Wednesday, December 09, 2009
David Begg's reaction-people will be seething and he's right this will be hugely defaltionary. Again he asks the question why is it that Britain's way of spacing it out is wroing and that we are such economic geniuses? David's right again-it's all about driving down wages and Patricia Callan shows her colours-we must increase competitiveness-competitive with who? They want us down to Mongolian figures. The figures about pay cuts from the CSO are lies according to SFA.
Missed the €16 cut in child benefit. This will have a huge impact in poorer families. Sorry opting over to the analysis on RTÉ 1. Dermot Ahern telling us they looked after Social Welfare recipients- Brian Dobson hitting on the 8% cut in carer's benefit-hitting at the most vulnerable again. There;s nothing here to get anything from the highest earners. This rubbish about the marginal tax rates is just old-fashioned Thatcherism with a bit of 'No New Taxes(unless you're a public servant of course) thrown in. Alex White spot on aboput the impact on people on the edge.
Even Micahael Noonan says it fails the fairness test. The cleaner in your department is taking the same as you! Good man Michael. Brings to mind his best ever moment when he compared the Fianna Fáil minister of the time to Barney Rubble hammering away at the moving stone engine!
Dermot Ahern saying we're engaging in Voodoo economics-lectures from the incompetent and inglorious .........!
A return from the banks!! A credit review system. You can be guearanteed that checking up on the banks lending to small businesses will never be followed through on. We don't need a committee to ask the banks to give credit-we need a national bank that will do it!
Investment programme for mental health-who's he going to sell the HSE and and buildings top now that the market is flattened. Back to Dev's bonds! More money for training for the poor people who you've thrown onto the dole queues-as long as they're not 20 or 21 of course.
Here comes the action for many of us. 'More is required'.
The worst IS over!!! That one will come back to haunt you Brian.
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
For now it's time to address a very difficult issue-that of today's public service strike. Those who believe that we in the public service strike at the drop of a hat should examine the track record of my own union, the Irish National Teachers Union which has been on strike twice in sixty years-in 1985 and 1946, and not at all since I began my teaching life in 1987.
In the meantime, my union has fought hard to secure a reasonable rate of pay by European teaching standards, particularly for young newly qualified teachers(if they're lucky enough to get a job). In the past twelve months however we've had a huge amount of that gain taken back from us to pay for the sins of the uncontrolled bankers and the property developers who borrowed from them to build tax-incentivised houses and hotels that nobody wanted.
Yet in the twelve months since the wheels came off the celtic tiger wagon, you'd be forgiven for thinking that it's the doctors, nurses, firemen, civil servants and teachers who've bankrupted the country and not the crew who should have been admitted to gamblers anonymous.
It seemed that Brian Lenihan was getting the picture when he declared in April that almost half of the now-famous €4 Billion he needed to find would come from increased taxation on the wealthy but in the past month it's become clear that all the necessary money will come from cutbacks-in our pay, but more importantly in child benefit, social welfare rates, in health services, in rural transport schemes and loads of other public services.
A simple question for Brian-why no new taxes in the middle of a crisis?-why let the super-wealthy off scot-free? Who's callin the shots here? The crew from the tent at the Galway races again?
The nonsense that passes for certainty is also riling me and most other public servants. It goes something like-'Sure everyone's lsoing their jobs and everyon's taking a pay-cut. We're all in in together and we must all take the pain.
Well tell that to Seán Quinn's children with their multi-million pay-offs from their Daddy's companies while the bank that they virtually own is being kept afloat by me and you.
Compare and contrast our approach to that of Obama where US spending on education is being trebled this year to ensure that the recovery comes quicker.
It's time for a fairer country and in my view a turning away from the free-market capitalism and neo-conservative meanness that has almost destroyed our society as well as our economy.
That's why I'm standing up for fairness today. Neither my family or I can take the loss of a day's wages easily but I believe I owe it to my lower-paid colleagues and those who will come after us to make a stand. Come and join us if you can.
