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Dublin Opinion
Life should be full of strangeness, like a rich painting

offsite link THE WORLD COULD SORT OUT EBOLA FOR THE PRICE OF ONE BONO 23:07 Tue Nov 18, 2014

offsite link WELL THAT?S IRISH WATER FINALLY SORTED OUT 23:04 Tue Nov 18, 2014

offsite link 1916 in 2016 08:47 Mon Nov 17, 2014

offsite link IRELAND, POLAND AND FRACKING 07:56 Mon Nov 17, 2014

offsite link WHEN IT COMES TO THE BANKS, LEAVE PLOT AT THE DOOR 22:24 Fri Nov 14, 2014

Dublin Opinion >>

Human Rights in Ireland
www.humanrights.ie

offsite link Book Launch 11 December 2014: Ireland and the ECHR 60 Years and Beyond Tue Nov 25, 2014 15:58 | Liam Thornton

offsite link We Won?t Back Down Sun Nov 23, 2014 16:59 | GuestPost

offsite link Future Voices Ireland Volunteer Group Leaders Wanted Thu Nov 20, 2014 18:31 | GuestPost

offsite link Our Voices, Our Rights: Economic, Social and Cultural Rights in Ireland Wed Nov 19, 2014 08:00 | GuestPost

offsite link Direct Provision in the Irish High Court: The Decision Mon Nov 17, 2014 16:17 | Liam Thornton

Human Rights in Ireland >>

NAMA Wine Lake

offsite link Farewell from NWL Sun May 19, 2013 14:00 | namawinelake

offsite link Happy 70th Birthday, Michael Sun May 19, 2013 14:00 | namawinelake

offsite link Of the Week? Sat May 18, 2013 00:02 | namawinelake

offsite link Noonan denies IBRC legal fees loan approval to Paddy McKillen was in breach of E... Fri May 17, 2013 14:23 | namawinelake

offsite link Gayle Killilea Dunne asks to be added as notice party in Sean Dunne?s bankruptcy Fri May 17, 2013 12:30 | namawinelake

NAMA Wine Lake >>

Michael Taft - Wed Nov 26, 2014 15:32

Here?s a quick post:  Had an interesting and informative twitter exchange with Tom Healy, Director of the Nevin Economic Research Institute and Dan O?Brien from the Sunday Independent on foot of the CSO?s release of new job numbers.

Jobs growth in the third quarter was 10,400 seasonally adjusted.  For the same period last year it was nearly 18,000 but we know there are serious flaws in 2013 employment figures given the CSO?s warnings about the impact of their revision of their sampling base.

So, 10,000 jobs growth; for the year it is 15,400.  This is better than a loss and going in the right direction.  But is it going fast enough?  It it well balanced across all sectors?  Is the glass half-full or half-empty.

What was interesting in the twitter exchange was how we compared to EU jobs growth.   The fact is that our jobs growth this year fares poorly with the rest of the EU. The data we have goes up to the 2nd quarter of this year.

Irish Left Review - Wed Nov 26, 2014 15:26

The latest issue of People's News is out now. Click here to download

Articles in this issue include 

Page 1

Water charges, the EU and TTIP

Water charges can and must be defeated by resistance and non-payment; but water as a human right must also be secured as a publicly owned and controlled resource......

Page 2

The Berlin road to an EU army

Prominent German think tanks and politicians have been repeatedly calling for the establishment of an EU army but recognise that there are obstacles standing in the way..........

Page 3

Kenny misleads Dáil on EU lawmaking changes

Weighting votes on the basis of population is........ a power grab by Germany in particular, supported by France, Italy, and Britain, to increase the weight of the big states........

Page 6

Big Tobacco wins judicial review on EU directive

The EU?s recently agreed Tobacco Directive will be challenged in the European Court of Justice after cigarette giants won a judicial review to examine whether the bill?s provision for more health warnings and product bans is disproportionate and infringes the rules of the single market............................

