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Ireland’s coalition proposals are strong on rhetoric but need more depth

Taoiseach-in-waiting Enda Kenny will be in at the deep end as Ireland’s coalition attempts to deal with the country’s economic plight. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA

The campaign rhetoric seeps through Fine Gael and Labour’s freshly minted “Programme for Government” unveiled Monday after they agreed the terms of the coalition which hopes to lead Ireland out of recession and the clutches of the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Its opening gambit is a declaration of “common purpose” noting that on 25 February (election day, in case anyone had forgotten) “a democratic revolution took place”.

It solemnly goes on to talk of Ireland facing “one of the darkest hours in the history of our independent state” and invokes the great Albert Einstein by saying we should “learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow” and how an “unprecedented level of political resolve” is needed to get the country on its feet again.

Although it is clear on some things – such as reversing the cut in the minimum wage, which is against the terms of the IMF bailout – by and large the rhetoric in the document is going to get the coalition only so far.

With regard to banking and the IMF/EU bail out, here are the main pledges:

Interest rate
• “We will seek a reduced interest rate.” This it is likely to get as there is wide acknowledgement that the 5.8% rate is unsustainable. The question is how much by?

Credit ratings
• “We will attack the utmost priority to avoiding further downgrading of Ireland’s sovereign credit rating.” It fudges the detail on this though and says it will set further capital spend by the state at “a level consistent with national debt sustaintability”.

Bank recapitalisation
• “We will defer further recapitalisation of the banks until the solvency stress tests are complete.” This is the big one. The PCAR and PLAR tests being undertaken will be complete at the end of March and are widely expected to expose even further need for recapitalisation at AIB. If AIB is worse than expected and Anglo Irish is as bad as chairman Alan Dukes has indicated, could we be talking about a second bailout? Dukes reckons Ireland will have to go cap in hand for another €15bn (£12.8bn) just to save the Irish banking system.

Sale of AIB assets?
• “We remain committed to a smaller banking system” but it says “to limit further calls on the state to cover bank losses from distressed asset sales, bank deleveraging must be paced. This is interesting. The coalition is obliged under the deal with the IMF to shrink the size of the banks but which would cause greater damage – losses from a fire sale or the continuing liquidity problem which require even greater capital injection than presently foreseen. Interestingly, one proposal, according to the Sunday Business Post editor Cliff Taylor, is to split AIB and possibly Bank of Ireland into two banks – one dealing with core assets and the other with non-core assets.

Credit for small businesses
• “We will ensure that an adequate pool of credit is available to fund small and medium-sized businesses.” The devil will be in the detail here as there is a widespread feeling that the lack of credit is smothering SMEs in Ireland. (If you are a small business and have experience of this please email me on guardian.dublin@gmail.com as I would like to return to this issue).

Restructuring bank boards
• “The new government will restructure bank boards and replace directors who presided over failed lending practices.” This is well-meaning but possibly doesn’t go far enough – what about staff in bailed-out banks, senior executives and middle management, who presided over failed lending practices?

End transfers to NAMA
• “We will end further asset transfers to NAMA, which are unlikely to improve market confidence in either the banks or the state.” Again, specifics are needed. It it going to end all transfers that haven’t happened or set a threshold – say all property development loans under €5m?

Transparency at NAMA
• “We will insist on the highest standards of transparency in the operation of NAMA.” Again, what does this mean? Those involved in the establishment of NAMA say it is politically popular to demand greater transparency but that NAMA, like any bank, will retain “customer confidentiality”.

Global pool of finance managers to be assembled
• “We will openly construct a pool of globally experienced finance services managers and directors to be inserted into key executive and non-executive positions in banks receiving taxpayer support.” International banking executives won’t be forming an orderly queue for these jobs unless there is some detail on pay scales and these are currently capped at the highest levels.

All it says on remuneration is this : “All remuneration schemes at banks subject to state support will undergo a fundamental review to ensure an alignment of interest between banks, their staff and the taxpayer.”

Bank bonuses
• “We will ban all bank bonuses …”

… I made that one up. Bank bonuses don’t get a mention, as far as I can see. This is possibly because bonuses in the bailed-out banks were effectively banned by the finance bill rushed through the Dail in January government through a 90% tax on bank bonuses.

However, it is the culture of bonuses even at the lowest levels in banking that lead to the reckless lending in the first place and some sort of policy detail on this would have not gone awry here.

The document is detailed and full of the right kind of rhetoric. For this week. After that it’s straight in at the deep end for the taoiseach-in-waiting Enda Kenny and Michael Noonan, who is expected to be named finance minister as they try to persuade Europe to save Ireland from bailout number two.
source: http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/ireland-business-blog-with-lisa-

TD’s unite to give themselves a pay rise

in case you missed this

By John Drennan

Sunday November 07 2010

As the country faces economic meltdown, TDs and senators are planning to improve their already plush terms and conditions.

An official estimate of the money required to run the Dail in 2011 ‘sneaked’ through the Dail last Thursday reveals that the recession stops at the gates of Leinster House.

