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Posts tagged ‘Leinster House’

Tonight with Vincent Browne (Budget 2014 )

Vincent visits the protests outside Leinster House as the details of Budget 2014 are announced.

seelink:http://www.tv3.ie/3player/show/41/70387/1/Tohttp://www.tv3.ie/3player/show/41/70387/1/Tonight-with-Vincent-Brownenight-with-Vincent-Browne:

Comment:

By Thomás Aengus O Cléirigh

Let the world know this “Austerity” is been imposed on the people of Ireland by brute force! Corrupt politicians and blackmail from our “friends “in Berlin!

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Well the gangsters in the musical chairs political system we have in this BA-NAMA republic struck again and this time they were not going to tolerate any demonstrations .On a night they told the world Ireland was going to leave the Bailout process in December and that Austerity has worked!

We find out that the Youth of the country are been told get lost and piss off out of the country, So no free GP care for the general populace (another broken promise)The old are subject to a smash and grab and I expect the real pain is well hidden and will first emerged in the Finance Bill ! This is where they slip in the real pain for the ordinary workers. The rich are going to be delighted as their wealth is going to stay untaxed and its business as usual. In the video this ***** comes and says 3000 jobs are been created a month but he neglects to tell us that these “Jobs” are in fact part-time jobs and are very low pay at that! The lying politicians in the labour party are a disgrace to the name of Labour and have betrayed the entire worker movement of this sold out country!.

The working man and woman in this country must now get up of their backsides and take to the streets and fight for their rights .The Youth of the country must take on these puppets of the hidden faceless money men and take to the streets! It’s your future and these politicians just don’t give a toss about you!

Wake up Ireland and take back our country from these so-called public servants who are busy getting rich themselves whilst pauperizing our people!

Enda Kenny to meet property tax hunger striker

by  Fiach Kelly, Political Correspondent

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Tony Rochford took his hunger strike to the gates of Leinster House last week but is understood to have since been taken home by his family.

Mr Rochford (45) is from Trim, Co Meath, and has been on hunger strike since Monday June 17. His case was raised with Mr Kenny in the Dail today by Independent Waterford TD John Halligan.

While Mr Halligan says he does not agree with Mr Rochford’s approach, he was raising the issue because he was asked to do so by the 45-year-old’s family.

Mr Halligan also raised the difficulty self-employed people had in accessing the dole. Mr Rochford ran a business doing marble installations in houses.

full article at source:http://www.independent.ie/irish-news/enda-kenny-to-meet-property-tax-hunger-striker-29407631.html

Who ran up a €1,600 bill ringing a single mobile number in Pakistan from the Oireachtas?

This story is by Ken Foxe and based on a recent story in the Mail on Sunday: Documents obtained under FOI are below.

A politican is suspected to have run up a bill of more than €1,600 calling a single mobile phone number in Pakistan, an unpublished Oireachtas memo has claimed.

Officials in Leinster House’s telecoms unit estimated that calls to a ‘very small number’ of foreign numbers were costing the taxpayer at least €14,000 per year.

Other costs included an estimated €1,249 bill for calling a mobile in Australia, €581 to a mobile in Lithuania, €381 to a Maltese mobile, €370 to a UK mobile, €366 to a South African landline and €331 to a landline in Cyprus. The officials admitted they were powerless to establish whether the expensive calls – made in 2010 – were legitimate as they don’t track who TDs and Senators call on their taxpayer-funded phones.

But the memo stated it was ‘difficult to imagine’ how they could be genuine. ‘It is difficult to imagine what Oireachtas business would give rise to calls costing €1,621 to a single Pakistani mobile phone number, and it would be irresponsible to consider the possibility that such calls might have been an unintended/improper use of the service provided. Without availabe data it is not possible to make any judgement on the matte……………

full article at source: http://thestory.ie/2013/01/23/who-ran-up-a-e1600-bill-ringing-a-single-mobile-number-in-pakistan-from-the-oireachtas/

Comment:

2013-01-04 13.00.15

Cuts, and more cuts to all community services and then we get another example of greed, emanating from our political establishment once again!