Page 7

Belgian anti-austerity strike shakes new government

Workers from throughout Belgium converged on Brussels on 6 November to protest against the austerity measures of the new right-wing government of Charles Michel...................

Page 7

Italian groups seek restoration of national currency

Ireland was not the only euro-zone country to get a letter from the European Central Bank......................................

Page 9

"Dark, secret rooms, behind closed doors"?Juncker?s murky past

Jean-Claude Juncker, the new president of the EU Commission, was the prime minister of Luxembourg for almost two decades. In that time he oversaw the growth of a financial industry that became a tax centre for at least 340 global companies, not to mention investment funds with almost ?3 trillion in net assets?second only to the United States...................

Page 10

EU mission in Kosovo beset by allegations of corruption

The EU has asked a French academic to look at recent allegations of corruption against Eulex, its "rule of law" mission in Kosovo.......................

Page 12

Mícheál Ó Loingsigh

Mícheál Ó Loingsigh, who died last week, was chairman of the Common Market Defence Campaign, the non-party group that campaigned against Ireland?s membership of the EEC in the 1972 referendum and provided the main arguments that were used by the various elements on the No side on that occasion. These included the Irish Congress of Trade Unions and the Labour Party, as well as both elements of the then divided Sinn Féin. He was also an active member of the Common Market Studies Group, which produced several pamphlets for the No side.......................

Page 12

Page 17

Summing up TTIP: An agenda for corporate plunder

The corporate jargon surrounding the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) deal is about "protecting investment," reducing "unnecessary" barriers and "harmonising" regulations that supposedly deter free trade between the US and the EU....................

Return of the bondholders?

A talk to be given by Dr Conor McCabe of UCD School of Social Justice and author of Sins of the Father: The Decisions that Shaped the Irish Economy. The event is being hosted by the trade unions Unite and Mandate.- Wednesday 3 December

Michael Taft - Tue Nov 25, 2014 09:02
Minister Ged Nash launched an investigation into the extent of zero and low-hour contracts in the labour market.  This is most welcome ? we need this information which is not available in official surveys (though it should be noted that the investigation into low-hour contracts could be extremely limited as they are only examining eight hour or less contracts ? whereas low-hour contracts can go as high as 20 hours). But what would be even more welcome would be an announcement that zero-hour contracts will be abolished. I will refer to zero and low hours contracts as precarious contracts.  These contracts require employees to be available for a certain number of hours per week, or when required, or a combination of both ? but without any guarantee of work. Under Irish law, if the employee gets no work, then the compensation should be either 25% of the possible available hours or for 15 hours - whichever is less. If the employee gets some work, they should be compensated to bring them up to 25% of the possible available hours.   Here are a couple of examples:
  • Janet is required to be available for work for 20 hours a week.   She gets no work.  She must be paid, nonetheless, for 25 percent of the available hours ? five hours (this is less than 15 hours).
  • Bob is, also, required to be available for work for 20 hours a week.  He gets four hours? work.  Since he is entitled to five hours payment (25 percent of his work availability), he get an extra hour payment.
I don?t intend to list all the negative impact of precarious hour contracts on workers.  Suffice this piece from Paul Mills writing in the Examiner:
?The ?employee? is effectively reduced to a commodity like a tin of beans on a shelf waiting until someone comes to pick him or her up. It is not sustainable and is effectively immoral. This type of contract means that the employee has no guaranteed hours or roster but must be available for work. Whilst the system is undoubtedly beneficial to the employer, it puts the ?employee? at a serious disadvantage. It means there is no sick pay, only limited holiday pay, and getting a loan or a mortgage is impossible. In fact there is no guarantee of any work, so no guarantee of any pay and all that leads from that. It takes us back to the days when fruit pickers, dock workers, farm labourers and general workers stood at a designated corner and waited for an employer to come by in the hope of being selected to work that day.?
Well put.
Tom O'Brien - Mon Nov 24, 2014 22:53

This week I am delighted to welcome Thom Workman to the show, Professor of Political Science at the University of New Brunswick. Thom?s research explores the philosophical and sociological critiques of modernity, especially as these have developed over the post-Enlightenment era. In this episode we discuss the history of the Philosophy of Science, Marx?s understanding of science at the time of writing 'Das Kapital', Postmodernism, and how this notion of science has come under attack over the years, from various quarters, both from outside and within Marxism itself.

