Tomás Ó Flatharta

Looking at Things from the Left

Archive for the ‘Fiscal Compact 2012’ Category

“The Promissory Note Deal – A Three Card Trick” OR “another step forward towards the day when we can finally face forward as a people”

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A friend of this blog has unearthed a gem from the Irish Labour Party Presently participating in a coalition government with Fine Gael, under the leadership of Enda Kenny and Eamon Gilmore :

This is what the Labour Party are sending to their councillors today. I’d like to say its delusional but they are not that this stupid, although they obviously think some of their elected officials are. Fair play to Cian O’Ceallachain for publishing this stuff, going against the grain is never easy no matter how stupid it is…

“Farewell to Anglo!
Last night’s legislation brings an end to Anglo Irish Bank and the Irish Nationwide Building Society. These two institutions, names that will live on in ignominy, are forever associated with the recklessness and greed of a tiny clique that brought this country to the edge of financial ruin. These banks, the people who ran them and the golden circle around them were at the very roots of the crisis that has caused so much distress to the Irish people.

In liquidating this institution, we are doing what should have been done on the night of the blanket bank guarantee.

This is another step forward towards the day when we can finally face forward as a people, when the past can finally recede into the distance and when Ireland and the Irish people can see the future that they truly deserve”

Commenting on this one writer suggested

Whoever wrote that is wasted in the Labour Party. Should be out there writing sci-fi

Our Literary Prize Panel agreed unanimously.

Words may fail you, so we present an alternative view from the blog of United Left Alliance TD Joan Collins :

Now you see it, now you don’t. Nobody should be fooled by the government spin on the deal negotiated with the ECB on the debts run up by Anglo Irish and Irish Nationwide. Not a cent of the almost €35 billion poured into these two insolvent banks has been written down. This deal seals the fact that these debts have been fully socialised, that is transferred as a burden onto the Irish people.

Web Link :

Promissory Note Deal Is A Three Card Trick

The Irish government fast-tracked a new law through the Dáil, perhaps scared of a legal case taken by David Hall :

Once upon a time a failed private bank, under criminal investigation, got an IOU/promissory note from the State to pay off its bondholders. In 2011, we voted in a government that promised to tackle this blatant injustice. Last week they defended a legal challenge against the promissory notes. Then, hours before the Supreme Court could hear the appeal, in the dead of night, they rammed emergency legislation through the Dail that transfers those debts from the IBRC/Anglo (an institution we own, and with whom we could have negotiated a write-down or even a write-off of the debt) to the European Central Bank (which is legally prohibited from writing down, or writing off any of this debt – even if they wanted to. Which they don’t.)

So the ‘soft’, legally-suspect, promissory note debts, were turned into legally-sound, ‘hard’, non-negotiable, sovereign debt – without a single cent of it being written off.

In other words, the people paid to represent us have shafted us, and our children and grandchildren. But they still call it a ‘deal’ – kind of like an upgrade, to sit closer to the captain on a Slave Ship. Section 17 of the legislation now gives the Minister for Finance unprecedented powers to restructure these promissory notes with the Central Bank – without oversight and without a vote in the Dail. The terms of this ‘deal’ are being discussed now at:

From this we will learn about ‘savings’ on the interest we’ll pay on this illegitimate debt, and how much icing sugar they intend to sprinkle over the shit sandwich they’ll be force-feeding us over the next few decades.

A delusional Jellyfish Spineless Labour Party has confused surrender and victory.

Gilmore’s outfit is going down in the opinion polls :

Labour Pains in 2013 Opinion Polls

Labour’s Way is now the Gormley-Green Way –

Any bets on how low the Labour Party and Fine Gael will dip in the next opinion polls and real elections?

We need an anti-coalition and anti-capitalist left which has the backbone for a fight, a physical feature absent from the jellyfish Labour Party.

Bad News from Denmark : The 2013 budget: austerity without significant changes

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A crisis looms for the Danish Red-Green Alliance :

Concerning the vote on the 2013 budget, the Red Green Alliance – Enhedslisten has signed an agreement with the government. We have chosen this commentary to present a critical review of this agreement. We conclude that the Finance Law does not meet the prerequisites for voting for it, as adopted by Enhedslisten at its 2010 Congress. An assessment of the political effects of this agreement and the tasks arising from it will be made next week – our national conference next weekend will decide on it. In the immediate future we call for people to transform anger and disappointment into an increased effort in the ongoing struggle against the degradation of unemployment benefits.

Read More Here :

Declaration of the SAP (Denmark)

Time to Make our Voices Heard, Say Organisers of November 24th Anti-Austerity March

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Time to Make our Voices Heard, Say Organisers of November 24th Anti-Austerity March

The groups organising the Anti-Austerity March on November 24th today (Monday, November 19th) held a joint press conference.