Our political puppets are living in a parallel universe where all their whims are cared for by the surfs’ in our Be- NAMA –republic. This is totally off the wall stuff, there is no justification for this kind of waste and it is imperative that the person or persons behind this phone call should be ousted, shamed and called to account .An audit of all “servants of the people” costs(Including phone calls) should be undertaken and strict limits must be enforced in accordance with the current economic conditions .This  leach must be made pay for his or her own phone bill and kicked off the political gravy train in Lenster house!

One can only dream! Some day we will rid ourselves of these self-serving cockroaches that have infested our once democratic political system!…..

We do not have to accept this, and we deserve better! The time has come to make a stand against the political puppets in Lenster house, which are nothing more than mouthpieces for the hidden moneymen who now rule our once independent Celtic Nation!

Proud Celtic nation of Ireland, get up off your knees and take back your soul.

Cast off  the chains that bind you to these gutless gangsters who dare call themselves out leaders!

Savage Budget 2012 -13

By  Charlie Weston and Fionnan Sheahan

THE most savage Budget of the economic downturn has hit ordinary families for €1,000 a year.

Property tax, cuts to child benefit and changes to social insurance have put extraordinary new pressure on squeezed family incomes.

Pensioners will lose out with cuts to the household package that helps for electricity, gas and telephone bills.

And in a move that is set to prove highly controversial, mothers on maternity leave will now have to pay tax on State maternity payments – despite paying for this already through PRSI.

No section of society was left unscathed by the draconian Budget.

In the wake of the delivery of a package of cuts and taxes worth €3.5bn, there were scuffles between gardai and protesters outside Leinster House.

The Government was also under fire for announcing the closure of 100 garda stations, as part of the biggest overhaul in the history of the State, under cover of the Budget.

Families will be pounded by a string of new taxes and charges:

* Maternity benefit will be treated as taxable income — costing mothers an average of €800.

* A new property tax will cost €180 for every €100,000 the property is worth. This means a €200,000 house will generate a property tax of €360.

* Changes to pay related social insurance (PRSI) will mean that all those earning above the minimum wage will pay an extra €264 a year.

* Self-employed PRSI contributions were doubled, and will be applied to unearned income such as dividends, rents and deposit interest.

* A €10 cut to child benefit. A family with two children will be down €240 over a year.

* Another €250 on the student registration charge.

* Changes to the drugs payment scheme which will see families paying out €144 a month before the State will cover the cost.

* Changes to motor tax, with some pre-2008 cars to be levied an extra €126 a year.

* Savers are to be hit with a rise in DIRT of at least 33pc.

* The price of a pint rose by 10c last night, with duty on wine up by €1.

* Cigarettes went up by 10c.

There will also be rises in capital gains and capital acquisitions tax, according to the new measures.

New criteria will also be introduced for those aged over 70 in order to qualify for a medical card, with those on higher incomes eligible for a GP card only.

The duration of jobseeker’s benefit will also be reduced by three months.

The full details of the property tax were provided.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny said the decision to introduce a property tax was “progressive and fair”.

Last night, the Government began passing the Budget measures with votes on the hikes in alcohol and cigarettes.

No coalition TDs defected and the Government passed the vote 108 to 49.

But Labour Party chairman Colm Keaveney has still not committed to voting with the Government on social welfare cuts next week. Former Labour minister Roisin Shortall said the Budget was “regressive and anti-family”.

She also attacked Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore on the size of his pension.

Finance Minister Michael Noonan used his Budget speech to outline his plans for growth in the small business sector – but there are major tax hits for workers and homeowners.

The minister last night denied his Budget will cost the average family €1,000 per year in taxes and lost benefits.

“I don’t accept that figure. You might get an example that fits that but it’s not typical,” he said.

Mr Noonan offered a robust defence of his second Budget, saying it “would be recalled as a reforming Budget” that had finally broadened the tax base by introducing a property tax after years of discussion while also reforming the public and private pension system.

“We have the most progressive income tax system in the EU,” he said.

Public Spending Minister Brendan Howlin admitted it was “not easy” to keep providing public services while imposing over €2bn in spending cuts.

Cutbacks

He announced a range of cutbacks, including a €10 reduction in child benefit and reductions in the telephone and electricity allowances for elderly people.

Mr Howlin said the country would come through the “tough” crisis which was almost without precedent in the developed world. “In time, future generations will be proud that we, as a people, tackled this crisis head on,” he said.