Thom has also published a number of books, his latest called: ?If You?re in My Way, I?m Walking: The Assault on Working People since 1970?.

http://fernwoodpublishing.ca/book/if-youre-in-my-way-im-walking.

Irish Left Review - Mon Nov 24, 2014 22:08

Films on Conflict Around the World

Saturday 29th November 3.00 pm

The New Theatre 43 East Essex Street, Dublin 2

Admission Free

www.progressivefilmclub.ie

  • ?Mi Fink?: Make it happen - 3.00 pm
  • Road to Revolution - 3.30 pm

?Mi Fink?: Make it happen - 3.00 pm

?Mi Fink?-Make it happen! shows the process of community organization and resistance. This participatory action arose in the face of vulnerability to losing the land: one of the few things that keep the community united and free. Since the abolition of slavery in Colombia, the land has sustained the food supply and the economy of the Afrodescendant people of Villa Rica. Today the sugar companies dominate the area, planting sugar cane as a monoculture, thereby forcing out the traditional small farms of the region. Some families are resisting this eviction and the loss of their livelihoods. As a result, the life of Jota, one of the community leaders,is being threatend.

Road to Revolution 3.30 pm

Taking off from Istanbul, the ?Road to Revolution? crosses some of the most tense territories on the planet ? Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Israel, Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco. Tiago Carrasco, João Henriques and João Fontes will be determined to find out more about the lifestyle, culture and beliefs in those territories. Three journalists travel 15.000 kilometers and 10 countries in the Maghreb & Middle Eastern region, following the path of the Arab Spring.

Irish Left Review - Sun Nov 23, 2014 17:17
Statement from Communities Against Water Charges We Won?t Back Down On Monday the 24 November 2014 we expect four of our friends and neighbors to be committed to prison for exercising their right to peaceful protest. They are to be punished for failing to abide by a High Court injunction granted to GMC Sierra which requires them (and any other protester) to, among other things, remain at least 20 meters away from workers installing unwanted water meters. This injunction, in spite of the High Court Judges claims to the contrary, obliterates any meaningful right to protest against the installation of water meters. For that reason protesters throughout Dublin, and the rest of the country, have rejected this illegitimate interference with their right to protest, and have continued their dignified resistance to the installation of water meters, and the water charges regime. This injunction, and the expected imprisonment of our friends and neighbors on Monday, represents another attack on the people of this country, and on the right to peacefully resist and oppose the unjust policies of an unrepresentative government. In the coming weeks and months, we expect the establishment to engage in many more attacks on our movement, using the law as one of its main instruments. For this reason, we have been working with groups around the country on building legal defence funds: this is a collective struggle for our basic rights and a better future. For that reason, any person that ends up in court for resisting this illegitimate tax and attempt to commodify the most basic of necessities, needs to know that they will not be alone, and we will stand with them. We therefore call on the Right2Water Campaign, it?s affiliated unions and the political parties that have stated their opposition to the water charges, to contribute what they can to the Peoples Defence Funds. If, as feared, our friends are imprisoned on Monday we are calling for a mass, silent candlelight vigil outside of the prison they are committed to (most likely Mountjoy Prison in Dublin). As the struggle against this unjust double-tax enters a new phase, and a beleaguered government begins to lash out with all of the means at its disposal, we will make it abundantly clear that fear will not carry the day in this contest, and that nobody who stands against this injustice will stand alone. Communities Against Water Charges
Donagh Brennan - Thu Nov 20, 2014 17:07

This article originally appeared in Irish Left Review, Issue 2, Vol 1., published in November 2013. 

