Patience with the government’s austerity plan is running thin in Portugal with banners reading ‘Enough’ and ‘Government Out’. In their fourth general strike in two… read full article
Austerity: ‘unprecedented erosion’ in living standards
New Internationalist (blog)
The idea of the Peoples Assemblies is to create a mass national and local movement against austerity. Saturday’s event brought together people of all ages and walks of life – trade unionists, direct activists, students, pensioners, hackers, disabled …
“Austerity is not working for Ireland. Government has cut spending, raised taxes, increased unemployment, lowered wages, decimated services and allowed infrastructure to deteriorate on the understanding that austerity would lead to recovery …
Austerity leaves bitter taste as Leinster House sweet shop shuts
|Miliband’s offer of austerity in a red rosette is failing voters
If austerity is wrong and counter-productive when the Tories do it, it will be wrong and counter-productive whoever does it. Austerity in a red rosette is no less brutal and damaging than in a blue one. In failing to articulate a clear economic …
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|Portuguese businesses attack austerity, urge U turn
Portuguese business leaders launched on Monday a strong attack on austerity conditions tied to the EU-IMF bailout of the economy, saying that they had failed and the government should change direction to save the country from “recession”.
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|Union warns austerity will spur growth of ‘zero hours’ contracts
Austerity will spur the use of zero hours contracts, as more public sector work is outsourced to providers who rely on the ultimate flexible employment option, a think tank and union have said. The contracts, which offer no guaranteed work, are being …
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|Discredited Pro-Austerity Research Gets New Love From World’s Central Bank
Our world’s troubling austerity deficit is actually not the main message of the BIS’ 76-page opus, but an entire chapter, “Fiscal sustainability: Where do we stand?” is dedicated to the topic. And this chapter sounds a rallying cry for more austerity …
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The petition which was organised by Amnesty International Ireland as part of its Right to Health campaign, which holds that everyone in Ireland has the right to health – and that the country committed to this when it became party to the International Covenant of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights in 1989.
The signatories of the petition have called on the Minister for Health to enshrine in law a commitment to provide equal access to healthcare based on the needs of the patient rather than their ability to pay.
“Government has set out an ambitious programme of reform. But the reality is that our health system is broken, people are still on waiting lists, and families are struggling to pay their increasing insurance premiums”, Colm O’Gorman, Executive Director of Amnesty International in Ireland, said today.
“Access to appropriate, affordable health services is a human right, and one which the Irish public are clearly demanding. Government reforms of the health service must be underpinned by human rights standards, including a legal guarantee that everybody will be able to access healthcare on an equal basis,” he added.
Amnesty International is calling on the Government to set out their plans on universal healthcare reform and to debate them publicly.
The human rights organisation also wants the Government to use the opportunity of the proposed Universal Primary Care Act and the Universal Health Insurance Act to set out clear – and human rights compliant – guiding principles for the health service including universal, equal access to care.
The gravy train Breakdown
Unvouched expenses must be open to all sorts of abuse in short a laugh.
TD salary: €92,672.
• Allowances for renting offices: €15,000 unvouched; €25,700 vouched.
• Secretarial assistant plus additional secretarial allowance: €41,092 vouched; or €8,888.17 unvouched plus an annual allowance of €11,591 vouched.
• Leinster House provides free telephone and postal facilities, including 1,250 prepaid envelopes a month.
• €750 every 18 months to buy a mobile phone and car kit, including installation costs and insurance.
• €8,000 one-off grant to set up an office outside Leinster House.
Mr Wallace walked into their weekly meeting in Leinster House today, even though numerous members do not want him back.
This led Mr McGrath to resign as chairman, and to walk out of the meeting. The Dublin Bay North TD had vowed to resign if Mr Wallace returned.
The Wexford TD does not need permission from the others to rejoin the group, which gives him more Dail speaking rights.
Under Dail rules, the group did not have the power to force him out in the first place, and there is nothing they can do to prevent him from rejoining. He initially left when controversy over his tax cheating first erupted in June.
In a statement, Mr McGrath said he is “fed up” with Mr Wallace.
“I am also appalled at the procedures in Dail Eireann, where rules force a group of Independent TDs to have a member that the vast majority don’t want,” Mr McGrath said.
