walking, running, hiking and mountain bike trails. The Landscape Character Assessment of South Dublin County (2015) highlights the high value and sensitivity of the Mountain Area. The protection of this landscape and its environment is a priority of this Plan.

It is the policy of the Council to protect and enhance the visual, recreational, environmental, ecological, geological, archaeological and amenity value of the Dublin Mountains, as a key element of the County?s Green Infrastructure network.

HCL9 Objective 1: To restrict development within areas designated with Zoning Objective ?HA ? DM? (To protect and enhance the outstanding natural character of the Dublin Mountains Area) and to ensure that new development is related to the area?s amenity potential or to its use for agriculture, mountain or hill farming and is designed and sited to minimise environmental and visual impacts.

HCL9 Objective 2: To ensure that development above the 350 metre contour in the Dublin Mountains will seek to protect the open natural character of mountain heath, gorselands and mountain bogs.

HCL9 Objective 3: To ensure that development within the Dublin Mountains will not prejudice the future expansion and development of a National Park, the County?s Green Infrastructure Network and local and regional networks of walking and cycling routes.

HCL9 Objective 4: To ensure that development proposals within the Dublin Mountains maximise the opportunities for enhancement of existing ecological and geological features and archaeological landscapes.
....

The Planning Statement in sec 5.1.2 under National Planning Framework says:
The proposed development represents an example of ?sustainable and adaptive reuse of historic assets?, and of maximising the value of natural heritage not only for biodiversity but for recreation, tourism and scientific purposes

There is no proof that it is either sustainable or going to maximise scientific purposes. The EIAR itself was quite unscientific. These are just stated as facts.

Section 5.2.2 of the Planning Statement is labelled 'Social Infrastructure and Sustainable Communities' talks about linking the urban areas to the rural -i.e. this site, through a pedestrian route. But why then more than triple parking spaces from 80 to 275. Surely that is encouraging car use? And how does any of this make it a sustainable community? It is not even defined what one is but it is in there as a section title anyhow.

The EIAR was required to look at the archaeological aspect of the site and it has been known for some time it was of high importance because the stones used centuries ago for building the actual Hellfire Club on the top of Montpelier were taken from a burial mound. The report even has to admit that it is an area of huge archaeological significance and identified six National Monuments within Coillte?s Massy?s Wood, and Hell Fire Club land holdings which are protected under the National Monuments Acts 1930-2004 and which are included in the Sites and Monuments Record (SMR). Quoting from the report it says: Recent excavations by the Hell Fire Club Archaeological Research Project suggest that the site is of high archaeological significance. Both this passage tomb and the adjoining one are part of a wider archaeological landscape namely a megalithic cemetery. There are strong similarities to Brú na Boinne which is a World Heritage Site, Tara and Lough Crew in Meath and Carrowmore, Carrowkeel and Knocknarea in Sligo. There are also similarities to the landscape around Stonehenge in the UK, which is also a World Heritage Site.

So now with this planning application we have a site of huge archaeological important and the plan is to more than triple the number of visitors and greatly increase intensification of the site. This is reminiscent of the disgraceful saga that befell the Wood Quay site in Dublin during the 1970s and which was probably one of the greatest losses of our heritage for had the right thing been done at the time it would have been of central historic and tourist importance to Dublin now instead of a faceless blob of concrete.

The EIAR does not consider that parts of the site are zoned differently. The views of Montpelier where the Hellfire Club is situated and can be seen from throughout Dublin are protected view. The proposed visitor centre would disrupt and break that view. It seems the council take the approach that everyone else has to follow the rules but they don't

Any lighting added for the new path to the top of the hill would be seen at night from all of Dublin and again contravenes this protected status.

The EIAR traffic figures for the road are simply wrong and do not make sense and seem inflated to justify the figures for the project. At the moment, it is estimated there are about 70,000+ visitors to site which would corresponds to about 80 cars a day with 3 people each for 6 days each week. The EIAR claimed it counted 112 cars in one hour although they picked the busiest day of the year. Then they suggest the road capacity there can take over 1000 cars per hour, yet it is known on busy days there are huge traffic problems. In other words they are claiming the roads have the capacity to take 300,000 visitors a year. This is not possible and would require a new road thus destroying the very rural and countryside feel of the place which is what attracts people to it in the first place.

You can see where they rely on their flawed traffic capacity assessment in sec 4.4.3 of the Planning Statement to say that access and traffic is not an issue. They are using a flawed analysis in one document, the EIAR, as a statement of proof in another.

The project proposes to make bring large numbers of tourists to Hellfire Club. These are most likely to be brought in the form of tours on coaches. It is extremely unlikely that any commercial tourist operation will agree to bring people by coach to Tallaght Stadium and transferring them on the proposed "shuttle" bus to Hellfire Club. Instead we are likely to see a large amount of traffic on the roads leading to Hellfire Club. The impact of this has not been accessed and it likely to be detrimental. There is no guarantee that private tour operators will bus their customers to Tallaght first and then transfer them . This is extremely unlikely and unworkable.

The current access to the site is 24 x 7 but once construction is complete we are likely to see erection of gates and or barricades that will restrict access outside "business" hours. The impact of this has not been accessed and it likely to be detrimental. In nearby Tibradden Wood access became limited after the commercially run ZipIt centre was opened.

The proposed new carpark further up the Montpelier hill represents a gross intensification of use and out of scale and this is contrary to the status of the site where the environment and wildlife is supposed to be protected. It will an eyesore and even though later when the surrounding trees are planted, the sun-glint from cars and buses will be seen for miles thereby obliterating its protected view status.

The carpark charge will result in people tending to stay longer than is typical now while the carpark is free. This will lead to a slower turnover of cars in the carpark putting pressure to increase the carpark size to allow more people. If the carpark which is already big does not get bigger, then it may mean there is not the turnover of people to make the proposed commercial operation in the management plan, profitable. The alternative is pressure to increase costs to the public elsewhere and ultimately results in a mechanism to restrict access and thereby charge for that access again. The carpark itself is proposed to be further up the mountain than the present one and will be an eyesore visible from all over Dublin.

The proposed footbridge or 'skybridge' over to Masey's Wood will for safety reasons need to be "caged" -i.e. roofed over and will as per management plan be charged a fee. If the public choose instead to walk directly to Massey's wood this will undercut the potential revenue from this and thereby put more commercial pressure on the whole operation to restrict all access to Massey's wood and thereby charge for it. Thus this project will take away public free access from Massey's wood in the longer term.

The skybridge is planned to go through the canopy of the deciduous trees in Masseys Wood at the very located where the protected Red Squirrels exist. This would be a gross disturbance of their habitat and they would flee the area. Again this is contrary to the protection of this site.

When this was initially "sold" to the councillors on SDCC it was claimed it would make money from day 1. Now the latest business plan shows it making a loss for the first three years.

The site selection was inadequate and the criteria for the removal of Orlagh's House is suspect and would have been more in line with protection of the Hellfire and Massey's Wood site by directing any development away from the site which should not been receiving increases in intensification and development considering the protections which apply to it.

High Risk of Luxury Housing 'Development'

The planning application proposes to run a sewage mains down the R115 road to link up with the existing watermain and public sewer network. The limiting factor for development in any rural area is the lack of a sewage mains. This will single piece of the plan is possibly the most destructive as it opens up the entire area to lucrative development of luxury homes. As we know from the history of the Planning Tribunals, the verbal and even legal "protections" and "zonings" are no barrier to development and no matter what anyone promises the presence of an installed sewage mains connected to the public network is the key that unlocks the stampede of developers and brown baggers.

There is little doubt once one part of the Dublin Mountains was opened up in this way, that the rest of the whole sweep of the mountains would follow. The potential huge money to be made in exclusive luxury homes with views of the city would create enough force to overcome any obstacle.

These are just some of the reasons as to why this plan should not go ahead. The two volumes of the EIAR are attached and so is the Planning statement and the "Business" plan.


Deadline 5pm on Monday 25th Sept 2017
Fee: €50
Ref: JA0040

How to make a submission of appeal to An Bord Pleanála against Hellfire & Masseys Wood Project.

Anyone can make a submission so long as it reaches the offices in Dublin by 5pm. If you deliver your submission by hand, be sure to get a receipt for it at the reception. It costs €50 which can be paid by cheque, postal order or debit card payable to An Bord Pleanála. This is why making a submission with a group of people is cheaper as it lowers the cost per person.

The address for submissions is:
An Bord Pleanála
64 Marlborough Street,
Dublin 1,
D01V902

For a submission you must include your name and address. For group submissions, you must also list all the names too. You can only make one submission.
You cannot make an individual one and be part of a group one at the same time.

You must give the planning application reference number. In this case it is: JA0040

Then all you have to do is state why you think the planning application should be refused and give reasons. Unfortunately you only get to challenge the elements of the plan and there is no mechanism to challenge for example the business plan.

A submission does not have to be of any particular length. A hand written single page in your own words is sufficient. In most cases the more individual submissions the better as it demonstrates to the inspector the concern of the public. Submissions by organisations would be typically typed and can run to several or many pages challenging the different aspects and deficiencies of the plan.

Request an Oral hearing
Any submission entitles you to attend an oral hearing and have your say if there is one. Once at the hearing, everything is public and you can ask further questions / queries. If submission is made by a group normally a spokesperson is nominated to attend Oral hearing will arrange a schedule with you for your attendance to accommodate you. Therefore it is a good idea to request that an oral hearing be heard because it is a more democratic and transparent way of conducting affairs and it also allows you to challenge any aspect of the plan at the hearing even if you did not originally do so in your submission. This is useful since you may become aware of new facts not known to you at the time.

Not all appeals result in an oral hearing but if enough people ask then there is a good chance. That is why it is good practice to request one in your submission.

It is known that oral hearings can continue for weeks but each person's part of the hearing may last for only a few hours. The long time duration of oral hearings can be due to the sheer number of submissions. For those who have time, they can attend as much as the oral hearing as they like.

A typical submission to might An Bord Pleanála run as follows:

Your Name and Address

Ref to planning application -JA0040 in this case

Dear Sir/Madame,
We wish to submit that the planned development is contrary to good principles of planning and contravenes --state regulations and or directives-- for the following reasons:

List each of your reasons.
*
*
*

We request that An Bord Pleanála holds an oral hearing.

There are many reasons, some of which have already been outlined as to why this development should not go through. Other examples can be that you think it will not protect the habitats as required under the EU Habitats Directive or protect the wildlife or it will disrupt and potentially destroy archaeological remains before any further work can be done, it will potentially restrict full public access by charging an access fee, it will destroy the protected views, it will open up the area to commercial development and so on.

Links:
South Dublin County Council Development Plan 2016-2022

iosaf mac diarmada - Sun Aug 20, 2017 22:56
These are my initial published thoughts on the terrorist attack I and my partner survived and endured 17th August 2017.
Fadó Fadó, long time ago, when many more readers came to this corner of the internet, I published a series of articles in reaction to a terrorist attack on Madrid, the 11th of March 2004. I promoted a simple design back then, to my surprise the idea found traction and was accepted by countless people. i had thought my suggestion was easy to reproduce and helped people express collective mourning, to show publicly their fellowship with a community in shock. My design was a black ribbon, one which was easy to knock up variations upon and print out. I admit the ribbon idea was based on my much younger years when I had worn a green ribbon in support of a complex idea back then : the inclusion of political prisoners in a tentative British Irish peace process. Am I turning some off the provenance? OH talk to me about my youth why not? The idea of a black ribbon took off the weekend of March 11th, 2004, whilst the then government of Spain falsely attributed an attack by Salafists in the ambit of Al Qaeda on Madrid by blaming the Basque armed seperatist group ETA. IT was a few days before a general election. An estimated 80,000 people took to the streets of Spain and the Spanish state and camped out in front of government offices and the offices of the ruling party demanding the truth... I was one... the ribbon was a moment in my life... I never wanted to see it used again In the last hours the city of my home where I have lived almost 20 years has been victim of a long anticipated terrorist attack. Even google now puts a black ribbon. I return to indymedia ireland to indulge POV reflections.
featured image
our collective grief's symbol was fresh then

These are my initial published thoughts on the terrorist attack I and my partner survived and endured 17th August 2017.
Fadó Fadó, long time ago, when many more readers came to this corner of the internet, I published a series of articles in reaction to a terrorist attack on Madrid, the 11th of March 2004. I promoted a simple design back then, to my surprise the idea found traction and was accepted by countless people. i had thought my suggestion was easy to reproduce and helped people express collective mourning, to show publicly their fellowship with a community in shock. My design was a black ribbon, one which was easy to knock up variations upon and print out. I admit the ribbon idea was based on my much younger years when I had worn a green ribbon in support of a complex idea back then : the inclusion of political prisoners in a tentative British Irish peace process. Am I turning some off the provenance? OH talk to me about my youth why not? The idea of a black ribbon took off the weekend of March 11th, 2004, whilst the then government of Spain falsely attributed an attack by Salafists in the ambit of Al Qaeda on Madrid by blaming the Basque armed seperatist group ETA. IT was a few days before a general election. An estimated 80,000 people took to the streets of Spain and the Spanish state and camped out in front of government offices and the offices of the ruling party demanding the truth... I was one... the ribbon was a moment in my life... I never wanted to see it used again In the last hours the city of my home where I have lived almost 20 years has been victim of a long anticipated terrorist attack. Even google now puts a black ribbon. I return to indymedia ireland to indulge POV reflections.