Chairing the press conference, Tommy McKearney, speaking on behalf of the Campaign Against Household and Water Taxes, said:

“The CAH&WT is urging all campaign members and supporters to take part in the national pre-budget anti-austerity demonstration in Dublin on Saturday 24th November. With the OECD reporting Ireland’s unemployment rate as the fourth highest among developed countries and clear evidence of household incomes falling, December’s budget must not cause still more damage through further cut-backs. The CAH&WT message is straight-forward : The Coalition must be told loud and clear on 24th November that it was not elected to impoverish the people“, Mr McKearney said.

Speaking on behalf of the Communities Against Cuts campaign, Lynda Scully said:

“This year’s budget will cut €1.7 billion from public expenditure. If the last five budgets are anything to go by, this will be disproportionately targeted at the poorest and most disadvantaged communities, devastating the community sector by removing local services and jobs. If this is allowed to happen we will see closures throughout the country in youth services, child-care, elder care, training and education projects, local and community development and drugs projects. This march is for the people to stand up and let the government know the last five budgets have not worked, and nor will this one”.

John Bissett of the Spectacle of Defiance and Hope said:

“On Saturday November 24th community groups from all over Dublin and beyond will be joining the Spectacle of Defiance and Hope to articulate their anger at the continuation of austerity measures which will be further exacerbated in the upcoming Budget”.

Michael O’Reilly of the Dublin Council of Trade Unions said:

“After five austerity budgets, 300,000 of our fellow citizens are unemployed and one million people are living in deprivation. Yet on December 5th the Government is set to introduce the sixth austerity budget since the onset of the crisis. That is why we are asking people to join us on November 24th and send a clear message to Government Buildings in advance of the Budget: We need to change direction and start focussing on growth and investment rather than destructive cuts”.


For further information contact:


John Bissett (Spectacle of Defiance and Hope) 087-9889132

David Connolly (Communities Against Cuts) 087-9073573

Gregor Kerr (Campaign Against Household and Water Taxes) 086-1501151

Alex Klemm (DCTU) 087-2606139


The November 24th Anti-Austerity March will take place at 1 pm on Saturday, November 24th, starting from Parnell Square

Show Me The Money: Austerity Treaty – fact sheet from ULA Steering Committee member Eddie Conlon

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Show Me The Money

The Yes side’s key argument is that if we don’t vote Yes, we will not be able to access ESM funds for a potential second bailout Therefore, they suggest, we will not be able to access any funds and the result will be a need to close the deficit gap in one year – hence more austerity.

They have been assisted by the media in turning this into the question of the debate, rather than debating the actual contents of the Austerity Treaty, the austerity it imposes, and the attack on democratic rights.

We need to be able to answer this question in such a way as to not turn it into the 18 billion euro question, and instead to turn the discussion back to austerity. When they say “show us the money” we should say “show us the cuts”.

The first thing we should say is:

  1. Seeking another bailout us an admission that government policy has failed. It is ludicrous of the government to tell us that we must take all of the pain associated with austerity so that we can get back to the markets and regain our sovereignty and at the same time tell us we must vote yes so that we can have another bailout and give up our sovereignty yet again. The need for another bailout is because austerity has failed. Therefore we need an alternative to austerity.
  2. A bailout will come at a cost. Firstly we are committed to providing €11b to the ESM if required. Secondly any money that comes from the fund will come with demands for more cuts, privatisation etc. As the Amendment to Art 136 says “The granting of any required financial assistance under the mechanism (ESM) will be made subject to strict conditionality”

But we should be clear that:

  1. The government has colluded in linking the treaty to the ESM
  2. It has a veto on the ESM.
  3. There are other sources of money if the government really wants them
  4. The EU has given commitment to further funding in the future perhaps for its own reasons.
  1. The government have colluded in linking the treaty to the ESM and is engaging in blackmail

The ESM Treaty was agreed unanimously at the European Council in February. Therefore the government did not oppose it. The government are presenting the link between the two treaties as an unfortunate reality. The link was not in the original ESM Treaty of July 2011. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by tomasoflatharta

May 25, 2012 at 5:39 pm

Austerity Treaty: ULA fact Sheet

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Written by tomasoflatharta

May 25, 2012 at 5:30 pm

SYRIZA or the magnificent breakthrough of a unique unifying and original experience

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SYRIZA or the magnificent breakthrough of a unique unifying and original experience

by Yorgos Mitralias
Translated by  John Catalinotto


A nightmare for “those on top,” a hope for “those on the bottom,” SYRIZA made a sensational debut on the political landscape of Europe in deep crisis. After quadrupling its electoral strength on May 6, SYRIZA now aims not only to become the largest party in Greece in the June 17 elections, but to be able to form a left-wing government which will repeal the austerity measures, repudiate the debt and chase the Troika out of the country. So it’s no surprise if SYRIZA fascinates many outside Greece, and if almost everyone is asking about its origin and true nature, its goals and ambitions.