Did you Know?

In a touching scene, deputies across all parties suspended hostilities and agreed to the estimates without a single objection.

The estimates reveal that the cost of a Dail which serves fewer people than the population of cities such as greater Manchester, will in 2011 come to €112,983,000 — which represents a drop of just €1.2m (or 1 per cent) on last year’s spending.

But expenditure on the perks and services enjoyed by our TDs and senators will actually increase in certain areas next year.

The cost of salaries for TDs, senators and secretarial assistants will increase, while salaries of staff like those in catering and behind the Dail bar will decrease.

The estimates for 2011 reveal that there will be an increase in the postal and telecommunications service, which allows TDs and senators to send out promotional literature to their constituents.

The budget for delegates to ‘other parliamentary assemblies‘ has increased by 50 per cent and the ‘grant in aid’ for ‘inter-parliamentary activities’ has also increased by a whopping 40 per cent.

Even this, however, is dwarfed by the increase in the budget for allowances in respect of former members of the houses of the Oireachtas, which has been increased from €49,000 to €149,000.

At a time when pensioners fear losing entitlements such as free travel, the estimates also contain an increase of the ‘grant in aid’ to parliamentary pensioners from from €10,084,000 to €10,562,000, indicating that Dail and Seanad pension recipients will be unique within the country in actually securing an increase next year. The estimates also reveal that there will be a substantial increase in the Budget for televising Dail and Seanad proceedings, which provides TDs and Senators with much-desired coverage.

Though some minimalistic cuts are revealed in the anticipated expenses of TDs and senators, one source noted that “when the increases are taken in the round, TDs and senators will not be losing a penny in salaries and expenses next year”.

– John Drennan

Sunday Independent

Comment

Here we have a perfect example of our public representatives sucking us dry  these blood suckers will still have a neck to come calling in the next few months to our doors our homes and tell us how hard things are going to get and they are the people to make the hard choices on our behalf  and we should vote them back into the Dail .

 Do not vote in any of the existing TD’s ever again  give them their P45 ASAP

He could be talking about Ireland

I agree we need to be concentrating of  industrious business ,why can’t I but Irish made shirts, shoes, Irish made bicycles, for god sake Irish made anything?

75% of our business here in Ireland is services, and we are now been forced to become debt servicing junkies by Cowen and his cronies.  

Unless we get up off our collective backsides we will be forced to vote in twiddle dummer when we get rid of twiddle Dee

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kja5aCYuocU&feature=player_embedded

Taxpayers getting shafted once again

The Irish Times – Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Q&A

MARTIN WALL

Who will benefit from the early retirement/voluntary redundancy schemes? 

The schemes will be primarily aimed at staff in managerial/administrative and clerical grades in the HSE, voluntary hospitals and in voluntary health service agencies funded by the HSE. They will also be offered to support staff, such as catering, portering, cleaning and maintenance personnel. Approval for applications from these grades will depend on the number of management and administrative staff who apply and on the basis of the overall budget for the scheme not being breached.

How many people will leave? 

This will very much depend on the categories of staff who opt for the packages. The Government has capped the budget for the schemes at €400 million and if a large number of senior managers choose to go, it will restrict the overall numbers.

Minister for Health Mary Harney said about 4,000 managerial and administrative staff could leave. The HSE said it was estimating that between 3,000 and 5,000 personnel could go.

How do the two schemes differ? 

There is a voluntary early retirement scheme, which is open to employees over 50. This provides for immediate payment of pension entitlements on retirement with no actuarial reduction in respect of payment prior to minimum retirement age. Full lump-sum entitlement will also be paid and payments will not take into account the salary cuts introduced in the public service earlier this year.

The voluntary redundancy scheme will involve a severance payment of three weeks’ pay per year of service in addition to statutory entitlements, subject to an overall limit of two years’ pay. This could see some senior managers getting €300,000.

Is there a deadline for applying? 

Applications will have to be submitted by November 19th. Staff who take a package must leave the health service by December 30th.

Will all applications be accepted? 

Applications from managerial/ administrative staff will be prioritized and will be approved automatically, subject to the overall €400 million budget not being breached.

How will services be maintained? 

Management plans to use the provisions of the Croke Park agreement to redeploy staff or introduce more flexible work practices. Much will depend on the type of staff who actually leave. It may be easier to maintain services in administrative areas than if a large number of porters or catering staff, for example, from one organization took the packages.

Why are these packages on offer now? 

Since the establishment of the HSE in 2005 there have been questions raised as to why there was no rationalization of administrative and managerial staff given that 11 health boards were being amalgamated. On at least two occasions in recent years the HSE and the Department of Health drew up proposals for a voluntary redundancy scheme but these were rejected by the Department of Finance.

source http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/ireland/2010/1102/1224282482579.html

Comment:

Having signed the Croke Park deal the government now have realized it was a disaster for the taxpayers of the country with 70% of the Health Services Budget going on salaries, this commitment should never have happened because the country could not afford to shelter any group of state employees if it was going to make any real savings  

So Not only is the HSE now closing down services and hospital beds they have now found 450,000,000:00 Euros to allow these middle management to retire laden down with these bumper benefits

Earlier this year we were told citizens will have to work an extra 3 years for the state pension (68)

With this deal thousands of state workers get to have their state pension up to 18 years earlier and this when the country is broke?