Source:  http://www.independent.ie/national-news/budget/most-savage-budget-yet-takes-1000-from-families-3317482.html

 

SpunOut invited to the Aras for the President’s ‘Young and Irish’ garden party

Sent in to us by our friends over at SpunOut

Recently it’s been all go at SpunOut HQ. We’ve been hanging out with the President in the Aras, meeting with politicians in Leinster House and now we’re hiring a new person to get involved in the action!SpunOut was invited to the Aras for the President’s ‘Young and Irish’ garden party on July 2nd. Not only was it a privilege to be invited, but we were delighted to extend the invitation to four of our loyal SpunOutters also.So our Editor Marie, joined Stacey, Brian, Claire and Viva in putting on their gladrags and joined around 150 other young people from around Ireland at the Aras. Entertainment was provided by Storyfold and KeyWest amongst others, the food was magnificent and of course the weather was miserable. The day finished with a tour around the Aras which is by anyone’s standards a pretty cool gaff.

There are a number of ways you too can get involved with the ‘Being Young and Irish’ initiative. Read more here. http://us1.campaign-archive2.com/?u=240cc28439f7e4af9db5999a7&id=f2208210bd&e=202c855619

We’re Hiring! #Jobfairy

We’re looking for a Communications and Marketing Officer to join our team. But we don’t want just any Communications and Marketing Officer- we want someone who will bring SpunOut to the next level. As well as being good at all things communications and marketing – we want someone who is experienced, and committed to harnessing the power of social media to create positive personal and social change in young people’s lives.

Does that sound like you?

Parents stage Dáil protest over care payment cuts

Crop of Joan Burton at launch of the Labour Pa...

Crop of Joan Burton at launch of the Labour Party's 2011 General Election campaign. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

By Evelyn Ring

The group wants to reverse the stopping of domiciliary care payments and is  seeking a meeting with Social Protection Minister Joan Burton to discuss the  issue.
The group claimed the entire application and review system for  the payment was flawed and needed to be overhauled.
The allowance is  paid to children with a disability who need more care and attention than  children of the same age without a condition.
Last year, 403 reviews  of the payment were undertaken. While 164 cases were considered eligible, 187  were not. A total of 53 reviews were pending at the year end.
One of  the protesters, Eileen O’Toole, from Greystones, Co Wicklow, has four children  with autism, ranging in age from 5 to 12.
Her oldest son Dillon sang  the Labi Siffre hit ‘Something Inside So Strong’ at the gates of Leinster House.
“Dillon represents all the children with autism whose voices cannot be  heard,” said Eileen, who added that the allowance paid to Dillon’s three  brothers was up for review in July.
The Carers’ Association area  manager from Carlow and Kilkenny, Pat Grogan, said the domiciliary  allowance  amounted to about €309 a month.
“Most of the parents I know are using  the money to pay for speech and language therapy and other therapies that should  be available to them through the HSE.
“I know that times are hard but  you should not be hitting vulnerable people.
“I think the minister  should take stock of what is happening here and take responsibility for the  allowances being withdrawn without any face to face evaluation,” he said.
While the minister had extended the time for returning review forms  from 21 to 60 days, anomalies still existed, he said.
Mr Grogan said  some parents were being reviewed for the payment after just one year.
Another protester, Lorraine Ryan from Bagenalstown, Co Carlow, said the  domiciliary care allowance for her six-year-old autistic son, Maurice, was cut  in January this year.
Ms Ryan, who has also lost the carers’ allowance, said the protest was to let the Government know  they were not going  to go away.
Read more: http://www.irishexaminer.com/ireland/parents-stage-dail-protest-over-care-payment-cuts-191668.html#ixzz1t37CCLPC

Facebook question !

No chance of the Wicklow turncoats of keeping their promises,the lot are supporting the government mantra that the St. Colmcille’s Hospital, Loughlinstown is unsafe and are supporting the cutting of its services when they should be demanding more services for the people of Wicklow .The people of Roscommon have shown the people of Wicklow how to stand up for local health services .If you are a voter in Wicklow now is the time for you to get up and make a stand for our health services or else put up and shut up!
The Government’s honeymoon period went home in an ambulance yesterday. Enda just wasn’t feeling the love anymore — in the Dail there was heated talk of broken promises; mutinous mutterings had begun to emanate from a couple of anguished Fine Gael deputies; and the first substantial public protest against the new administration made its robust debut outside the gates of Leinster House.