He also took issue with Mr Wallace’s recent comments on loyalty within Leinster House, asking: “Loyalty to what? Tax evasion?”
Waterford mother-of-three Andrea Galgey was so fed up with budget cuts she posted an online invitation for politicians to put themselves in her shoes.
The father of two admits he’s not quite sure what he’s in for: “It’s early in the project and a lot of details have to be worked out.
“It has been said, probably rightly, that policy makers are seldom affected by decisions they make so this is an opportunity to explore that.
“It is a chance to see how decisions made in Leinster House affect people in the community.”
UP to 15,000 farmers have marched through Dublin demanding that the Government take a hard line in negotiations on the next round of European subsidies.
John Bryan, IFA president, said failure to return the €1.6 billion package would be bad for the industry and undermine the viability of the most productive farmers.
“The next two months will see decisions taken in Brussels and by our Government that will have a huge bearing on the ability of the sector to survive and grow. Farming can help deliver recovery and jobs but only with the right policies and supports,” he said.
“Farm output will drop and the raw material for our ambitious growth plans will not be available if the EU Commission gets its way.”
A convoy of farming vehicles and tractors drove down Kildare Street as thousands of farmers flooded the narrow street.
A Garda spokesman estimated that around 15,000 people took part in the march, along with about six tractors, a combine harvester, a dairy truck and large digger.
“The weather this year was so bad so a lot of us really suffered during the harvest. The Government can’t guarantee us good weather, but it can guarantee us our payments,” said Mr Byrne.
Mary Mullane, who runs a family farm in Newcastle West, Co Limerick, said rocketing prices in diesel, grain, meal and silage have had a knock-on effect on farmers, meaning they need their subsidies more than ever.
“It’s like a house of cards: if one thing goes, the rest can collapse,” she said.
Mr Bryan, who met Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney, defended the right to demonstrate from criticism by small numbers of farmers on online forums and in contributions to radio programmes.
“Like all other working families, farmers have also had to find the money to pay significantly higher taxes and charges. Today farm families are saying, ‘enough is enough’,” he said.
Mr Coveney said he understands why the thousands of farmers are taking to the streets.
Michael Brennan: All eyes on Ceann Comhairle Sean Barrett, Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan and John Halligan as Dail resumes – Comment, Opinion – Independent.ie
THE Dail returns today after its eight week summer break – and it won’t be boring.
They had been told by the Leinster House authorities to apologise for their part in a confrontation with Mr Barrett at the end of the last Dail term.
They have vowed not to apologise – so all TDs will be watching to see what happens if Mr Flanagan or Mr Halligan seek Mr Barrett’s permission to speak in the chamber.
But that will be just a side issue compared to the live political controversies that are going to cause plenty of early headaches for the Government.
The opposition already had the property tax and the motion of no confidence in Health Minister Dr James Reilly to keep them busy.
Then they were given an unexpected bonus when one of the Government’s own junior ministers put the spotlight on “well off” pensioners.
So Taoiseach Enda Kenny will have even more briefing material than usual in his folder when he stands up for Leader’s Questions in the Dail at 3.15pm.
The motion of no confidence in Dr Reilly will be easily defeated by the Government, given its massive majority. But what will be interesting to see is how much public support he gets from Government backbenchers.
Dr Reilly will be hoping that the Seanad quickly passes a vital piece of legislation this week to require pharmacists to offer patients lower priced generic drugs instead of the more expensive branded drugs. He is due in the Seanad tomorrow as the Health Pricing and Supply of Medical Goods Bill goes through its final stages.
The Dail also has to deal with a bill this week to improve the vetting procedures for teachers, sports coaches, youth workers and other people in contact with children. Expect plenty of debate about the measures in the bill to allow state bodies share “soft information” – where someone has been investigated for suspected child abuse but not convicted.
If you are to believe the Leinster House authorities, the public are now watching the Dail in greater numbers than ever.We don’t have any audience figures but Cable TV operator UPC has now moved its Dail TV service to channel 207. It used to be was less visible on the TV guide on Channel 801.
But it won’t be just the public who are watching today – the European Commission and the IMF will also be keeping a keen eye on the Dail make sure that the conditions of the bailout are met.