|The Central Statistics Office stopped recording the massive annual increase in public sector wages in 2008.I wonder why??|
Public Sector Average Weekly Earnings (1988 to 2008) (Euro) by Type of Public Sector Employment and Year
|Administrative Civil Servants||538.58||597.87||621.87||648.63||724.97||776.24||819.48||860.35||898.89|
|Industrial Civil Servants||460.96||506.99||524.22||534.22||562.57||627.63||676.20||691.00||742.85|
|Others in the Public Sector||309.49||384.93||479.81||432.48||478.03||430.53||418.05||423.01||483.56|
|An Garda Siochana||837.87||939.67||945.21||959.86||1,058.75||1,096.77||1,170.25||1,205.95||1,207.24|
|Secondary education (excl. VECs & ITs)||685.02||753.21||801.19||848.41||935.58||970.37||998.67||1,045.76||1,078.46|
|Third level education (excl. VECs & ITs)||627.10||691.84||762.92||799.82||875.26||907.86||949.21||1,020.06||1,064.70|
|VECs and Institutes of Technology||560.36||628.28||627.36||669.04||734.46||801.04||817.71||846.35||861.78|
|Non-Local Authority Regional Bodies||615.30||739.34||731.04||787.69||819.83||844.90||879.84||829.93||1,001.89|
|Commercial Semi-State Companies||632.81||697.18||773.45||825.36||874.48||913.84||974.67||1,021.86||1,066.71|
|Non-Commercial Semi-State Companies||646.29||697.10||731.90||765.96||836.23||885.09||920.50||955.07||1,003.10|
|Public Sector (excluding Health)||611.54||671.78||704.28||734.86||797.09||844.16||882.02||922.46||948.91|
|An Garda Siochana (excl. overtime)||737.80||790.40||836.57||862.36||920.76||966.48||983.60||1,003.98||1,076.68|
This is the final release for the Public Sector Employment and Earnings series.
The Quarterly Public Sector Inquiry has been replaced by the Earnings, Hours and Employment Costs Survey (EHECS).
This survey collects data on employment, wages and salaries, hours and other labour costs for all sectors of the economy.
For more information regarding this inquiry, please email: email@example.com
Thursday, September 22, 2011
THE TV3 documentary series The Rise and Fall of Fianna Fáil is probably the first of many broadcast and print reviews of the party that seeks to place political events in a historical context.
The demise of Ireland’s once largest party deserves detailed examination.
“A few months after the spell was broken, the short-term parking-lot attendants at Dublin Airport noticed that their daily take had fallen. The lot appeared full; they couldn’t understand it. Then they noticed the cars never changed. They phoned the Dublin police, who in turn traced the cars to Polish construction workers, who had bought them with money borrowed from Irish banks. The migrant workers had ditched the cars and gone home. Rumor has it that a few months later the Bank of Ireland sent three collectors to Poland to see what they could get back, but they had no luck. The Poles were untraceable: but for their cars in the short-term parking lot, they might never have existed.”
“This time Kelly sent his piece to a newspaper with a far bigger circulation, the Irish Independent . The Independent’s editor wrote back to say he found the article offensive and wouldn’t publish it. Kelly next turned to The Sunday Business Post , but the editor there just sat on the piece. The journalists were following the bankers’ lead and conflating a positive outlook on real-estate prices with a love of country and a commitment to Team Ireland. (“They’d all use this same phrase, ‘You’re either for us or against us,’ ” says a prominent bank analyst in Dublin.) Kelly finally went back to The Irish Times , which ran his article in September 2007.”
“The government had a report thrown together by Merrill Lynch, which declared that “all of the Irish banks are profitable and well capitalised.” The difference between this official line and Kelly’s was too vast to be split. You believed either one or the other, and until September 2008, who was going to believe this guy holed up in his office wasting his life writing about the impact of the Little Ice Age on the English population? “I went on TV,” says Kelly. “I’ll never do it again.”