    • Morgan McCabeBut how do you pay for all these services when our structural deficit is so large thanks to Bertie& co.

      about an hour ago · LikeUnlike
    • Thomas Clarke‎”Default”  morgan

      18 minutes ago · LikeUnlike
    • Thomas Clarke We were sucked into a contract to bailout the bondholders of private debts with the banks on false statements and fraudulent statements of accounts .This represents all contracts null and void.
      The bondholders should be given equity for their debts in the banks .All public servants should have salaries capped to no more than 90,000 euro.
      No politician either serving or in retirement should have a pension from the state more than 30,000.
      This pension should be payable only at the time all ordinary citizens have to wait for their pensions.
      Only one pension should be paid to any politician or civil servant no matter how many postings they might have served in.
      All doctors training in the state must serve in public hospitals for a 5 year period at a nominal salary of 45,000 euro when finished training. This should also include any other apprenticeships the state pays for, but with less payment and 3 years public service.
      There should be no bonus paid to any public servant in the employment of the state or in receipt of payment from the public purse.
      Doctors are earning lottery salaries and this can no longer be tolerated, their salaries should be on par with other doctors in Europe. I HAVE MANY Doctor Friends in Germany and none of them are earning anything like the salaries the same qualified doctors get here in Ireland. (Average salaries 67,000 – 75,000 euro)
      This would be a start!

Fine Gael showing the way.

Source :http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/ireland/2011/0325/1224293046392.html

Remember this article in the Times ?

By.GENEVIEVE CARBERY

Friday, March 25, 2011

A FINE Gael TD who has returned half his salary to the exchequer has urged other politicians to consider a similar action.

First-time TD for Kerry South Brendan Griffin (29) made the manifesto promise when he announced his candidacy in November “the week the IMF came to town”, he said last night.

While every politician’s situation was different he urged others to “consider” a voluntary cut. At a time of national emergency “it would send out a strong message to Irish people if others followed suit”, he said.

He felt it was particularly important to highlight the issue in a week that was bad for politics with the release of the Moriarty report.

“We need to show we are not all the same” and that “many of us are in it for the right reasons, he said. “We are not all in it for personal gain.”

It took five minutes to fill in the form to give up more than €46,000, he said. He promised to do this for every year of his term.

The Castlemaine-based politician leaves him with a “fairly good salary” of €46,000 plus expenses.

to day we have this

By Fiach Kelly Political Correspondent

Monday May 16 2011

A Fine Gael TD who tried to get his wife on to his council seat and then hired her as an assistant in Leinster House is to give the job to someone else.

New Dublin North TD Alan Farrell was embroiled in controversy just after his election to the Dail when he tried to get his wife Emma Doyle on to his vacant Fingal County Council seat.

After he was thwarted in his efforts by the local FG organisation, Mr Farrell then hired Ms Doyle as his parliamentary assistant, a salary which commands between €41,092 and €52,200 per year.

After this was revealed by the Irish Independent, Mr Farrell then claimed he had only hired Ms Doyle, who is pregnant, temporarily.

And the Irish Independent has now learnt he has now hired a supporter called Fiona Farrell — no relation — as his secretarial assistant. Ms Farrell moves from her previous position in the Fine Gael press office.

A secretarial assistant has a starting salary of around €23,000, but Fine Gael confirmed yesterday that Ms Farrell will take up the position of parliamentary assistant when Ms Doyle steps down.

Ms Farrell was hired last month, but it is still unclear when Ms Doyle will leave her post.

The party also insisted Ms Farrell’s appointment as parliamentary secretary will be permanent, and that Mr Farrell will be appointing another secretarial assistant when his wife leaves in the coming weeks.

The move caused embarrassment in Fine Gael, and was described as “silly” during a time of economic crisis.

Labour strongly recommended to its TDs that they do not hire family members in Leinster House, and FF and Sinn Fein similarly advised its deputies.

Another FG TD, Kerry South’s Brendan Griffin, hired his wife and his cousin as his staff and got another cousin elected to his vacant council seat.

Mr Griffin (29) made the fact that he would give up €46,000 of a TD’s €90,000 salary a central plank of his election campaign.