Related Links: Barcelona Attack : Black Ribbons (again) | Black Ribbons. (March 12th 2004)


Yesterday I received a phone call from my girlfriend, my wife, my partner. She shouted at me at first, "please this is important listen!". She told me that she had been caught up in a stampede of people running from the main artery street "las Ramblas" of Barcelona's old city. She told me she was safe in a Danish bar. She had remembered all the conversations that we had about what to do, should we, as we expected, be in the city when he suffered a typical terrorist attack associated with and claimed by so-called DAESH / ISIS.

She did not run with the crowd. She went to the wall of the street, she saw hundreds of others stampede and trip themselves up. She saw crying children seperated from the parents. A group of Italians were shouting that a van was being driven into people. She heard the Italian and walked sideways hugging the wall towards the nearest shop or bar which was open. This is what we had agreed to do. She was to stay in that bar for a further 7 hours within one of the police cordons placed within 15 minutes around the scene of a terrorist attack and the presumed escape route of the terrorist.

He is in a crack house in the Raval- At least that is the word on the street. Since he escaped into that neighbourhood, 5 people were shot dead as they attempted to carry out a second van driving assault in the Seaside resort town of Cambrils. In the early hours of this morning an explosion injured ten people, what was first attributed to a gas leak ifs now part of the terrorism investigation and is reported as being a bomb factory.

Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain have suffered a concerted and organised attack. Low sophistication in terms of weaponry. Clearly they took advantage of the terrain. Many, myself included have long noted that 3 of our busiest pedestrianized or mostly pedestrianized streets lacked concrete bollards or any significant impediment to such an attack.

Today we begin our official days of mourning. Black Ribbons are ubiquitous, many businesses are closed, my wife/gf/partner was told not to go to work in the business zone of the city. Small mercy for her. She spent 7 hours in a Danish IPA bar, everyone there made friends, and they felt reassured that the Catalan police used their street as an operational base. I used all my charm and language skills and that quality I have ..the you recognise me, & you know I do alternative walking tours of this area and I am part of teh community. . The cops behaved with professionalism. They were obviously as shocked as anyone. I published on facebook the information I got from my partner. I tried to allay fears or panic in my post, I said it was "rumours". It took 25 minutes for the "rumours" to become international newswire headlines. Our phones began to ring..,

The hours that followed saw misinformation spread. I past through 3 police cordons trying to get to collect herself. The cops told me at the final cordon that if I tried to cross ramblas, I would be in a shoot to kill zone. I did not try to cross ramblas. At the point twitter told us as much as Sky News. There was a hostage situation in a restaurant. This of course later was denied on the Catalan police force´s oen twitter account.

There are so many lessons to learn..,

I would ask editors understanding and the privilege of returning to this text and expanding it.... or else I add to its information and write my analysis later on.... it is just that my phone is hopping again........... that is what happens when war comes to town and there is a mass murderer at loss less than a kilometer away, a young man who stole his own brother's driving licence to commit mass murder. He lived proximate enough to his big brother to feel unhappy. His family have been brought into protective custody. Terror has spread out like oozzed oil on foil.

But people have their mechanisms for collective response. They can photocopy black ribbons.

1 of indy - Mon Apr 24, 2017 11:42
To help highlight the case of the Jobstown 18 we are republishing an open letter by Irish Writers.

We write as writers concerned with the impact of proposed jury restrictions in the case of the Jobstown 18 on freedom of expression in Ireland.
featured image

To help highlight the case of the Jobstown 18 we are republishing an open letter by Irish Writers.

We write as writers concerned with the impact of proposed jury restrictions in the case of the Jobstown 18 on freedom of expression in Ireland.

Related Links: Stand With Jobstown - Sat 6th May @ 2pm in Tallaght | 'March for Justice' in solidarity with the Jobstown Not Guilty campaign - Apr 22nd | Violence And The Jobstown Anti-Water Charges Protest. | Free the Jobstown 4! - Socialist Party Press Release | Hundreds protest conviction of Jobstown teen following Burton sit in |
See also: Jobstown Trial as it happens | Twitter #JobstownNotGuilty | Jobstown-Not-Guilty -Facebook


These three proposed restrictions from the DPP are particularly objectionable in this regard:

?People from the Jobstown/Tallaght area and people with such connections to the area as would give rise to a concern thatthey could not deal with the case impartially.?

?Persons who are active in any campaigning groups either for or against water charges (whether formal or informal).?

?Persons who have expressed themselves in public, whether on the Internet, in the print media (newspapers), broadast media(radio or television), on social media (including Facebook, Twitter, on-line comment pages of websites or newspapers or any other form of social media) or otherwise on publically available mediums, on issues concerning water charges and/or the events on the 15th November 2014?.?

We believe that these absurd restrictions, if enacted, would allow for the handpicking of a jury intentionally & heavily weighted against the defendants. Everyone in Ireland has been involved in the water charges debacle; it is one of those issues where you are either for or against it.

Going by the proposed restrictions only those who are for water charges will be allowed on the jury, deciding the case in advance in favour of the state & the privateers. This is the tactic of a dictatorship, a show-trial tactic.

Every member of a trade union is signed up to the water charges campaign through ICTU. Besides this the vast majority of the Irish working class have campaigned or expressed themselves against the charges. Therefore these restrictions exclude almost the entire Irish working class ? that is, all those who could justly be regarded as peers of the Jobstown 18 from serving on a jury which is to decide their guilt or innocence on charges of an extremely serious nature.

We believe that the right to a jury of your peers is an essential aspect of the right to a fair trial.

Also, it would be comical to suggest that the state is neutral on the issue of the monetisation of Irish water resources. The state has at all times been an active agent in the promotion of water charges. Should the state be true to principle of legal neutrality, it would have to withdraw the charges. Water charges campaigners being tried by the Irish State is the equivalent of mice being tried by cats ? it is patently & a priori imbalanced & fundamentally unjust.

Sadly, it is obvious to us as it to so many other observers in Ireland & Internationally that this whole affair is not in the least a matter of neutral justice, but of political revenge against a movement which has shaken corporate Ireland to the core.

Attempting to stack the jury against the peaceful defenders of the principle of free water is of a piece with the uncalled for aggression of Gardai against working class communities throughout the water charges campaign, with the deliberate & co-ordinated villification of working class protesters by the corporate & state media, with the dawn raids against campaigning teenagers, with the fake outrage against water defenders expressed in often lurid terms by right wing politicians.

All of these are tactics of those who would place a price on water intended to demonise, isolate, & ultimately destroy the movement of those who would not.

In a deeply divided class society such as Ireland, where all mainstream means of expression are effectively under the control of a tiny & undemocratic minority acting solely in their own minority interests at all times, the only form of expression left to the majority is protest. It is therefore absolutely vital for any form of democracy to operate in ireland that the right to peaceful protest, including sit-down protest & including the temporary inconveniencing of politicians be defended.

Put plainly, the aim of the repression of the water charges campaign is to shut the working class up so the ruling class can get on with with its business of privatising everything & making as much profit as can be made without regard to the social & cultural consequences for everybody else.

We therefore call on all with a genuine interest in freedom of expression in Ireland to join with us in condemning the attempt by the DPP to pack the Jury against the Jobstown 18, whose courage, principle & dignity we honour & admire.

Yours Sincerely

Christy Moore
Dave Lordan
Elaine Feeney
Sarah Clancy
Colm Keegan
Emmet Kirwan
Terry McMahon
Devin Doyle
Karl Parkinson
Frankie Gaffney
Willam Wall
Oisin O Faogain
Brian Hanly
Keith Payne
Mia Gallagher
Tyler McNally
Claire Hennessy

Aiden O Reilly
Lewis Kenny
Lisa Dee
Michael O Loughlin
Anne Mulhall
John Molyneaux
Annamaria Crowe Serrano
Joe Horgan
Kevin Curran
Dylan Brennan
Raymond Deane
Alice Kinsella
Victoria Keating
Caroline Farrell
Arnold Thomas Fanning
Maureen Ruprecht
Ann Farrelly
Bairbre Flood
Kathryn Keane
Jessamine O Connor
Taryn De Vere
Andrew Galvin
Mick Blake
Maragret O Driscoll
Conor Malone
John Cunningham
Kevin Higgins
Mari Maxwell
Sorcha Nic An TSionnaigh
John Green
Colin Dardis
Jessica Keye
Trish Groves
Tina Pisco
Cormac Lally
Susan Millar Du Mars
Andrej Kapor
Cherley Kane
Goretti Horgan
Eamonn McCann
Stephen Murray
Ciaran O Rourke
Deaglain O Donghaile
Polina Representeva
Catherine Ann Cullen
June Caldwell

1 of Indymedia - Thu Nov 24, 2016 03:56
Original article by Stephen Donnelly TD
We are republishing this article by Stephen Donnelly TD who has been doing great work in exposing how Fine Gael have gone out of their away to facilitate vulture funds who are now preying on ordinary people by charging exorbitant rents and fueling the current property and are replacing the English absentee landlord of centuries past, with ruthless vulture funds capitalists of this era and essentially introducing a form of neo-fuedalism as increasing huge swaths of the population are either priced out of buying homes, or are signing up for debt that last close to a lifetime.

featured image

We are republishing this article by Stephen Donnelly TD who has been doing great work in exposing how Fine Gael have gone out of their away to facilitate vulture funds who are now preying on ordinary people by charging exorbitant rents and fueling the current property and are replacing the English absentee landlord of centuries past, with ruthless vulture funds capitalists of this era and essentially introducing a form of neo-fuedalism as increasing huge swaths of the population are either priced out of buying homes, or are signing up for debt that last close to a lifetime.

Related Links: Stephen Donnelly, TD submission for a detailed proposal to target ?20bn in future avoided taxes. | Update on the work of NAMAleaks.com


Proposed new tax breaks in the Finance Bill will fuel an existing commercial property bubble in Dublin.

They?ll do this by making commercial property investment, mainly by large foreign landlords, entirely tax free. This will drive up commercial rents, suppress residential development, put Irish banks at risk, and deprive the State of much-needed funds.
As far as I can tell, no other European country offers a tax-free environment on commercial property.

And in light of our recent property bubble, fuelled by foreign capital, it?s difficult to understand why it?s being proposed.
Particularly because we already have a bubble in commercial property in Dublin. Surveys by CBRE and Knight Frank show Dublin to be the second most expensive city in the Eurozone to buy high-quality office property.

This isn?t due to build costs ? international surveyors provide comparative data showing Dublin build costs in line with other Eurozone countries.

It isn?t due to demographic or geographic pressures ? Dublin?s population density is low, and the city is surrounded by suitable development land.

And yet, grade-A commercial property currently sells for 6.4 times more than it costs to build.
In Europe, only Paris and London have higher multiples. And that, in anyone?s book, is a bubble. Well, almost anyone?s.

Commercial Property from Stephen Donnelly

Large real estate agents who sell commercial property are paid as a percentage of sales price. So high volumes of sales, at high prices, make them a lot of money. Some will insist there?s no bubble, that it makes perfect sense for this small city on the edge of Europe to have some of the highest prices on Earth.

They?ll point to yields from commercial property as being very reasonable. Exactly the arguments we?ve heard before, from about 2004 to 2008. This bubble damages the economy. Commercial rents have been spiralling in the capital, nearly doubling in the past two years. That?s bad for business, and bad for consumers. Residential development is being suppressed. Right now, decent commercial property in Dublin is selling for more than ?1,200 a sq ft, while residential property sells for about ?500 a sq ft.
So naturally, developers and owners of zoned land are highly incentivised to build offices, rather than homes.