Thursday, April 23, 2009
Tonight is a difficult one for John McGuinness TD, a political adversary in our constituency who has not been reappointed to a Junior Ministry by Taoiseach Brian Cowen TD. On a human level this is a difficult time for John, his wife Margaret and all the McGuinness family, including my council colleague and opponent in the forthcoming local elections, Andrew. It is never easy to lose a position which you feel you have secured on merit, and one in which you have worked hard and in which you feel you have done well.
It is also a frustrating time for the McGuinness half of the Fianna Fáil team in Kilkenny who thought that by succeeding in topping the poll in 2007, and in the process, helping to deliver three seats out of five that enough had been done to secure the first step on the ministerial ladder for a politician who is, without a shadow of a doubt, bright and articulate. Indeed the McGuinness lieutenant on the Borough Council, Cllr. Joe Reidy tonight said on local radio that the step to a senior ministry was one they thought would happen sooner rather than later. Those of us of all political persuasions hoped that a senior ministry would come to Kilkenny sooner rather than later, as it is now twenty seven years since we had that honour and all it brings with it.
On a political level however, I have had my differences with John McGuinness. I believe his attacks on public servants in last year's Sunday Independent interview were wrong and unfair, but as the 'pension levy' or public service tax as it should be called has proven, many in his own party agree, including the Minister for Finance and the Taoiseach.
John believes in his right to speak out, but it is the ability to attack Government decisions which your party made and which you walked through the Dáil lobbies to vote for, which I and a huge number of the voters I am meeting on the doorstep find hardest to take.
When John announced on KCLR local radio on the morning of the latest budget that the Government 'had made a bags of the last budget', he failed to mention that he had voted for it and also robustly defended it in the local and national media.
John was defiant tonight on national television stating that he had 'not been elected to the Dáil to leave his brain outside the door'. With this we all agree, but we will continue to demand that he and every Fianna Fáil TD in Carlow/Kilkenny and in the country accept their responsibility for and are held accountable for things like axing the Christmas bonus for pensioners and social welfare recipients, increasing class sizes, hatcheting services in hospitals and health clinics, abandoning the Fair Deal for those in nursing homes etc. etc. etc. and of course standing over policies which have ended up with hundreds of thousands of people losing their jobs.
If we didn't I'm sure John would be disappointed that we, like him, didn't use our brains and speak out to defend the weakest in our society who are being made pay for the sins of the free-market nonsense which his party has made such a boast of championing.
Thursday, April 09, 2009
On this miserable day it's nice to see our former party leader back to his best in putting the Greens in their place at last. The interview with Mary White, our local toothless TD had to be seen to be believed, but is gone form the RTÉ website unfortunately. Meanwhile the vision of John and his bicycle clips will live almost as long in the memory as that of Mary O' Rourke in the bath-but not quite as frightening!
Wednesday, April 01, 2009
Last weekend saw another successful chapter in our campaign to become the third party in a three party sytem and to break the mould of silly civil war politics. Another excellently received leader's speech by Eamon Gilmore meant that we weren't too disappointed by the poll setback on Sunday morning. Anyway, if we end up with between 17 and 20% in the elections on June 5th. I for one will be very happy.
The heart of the weekend's action for me was my campaign for re-election to the party's National Executive Committee. I was at a major disadvantage because of a difficulty getting local members to travel, but my friends elsewhere ensured I had enough number ones to see me home eventually. Thanks a million to Gary, Sadie and other party members for their support and to everybody who supported me with their preference votes. I look forward to representing my own local members and the views of other members at National level in what is sure to be an exciting time in politics.
As you'll see above I also got a chance to speak on Friday night on a motion on the Irish language and the Gaeltacht. Súil agam go n-aontaionn tú leis an méid a bhi le rá agam.