– Fiach Kelly Political Correspondent

souece: http://www.independent.ie/national-news/td-in-row-over-hiring-wife-gives-job-to-someone-else-2647951.html

Comment:

So J H Ray is not the only cute H**** in Kerry then!

Another dark day for democracy in Ireland

RONAN McGREEVY and CONOR LALLY

ABOUT 1,500 people demonstrated outside the gates of Leinster House yesterday evening in a noisy protest against the Budget.

The protesters included members of the Shell to Sea campaign, Sinn Féin, the Republican group Éirígí and other left-wing organisations, many of whom spent the whole day outside Leinster House.

MEP Joe Higgins told the assembled crowd yesterday evening that it had been “the most shameful day in the history of the State” because Ireland had become a vassal state for the “financial markets of Europe and the world”.

There was a large presence of gardaí throughout the day, backed up by the Garda helicopter and the Garda Dog Unit. There were just three arrests.

The protests was largely peaceful but turned rowdy when Budget protesters targeted a man they believed to be Independent TD Jackie Healy-Rae.

The man emerged from the barricades outside Leinster House shortly after the Budget speech to a cacophony of insults and cat-calls from protesters who thought he was Mr Healy-Rae.

Sensing he was in danger, two young gardaí escorted him down Kildare Street making themselves also the subject of the crowd’s ire.

The gardaí got jostled and pelted with snowballs. A cameraman who was busy following the ruckus slipped on the thawing ice.

The man was ushered into the Department of Transport offices to loud boos. It was only afterwards, when a photographer looked at his lens camera, that it emerged that it was not the Kerry South TD.

The so-called “Anglo Avenger” Joe McNamara, who famously drove a cement truck into the gates of Leinster House, was arrested yesterday morning when he staged a protest at the same location, this time using a cherry-picker to make his point.

He was followed by Shell to Sea campaigners, who were also a constant fixture outside Government Buildings during the IMF talks.

They have perfected the habit of getting their banners into shot while television reporters are live on air.

“Can we move the banner, they are broadcasting now,” said one supporter to another.

From early afternoon, the soundtrack of the protests was the constant clacking noise of pots and pans being banged by about dozen people who had organised themselves through a Facebook page.

“This is the first day of Eurocolonialism,” said the oldest protester, Jos Bradel (77), while she hit a cooking pot with a hammer.

About 200 Sinn Féin supporters arrived an hour before the Budget, ratcheting up the noise level with drums and a bodhrán with a picture of Bobby Sands on the front. They also lit red flares giving the foreign news crews their best shot of the day.

Drummer Alan Donnelly said their protest included people “lucky enough to have a job”. “We’re the only ones acting like an opposition,” he added.

Like the snow on the pavement, the Sinn Féin supporters had melted away by the time Gerry Adams arrived. He sought out the film crews instead.

He was followed by about 1,000 supporters from Éirígí, along with anarchists, members of the 1 per cent organisation and the Socialist Workers, who all made their way from the Wolfe Tone monument in St Stephen’s Green.

Last night, a group of protesters carried on their protests outside the vacant offices of Anglo-Irish Bank in St Stephen’s Green.

Comment:

I was there on behalf of the residents movement I am a member of and I became aware of the Glitch at various Bank of Ireland ATM Machines .It occurred to me that a message was been sent to our political masters from their new masters in Europe and that was that this Glitch could become permanent if the draconian budget was not passed by the Dail .

Another point I want to make is that the new loan from the IMF and the EU is in fact costing us 7.3% if you take into account that we are in fact subsidizing the funds from the IMF and EU by putting up the first 17.5 Billion ourselves and there is no mention of the costs of setting up the loans and subsequent charges .In any case even if you take it that the loans are 5.8%  of this 10 billion is supposed to go to recapitalize the banks and another 25 billion is in reserve so 10 billion is costing 5.8% to the banks.

 Then presumably the banks are to lend this money out to business and mortgage seekers at what interest rate?  It would have to be 5.8% plus the banks mark up of approx 2% .So the banks can only lend these funds for 7.8% ??? Who can afford this penal interest when the rates for every other European are 1% plus bank charge of .75% to 1.75% interest! So we now have a Europe that is charging different interest rates in different parts of Europe are we then looking at a brake up of the Euro by the back door.