The bubble also puts the Irish banks at risk. There are numerous new safety valves in place since the Crash, but the last thing anyone wants is for our domestic banks to be lending into another property bubble.
Part of what?s driving this bubble is a raft of recent tax breaks.

Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) were introduced in the 2013 Finance Act.

As one international fund puts it on their website, Irish REITS, ?unlike other property companies, distribute their income in a highly tax-efficient manner?.
Irish Collective Asset-Management Vehicles, ICAVs, were introduced in 2015.

They are described as follows by a leading law firm: ?The ICAV is treated, for Irish tax purposes, as a corporate vehicle which is fully exempt from Irish tax on its income and profits.?

Qualified Investment Funds (QIF) are another legal vehicle used by property investors to ensure tax efficiency, allowing profits be rolled up for several years.
And Section 110 status is used by many so-called vulture funds to lawfully pay minimal or no taxes in Ireland.

What the lawyers and accountants have figured out is that if you combine various tax-efficient mechanisms (let?s say a QIF with a Section 110, or an ICAV with non-domiciled status), then property investors can move from being tax efficient to completely tax-free.

The Finance Bill should be targeting this behaviour to ensure taxes are paid, rather than avoided. Up to now, commercial property in Ireland hasn?t generally been marketed to foreign landlords as tax free.
Many people in the sector believe that, while tax-free status might be possible, it?s not what was intended.

But that?s all about to change.

The Finance Bill creates a new legal classification known as an Irish Real Estate Fund, IREF.

Once investors hold property for five years, they?ll be exempt from all capital gains taxes. It goes on to state that IREFs will, however, pay 20pc dividend withholding tax, DWT. However, it then exempts from this almost every domestic and foreign landlord who buys Irish commercial property.

The era of the so-called vulture funds is coming to an end, as the ECB?s negative yields policy has made most EU real estate too expensive for them. According to CBRE, more than 80pc of all future Irish commercial property investment will come from foreign pension funds, life assurance funds and other Collective Investment Undertakings (CIUs) which includes REITs. All of these will be exempt from DWT.

Irish pension funds are already exempt from taxes in Ireland. However, notwithstanding some exceptions, they don?t get exemptions from taxes when they invest in other countries. Generally, countries don?t give tax breaks to each other?s pension funds, and DWT cannot be reclaimed. It?s unclear then, why Ireland would now choose to give such tax breaks to foreign pension funds investing here.

Similarly, Irish life assurance companies were never exempt from Irish taxes. They do make use of tax deferral mechanisms such as QIFs, but pay their taxes at exit from those schemes.

But not for long. The Finance Bill makes genuine efforts to stop tax avoidance by the so-called vulture funds. This could bring in ?10 to ?20bn in new taxes to the State in the coming decade. Industry sources working with the vulture funds are confident they can still bypass these new measures, but some additional changes can make this much more difficult. However, it would be a great tragedy to win the battle and lose the war.

As it stands, the Finance Bill will effectively take commercial property, one of our biggest asset classes (possibly our biggest), outside the tax net. There?s no obvious reason for doing this. Other countries don?t. We?re already experiencing a bubble. It?s making things worse for the business community and for people looking to buy homes.

It would cost the State billions in coming years in foregone taxes.

1 of Indymedia - Thu Jun 23, 2016 00:18
People's News - No. 148 12 June 2016 Issue -covering Brexit and TTIP
The People's Newsletter from the People's Movement in their bi-monthly newsletter carry an article on Brexit which is topical given that the British go to the polls on it this Thurs 23rd June. The various opinion polls show it to be relatively close.

The article here from the People's Movement puts forward good Left wing arguments why Britain should leave and they are good reasons for Ireland to leave too. The impression given is that the Brexit referendum was agreed to because of political pressure from the people. It is likely though that there are considerable powerful interests within the elite want to leave as they see their chances to be better off in the long run, yet those arguments not discussed here would be more issues within national capitalist faction.

The other article in this months newsletter is
featured image

The People's Newsletter from the People's Movement in their bi-monthly newsletter carry an article on Brexit which is topical given that the British go to the polls on it this Thurs 23rd June. The various opinion polls show it to be relatively close.

The article here from the People's Movement puts forward good Left wing arguments why Britain should leave and they are good reasons for Ireland to leave too. The impression given is that the Brexit referendum was agreed to because of political pressure from the people. It is likely though that there are considerable powerful interests within the elite want to leave as they see their chances to be better off in the long run, yet those arguments not discussed here would be more issues within national capitalist faction.

The other article in this months newsletter is

Related Links: Latest PEOPLE?S NEWS covers TTIP and Brexit | 10 Reasons Irish People in the North of Ireland, & Britain, Should Vote "Leave" | People Before Profit Call for Left Exit from EU | WSM: Observations on Brexit and Lexit in the UK EU membership referendum | Socialist Party: Brexit: Reject this club of bosses & bankers


PEOPLE?S NEWS - News Digest of the People?s Movement

Why a vote for Brexit is a progressive act

The People?s Movement is urging Irish people in Britain and Northern Ireland to vote ?leave? in the referendum on 23 June. Here is a link to the case for a vote to leave the European Union: Exit 6: Northern Ireland, Democracy, and the EU Referendum outlines the Brexit case from the democratic and internationalist viewpoint that is central to the People?s Movement?s opposition to the EU.

The European Union now has its own government, with a legislative, executive and judicial arm, its own political president, its own citizens and citizenship, its own human and civilrights code, its own currency, economic policy and revenue, its own international treaty - making powers, foreign policy, foreign minister, diplomatic corps and United Nations voice, its own crime and justice code and Public Prosecutor?s office. It already possesses such state symbols as its own flag, anthem, motto, and annual ?Europe Day.?

The constitution of the EU ? the Treaty of Rome and its amending treaties ? is in reality the first state or quasi-state constitution in modern history to be drawn up without the slightest democratic element, entirely in the interests of transnational Big Business.

The EU process is for shifting a myriad of government functions from the national level, where they have traditionally been under the control of democratically elected parliaments and governments, to the supranational, where the bureaucrats of the EU Commission have the monopoly of legislative initiative and where technocracy rules. It gives explicit primacy to EU law over national law.

In most years nowadays arguably the majority of laws that are put through the national parliaments of the EU member states come from Brussels, although most people do not realise this.

Most cases before the EU Court of Justice are concerned with enforcing the EU?s foundational ?four freedoms?: free movement of goods, services, capital, and labour. These erect the basic principles of classical laissez - faire into constitutional imperatives. No government or elected parliament may legally violate or change them, regard less of the wishes of their voters.

Any move entailing changes to the EU treaties requires the unanimous agreement of the governments of all twenty eight EU member states. Any changes to the other rules require either unanimity or a qualified majority. This is the practical problem facing those who contend that ?another Europe is possible? by reforming the EU at the supranational level in the hope of making it more democratic, or who think that the EU can be transformed into a so-called ?Social Europe.?

Successive EU treaties have also laid down a deeply right - wing economic agenda. This has resulted in the interests of the banks and big corporations being put before those of the people. The most glaring examples of this have happened in the Republic and in Greece.

*******************************************************************************

Thinking strategically about TTIP and CETA

There is widespread opposition throughout the EU and the United States to TTIP and CETA. Both trade agreements could open the way for business corporations based in the EU to take legal action against entire states whose national regulations on health, labour or environmental standards are regarded as ?barriers? to trade, or affect corporate profitability, and would amount to a takeover of fundamental powers of government by representatives of corporate capital, operating, in the European context, in conjunction with the EU bureaucracy.

For the remainder of the text on this see the PDF below...

A PDF copy of the People's Movements newsletter is available at the link below.

*******************************************************************************
From No. 146 8th May 2016 Issue http://www.people.ie/news/PN-148.pdf
The UK referendum on 23 June:
Why you should vote to leave the EU

The European Union now represents the biggest threat to workers? rights, public services, and the right of nations, including the Irish nation, to have control over their own affairs.

It is no longer an area of economic cooperation but an emerging superstate, where people?s interests and welfare are subordinated, by law, to those of the market and big business.

A British withdrawal would force a re-evaluation of all existing EU treaties and would encourage the growing Europe-wide popular opposition to the denial of national democracy and independence that is at the heart of the EU.

EU in disarray
The EU is an inward-looking shrinking market, mired in recession, with a dysfunctional currency and high unemployment. The Greek and refugee crises have exposed the ?solidarity? on which the EU is supposedly based.

But EU rules, laid down by various treaties, mean that the EU cannot be reformed from within, because just one state, such as Germany, can veto reform.

How does membership of the EU threaten the NHS?
Continuing EU membership means that two transatlantic treaties, TTIP and CETA, being negotiated in secret by the EU, would allow the privatisation of the NHS. Privatisation would then be impossible to reverse.

TTIP and CETA would also enable companies to sue governments where policy measures might harm profits.

A British withdrawal from the EU would create a major obstacle to the adoption of TTIP and CETA.

But will a British withdrawal re-establish a border between North and South?
No. Both right and left in Britain recognise the importance of trade between Ireland and Britain, and no-one wants to obstruct that.

Equally, the existing Common Travel Area predates either country joining the EU, and will survive British withdrawal, just as Norway, a non-EU country, has kept its common travel area with Sweden and Denmark, which are in the EU.

Will we lose EU funding?
Inside or outside the EU, the North?s funding has been under threat by the Tory government; but Britain itself gives more money to Europe than Europe sends back, so the money the North gets from the EU will still be available in the event of withdrawal.

Regional Grants, Structural Funds, Farm Payments and ?Peace Process? funding are in fact taxpayers? money that is just recycled through Brussels.

Human rights
The European Convention on Human Rights and its human rights court at Strasbourg ? not the EU ? guarantee our human rights. Voting ?Leave? will not affect existing human rights protections.

Trade
Only a tenth of the of the British economy is involved in trade with the EU. A country does not have to be a member of the EU to trade with it; so trade with the EU and with the world outside it will continue in the event of a ?Leave? vote.

The choice
? Remain tied to a failing experiment in building a European superstate run by non-elected Brussels bureaucrats; or
? Have confidence in your own democratic achievements and assert the right of peoples to decide their own laws and international policies as the only basis on which to build a truly progressive society in Ireland.

From: Socialist Party: Brexit: Reject this club of bosses & bankers ....this sums up the EU nicely .....

Could we not stay in and reform the EU?

The EU has almost no mechanisms of democratic accountability, with central decision making in the hands of the European Council ? the heads of government of the 28 member states ? and an increasingly powerful, unelected European Commission. Those running them are contemptuous of democracy. Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström?s attitude to anti-TTIP campaigners sums this up: ?I do not take my mandate from the European people.?

The elected European Parliament is little more than a rubber stamp without the ability to initiate legislation. The majority of MEPs are at the beck and call of an army of 20,000 corporate lobbyists.

T - Sun Mar 27, 2016 01:23

On the centenary anniversary of the 1916 Easter Rising it is worth reflecting on what has happened since then and the aspirations of the proclamation to guarantee equal rights and equal opportunities to all its citizens and cherishing all of the children of the nation equally.

The Rising itself was doomed to failure from the start but as with life itself often the most unpredictable and unexpected things happen because despite the lack of initial public support, after the executions sympathies swung the other way and as they say the rest was history and the ripples spread out, because it has been said the fight for independence of India was inspired by the Irish Rising.
featured image
The 1916 Proclamation


On the centenary anniversary of the 1916 Easter Rising it is worth reflecting on what has happened since then and the aspirations of the proclamation to guarantee equal rights and equal opportunities to all its citizens and cherishing all of the children of the nation equally.

The Rising itself was doomed to failure from the start but as with life itself often the most unpredictable and unexpected things happen because despite the lack of initial public support, after the executions sympathies swung the other way and as they say the rest was history and the ripples spread out, because it has been said the fight for independence of India was inspired by the Irish Rising.

External Related Links: See also: 1916, left republicanism, anarchism and class struggle | Revolutionary Experiments In Ireland 1917-1923 | Reclaim the Vision of 1916 | Ireland 2016 | Official Centenary Programme
Historical: James Connolly - Labour in Irish History (1910)



It is hard to imagine the context of events at that time because the empire probably seemed so permanent, the poverty of the Irish, great. Perhaps one of the biggest ironies must be that so few were involved in the Rising yet when World War I broke out in 1914 over 200,000 Irish men fought for the British Empire with, depending on how the counting is done, anywhere from 30,000 to 50,000 died. Granted many who fought for the British were basically economic conscripts.