Wednesday, March 04, 2009
The night was also a fundraiser for the company that in many ways spawned Cartoon Saloon, the wonderful Young Irish Film Makers, founded by local man, Mike Kelly in the early nineties. It is a film school, teaching young people a phenomenal range of skills which they would find impossible to access in most other towns or indeed in major cities. The lads in the Saloon started their careers with YIFM, and are now on the verge of major stardom. They were effusive in their praise of Mike tonight though and well deserved too.
Ag an deireadh mile maith agat do Tomm, a bhean iontach Liselott agus a mhac briomhar, Ben, as ucht a dtacaiocht i nGaelscoil Osrai thar na blianta. Táimid an-bhródúil as ucht an méid atá bainte amach agaibh go dti seo, agus go n-eiri libh as seo amach.
Saturday, February 21, 2009
Friday, February 20, 2009
Pat Kenny, a bit of common sense was a welcome relief.
This video says it all. Let's join the ICTU national demonstration on Saturday and show the fat cats and their buddies in Government, particularly our own Junior Minister John McGuinness, that we will not sit idly by while the Anglo Ten, Seán Fitzpatrick, Quinn, Dunne or whoever get off scot-free while we as workers pick up the tab for the mess they've landed us in.
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
A very warm welcome to a new online newspaper, Kilkenny Alive which hit cyberspace today. Already thousands of people have clicked into this new service. Two very experienced journalists, former Kilkenny People editor, Seán Hurley, and former Kilkenny Voice editor, Jimmy Rhatigan are behind this vneture and I wish them well.
I missed their launch last week as I had slightly more romantic things to do on the 14th of February, but I have decided to support the venture by taking the main ad space on the home page. If you're coming to this site from the ad, you're very welcome. If you log on to the new e-zine facility on my main website, I'll keep you up to date on my campaign. Meanwhile happy reading of Kilkenny Alive. The more diverse our local media is, the better for all of us.
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
Here is Eamon Gilmore's speech last night proposing the Labour Party's motion calling for the rejection of the Government's proposed levy on public servants. Our case has never been that public servants shouldn't contribute to the recovery of our economy, despite the fact that they had precious little to do with the mess we now find ourselves in. It is the total unfairness of the Government's remedy that Eamon highlights here.
This unfairness is why I will join the thousands of other civil servants, gárdai, nurses, prison officers and others on Saturday at the national demonstration in Dublin. We hope that many private sector workers will join us on the basis that they will be next. We must not allow this rotten Government to row back on the working conditions that our trade unions have fought for for generations.
Monday, February 16, 2009
Monday, February 09, 2009
Thursday, January 15, 2009
Sunday, January 04, 2009
I began my political life in Dublin Central. I knew Tony's core team members like Mick Rafferty, Seanie Lambe and of course my union colleague and now TD Finian McGrath. They were a hugely committed group of people who worked their socks off for what was then and still is the most deprived part of the country.
They were joined in that work by a series of Labour Party figures, most notably Joe Costello TD, his wife Emir and many others. In fact Dublin Central Labour has produced two other TD's who moved to neighbouring constituencies in Roisin Shortall and Joan Burton and the writer as a Councillor in Carlow/Kilkenny.
Tony was buried today in Dublin and as usual had the last word. The tribute speech at his final mass castigated those politicians who praised him loudly in the past week but had done so little to support those he represented during his lifetime in politics.
A real tribute to Tony Gregory would be the ending of the endemic poverty of the North and South Inner cities in Dublin, in Southill and Moyross in Limerick and in countless other ghettoes of local authority housing in our cities and towns, including here in Kilkenny.
The hypocrisy of a right-wing media which canonises Gregory, idolises Joe Higgins, but continues to attack real radical and left-wing policy aternatives to our current outdated Thatcherite economic model is also breathtaking. The attitude seems to be that a few colourful socialists in the Dail are OK but not if the things they believe in come close to be implemented.
Let's remember that the aim of Connolly and Larkin whose starry plough flag draped Tony Gregory's coffin today was the transformation of Irish society to win equality for all.
Ar dheis De go raibh anam Tony ach go dtiocfadh a chuid aidhmeanna i bhfeidhm chomh luath agus gur feidir.