SYRIZA, however, is not exactly a newcomer to the European left. Born in 2004, the Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) would have to attract the attention of political scientists and the international media, not least because from its beginning, it was a totally new and original type of political entity in the landscape of the Greek, European and even global left. Read the rest of this entry »

Austerity will send Greece to hell, warns Syriza Leader Alexis Tsipras

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Austerity will send Greece to hell, warns Alexis Tsipras

A Guardian Article we recommend :

Emboldened by yet another poll showing his party’s wide appeal, the leftwing Syriza leader, Alexis Tsipras, said the international accord that Greece had signed up to in return for rescue loans was catastrophic for the country. Instead of a rescue, the debt-stricken nation has been thrown into its worst recession since the second world war.

“With this policy [bailout agreement] we are going directly to hell,” he told CNN. “To save Europe we need to change direction,” insisted the politician who has pledged to “tear up” the €130bn (£104bn) “memorandum of understanding” that Athens reached with the EU and IMF earlier this year.

The latest Opinion Poll Figures from Greece :  Read the rest of this entry »

Written by tomasoflatharta

May 18, 2012 at 7:13 pm

50 per cent have not paid the house tax – latest figures

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It is official – only 50 per cent of eligible victims have signed up to the house tax – many thanks to Nama Winelake for the story.

NAMA Wine Lake

In advance of the referendum on 31st May, there appears to be a temporary lull in talk of austerity, at least talk by the Government. It almost feels like being back as a child at home when there are visitors, and you have committed some real or imagined transgression and you know as soon as the visitors leave, you’ll be in for a leathering. And the anxiety is that as soon as the referendum is out of the way on 31st May, we won’t be able to escape wall-to-wall coverage about household charges, septic tank registration fees, fines, prosecutions and the results of the expert group looking at charging structures for a new property tax in 2013 – the only certainty is the commitment with the IMF which states in the Memorandum of Understanding (page 83) there will be “an increase in property tax.”

But what about the household charge for…

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Written by tomasoflatharta

May 18, 2012 at 2:47 pm

Ireland’s turn to Reject Austerity Fantasy?

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Gavan Titley and John O’ Brennan argue for Voting No to the Austerity Treaty on May 31

ULA Public Meeting : NO To Austerity, Build a Radical Alternative – Tuesday April 24 @8.00pm, Teachers Club, 36 Parnell Square

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United Left Alliance

Dublin Central Branch

Public Meeting

NO To Austerity, Build a Radical Alternative

Tuesday April 24 @8.00pm, Teachers Club, 36 Parnell Square

Speakers : Joe Higgins TD, Joan Collins TD,

Sheila Judge (DEIS campaigner)

Boycott the Household Tax

The Campaign to boycott payment of the Household Tax has won magnificent support. The anger expressed at meetings and protest shows people are prepared to face the government down.

The United Left Alliance (ULA) fully supports the Campaign. Our members, councillors and TDs support the boycott of the tax and stand with those resisting the charge.

Labour & Fine Gael Bail Out Bankers

Labour and Fine Gael promised to stand up to the EU-IMF. Labour even threatened to ‘burn the bondholders’. Now they have made a conscious decision to bailout bankers and speculators and every dirty trick in the book will be used to threaten people to force them to pay this unjust tax.

VOTE NO to Austerity Treaty on May 31

Austerity is being imposed to pay off the gambling debts of the banks. The government wants to enshrine these policies in the Constitution by signing up to a European Treaty that will restrict the ability of states to fund public investment to create jobs. The passing of this treaty will lead to ever more cuts in health and education and more misery for the majority of people. It must be opposed.

Wealth Tax Will Fund New Jobs

The ULA is opposed to all forms of austerity:

making ordinary people pay for a crisis that was not of their making. Ireland is not broke and austerity is not inevitable. The richest 5% have a combined wealth of €219 billion. A wealth tax on these resources and a refusal to pay bank debts could generate billions for a programme of job creation.

Build A Radical Political Alternative

The growing opposition to austerity must be linked. The ULA believes it is time to build a radical political alternative. The ULA stands for the creation of a new party for working people that stands for democratic public ownership of the resources of the economy that can guarantee a decent standard of living for all. It does not believe that there is a just or sustainable solution to the current crises based on the capitalist market and bowing to the power of speculators.

We believe there needs to be a wide debate, involving all those groups and individuals opposed to austerity, about the best way to build a new organisation to represent working people, the unemployed and the marginalised.

Come to the Public Meeting, join the debate and get involved in the fightback.

The ULA, formed in November 2010, is an Alliance of People Before Profit , the Socialist Party and the Tipperary Workers and Unemployed Action Group. It has five TDs, an MEP, and councillors throughout the country. It is now building branches in all areas to provide active opposition to the austerity policies of the government.

For more information contact Donal at 087 7552559 or Colm at 087 2947100

United Left Alliance at