The anniversary must be tinged with a tiny bit of regret for Sinn Féin because in 1918 they formed the first government of "Dáil Éireann", having won most of the seats in the Irish General Election of 1918, then refusing to attend Parliament in Westminster and instead forming a revolutionary parliament in Dublin and now one hundred years later they have come as close as ever to being part of the Irish government again but not quite.

The text of the proclamation is quite liberal but this notion didn't last too long and the conservatism of the catholic hierarchy soon had opportunity to increase its role and dominance of Irish social life and influence. The church effectively ran the education system and played a large role in the health system through ownership of most of the hospitals and their role in running them and their presence as nuns were worked as nurses. The rise of Fianna Fail probably owes is closely tied with the support it got from the catholic church and it is unclear what role leading capitalists of the day in America had through the church and education system as it is not widely realized that in the early 1900s, Carnegie one of the richest men in America, paid for the construction of over 100 libraries in Ireland which even today would represent a massive infusion of charity. Money like that is not spent without something in return and the question still to be asked is what influences were at work behind the scenes with the catholic church given that this era was when communist and socialist ideas were to the fore and were threatening the capitalist system. It can only be concluded that some effort must have been made to ensure Ireland was steered clear of liberal ideas for fear these become socialist ones. It would seem that from the 1930s right up to the 50s and early 60s Ireland became even more conservative and repressive of progressive thought and it is no coincidence this corresponds to the awful period of the Magdalene laundries, the industrial schools, religious institutes like Sisters of apparently no Mercy and the whole package of forced adoptions and clerical abuse but slowly from the end of the 1960s their power was pushed back.

On the economic front the country was very poor, had virtually no industrial base and struggled although the construction of the Shannon hydroelectric scheme in 1925 at Ardnacrusha quickly followed by the establishment of the ESB proved to be very positive developments and effectively kicked off electrification of Ireland because this had an immediate impact on the social, economic and industrial development of Ireland. Despite this the 1930s and again in the 1950s there were large waves of emigration. From 1945 onwards into the 50s the telephone network was greatly expanded throughout the country and undoubtedly contributed to the development of Ireland. In the same period an effort was made from 1932 to clear the urban slums and an ambitious programme of building social housing more or less continued from then right up to the 1960s. Up to the late 1950s social housing output accounted annually for between a third and a half of total house building. This was the era when the suburbs of Crumlim, Drimnagh, Finglas and many others were built. Other state firms were formed during this time, for example, CIE in 1945 dealing with Rail and intercity bus and Dublin Bus all contributing to the economy through the provision of services, Irish Sugar, Bord Na Mona (1946), Aer Lingus (1936), Agricultural Credit Corporation (1927), Cement Limited (1936)

However towards the end of the 1950s the economic strategy of protectionism and building our own industrial firms was abandoned by Fianna Fail in favour of encouraging foreign direct investment which has been more or less the policy ever since. Some would argue this amounted to offering up our resources to foreign multinationals and providing the labour population as a form of resource as relatively cheap labour for pretty much the same firms. The other significant development was in 1973 when we joined what was then called the EEC, now called the EU. This opened up markets for Ireland and it seemed to accelerate the liberalisation of Ireland and it seemed to generally almost force Ireland into adopting more progressive, liberal ways and pushing it to protect its own environment including sending wads of money towards Ireland for rural development and infrastructural aid. It is then easy to see why people were for so long strongly pro EU and favorable towards it. It has gone largely unnoticed that we surrendered our fisheries for all this EU money and it has been estimated the value of fish from Irish waters has been of great value than the many billions we received from the EU over the same period and it largely goes to drive home the point that when you appear to be getting something for free you are not really.

And so from the 1970s onwards into the 80s and 90s and right up the Celtic Tiger we see a different type of Ireland appear as the country had now changed significantly both economically and in daily life. There was also a generation growing up who had little knowledge or connection with the early years of the state and all of that history. What we see is that a great change occurred in the decade of the straddling the 70s and 80s and the emphasis seems to have changed from doing things to build up the country and the nation to lining one's own pockets as much as possible and looking after oneself. People who grew up prior to the 1980s would have memories of strong communities and people knowing many of their neighbours well. In earlier years it was common for communities in housing estates to have common street parties/picnics or outings to the beach in the summer. In these latter years the vast majority hardly know their next door neighbours and we seem to live in anonymous neighbourhoods with little sense of commonality and in some ways the attraction of Facebook for people is that it superficially fulfils this human social need but unfortunately directs it in a narcissistic way for commercial gain.

Jumping to the present we can now see that this shift in the 1980s has reached it's end point where today we are actually going backwards socially, as we are immersed in a full blown crisis of nationhood and what it means to be Irish as thousands and thousands have been made homeless, there is a massive housing crisis creatinga generation who will never been able to escape renting unable to save up to buy their own home, absentee British landlords have been replaced with capitalist vulture funds all the while protected by the main establishment parties, a chronic health system which purposely is not fixed so as to drive frightened people into the hands of private health insurers, attacks on the rights of working conditions, zero contract hours, looming privatisation of our water system and the almost certain long term privatisation of all state services once the undemocratic EU-US TTIP agreement is signed. At the same time suicide is at an all time high and mental illness is a major issue.

We must not forget the massive bailout of the banks, foreign bond holders, developers and generally members of the 1% and how we have transferred huge private debt onto the banks of the public and all this time not a hint of justice served. Forgotten too has been the handing over for free of Corrib gas field to Shell who will not have to pay any royalties to Ireland. How this all happened is documented through a series of clearly treasonous actions by our politicians over a number of years to steadily reduce the royalties to nothing up to recently.

The soul of Ireland is being sold off. It is undemocratic and we are becoming the defenceless prey of multi-national corporations and our successive government and main political parties have facilitated this. British colonalism has been replaced by corporate colonalism and is driving not just Ireland into a form of neo corporate fuedalism of a modern form of debt slaves. It is fitting really that it has all come to a head at the 100th anniversary because the effects of all this has been built on the backs of years many corrupt deals, practices and politics.

What is really strange is that today we are told the country can't afford this and that and yet when the country was a heck of a lot poorer than it is now, we managed to electrify the country, rollout the telephone system nationwide and build 10s of 1000s of social houses for years on end.

This leads to the question then of what is there to celebrate? Perhaps it is to celebrate that we actually had people who were willing to sacrifice their lives for the general good and who can still inspire us. Despite all the corruption, and the selfish and ideological beliefs of certain groups, institutions and others working against the people, a lot has been achieved and importantly we have hung onto our culture, particularly of music, literature and the arts but if we want to get anywhere close to the ideals of the proclamation which amounts to controlling our own destiny for the benefit of the people, then it is the people themselves who have to force the change and make it happen just like the men of 1916 got fed up waiting for the British and decided to speed up things.

POBLACHT NA hÉIREANN
THE PROVISIONAL GOVERNMENT
OF THE
IRISH REPUBLIC
TO THE PEOPLE OF IRELAND

IRISHMEN AND IRISHWOMEN: In the name of God and of the dead generations from which she receives her old tradition of nationhood, Ireland, through us, summons her children to her flag and strikes for her freedom.

Having organised and trained her manhood through her secret revolutionary organisation, the Irish Republican Brotherhood, and through her open military organisations, the Irish Volunteers and the Irish Citizen Army, having patiently perfected her discipline, having resolutely waited for the right moment to reveal itself, she now seizes that moment, and supported by her exiled children in America and by gallant allies in Europe, but relying in the first on her own strength, she strikes in full confidence of victory.

We declare the right of the people of Ireland to the ownership of Ireland and to the unfettered control of Irish destinies, to be sovereign and indefeasible. The long usurpation of that right by a foreign people and government has not extinguished the right, nor can it ever be extinguished except by the destruction of the Irish people. In every generation the Irish people have asserted their right to national freedom and sovereignty; six times during the past three hundred years they have asserted it in arms. Standing on that fundamental right and again asserting it in arms in the face of the world, we hereby proclaim the Irish Republic as a Sovereign Independent State, and we pledge our lives and the lives of our comrades in arms to the cause of its freedom, of its welfare, and of its exaltation among the nations.

The Irish Republic is entitled to, and hereby claims, the allegiance of every Irishman and Irishwoman. The Republic guarantees religious and civil liberty, equal rights and equal opportunities to all its citizens, and declares its resolve to pursue the happiness and prosperity of the whole nation and of all its parts, cherishing all of the children of the nation equally, and oblivious of the differences carefully fostered by an alien Government, which have divided a minority from the majority in the past.

Until our arms have brought the opportune moment for the establishment of a permanent National Government, representative of the whole people of Ireland and elected by the suffrages of all her men and women, the Provisional Government, hereby constituted, will administer the civil and military affairs of the Republic in trust for the people.

We place the cause of the Irish Republic under the protection of the Most High God, Whose blessing we invoke upon our arms, and we pray that no one who serves that cause will dishonour it by cowardice, inhumanity, or rapine. In this supreme hour the Irish nation must, by its valour and discipline, and by the readiness of its children to sacrifice themselves for the common good, prove itself worthy of the august destiny to which it is called.

Signed on behalf of the Provisional Government:

THOMAS J. CLARKE
SEAN Mac DIARMADA THOMAS MacDONAGH
P. H. PEARSE EAMONN CEANNT
JAMES CONNOLLY JOSEPH PLUNKETT


T - Wed Feb 24, 2016 18:26
Ask candidates about TTIP agreement. It is a corporate agreement which will lead to mass privatisation and gutting of our social and environmental protections
The election cycle has come around yet again it is time to take a look at some of the issues being discussed and more importantly those not discussed and have a quick look at the economy.

For this election there are more independents going up than ever before, although people should be warned that a certain fraction of them are closet FFers and FGers so if it is change you are looking for, they may not be the candidates to vote for. Sometimes people seemed to assume Independents tend to be more to the Left. There is no inherent reason this should be the case and statistically one would expect them to evenly spread to the Left and Right. So if voting for an Independent then be sure you have checked what they really stand for and their previous record if any.
featured image
Parties for a Left Dail

The election cycle has come around yet again it is time to take a look at some of the issues being discussed and more importantly those not discussed and have a quick look at the economy.

For this election there are more independents going up than ever before, although people should be warned that a certain fraction of them are closet FFers and FGers so if it is change you are looking for, they may not be the candidates to vote for. Sometimes people seemed to assume Independents tend to be more to the Left. There is no inherent reason this should be the case and statistically one would expect them to evenly spread to the Left and Right. So if voting for an Independent then be sure you have checked what they really stand for and their previous record if any.

Related Links: TTIP is a full frontal assault on democracy | Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Signed in New Zealand amid Mass Protests | Co. Clare TTIP Free Zone! | Over 2 million People sign European Citizens? Initiative against EU-US TTIP trade deal | Galway meeting highlights the insidious agenda of TTIP | Lacking Trasparency: The Transatlantic Trade And Investment Partnership (TTIP) | Wikileaks Publishes Secret Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) | connolly group TTIP video | Investor-State Attacks: Empowering Foreign Corporations to Bypass our Courts, Challenge Basic Protections | Blog of ISDS Case Summaries | Top 10 Most Pernicious Investor-State Dispute Settlement Lawsuits | Sean Kelly (FG) MEP has betrayed his responsibility to defend the interests of the Irish people - Liadh Ní Riada MEP
Party Manifestos: Green Party Manifesto | Labour Manifesto | FG Manifesto | FF Manifesto | SF Manifesto | People Before Profit -see Policies | Anti Austerity Alliance Manifesto | Workers Party Manifesto | Direct Democracy Manifesto | Social Democrats Manifesto | ReNua Manifesto | Independent Alliance
Party Manifestos: ElectionsIreland.org: For list of candidates in your constituency.

featured image
TTIP is the greatest single threat to our
democracy. Both FG and FF support it.
It is a EU-US wide corporate power grab.
Find out more before you vote !!

Probably the most important thing looming over this country and all of Europe too is the secret negotiations on the EU-US TTIP treaty. It is by far the most undemocratic power grab ever seen and yet none of the mainstream parties are talking about it. It will set up corporate courts allowing corporations to sue States presided by corporate lawyers and held in secret with no right of appeal. The decisions will be binding and will overrule national law. It will allow corporations to force the privatisation of water, resources, health, education and anything else. It will be used to attack workers right, like sick pay, benefits like health and pension and reduce and eventually eliminate holidays by forcing an 'equalisation' of standards. This means we could end up with the same working conditions as people in Vietnam or Mexico who are signatories to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TTP) agreement which if TTIIP is passed with be cross linked to it. Fine Gael (FG)and Fianna Fail (FF) are strongly in favour of TTIP and these ISDS courts. If you value your freedom, do not vote FG or FF!