Kelly wrote his second newspaper article, more or less predicting the collapse of the Irish banks. He pointed out that in the last decade they and the economy had fundamentally changed. In 1997 the Irish banks were funded entirely by Irish deposits. By 2005 they were getting most of their money from abroad. The small German savers who ultimately supplied the Irish banks with deposits to re-lend in Ireland could take their money back with the click of a computer mouse. Since 2000, lending to construction and real estate had risen from 8 percent of Irish bank lending (the European norm) to 28 percent. One hundred billion euros—or basically the sum total of all Irish public bank deposits—had been handed over to Irish property developers and speculators. By 2007, Irish banks were lending 40 percent more to property developers than they had to the entire Irish population seven years earlier. “You probably think that the fact that Irish banks have given speculators €100 billion to gamble with, safe in the knowledge that taxpayers will cover most losses, is a cause of concern to the Irish Central Bank,” Kelly wrote, “but you would be quite wrong.”
T his time Kelly sent his piece to a newspaper with a far bigger circulation, the Irish Independent . The Independent’s editor wrote back to say he found the article offensive and wouldn’t publish it. Kelly next turned to The Sunday Business Post , but the editor there just sat on the piece. The journalists were following the bankers’ lead and conflating a positive outlook on real-estate prices with a love of country and a commitment to Team Ireland. (“They’d all use this same phrase, ‘You’re either for us or against us,’ ” says a prominent bank analyst in Dublin.) Kelly finally went back to The Irish Times , which ran his article in September 2007.
A brief and, to Kelly’s way of thinking, pointless controversy ensued. The public-relations guy at University College Dublin called the head of the department of economics and asked him to find someone to write a learned attack on Kelly’s piece. (The department head refused.) A senior executive at Anglo Irish Bank, Matt Moran, called to holler at Kelly. “He went on about how ‘the real-estate developers who are borrowing from us are so incredibly rich they are only borrowing from us as a favor.’ I wanted to argue, but we ended up having lunch. This is Ireland, after all.” Kelly also received a flurry of worried-sounding messages from financial people in London, but of these he was dismissive: “I get the impression there’s this pool of analysts in the financial markets who spend all day sending scary e-mails to each other.” He never found out how much influence his little newspaper piece exerted on the minds of people who mattered.
It wasn’t until almost exactly one year later, on September 29, 2008, that Morgan Kelly became the startled object of popular interest. The stocks of the three main Irish banks, Anglo Irish, A.I.B., and Bank of Ireland, had fallen by between a fifth and a half in a single trading session, and a run on Irish bank deposits had started. The Irish government was about to guarantee all the obligations of the six biggest Irish banks. The most plausible explanation for all of this was Morgan Kelly’s narrative: the Irish economy had become a giant Ponzi scheme and the country was effectively bankrupt. But it was so starkly at odds with the story peddled by Irish government officials and senior Irish bankers—that the banks merely had a “liquidity” problem and that Anglo Irish was “fundamentally sound”—that the two could not be reconciled. The government had a report thrown together by Merrill Lynch, which declared that “all of the Irish banks are profitable and well capitalised.” The difference between this official line and Kelly’s was too vast to be split. You believed either one or the other, and until September 2008, who was going to believe this guy holed up in his office wasting his life writing about the impact of the Little Ice Age on the English population? “I went on TV,” says Kelly. “I’ll never do it again.”
K elly’s colleagues in the University College economics department watched his transformation from serious academic to amusing crackpot to disturbingly prescient guru with interest. One was Colm McCarthy, who, in the Irish recession of the late 1980s, had played a high-profile role in slashing government spending, and so had experienced the intersection of finance and public opinion. In McCarthy’s view, the dominant narrative inside the head of the average Irish citizen—and his receptiveness to the story Kelly was telling—changed at roughly 10 o’clock in the evening on October 2, 2008. On that night, Ireland’s financial regulator, a lifelong Central Bank bureaucrat in his 60s named Patrick Neary, came live on national television to be interviewed. The interviewer sounded as if he had just finished reading the collected works of Morgan Kelly. Neary, for his part, looked as if he had been dragged from a hole into which he badly wanted to return. He wore an insecure little mustache, stammered rote answers to questions he had not been asked, and ignored the ones he had been asked.