Recidivism (from recidive and ism, from Latin recidivus "recurring", from re- "back" and cado "I fall") is the act of a person repeating an undesirable behaviour after he/she has either experienced negative consequences of that behavior, or has been treated or trained to extinguish that behavior.

In June 2013, the ongoing rumblings of discontent at the blanket guarantee decision exploded on to the front pages with the publishing of the ?Anglo Tapes? recordings by the Irish Independent. After three bank inquires of a sort, through the Nyberg Report, the Honohan Report and the Public Accounts Committee Inquiry, the remaining fog around the events leading up to the guarantee and what happened on the night and early morning of 29th and 30th of September 2008 was such that it only took the selective leaking of a fraction of the tapes held by the ongoing criminal investigation to stoke up public rage and renew calls for a proper inquiry or tribunal[i].

This continuing fog and the far reaching consequence of the decision have led many to reach all sorts of conclusions about who ultimately was responsible. In 2013 commentators like Fintan O?Toole[ii] and Stephen Donnelly TD appear to think that the protection of Irish banks provided by the 2008 guarantee was so devastating for the Irish economy that it must have been insisted upon by the ECB.

More often than not, however, this regularly repeated belief is a conflation of the 2008 guarantee with what Brian Lenihan, and later Michael Noonan, suggested was the insistence of the ECB that unguaranteed senior debt must be paid back after the 2010 bailout.

There is no indication of ECB involvement in the 2008 decision despite Brian Lenihan?s retrospective claim in 2010 that it was impelled by Jean Claude Trichet?s voicemail directive in 2008 to ?save our banks at all cost?[iii]. On the contrary there is plenty of evidence that there was widespread surprise and anger in Europe at the ?unilateral? move and the problems it created, as well as pressure to change it.

It is important to understand that the original guarantee was an Irish decision alone, without any outside involvement, because it helps us dissect the nature of power and class in Ireland. The facts need to be separated from the myths in order to appreciate how decisions like it continue to determine the shape of the economy and the nature of Irish society.

The action in September 2008 is an illustration too of how a type of ?rentier? class in Ireland are able to exploit Ireland?s resources without consideration of the consequences for wider society. These rentier capitalists benefit from the managing of assets, whether through financial services, the movement of corporate profits tax-free or investment property. Their interests are boosted by the state leading to the side-lining of productive capital and the continually undermining of labour?s position[iv].

The guarantee was not put in place simply to maintain liquidity to Irish banks. Officials and politicians knew enough to be aware that the problems at Anglo Irish Bank and Irish Nationwide were far greater than one of a temporary lack of liquidity due to a crisis elsewhere. Funds from the Central Bank of Ireland had been provided to Irish banks through unprecedented quantities of Emergency Liquidity Assistance. Banks in other countries were experiencing similar problems and received extraordinary quantities of emergency funding from their central bank during the crisis in September. Yet, significantly, no other EU country provided an unlimited guarantee.

In Ireland's case the problem was twofold. One, to keep cheap interbank lending available to Irish banks, they needed a guarantee that would remove the sense that Irish banks were increasingly high risk because of their over-exposure to collapsing property markets.

Two, in order to keep the level of emergency liquidity available to ensure that Anglo Irish Bank and Irish Nationwide remained open they needed a guarantee that would make an insolvent bank 'solvent'. The dangers of this approach were clearly outlined before the decision was taken, yet we are still asking ?why did they do it??

To try and answer that question we have to go back to the last time the Irish government provided an unlimited guarantee to the banks to enable them extract themselves from a speculative fiasco even though there was incredible risks to the wider economy by doing so.