Fine Gael's betrayal of the Irish People by their support for TTIP and ISDS

A statement from Deirdre Clune's (FG) website:

MEPs Seán Kelly, Mairead McGuinness, Brian Hayes and Deirdre Clune support the negotiations between the EU and US which aim to establish a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).

From MEP Seán Kelly FG Press Release 6th May 2015 showing that Kelly is either clueless or is a complete corporate shrill who has absolutely no regards for the people of this country.

MEP Seán Kelly has welcomed today's announcement by the EU's Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström who has called for the establishment of an International Court dealing with investor dispute [ISDS] cases in the context of TTIP (Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership) between the EU and US....

And this has to be the most dishonest statement ever made:

...."The establishment of the [ISDS] Court in Ireland would also bring about new, high quality jobs and I will work hard to promote our country as the best place for such an institution..."

FF Support TTIP too but pretend to have some doubts but ideologically they are completely for it.

From Séamus Kirk (Louth, Fianna Fail) | Oireachtas Jan 21st 2016:

I am pleased to have an opportunity to contribute briefly to this most important debate. The Fianna Fáil Party supports the principles of the TTIP......

The FF strategy then would be to raise some objections but still let it through. They would have no hope of getting any changes and the party whip would lash them all into line anyhow. It's just a way of covering themselves.

Across the country there are 40 constituencies down from 43 in 2011 with some changes in constituency boundaries. There are 13 3-seaters, 16 4-seaters and 11 5-seater constituencies . The 3 seaters tend to favour the larger parties because you need 33% of the vote whereas for a 5-seater you only need 20%. So for example a party with 10% or even 15% of the national vote might never get a seat if they were all 3-seaters. So you can end up with a situation for all of the smaller parties, the number of seats they get is, in percentage terms of seats, less than their vote while for the larger parties they can and often do have more seats in percentage terms than their vote nationally.

The number of Dail seats up for grabs this election is down from 166 to 158 seats. The breakdown of candidates by party or alliance attempting to get in are:

People Before Profit (PBP) 18
Anti Austerity Alliance (AAA) 13
Labour 36
Sinn Fein 50
Green Party 40
Social Democrats (SD) 14
The Workers Party (WP) 5
Fine Gael (FG) 89
Fianna Fail (FF) 71
ReNua 26
FisNua 2
Direct Democracy Ireland (DDI) 18
Independent Alliance 20
Independents 140

Despite what either FG or FF are saying, if they need the numbers FF and FG will go into coalition. And the reason is simple, they are the two main capitalist parties, their policies differ very little and they are completely subservient to corporate power, influence and it's dictates. Currently FF are running a fairly populist strategy, appearing to have shifted to the Left slightly but this is change is very shallow and there would be no actual commitment to following a policy of running the country for the benefit of the people. Anyone who thinks Fianna Fail have changed just because they have got rid of most of the old crowd and have a whole new bunch of fresh faces are forgetting that it is the policies of the party and what it stands for determines what they do and the party whip is there to enforce the core values of running the economy for the capitalist elite. The party whip has been used extensively and will continue to be to basically whip TDs into line. It is a form of party dictatorship and acts to nullify what the mandate to candidates from the people. FG are the same in this regards but even more so obedient to the interests of the wealthy elite. In some ways the rising popularity of Independents who are not under the control of a party whip reflects this concern amongst the people.

As for the election promises from any of the status quo parties (FF, FG & Lab), one should completely ignore what they are saying because they will either flat out do the opposite or there is a catch. FG are saying they will get rid of the USC but are shy about saying they will increase PRSI and other taxes instead.

As we can see from the last 4 years, Labour were a sellout. They have done the same numerous times over the past four decades, each time they have suffered massively at the polls and it takes years to build up their support only to do it again.

Sinn Fein, having not being in power yet in the South remain a promising prospect for many SF voters. However it would be worth examining how they were forced to go along with austerity in the North. So this does not bode well although perhaps they would still be better than either FF or FG assuming for a moment they became the party with the largest share of the vote even though it is unlikely but there is still an outside chance they could end up in coalition. Given the year in it and the huge positive role Gerry Adams had in the peace process, it would be fitting if he was Taoiseach just in time for Easter 2016.

All that can be said of ReNua is that they appear to be very right wing at their core once you look at the heart of their policies which is the ridiculous flat tax proposal of 23% across the board. They probably belong in the libertarian right wing end of the spectrum where the Progressive or should that be Regressive Democrats used to live.

The Green Party are too small in terms of percentage of national vote to have any major influence. Their main problem is that they tend to promote some small green initiatives with little to say on the big issues of economy or social policies. Since the shift of the party to the Right in the last decade signalled quite well with the departure of Patrica McKenna, they have completely sold out to corporate/free market thinking and are hostages to it. During the Bin Tax campaign a decade ago, they foolishly were on the side of bin charges thinking it was about polluters pays when they completely failed to push for a tax on excessive packaging which is where the chain of waste really starts. With the recent announcement that we will have to pay for getting rid of recyclable waste which is likely to cause a huge drop in recycling and the diversion of the same waste to the massive incinerator now under construction in Ringsend Dublin, it just shows how hollow and naive their strategy was. They were completely duped. You would expect the Greens to be constantly driving home how the structure of our economy is the problem in terms of sustainability but they only talk of tweaking around the edges. Never anything radical that challenges the status quo. And any discussion of the economy that asks for change would need to address social and justice issues, but again this Left thought process has long vacated the party.

Direct Democracy Ireland don't seem to have got much attention or support they have interesting things to say in their manifesto and most importantly are against TTIP and other corporate influences like the push for water privatisation. Also good on the environment and our civic rights. In terms of the political spectrum they are more to the middle as the candidates themselves are quite diverse. If there is no actual Left candidate in your area then they're strongly worth considering.

The Workers Party who were at their height in the late 1980s then suffered the split to Democratic Left which long since merged with Labour. In recent years the party has been reviving slowly and also have their LookLeft magazine. They are have good Left policies on the important issues of banking, water, housing, health, education and the environment where in the latter they strong oppose Fracking which wrecks the environment. They are rightly against TTIP seeing it for what it is. However they have only 5 candidates so need all the support they can and if they got 1 or 2 TDs would help build up the Left block.

The Social Democrats were propelled into the limelight with Catherine Murphy's defense of the citizens against the antics of Denis Oligarch Tax Exile O'Brien. Stephen Donnelly has been doing well and seems to really understand finance and banking and would be a welcome match against bankers and their elk. The party has the haven for a few of the candidates who fled Labour once they started going against their own ideals. There is a good mix in this new group and would definitely make a change. They are against TTIP and Water charges.

People Before Profit (PBP) and the Anti Austerity Alliance (AAA) both are strong on Left policies being both against Water charges, both oppose TTIP, strong on housing and health. On the environment they oppose Fracking. At this point PBP are probably the bigger grouping of the two, fielding more candidates. In the Dail Richard Boyd Barret has had a good track record and among many things successfully via campaign opposed the sell-off of our forests to vulture funds -at least for now.

Both PBB and AA have formed a voting pact and it will be interesting to see how many seats they do get. They form the core of the real Left in Ireland and have become more visible since the collapse of the economic bubble. It is probably too much to ask or hope that they do extremely well and in conjunction with the Social Democrats and Sinn Fein form a government along with various independents like Clare Daly and Mick Wallace. Supposing this did actually happen then the question becomes would they deliver and stick to their policies and would the range of capitalist forces put pressure on them. If such a coalition were to ever get into power you could safely bet the O'Brien media via its key mouthpiece the Independent relentlessly attack it. This would be joined by various think tanks and neo-liberal economic lobbies, the billion oligarchs, bankers, bondholders, bailed out developers, the legal profession, and many others from the top 10% to 15% of the population who own the vast majority of the wealth and control the resources to shape the economy and mould public opinion.

It is worth reminding ourselves the legacy of the FG/Lab government and of FF before them and some of the changes since then.

  • Introduction of the USC Tax.
  • Increase in VAT
  • Home Tax / Property Tax
  • Water Charges with Privatisation to go through if and when EU-USA TTIP agreement is signed. FG & FF are in favour of TTIP
  • Green / Recycling waste to be charged from June 2016 onwards. Will destroy recycling and divert waste to new incinerator.
  • Doubling the number of homeless
  • Bailout of bankers and developers with no bankers jailed
  • Massive increase in property rents leading to biggest homeless crisis since foundation of the State.
  • Transfer of bailed out NAMA properties to foreign vulture funds that are now screwing the population for rent. This is a new form of landlordism in neo-liberal corporate form. Very few residential properties sold to the public. Instead most sold at low prices to hedge funds.
  • 17,000 house reprocessed waiting in the courts.
  • FG & Lab changed the Conveyance Act which change the law allowing bankers to massively increase evictions.
  • At least 250,000 people have emigrated since 2009
  • Huge spike in unemployment although it has reduced but figures are massaged.
  • Increase in wealth for the top 1%, 5% and 10%. More millionaires in Ireland than before
  • Decrease in wealth by loss of earnings and social benefits to the bottom half.
  • Big decreases in child benefits and back-to-school grants
  • Increase in the 'Administration fee' for third level college students to €3,000 per year
  • Cuts to public transport.
  • Massive cuts to disability services people and their carer's.
  • Privatisation of community services
  • Massive cuts to single parents
  • Continuation of scheme to let large corporations pay below the 12% corporation tax with the use of the "Idea Box" introduced by Michael Noonan. This retains our place as Banana republic.
  • And many more.....

FG have decided they are going to get back into power by sticking to the mantra of a recovery. There is a recovery alright and it is for corporate and banking profits and for probably the top 20 to 25% of the population. It has barely trickled down to the rest and once outside Dublin there is now much evidence. In fact for any gains people might have made, it has been soaked up through increased rents. Much of the statistics in the national figures are a bit cooked and distorted. For instance last year NAMA decided to sell off huge tranches of their property portfolios to vulture funds who bought up thousands of commercial and residential units and have either resold them for a tidy profit or are renting them at exorbitant rates. The word on the street is that the property rental market is now being controlled by these large real-estate owners and they are forcing prices up. Ireland has already headed back to a modern day form of neo feudalism where people cannot afford property and are at the mercy of property owners.

A couple trying to buy a home today are not competing against people like themselves in the so called 'free' market. They are competing against huge financial firms with hundreds of millions to billions of Euro behind them and what's more these firms have all sorts of tricks for tax write offs on their own loans and expenses and no doubt pay little if any tax. What has happened in the last 8 years is that you the tax payer have subsidized via NAMA the transfer of vast amounts of property to faceless capitalist enterprises who are now preying on large swathes of the population many of whom are permanently trapped renting as they have zero chance of ever saving enough to get out of it. For that you can thank FF, FG and Labour.

So where is it all going next? By far the biggest elephant in the room is the Transatlantic Trade in Partnership (TTIP) agreement between the EU-USA. It is a supposed to be a so called free trade agreement but is nothing of the sort. It is by far and away the most undemocratic corporate power grab ever witnessed and it is no exaggeration to say it literally threatens to roll back all the social, environmental and legal gains of the past 100 years are more.

None of the status quo parties talk much about it and when they do they imply it is just about jobs and economic growth and are very much for it. The talks for TTIP have been going on for a few years and all the discussions are in secret and the contents of the agreement although WikiLeaks revealed some of it and it wasn't pretty. It is a corporate wish list and essentially the idea is reduce standards, tariffs and social, economic, legal and environmental protections to that of the lowest player. The TTIP agreement will join up with a version for the Pacific region countries called TPP and another called for CETA for Canada. It means if some country has really lax standards for workers rights or environmental protection, TTIP can say it's uncompetitive to have the stronger ones and enforce the lowest standard. It gets worse though because a central plank of TTIP is something called Investor State Dispute Mechanism ISDS which is a corporate court, presided by corporate lawyers and it is proceedings are secret and, there is no recourse for appeal, ordinary people cannot use the court only corporations and it's finding are legally binding on all TTIP members and above the law of all countries. In others the Supreme court cannot even challenge it, let alone reverse or affect any of its' decisions. Oh and corporations can take member states to these courts to sue them for things like environmental or social protection laws that interfere with corporate profits.

What most people do not know is that ISDS has already been introduced or should I say sneaked in undemocratically into some countries and there have been around 500 cases. In every case the corporations won and in many of them this result hundreds of millions and billions have been handed over from cash strapped states to corporate coffers.