Are we Irish now third class citizens of Europe? Back to Bank of Ireland Glitch yesterday, make no mistake we were given a taste of what will happen if we don’t tow the new line the EU is now calling and none of the established political parties have the stomach to stand up and fight for Ireland. They are more concerned with fighting over the carcass of the Irish Republic, waiting to get their hands on the merks and perks.

The Budget

I believe the star has a excellent analyzes of the Budget and I hope to post a copy later on this afternoon

But first I have to go to Dublin .in any case this is yet another dark day for democracy in Ireland  

Pity the nation

 Article sent into us this afternoon
> Pity the nation whose politicians make Gerry Adams look like an attractive option
>
> The moral nadir of any state must surely have come when Mr Gerry Adams MP announces that he is its white knight. Yes, this IRA butcher and architect of countless bombings and killings is abandoning Northern Ireland politics, and even his empty seat in Westminster, to stand in Ireland’s general election next year. He actually thinks that he is entitled to berate the politicians of the Irish Republic for their conduct.
>
> And by God, he could well have a point. Just look at the latest nugget to emerge from the parliamentary sewer that is Leinster House – the equivalent of the Palace of Westminster. James McDaid, a retiring politician on the government side, twice previously achieved national distinction: once for lifting an IRA gunman on to his shoulders to celebrate his having escaped extradition to Britain, and once for drunkenly driving in the wrong direction ten miles up a motorway. (Yes, his ministerial career survived the IRA celebrations, and no, he was not jailed for his motorway escapades.) This fine fellow is in the headlines because of his retirement package of ?250,000 tax free, plus an annual pension of ?75,000.
>
> McDaid is a member of Fianna Fail, a political tribe that has no equivalent in Britain – well, not since the Highland Clearances; and as the depravity and vainglory of clan-based Irish politics become more luridly evident, one can see that (without applauding Culloden and its aftermath) maybe Cumberland had a point. Fianna Fail’s culture has brought the Republic to the point of ruin unprecedented in Europe since the Weimar Republic defaulted on war reparations in 1930. The Irish government‘s borrowings were ?80 billion (as of last weekend: who knows today?), which is nearly ?25,000 for every man, woman and child in the state. But the government is frantically adding millions to that figure every week, in order to maintain outgoings on a public sector of which the grisly McDaid is merely the latest caricature.
>
> There’s much talk in Europe of a bailout of Ireland. I have no idea what this might mean, any more than a journalist in 1914 could have described Third Ypres: by the time you read this, it may well have happened. So be it. Let me deal with the reality as I write. There are two economies in Ireland: the private sector, which is still doing extraordinarily well – industrial output up 12 per cent in the past year, with Irish exports per capita nearly matching those of Germany. And then there is the tragedy of the public sector, an economic Chernobyl, endlessly spewing out toxic clouds of debt, and its adoptive cousin, the banking sector, which two years ago under the bank rescue scheme (obligatory under EU law) effectively became an arm of government.
>
> There are two cultural explanations for the folly that is Ireland. The first is the who-you-know politics that is key to Fianna Fail’s style of government. The second is the other survivor from the pre-modern age: a tradition of flaithiúlacht, which means ruinous generosity, especially with someone else’s money.
>
> As Irish finances plummeted a year ago, the Dublin government declared that it would reduce all public service pay. But a back-door deal struck secretly on Christmas Eve exempted senior civil servants from the pay cuts they had devised. Better still, the foremost civil servant who proposed this exemption then negotiated his own early retirement, McDaid-style: a five-year top-up to his pension, a tax-free golden handshake, and off into the sunset! Even after recent cuts, Ireland’s nurses are the fourth highest-paid in the developed world, and Irish teachers earn 33 per cent more than the developed world average. And best of all, every single member of the government, and of the senior civil service (who together have enabled Ireland to stare eyeball-to-eyeball with Chad), will retire with McDaidian pay-cheques and pensions.
>