We the taxpayers were told back in 2005 that the rationalization of administrative and managerial staff was one of the reasons for the establishment of the HSE in the First place, given that 11 health boards were being amalgamated.

Now the taxpayers are again getting a raw deal here and the ordinary Joe public is been shafted once again having to foot the bill again! If you thought things were bad in the Health Service think again we are about to feel real pain now thanks to Harney.

Harney your hands are stained with blood and you know the country hasn’t got this 450 million it has to be borrowed why don’t you go and take all your cronies with you?

Green’s still supporting the Fianna Fail mantra

The Green Party has pledged to pursue a major reform agenda over the next Dáil term in a bid to ensure there is no reoccurrence of the banking crisis.

Speaking after the party’s think-in in Co Carlow, party leader John Gormley said “restoring financial stability and reforming the banks and the planning system were a priority”.

“We must learn from the lessons of the past and make sure that the problems we are now facing, never happen again,” he said, adding that the party wanted to restore the public’s faith in politics and State institutions.

He said measures have already been taken to stabilise the banking system and the planning process was being overhauled.

The party also said it wanted to see the introduction of a ban of corporate donations and a directly-elected mayor for Dublin.

He said reform of local government and the establishment of a new electoral commission “will see the biggest shake-up in Irish politics in decades”.

Other priorities include the introduction of the Climate Change Bill and measures to improve people’s quality of life, such as a Bill on noise.

 

Comment:

Well there you have it, the greens solution to all our countries problems

Keep dumping billions into bankrupt banks and bail out wealthy developers and keep Fianna Fail in power as long as possible.

Overhaul the planning process, with little or no building going on that should not be a problem!

500,000 citizens will be delighted that your top priorities are for a climate change bill

(Whatever that is) and making criminals out of noisy neighbours.

Sorry no jobs stimulus package, no re-training program, no new measures for mature students to get back into education, in fact absolute nothing, not even the word  job” is in the  party’s think-in, in Co Carlow.

But wait they might want to have the nations butterfly population counted, now that would keep some of the unemployed busy!

These power addicts will not get the time of day when they go knocking on peoples doors here in Wicklow .They have shown their true colours by adopting  the culture of Fianna Fail spin and cronyism and consequently  they have dumped their core values shame on them!

They have helped to rune this country by agreeing to Fianna Fail’s demand to set up NAMA.

They have helped to pour billions into the toxic Anglo Irish bank and colluded with Fianna Fail to deprived citizens of their right to political representation by holding off on local elections.

There are not the same greens that presented themselves to the Irish public.

They did not tell the voters that they would sell out to Fianna Fail if offered merks and perks and ministerial positions

They can make all the promises they like now, no one will ever trust this green shower ever again!   

Cowen continuing to waffle “That morning radio interview”


Listen to the apologizers for Fianna Fail and at the end Brian Clown telling the reporter not to engage in defeatism as a way of deflecting the hard questions
“There is nobody else “says another Fianna Fail supporter as if that was enough to secure their further tenure in the Dail.
This behaviour from Cowen is an affront to the public’s intelligence!
Notice how he brushes aside the concerns of a young person
Apologists for Cowen are currently on the live line show and the just is at a certain age men have a difficulty with their voice early in the morning: What Bull!
I am 4 years older than him and I don’t have any problems with my voice
Jesus how stupid do they thing the general public is? Listen Here
REC003

Why should it be any different here in Ireland?

Economic uncertainties around the world are expected to provide continued support for gold these concerns have led investors to gobble up gold in the second quarter
The World Gold Council said demand for gold-backed exchange-traded funds rose 414% compared to the second quarter of 2009
Why?? People just cannot ignore what they see on the ground
With next to no credit available, Unemployment still is rising(currently at 13.5% ) and emigration heading to record highs here in Ireland.
Announcements from incompetent government ministers who have lost all creditability with every figure coming from the department of finance been wrong be miles what do you think savvy investor are doing?
Investors are making the switch from buying gold only in times of crisis to having gold as part of a diversified portfolio
So if the savvy investors don’t believe the Department of Finance why should the ordinary Joe soap?
The fact is that governments around the western world are lying to their peoples and we in Ireland should expect nothing better from the crooks that are running our country
In my opinion we are heading Down Down Down as long as these GobS**** stay in power
We need a Government that can layout the true facts, come up with a realistic solutions however though it may eventually be and a time plan so we the people can see a what progress is been made
however difficult .
Once the markets know exactly what the facts are it will react and recover and we can expect to see confidence come back into the economy
we need a general election as I believe we are been kept in the dark by the ruling élite that are hiding the true scale of the financial disaster we are now in, caused by the very people that they are hell bent on bailing out !
Come clean now!

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