In the UK, groups who got access to the secret text of TTIP and analyzed it have come to the conclusion that TTIP would result in the end of the National Health Service (NHS) and lead to complete privatisation. The same would happen throughout all other spheres such as education. And the exact same would happen here. This is why FG and FF are reluctant to hold a referendum over keeping Irish water as a national resource in the public domain yet they say they will not privatise it. The reason is that ISDS through the TTIP agreement will take the decision out of their hands and force it's privatisation. They know that. Actually FG are such a sellout and really should be tried for treason because they actually want to have the ISDS courts in Ireland. Our sovereignty would be zero!

The take home message then is: Ask any and all of your candidates about TTIP and see if they know anything, what their position is and see what lies they tell you. Don't vote for FF or FG because they strongly support TTIP.

How ISDS has already been used to challenge legislation on land and water contamination, nuclear power, fracking and public health

A number of existing bi-lateral agreements already have ISDS in them. TPP (Pacific region) and the EU-US TTIP contain ISDS. These examples only cover up to 2013. Its got worse.

Vattenfall vs Germany: In 2009, Swedish energy company Vattenfall started an ISDS procedure against Germany, based on the Energy Charter Treaty, an international agreement protecting investments in the energy sector. Vattenfall had engaged in the construction of a coal fired power plant in Hamburg-Moorburg, located on the Elbe river. When Hamburg?s Environmental Authority issued a licence imposing quality standards for the waste waters released by the power plant, Vattenfall claimed that those standards made the investment project unviable. Using ISDS provisions, the company asked Germany for compensation totalling ?1.4 billion. Vattenfall and the city of Hamburg eventually settled the case with an agreement that foresaw the issuing of a ?modified water use permit?, which lowered the environmental requirements previously set by the Hamburg Environmental Authority.

Vattenfall vs Germany II: In May 2012, Vattenfall initiated a second international arbitration under the Energy Charter Treaty, this time asking for financial compensation with respect to Germany?s decision to immediately close its oldest nuclear power plants and gradually shut down the remaining ones by 2022. This decision was taken in response to public concerns about the health and environmental risks of nuclear energy that followed the Fukushima accident in Japan. According to press sources, the claim for compensation by Vattenfall could amount up to ?3.7 billion.

Lone Pine vs Canada: Based on provisions of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) between the US, Canada and Mexico, US company Lone Pine Resources Inc. is asking for financial compensation from Canada following Québec?s introduction of a moratorium on fracking. The moratorium introduced in May 2013 responded to concerns about the environmental and health risks posed by the new extraction method. The claim by Lone Pine amounts up to US$ 250 million (?191 millions). The case is still pending.

Chevron vs Ecuador: After years of litigation in Ecuador?s national courts, Ecuador?s indigenous people and farmers won a historic victory over Chevron (the court ruling requested that Chevron pay back US$18 billion to clean up the contamination of land and water that resulted from its operations). The company then turned to the investor-state mechanism under the US-Ecuador Bilateral Investment Treaty to overturn the national judgement and evade compliance. That arbitration tribunal ordered the President of Ecuador to block enforcement of the previous court orders. Subsequent rulings repeated this demand, arguing that Ecuador had violated the treaty further by allowing plaintiffs to try to seize Chevron?s assets through courts in Argentina, Brazil and Canada. These rulings set a dangerous precedent, allowing corporations to challenge the functions of a country?s domestic court system and the decisions of its duly-appointed judges ? and it could violate Ecuador?s constitutional separation of powers.

Occidental vs Ecuador: Ecuador terminated the contract of an oil concession with Occidental after Occidental sold 40% of its production right to another company without complying with its obligation to seek governmental approval for doing so, as specified in the concession contract. Occidental then challenged the decision, again under the ISDS provisions in the US-Ecuador Bilateral Investment Treaty. This resulted in the highest compensation ever awarded to an investor (US$1.77 billion), and demonstrates the vast power that tribunals wield.

Pacific Rim Mining Corp vs El Salvador: After failing to complete the environmental protection steps required to obtain a mining permit in El Salvador?s main watershed region, Canadian gold mining company Pacific Rim Mining Corp. reincorporated a Cayman island subsidiary in Nevada and then filed an investor-state suit against El Salvador under the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA). The company is now claiming several hundred million dollars in compensation for its =lost profits?, challenging El Salvador?s national mining laws. As an imminent jurisdictional ruling drags out, violence and threats against local environmentalists in the region where Pacific Rim wants to run a cyanide-leach gold mine continue.

Philip Morris vs Uruguay: After having transferred its international headquarters from the US to Switzerland for legal reasons, tobacco giant Philip Morris initiated a case against Uruguay in 2010 under the Switzerland- Uruguay bilateral investment treaty. In spite of the fact that this treaty stipulates that it shall not be used to challenge public health measures, Philip Morris has used the agreement?s ISDS to challenge several provisions of the recent Uruguayan tobacco regulations. The company has questioned health warning requirements for tobacco packages (including the graphic and size requirements) as well as the provision that prohibits marketing more than one tobacco product under each brand. While the case is still pending, it is a good example of the use of investment rules and ISDS as part of a strategic drive to oppose restrictions on tobacco marketing.

Philip Morris vs Australia: In 2011, Philip Morris Asia used the ISDS mechanism in the bilateral investment treaty between Australia and Hong Kong to challenge Australia?s newly introduced tobacco regulation (the Tobacco Plain Packaging Act 2011). The tobacco giant has claimed that the new legislation deprives it of the real value of its investments in Australia and that Australia is treating them in an unfair and inequitable way. Philip Morris has demanded that Australia be ordered to suspend the enforcement of the plain packaging legislation and provide the company with billions of dollars of financial compensations for the losses incurred. The case, which is still pending, could have detrimental impacts on regulatory efforts to curb the lethal effects of smoking well beyond Australia. For example, the EU, which is cur

TTIP and ISDS will permanently force privatisation of the National Health System (NHS) in UK. Same could happen here.

Read this below carefuly because what is it saying is US 'Health and Social Care Act' effectively through TTIP will mean it is binding on all members and therefore it will force the complete and permanent privatisation of the Irish health system. FF & FG strongly support TTIP! In this article from the NewStatesMan Benedict Cooper says:
A key part of the TTIP is 'harmonisation' between EU and US regulation, especially for regulation in the process of being formulated. In Britain, the coalition government?s Health and Social Care Act has been prepared in the same vein ? to 'harmonise' the UK with the US health system.

This will open the floodgates for private healthcare providers that have made dizzying levels of profits from healthcare in the United States, while lobbying furiously against any attempts by President Obama to provide free care for people living in poverty. With the help of the Conservative government and soon the EU, these companies will soon be let loose, freed to do the same in Britain.

Linda Kaucher is a leading expert on trade agreements. She has written and spoken extensively on the topic, most recently in an article in Chartist. In it, she lays out a disturbing truth about what is going on behind the scenes in Brussels, arguing that while on the surface the EU is a bastion of protections and rights, its true agenda is far more tenebrous.

It is, she says, to "permanently fix corporate-driven neo-liberalism, within the EU and internationally, via trade agreements. Any reassertion of democracy within the EU structure or member states is prevented by legally binding international trade law." She also states that the agenda is "driven and effectively controlled by transnational corporations, especially transnational financial services corporations."

How does this affect the NHS? It?s painfully simple. The agreement will provide a legal heavy hand to the corporations seeking to grind down the health service. It will act as a Transatlantic bridge between the Health and Social Care Act in the UK, which forces the NHS to compete for contracts, and the private companies in the US eager to take it on for their own gain.

Kaucher says: "[The Health and Social Care Act] effectively enforces competitive tendering, and thus privatisation and liberalisation i.e. opening to transnational bidders - a shift to US-style profit-prioritised health provision."

The TTIP ensures that the Health and Social Care Act has influence beyond UK borders. It gives the act international legal backing and sets the whole shift to privatisation in stone because once it is made law, it will be irreversible. Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) laws, fundamentals of the agreement, allow corporations legal protection for their profits regardless of patient care performance, with the power to sue any public sector organisation or government that threatens their interest.

Once these ISDS tools are in place, lucrative contracts will be underwritten, even where a private provider is failing patients and the CCG wants a contract cancelled. In this case, the provider will be able to sue a CCG for future loss of earnings, thanks to the agreement, causing the loss of vast sums of taxpayer money on legal and administrative costs.

Even more worrying is that, once the TTIP is enacted, repealing the Health and Social Care Act in the UK will become almost impossible. As Kaucher explains: "Even if outcomes of the NHS changes are disastrous, ISDS will effectively disallow any attempts by any future UK government to reverse the changes."

Full text available at New States Man at: http://www.newstatesman.com/politics/2013/12/how-eu-making-nhs-privatisation-...

There are other agreements which will all interlock. The main two are CETA and TTP. TTP is The Trans-Pacific Partnership and the signatories are Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, United States and Vietnam.

CETA is The Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement between Canada and the European Union and can be thought of as a fail safe option if they can't get TTIP through. CETA is to be signed this year and should also be stopped.

T - Tue Feb 02, 2016 23:11
Alternative Analysis and Conclusions to the Report of the Joint Oireachtas Committee of Inquiry into the Banking Crisis By Joe Higgins TD
Forget the official Banking Inquiry report because Joe Higgins has written a much more better one and it asks the rights questions and gets to the heart of the matter by putting the whole saga in its proper context -something which the official report couldn't thing as it would mean asking fundamental questions. Indeed the inquriy itself and official report have been steeped in controversary with allegations of coverup because of numerous reports of key officials and whistleblowers in the regulator office and central bank were ignored and their evidence never making into the inquiry. The whistleblower made a formal complaint under the Protected Disclosures Act and (Village Magazine) "outlining a range of detailed concerns about how the Central Bank and some of its legal representatives were omitting huge swathes of vital documents, redacting many of the most crucial pieces of evidence, and delaying release of vital material until it was too late to use them in briefings for public hearings ? in at least one case handing them over 24 hours before a scheduled interview about them."
featured image
Trajectory of Irish Banks

Forget the official Banking Inquiry report because Joe Higgins has written a much more better one and it asks the rights questions and gets to the heart of the matter by putting the whole saga in its proper context -something which the official report couldn't thing as it would mean asking fundamental questions. Indeed the inquriy itself and official report have been steeped in controversary with allegations of coverup because of numerous reports of key officials and whistleblowers in the regulator office and central bank were ignored and their evidence never making into the inquiry. The whistleblower made a formal complaint under the Protected Disclosures Act and (Village Magazine) "outlining a range of detailed concerns about how the Central Bank and some of its legal representatives were omitting huge swathes of vital documents, redacting many of the most crucial pieces of evidence, and delaying release of vital material until it was too late to use them in briefings for public hearings ? in at least one case handing them over 24 hours before a scheduled interview about them."

Related Links: Joe Higgin's Banking Inquiry Report - Jan 2016 | VillageMagazine: Cover-up upon cover-up. Banking Inquiry to be blown apart | Joe Higgins website | Indy Links: The Fake Banking Enquiry. More Cynical Theatre For The Downtrodden Irish Masses? | Inside the Anglo Irish - The secret tapes | Audio from Conor McCabe on Banker and Rancher Interests in the Modern Irish Economy


There was also reports of PR firms hired to coach officials on how to avoid difficult and probing questions and phrase answers for damage limitation. It seems there were also key legal firms guiding the whole process. The Village magazine (http://www.villagemagazine.ie/) last month reported on much of this.

Nevertheless, coverup aside and if there was to be at least one major article you wanted to read about the property bubble and banking crash in order to truly understand the dynamics and forces at work, then this report would be the one to read whether you are Left leaning or not.

Joe Higgins who was on Oireachtas Banking Inquriy Committee, released his report on Weds 27th Jan and at 146 pages long it is a huge amount of work and it is clear this has been a very important topic to Deputy Higgins and goes to the core of what Joe sees wrong with the capitalist system.

The first 10 pages of the report consists of basically a summary of facts and findings of the inquiry itself and Joe Higgins analysis of what happened and why. However the meat of the report is contained in the 6 chapters.