> Ireland’s financial figures would only make sense to an autistic Chinese astrophysicist. Its annual budget deficit is 30 per cent of its GDP: that means, if every legal contract, every sale of a house or lollipop or newspaper, and every salary, were hit with an extra 30 per cent tax, and economic activity didn’t stop (which it would), only then could Ireland manage to meet this year’s budget shortfall, without touching its existing debts. As things stand, hundreds of thousands face ruin. Thousands of ‘ghost estates’, built with tax incentives and money borrowed from banks that the Irish taxpayer now owns, stand empty. A house worth ?300,000 two years ago would be lucky to fetch one third that now. In my formerly prosperous local town of Naas – with two boutique wine shops, two florists and six restaurants in 2008 – 40 per cent of the premises now lie empty. Best estimates are that house prices are set to return to their 2008 value only by 2020 – more likely, when Zimbabwe’s Mars probe returns home.
>
> Ireland’s unemployment now stands at 14 per cent, and without the departure of 200,000 Poles it would have been far higher. As it would without the culture of flaithiúlacht working through a toxically powerful trade union movement and protecting the public service to a ludicrous degree. For example, civil servants still get a half-hour paid leave every week to cash their nonexistent pay-cheques, even on holiday. The country is burdened by wasteful tribunals investigating now irrelevant historical events. One tribunal, which has been in existence for 13 years and has cost around ?50 million, met for only three days in 2008. One of its barristers nonetheless charged – and was paid – ?760,000 for that year.
>
> Flaithiúlacht means that Anglo-Irish Bank spent ?250,000 on lost golf balls for its clients (now being paid for by the lucky Irish taxpayer). The state-run Railway Procurement Agency spent ?6,500 on chocolates for the re-opening of a railway station, and many millions trying – but failing – to get integrated tickets between Dublin’s buses and trains. Three RPA officials flew first-class (not business) to Singapore (not Switzerland) to see how ticket-integrating works. Five nights at the Shangri-La hotel followed: total price for this junket, ?35,000. And still no fully integrated tickets.
>
> State projects in Ireland are not so much co-ordinated as allowed to run themselves: the flaithiúlacht school of business management. The Republic has just completed building 1,000 kilometres of motorway, with just one service station, just outside Dublin. You can travel the length of Ireland now without being able to buy any fuel or coffee, or use a loo. A tunnel beneath Dublin to its port was estimated at ?220 million: final price, nearly ?800 million. The cost of widening the orbital motorway around Dublin (no loos, no coffee, natch) went from ?190 million to ?560 million. Dublin has two new tramway systems that don’t meet, with incompatible rolling stocks: the cost of building these two systems soared from ?290 million to ?750 million. In 2005, the state-owned Dublin Airport announced a new ?200 terminal to be completed by 2009: it opens this month, one year late and five times over budget: cost, ?1.2 billion. Meanwhile, the existing terminal is only half full.
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> Thus the iceberg; now the ‘lifeboat’ – Gerry Adams. Counting Bono (who is a truly Irish figure: full of flaithiúlacht with taxpayers’ money for Africa, and a legendary tax avoider at home), Adams is one of the three most famous Irishman in the world. The other is Ian Paisley, who is now Lord Bannside, God help us, and a respected peer of the realm. Yet all those years ago, when Paisley was a ranting sectarian bigot, he was actually speaking the truth. The Irish Republic was a relatively safe operational base for the IRA. Now it seems that the Irish people cannot be trusted to govern themselves without eagerly looking out for an iceberg, and then steering straight for it.
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> That said, Fianna Fail will not look kindly upon the arrival of Gerry Adams in their political bailiwick. Despite all their talk of a united Ireland, they still regard Northern Ireland as ‘elsewhere’. So is Sinn Fein the National Socialist Party of Ireland’s Weimar? Not under Adams; he is too old and weary. But who knows what fledgling he has under his wing? Who knows what budding monster lurks among the higher numbers of Sinn Fein today?
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> It’s said that Freud regarded the Irish as being immune to psychoanalysis. Well, that’s a shame, because the real issue is not Fianna Fail and its addiction to flaithiúlacht so much as why the Irish people repeatedly give that party the key to the drinks cabinet of government. It was Einstein who said that the definition of stupidity is doing the same thing over and over again, and each time expecting a different result; which pretty much describes the conduct of the Irish electorate. And now we have Ireland’s own mass-going Gerry Adams, offering his unique moral perspectives on the Republic’s problems. Which might seem rather like Hannibal Lecter giving Socratic advice to the Royle Family, but that would be a false comparison – for Ireland’s politicians and civil servants, with their guaranteed pensions, have already collared Ireland’s silverware. So, yes, Gerry Adams really does have a point.

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