Anne Irwin - Thu Nov 20, 2014 09:55
Sing bog cotton carols, speak
in soft whisperings,
blow cool wind  to calm summer's  heat,
clawing gloopy smells of faded day.
 f
Their suitcases laughing,
filled with cruciform spinning tops
songs and incantations
a flock of giggling  goats.
 f
They frighten  indoctrinated bombosities
shiny political pomposities
yellow beasts wandering
whose  paws choke the night
 f
To de-indoctrinate them
from that cronied  sycophant in them
they?re impaled on Celtic Crosses
and left swirling on the bog.
 f
The Blue Moon Women sing to them
soft and sweet they sing to them
and the goats circle round
nibbling at their toes.
 f
Till they squeal out all their vanity
return to normal sanity
and serve the people properly
walking humbly down the roads
Owen Gallagher - Wed Nov 19, 2014 22:29

I would like to live in the West, at the edge

of the world, on a small holding,

walk my cow each day to the milk shed

and see which hen I am beholding to

s

for laying an egg. I would change

wheat into loaves, fill my plate from the field,

stack turf like gold bars for the kitchen range,

and conceal my distillery in creels.

s

Instead, I have stood at the town?s crossroads

and listened to who is ?Wanted? across the border,

who is being adulterous on the old bog roads

and who sprayed ?Ireland is out of order!?

Bryan Wall - Wed Nov 19, 2014 12:15

The current crisis of Irish democracy is not the one currently being given space in the nation?s mainstream media outlets. Ungovernability is supposedly just around the corner according to some. A ?sinister fringe? is engaging in acts of violence. ?Marxist-Leninists? are standing in the way of the government and its wishes. Michael Noonan is on record as saying that he and his government ?govern for the reasonable people,? and not the sinister fringe of ungovernable Marxist-Leninists in our midst. Reading this, one would imagine that the Red Army of old is engaging in ideological, and very physical, warfare on Ireland. Of course this is sheer nonsense, but the ghost of the ?Dreaded Red? is well risen from its grave, courtesy of the necromancers currently inhabiting Dáil Éireann. Such propaganda is a reaction to the citizens of Ireland having had enough of years of austerity measures.

They have taken to the streets, engaged in peaceful protest, and civil disobedience, in order to show their contempt for their treatment by the government. Compared to other European countries over the last few years, Ireland has been relatively quiet on the protest front. The planned introduction of water charges has changed all that. And now, the government and the Irish media, are panicking. A citizenry of a Western and ostensibly democratic state is not supposed to be actively engaged in the democratic process. To do so is to cause a ?crisis of democracy?. This is nothing remotely new. During the 1960s and 1970s, people on both sides of the Atlantic demanded equal rights, an end to war, and generally demanded social change from their leaders whom they considered to have failed in their duty to create an equal society in the post-war years. To that end, they engaged in massive demonstrations and civil disobedience in order to achieve their aims. Such activity on the part of the wider citizenry frightened the leaders of the Western world, so much so that it became the basis of a report by the Trilateral Commission.

Published in 1975, The Crisis of Democracy: Report on the Governability of Democracies to the Trilateral Commission, examined in some detail the causes and effects of the active citizenry that emerged in the 1960s and early 1970s in Europe, the United States, and Japan. Written by three leading academics for the NGO, it is premised on the idea that a previously apathetic citizenry became more active and therefore undermined the credibility and functioning of democracy. Although the introduction states that the report is ?designed to make democracy stronger?, the definition of democracy being worked off is a top-down approach to governance in which the population is preferably apathetic, passive, and stratified. All three authors wondered how to make democracy not more democratic or effective in the popular understanding of the term, but how to enable a return to the previous state of affairs of an apathetic, passive, and stratified citizenry.

A ?crisis of democracy? was ?a breakdown of traditional means of social control, a delegitimation of political and other forms of authority, and an overload of demands on government, exceeding its capacity to respond.? An ?increase of social interaction? resulted in the breakdown of the means of ?traditional social control imposed upon the individual by collective authorities, especially the state, and by hierarchical religious institutions.? In turn, this meant that citizens ?resist any kind of social control that is associated with the hierarchical values they have learned to discard and reject.? Individuality was seen to have usurped traditional civic values and stratification, and therefore people were more free than ever to choose their jobs, friends, partners, and general future, as they saw fit. At the very least, the wider population had decided that they could make those decisions for themselves without government interference.

Irish Left Review >>

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