Introduction ?
Chapter 1 ? The Irish bubble in a Global Context
Chapter 2 ? The Bubble and the Banks
Chapter 3 ? The Relationships beneath the Bubble
Chapter 4 ? The ?Soft Landing? to the Crash
Chapter 5 ? The Slow Road to the Guarantee
Chapter 6 ? After the Guarantee: the Cost of the Crisis

Here are some of the headings in a few bullet points from the summary of JH's Report


  • Extreme Profiteering driven by corporate greed drove the property bubble and caused the crash
  • Bubble Governments of Taoiseach Bertie Ahern, Tánaiste Mary Harney, Finance Ministers McCreevy & Cowen served the interests of bankers/developers Not those of ordinary people
  • Enda Kenny, Fine Gael Leader, was a silent non Opposition
  • Dismal failure of Central Bank/Financial Regulator rooted in deregulation mindset of Fianna Fail/PD Government; Regulator must take full measure of responsibility but political establishment must not be allowed to scapegoat
  • Government supposed to put interest of ordinary citizens first but FF/PD Government betrayed that trust to serve interest of bankers/speculators
  • The Reckless Behaviour that inflated the bubble and caused the crash should have been criminalised
  • Politicians, Bankers, Bondholders and Developers responsible for the bubble should have been facing jail instead of golden pensions:
  • Banking & Home Provision should not be subject to exploitation and profiteering but should be public services
  • The soft landing alibi - a big lie
  • Significant sections of the Media not only glamourised and cheerled the bubble but were actors in it


And rather than paraphrase the report here are some important extracts.

Witness after witness at the Banking Inquiry, including bankers and developers themselves, attested to the kind of cut throat competition between them for profit that drove the reckless lending practices that inflated the property/banking bubble and led to the disastrous economic crash. Dermot Gleeson, the Chairman of AIB from 2003 to 2009 testified as to how his bank aped the methods of Anglo Irish Bank which was lending recklessly to developers and raking in major profits. He maintained that they had a problem of: Anglo being held up to us as an exemplar?Commentators in Ireland and abroad repeatedly said,
?Anglo is the best bank. Why can?t you be more like Anglo?? It was determined by one international consultancy to be the best bank of its size in the world. It was the darling not just of the Irish but of European stock exchanges generally?

Ethna Tinney, who was an independent Non-Executive Director of EBS 2000-2007, told the Inquiry:
The belief that there were substantial profits to be made for the society from these developments led us to emulate our peers?There was a sort of feeding frenzy as the banks clambered over one another to get a piece of the action, especially as new foreign banks had entered the market as competitors?There was a sense that we were becoming a minnow as INBS expanded its lending and started to post profits that were up to five times the profits we were posting.

Ms Tinney was highly critical of practices such as securitisation referring to herself having an image of it ?as a shark eating its own entrails? She further claimed that ?The banks have absolutely no sense of guilt about what they have done. And if left unchecked, they are going to do it all over again.?

The extreme drive for profits was encapsulated in the figures given to the Inquiry whereby the six banks eventually covered by the Guarantee, increased lending exponentially from ?120 billion in 2000 to almost ?400 billion by 2007, raked in ?25 billion in profits from 2002 to 2008 and paid those banks Chief Executives an astounding total of ?71 million in salaries and bonuses. This was then adversely mirrored in the disastrous ?65 billion these banks lost in the crash.

The political leaders of the Fianna Fail/ Progressive Democrat Government 1997 -2007 relentlessly pushed the deregulation in financial services that resulted in this competitive race to the bottom in banking standards as major banks vied for profits. Taoiseach Bertie Ahern told an Irish Banking Federation lunch in March 2006; ?the Government is very conscious of its role in assisting you to maintain a healthy bottom line . . .there is a need to be more balanced and less negative about the essential services you provide.?

In March 2007, Mr Ahern was positively touting Ireland as a deregulated state for bankers when he told a breakfast meeting of the Financial Services Industry in New York, ?Our commitment to supporting foreign direct investment is absolute. Ireland is very lightly regulated compared with most of our European colleagues.?

Brian Cowen who became Finance Minister in 2004, was as enthusiastic as his Leader. In a speech to the Institute of Bankers in Ireland annual dinner on 2 November 2006, he said:
But, in my view it is the innovation coming from within the sector which is the most remarkable driver of change. Increasingly sophisticated derivative products seem to be arriving daily as a sector seeks to become ever more professional in the way it manages and hedges its risks and chases after that elusive higher yield.

Billionaire Warren Buffet described the same derivative products as ?time bombs? and ?weapons of mass destruction.

Brian Cowen continued in what can only be described as an embarrassingly obsequious tone:
Of course, not all of these brave new initiatives are successful. It?s a hard game, but there?s all to play for. Of course, that?s easy for me to say because you are players on the field and I?m just an ardent supporter on the sidelines. I will continue to wear your colours. Mr Cowen?s predecessor, Charlie McCreevy, who was Finance Minister from 1997 to 2004 agreed at the Inquiry that he was a ?champion of the free capitalist markets?. He told the Financial Regulator in 2005 (now as EU Commissioner): Don?t try to protect everyone from every possible accident. . . .many of us in this room . . . were part of the ?unregulated generation? ? the generation that has produced some of the best risk takers, problem solvers and inventors.

The biggest political party in opposition in the Dail during the bubble was Fine Gael. At his appearance at the Inquiry, Enda Kenny, Fine Gael Leader from 2002, wasn?t in a position to point to a single instance where he had demanded restrictions or regulation on the profiteering that was rampant in the property market.


The Reckless Behaviour that inflated the bubble and caused the crash should have been criminalised
Politicians, Bankers, Bondholders and Developers responsible for the bubble should have been facing jail instead of golden pensions

It is often bemoaned that a miniscule number of former bankers - and no developers - have been charged with any crimes arising out of the blowing up of a gargantuan bubble of property speculation up to 2008 that saw six Irish banks shovelling out massive loans and reaping massive short term profits before an inevitable and catastrophic crash that devastated the lives of countless people in this State.

This is usually put down to a lack of any will among the political, economic and legal establishment to call former bastions of the same establishment to account. While this is undoubtedly true, the much more fundamental reason is that the vast majority of transactions that inflated the bubble over more than ten years, and saw fabulous short term profits for speculators and bankers, were quite legal. It was, and still is, legal to engage in the most outrageous speculation in urban building land. It was quite legal, as Quinlan Private did in 2001, to buy 11 acres of building land in Stillorgan for ?32 million on behalf of a group of rich individuals and, without putting a brick on top of another, to sell it four years later for ?85 million, a speculative gain of ?53 million.

It was perfectly legal to put such speculative profits on the shoulders of young people buying homes and shackle them into mortgages of thirty five or forty years duration with an horrific level of monthly mortgage payments. Because this was how ?the markets? worked and a consistent majority in the legislature politically prostrated before those markets, powerful institutions and individuals were fully within the law in profiteering at will even if this meant that one of the most basic human needs, a modest place to live, was denied to very many and, for others, came at an appalling cost in human terms including the stress of trying to pay for the speculative gains of developers and bankers and beyond them the bondholders and the financiers in the European financial markets, - faceless, unelected and unaccountable to those they exploited.

The actions of the bankers, developers and the bondholders who financed them to inflate the bubble were blatantly anti-social. They caused enormous stress to a generation of young home purchasers during the bubble. They skewed the economy toward parasitic speculation and away from productive investment. As the bubble inevitably crashed they caused traumatic dislocation with savage cuts in public services, massive unemployment, the forcing out of their country of hundreds of thousands of working people.

The actions that caused this massive destruction were largely legal. By any standards they should have been seriously criminal. Had these activities been subject to laws that would have protected the big majority in society, all the central actors in the inflation of the bubble from bankers to developers to financing bondholders and the politicians that facilitated them, would have been facing criminal sanction and imprisonment instead of enjoying gold plated pensions.

As the Public Hearings were broadcast and the wide cast of bubble and crash actors came before the Committee, it was remarked to me again and again by ordinary people who were the victims of their actions, how much it galled to see how utterly immune they were to any legal sanction because the whole system had been legally rigged in their interests.


Banking & Home Provision should not be subject to exploitation and profiteering but should be public services

The disaster of the bubble and crash scream out that critical industries such as banking and the provision of homes should not be the subject of speculation, exploitation and profiteering by private interests. Hundreds of thousands of people are still suffering very severe hardship because that was, and is, the case until now. The horrific current housing and homelessness crises is a direct result. Banking and the provision of homes should be public services run in the interest of the needs of society as a whole.

The soft landing alibi - a big lie

The major excuse given to the Inquiry by developers, regulators, establishment politicians and international agencies for not taking strong action at any stage to stop the madness was that one and all expected a ?soft landing? to the property boom. The implication is that had such an end to the boom occurred, the policies and practices they followed would have been vindicated. That means it would have been fine to gouge a generation of young workers with a fourfold increase in the price of a new home in ten years necessitating them taking out 35 to 40 year mortgages with draconian levels of monthly repayments - all for the basic human right of a modest home.

More fundamentally, however, to believe that all expected a ?soft landing? is to believe a big lie. To believe this, you have to ignore all the past history from all over the world of previous property bubbles and busts, including recent crises in the US, UK and Scandinavia, as well as models used by the industry itself of the property market cycle. An alternative explanation is that bankers and property speculators did know on some level that a crash was inevitable but were so blinded by the huge profits they were making that hardly any of them ?got out on time'. Evidence presented to the Inquiry showed some estate agents were warning their clients off Irish commercial property from 2005, while from 2004 many of the big developers were diversifying outside of Ireland ? which was one reason a third of the loans that ended up in NAMA were for commercial property overseas. Even Anglo made some half-hearted efforts to rein in Irish development lending in 2006.

Meanwhile an elite consensus was constructed around the fairy-tale of a ?soft landing? by property and banking interests and their political supporters, with the eager assistance of a media dependent on property advertising. This encouraged first-time buyers to keep taking out huge mortgages and helped keep the bubble going for bankers and developers until the last possible minute. Dissenters who called the crash were pilloried as unpatriotic ?merchants of doom? ?talking down the economy?. Taoiseach Bertie Ahern even said they ?should go off and commit suicide?.

The Central Bank was less crassly offensive but equally committed to not ?frightening the horses?. Imprisoned by the ?pro-cyclical boom/bust nature of capitalism, all concerned downplayed the crash for fear that taking their heads out of the sand and admitting the truth would cause a loss of ?confidence?, spread ?contagion? and undermine profits. This profoundly undemocratic aspect of the capitalist economic cycle is of course treated as the natural order of things, no more avoidable than the weather. Like ancient peoples prayed for the coming of the rains or the ending of the floods, today we pray the ?confidence fairy? will charm the gods of the markets.

Our Analysis and Conclusions Causes of the Crisis - International context, Chapter 1
  • *A key context in the creation of the massive financial/property bubble in Ireland up to 2007 and subsequent crash was the policy of successive Irish governments in developing the State as an international haven for capital from higher tax and intrusive regulation. This allowed the ballooning of loans from the European financial markets into the Irish banks as they competed with each other in reducing credit control as these funds were passed on for speculative development.
  • *The debate about whether the crisis was primarily home-grown or international in nature is misconceived. The crash resulted from Ireland?s peripheral insertion in the global capitalist system at a time of crisis. Ireland was particularly badly hit because of its over-reliance on Foreign Direct Investment and underdevelopment of the indigenous economy, which led it to deregulate finance to attract in foreign capital and also to over-investment in non-productive areas of the economy i.e. property.

The Property Bubble, the Banks, and the Relationships Beneath the Bubble Chapters 2 & 3
  • * The fundamental basis of the property bubble was that greed for super profits by major landholders, bankers and developers was facilitated by the capitalist ethos underpinning the legislation governing banking, land speculation and construction development. *Private corporations, land speculators and speculators on the financial markets were enabled to put profit maximisation before the needs of the majority in society.
  • *The constant of a right wing majority in Dáil Éireann, ideologically committed to the capitalist market system, before and during the bubble, meant that legislation enacted facilitated private greed at huge cost to social needs.
  • *The crisis was primarily caused by profit-seeking, speculation and profiteering by banks, builders and property developers, both in Ireland and internationally. This led to reckless lending and a giant credit bubble that drove up the cost of development land, construction costs and house prices
  • *Commercial property lending to developers, builders and property investors rather than borrowing by ordinary owner-occupier mortgage holders was what brought down the banks. AIB, BOI & Anglo had combined commercial property loans of ?8.63 billion in 1998. By 2008 the combined total was ?146.7 billion ? an increase of 1,600%
  • *Profit-seeking led to destructive competition between banks as they sought to win market share from each other. Competition led to banks cutting interest rates and making lower margins so that the only way to compensate was to recklessly increase the volume of lending and make riskier loans. All this was exacerbated by the entry of foreign banks into the Irish market whose large overseas businesses meant they could afford to make a loss temporarily in the Irish market to enable them to win market share.
  • *Competitive deregulation within the financial services sector was an aggravating factor. This was pushed by government to attract foreign direct investment (FDI) and boost the profits of domestic banks and Irish capital. The banks themselves progressively cut their lending standards to compete with their rivals.
  • *Lobbying by the financial institutions had a strong influence on deregulation. The banks in general had excessive influence over government and Central Bank/Financial Regulator policy
  • *The dominant neoliberal ideology dictated that the government should not interfere in markets apart from encouraging competition between financial institutions. As the Nyberg Report puts it: ?. . .the paradigm of efficient markets provided the intellectual basis for the assumption that financial markets, left essentially to themselves, would tend to be both stable and efficient.? This led to light touch regulation also referred to a ?principles based? regulation. This really meant ?trusting? the banks to regulate themselves ? all leading to the promotion of even fiercer competition, thereby facilitating the banks? profit-seeking and the growth of a credit bubble.
  • *Ireland?s peripheral status within the European Union was shown by successive government?s subservience to the ECB even when its diktats placed a huge burden on working people.
  • *A small group of capitalists profited from the bubble and caused the crash.
  • *An excess of liquidity ? cash ? on global money markets because of rising wealth inequality fuelled the property bubble and then caused the crash by giving banks the funds with which to recklessly expand their lending in pursuit of higher profits. *Excessive government spending was not a cause of the crisis. Ireland had the lowest rate of public spending as a percentage of GDP in the EU-27 throughout the pre-crisis period.
  • *Property-related tax breaks which were really just tax shelters that incentivised investment in unproductive activity, sucking investment away from economically or socially useful purposes were an important direct factor in the bubble and the crash. Neither the bubble nor the crash would have been as large without them but there would still have been a bubble and a crash, as happened internationally.
  • *Over-reliance on property-related taxes was another factor in the severity of the crash. However, the restructuring of the tax base since has shifted this cost onto workers and the poor, rather than increasing taxes on corporations and the wealthy, which are more ?sustainable? sources of taxes from the perspective of the majority of the population. *The media?s dependence on property advertising, capitalist ownership, neoliberal ideological conformity and shared interests and identification with capitalist interests led it to cheerlead the bubble and to largely ignore signs of the oncoming crash.

Contents of the Report
  • Introduction ?       pages 1-11
  • Chapter 1 ? The Irish bubble in a Global Context       pages 12-39
    • Globalisation
    • The EU?s role in globalisation
    • Financialisation
    • Increasing Inequality
    • Neoliberal ideolog

  • Chapter 2 ? The Bubble and the Banks       pages 40-67
    • Introduction
    • Bill Black?s Recipe: How Banks Make Profits and Bankers Get Rich
    • Grow like Crazy!
    • ?through property lending
    • ?Make Terrible Quality Loans?
    • The Growth of Commercial Property Lending
    • ?especially development lending
    • Use Pathetic Underwriting! Cut costs & credit standard

  • Chapter 3 ? The Relationships beneath the Bubble       pages 68-95
    • The Property Industry: Where did all the money come from and Who was Getting Rich?
    • Land speculation is central to developers? profits
    • The property investment pyramid scheme
    • Boom & Bust: The Capitalist Property Cycle
    • Too Blinded by Profit to See the Bubble
    • The Structural Influence of Elite Relationships
    • Lobbying & Direct Policy Influence
    • The Influence of Banks
    • The Influence of the Property & Construction Sector
    • Negative Impacts of the Bubble on ordinary peopl

  • Chapter 4 ? The ?Soft Landing? to the Crash       pages 96-108
    • The Tipping Point in 2005
    • The authorities ignore the bubble
    • ?Don?t frighten the horses? ? ?Pray to the Confidence Fairy?
    • The Media
    • Late Summer/Autumn 2007: The Crisis Begins

  • Chapter 5 ? The Slow Road to the Guarantee       pages 109-132
    • The state prepares for a crisis
    • August 2007
    • October:
    • November
    • December
    • January 2008
    • February
    • March
    • April-September: The Golden Circle goes into Overdrive
    • September 200

  • Chapter 6 ? After the Guarantee: the Cost of the Crisis       pages 133-146
    • NAMA
    • The Troika Bailout & Not Burning the Bondholders
    • The Cost of the Banking Crisis
    • Austerity
    • Restructuring the tax system to take more from workers and less from capital
    • The Impact of Austerity Cuts and Tax Increases

And From - Chapter 2 ? The Bubble and the Banks

From the late 1990s to the crash, a ?world-beating property bubble?116 was blown up in Ireland based on an enormous expansion of credit, particularly from 2003-2008 (Figures 2.1 & 2.2), and growing inequality of wealth. The one and only motive for this lending growth was profit. According to the Nyberg Report:
High profit growth was the primary strategic focus of the covered banks?Since the potential for high growth (in assets) and resultant profitability in Ireland were to be found primarily in the property market, bank lending became increasingly concentrated there.
Within property lending, it was commercial property lending118 to builders, developers, landowners, commercial landlords and other property investors that caused the banks to fail. By 2008, the banks had given out an incredible ?158bn in commercial property loans119 ? equivalent to Ireland?s entire Gross National Income in 2008120. Traditionally, mortgage lending had been the largest activity for Irish banks but by 2008, commercial property lending had become predominant (Figures 2.3-2.6)121. This was where the vast majority of the banks? losses came from and where the vast majority of the bank bailout went. The banks with the most commercial property loans made the biggest losses and got the biggest bailouts


The full PDF Report is attached at the end of this article or alternatively is also available here:
http://antiausterityalliance.ie/wp-content/uploads/2016...y.pdf

See also Village Magazine for Jan 12th
Cover-up upon cover-up. Banking Inquiry to be blown apart
http://www.villagemagazine.ie/index.php/2016/01/cover-u...er-up

1 of Indymedia - Thu Jan 28, 2016 20:38
March from Liberty Hall to Moore Street - #SaveMooreStreetfromDemolition
#SaveMooreStreetfromDemolition This is an important call to you to take part in this crucial show of support of the 1916 Moore Street Markets Battlefield site, on this Saturday. We are asking people to come in 1916 uniform or clothes, to bear one of the flags of the 1916 Easter Rising, to tell and bring your friends and comrades. #SaveMooreStreet Please share this post.

The march assembles at Liberty Hall at 1pm on Sat 30th and then proceeds to Moore Street.

Government sides with Corporate Creed to wipe out our revolutionary memory for good. Later this year or next they will sign away ALL our sovereign rights via the EU-US TTIP treaty
featured image

#SaveMooreStreetfromDemolition This is an important call to you to take part in this crucial show of support of the 1916 Moore Street Markets Battlefield site, on this Saturday. We are asking people to come in 1916 uniform or clothes, to bear one of the flags of the 1916 Easter Rising, to tell and bring your friends and comrades. #SaveMooreStreet Please share this post.

The march assembles at Liberty Hall at 1pm on Sat 30th and then proceeds to Moore Street.

Related Links: Ministerial Direction. -No Access to Moore Street | Save Moore Street Campaign Facebook | Save Moore Street From Demolition - Twitter | Minister officially refuses to give independent conservation experts access to inspect Moore St. terrace | Moore Street dispute erupts | ?We want the Republic?: Rally to support Occupy Moore Street protesters | Minister's Moore St plan does not protect entire historic 1916 terrace
Previous Indy coverage: Development To Spell The End Of Moore Street Market? -Nov 2007 | James Connolly's Grandson In Fresh Call To Save 16 Moore Street -Aug 2005 | through streets broad & narrow: crying five for 50, and ten for a pound. The end of Moore Street? -May 2005


We urge as many people as possible to attend to event because this probably the last chance we have not to turn this into another Wood Quay episode where our history was destroyed and concreted over. A huge shopping centre is planned for the Moore Street site by developers -the same kind of people who helped wreck the country and put their own greed and profit first and they are being facilitated by the FG government who for once and for all want to bury any memory of the rebels and their revolutionary ideas.

Indeed it this era of consumerism and corporate control and the impending TTIP agreement between the EU and US that has central to it something called Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) which are special courts presided over by corporate lawyers, for use by corporations and are ABOVE our national sovereign and there is no right to appeal and are in secret. They will allow corporations to sue the state for non-competitive activities, such as labour laws, environmental protection, safety and will be able to force the privatisation of everything from health, education, prisons, water, forests and any other public entities. -It is to stop such monstrosities as this that we need revolutionary spirit and ideas and you can be absolutely sure that the rebel leaders of 1916 are turning in their grave that the hard won sovereignty for which they gave their lives is about to be given away in this TTIP treaty. Indeed no less than leading members of FG have actively promoted and encouraged that Ireland have these ISDS courts. This is amounts to treason.

So please show your support for the Moore Street campaign and lets start first by preserving our heritage.

*****************************************************************************...
We include an recent article by Maureen O'Suvillvan TD on the saga of Moore Street and which includes a timeline of events so far.
Src: http://maureenosullivan.ie/latest-news/minister-officia...race/
*****************************************************************************...
Minister officially refuses to give independent conservation experts access to inspect Moore St. terrace

Since 2009, when it was first acknowledged that this historically significant area could in fact be destroyed and built over as Wood Quay was and Kilmainham Gaol very nearly had been in the 1950s, we have fought to make sure we don?t lose Moore St but for a fitting historical quarter to be put in it?s place preserving the buildings and the street. Eventually the struggle resulted in the Government purchasing 14-17 Moore Street as a National Monument which is a tiny portion of the full historic terrace. In recent weeks this issue escalated when word was received that buildings either side of the 1916 Monument were being demolished.

For those who haven?t been following the saga we have created a Moore St. timeline:

Dec 16th 2015: Government coalition vote against saving Moore St from total demolition by outnumbering opposition TD?s in the 1916 Quarter Development Bill 2015.

Jan 5th 2016: Construction workers recommenced work, erecting scaffolding and hoarding. A commencement notice had been granted for surveying building features in the National Monument but the works seem to be far more extensive.

Jan 7th 2016: Moore St. Dáil Group raise the issue in the Dáil with the Minister once again; Minister doesn?t back down.

That evening I get word that building fronts are being removed and the interiors are being left open to elements. Seemingly a plan to demolish buildings either side of the National Monument is being put into action.

Jan 8th 2016: A protest takes place on Moore St and the groups in support of Save Moore Street occupied the buildings to prevent demolition of a number of buildings as there was no other choice.

Jan 11th 2016: The High Court puts a temporary stop to demolition on Moore St until a full hearing of the case taken by the 1916 relatives on the 2nd of Feb.

Jan 12th 2016: The groups overwhelmingly agreed by a show of hands to vacate the site after a meeting of the groups in the Moore Street Terrace, as the immediate threat of demolition was averted.

Jan 15th 2016: After a number of protesters who occupied the buildings raised the damage they had witnessed inside the buildings a group of TD?s and the Lord Mayor sought access to the site with independent conservation experts to inspect the work that was carried out and to see if any structural damage had taken place along the terrace.

After initially being told we would be allowed access, every 5 minutes we were told it would be another 5 minutes. Eventually the two conservation experts were refused entry by the foreman and no reason was given.

Jan 20th 2016: After sending a formal request to the Minister for access and following up with calls on Monday and Tuesday I eventually received a response from the Minister with no indication that a visit would be granted, instead she says she has arranged for an inspection by ?a senior official of the City Council?s Planning Department, accompanied by the City Archaelogist, who can afterwards provide you directly with the information you have sought about the current status of the works.? We?ll see what becomes of that review; City officials are to report on work to the National Monument at a Lord Mayor Forum at 2pm tomorrow (26th January) at City Hall.

I will be making an application through the Chief State Solicitor?s Office for access and on February 2nd we will find out the High Courts? decision whether the works on the buildings are allowed to continue or not. We sincerely hope that the High Court decision will reflect the huge outcry of support the campaign has received and that a new vision for the entire area will be realised. The irony of what the men and women in 1916 fought for and what is going on now, these men and women fought not only for Irish independence but for an Ireland of Equals and they would be dismayed that the ordinary people have to campaign and fight against a Government and council that puts corporate interests ahead of the will of the people. We live in hope that the decision will go our way but if it doesn?t the fight will continue as this is too important to let go. We will not let 1916 Dublin be built over in the same way Viking Dublin was with the Civic Offices in Wood Quay.

Great photo included of Moore St in 1974 long before is was allowed fall into it?s current state.

Indymedia Ireland >>

IMC network

Featured Stories from Federated Groups of Indymedia Centres
Featured Stories Selected by local IMCs around the world
© 2001-2017 Independent Media Centre Ireland. Unless otherwise stated by the author, all content is free for non-commercial reuse, reprint, and rebroadcast, on the net and elsewhere. Opinions are those of the contributors and are not necessarily endorsed by Independent Media Centre Ireland. Disclaimer | Privacy