“A banking system is an act of faith: it survives only for as long as people believe it will. Two weeks earlier the collapse of Lehman Brothers had cast doubt on banks everywhere. Ireland’s banks had not been managed to withstand doubt; they had been managed to exploit blind faith. Now the Irish people finally caught a glimpse of the guy meant to be safeguarding them: the crazy uncle had been sprung from the family cellar. Here he was, on their televisions, insisting that the Irish banks were “resilient” and “more than adequately capitalized” … when everyone in Ireland could see, in the vacant skyscrapers and empty housing developments around them, evidence of bank loans that were not merely bad but insane. “What happened was that everyone in Ireland had the idea that somewhere in Ireland there was a little wise old man who was in charge of the money, and this was the first time they’d ever seen this little man,” says McCarthy. “And then they saw him and said, Who the fuck was that??? Is that the fucking guy who is in charge of the money??? That’s when everyone panicked.”
“The first thing you notice when you watch the Irish Parliament at work is that the politicians say everything twice, once in English and once in Gaelic. As there is no one in Ireland who does not speak English and a vast majority who do not speak Gaelic, this comes across as a forced gesture that wastes a great deal of time. “
“The first to take his seat is Bertie Ahern, the prime minister from June 1997 until May 2008 and Political Perp No. 1. Ahern is known both for a native shrewdness and for saying lots of spectacularly dumb-sounding things that are fun to quote. Tony Blair had credited him with a kind of genius in how he brokered the Northern Ireland peace negotiations; on the other hand, seeking to explain the financial crisis, he actually said, “Lehman’s was a world investment bank. They had testicles everywhere.” Ahern spent his last days in office denying he’d accepted bribes from property developers, at least in part because so much of what he did in office seemed justified only if he were being paid by property developers to do it. But Bertie Ahern too obviously believed in the miracle of Irish real estate. After Morgan Kelly published his article predicting the collapse of the Irish banks, for instance, Ahern famously responded to a question about it on national radio by saying, “Sitting on the sidelines, cribbing and moaning is a lost opportunity. I don’t know how people who engage in that don’t commit suicide.”
“Now Ahern is just another Irish backbencher, with a hangdog slouch and a face mottled by broken capillaries. To fill the empty hours, he’s taken a job writing a sports column for the Rupert Murdoch tabloid News of the World , which might just be the least respectable job in global journalism. Ahern’s star, such as it was, has fallen. “
“Just before the closing bell, the two men who sold the Irish people on the notion that they, the people, were responsible not merely for their own disastrous financial decisions but also for the ones made by their banks arrive in the chamber: Prime Minister Brian Cowen and Finance Minister Brian Lenihan. Along with the leader of the opposition, and the second in command of their own party, both are offspring of politicians who died in office: Irish politics is a family affair. Cowen happens also to have been the minister of finance from 2004 until mid-2008, when most of the bad stuff happened. He is not an obvious Leader of Men. His movements are sullen and lumbering, his face numbed by corpulence, his natural resting expression a look of confusion. One morning a few weeks before, he went on national radio sounding, to well-trained Irish ears, drunk. To my less trained ones he sounded merely groggy, but the public is in no mood to cut him a break. (Four different Irish people told me, on great authority, that Cowen had faxed Ireland’s 440-billion-euro bank guarantee into the European Central Bank from a pub.) And the truth is, if you were to design a human being to maximize the likelihood that people would assume he drank too much, you’d have a hard time doing better than the Irish prime minister”
“A mile from the conference table where we take our seats is a moonscape of vast, two-year-old craters from which office parks were once meant to rise. There are fully finished skyscrapers that sit empty, water pooling on their lobby floors. There’s a skeleton of a tower, cranes resting on either side like parentheses, which was meant to house Anglo Irish Bank. There’s a city dump for which a developer paid 412 million euros in 2006—and which is now, when you include the cleanup costs, valued at zero. “Ireland is very unusual,” says William Newsom, who has more than 30 years of experience valuing commercial real estate for Savills in London. “There are whole swaths of either undeveloped land with planning permission or even partially developed sites which, I believe, for practical purposes have zero value.” The peak of the Irish madness is frozen in time, for all to see. There’s even an empty Starbucks, in the heart of what was meant to be a global financial center to rival London’s, where a carton of low-fat milk curdles beside a silver barista pitcher. The finance minister might as well be standing in Pompeii and saying that actually the volcano wasn’t really worth mentioning. Just a little lava! “
“A week later the department hired investment bankers from Merrill Lynch to advise it. Some might say that if you were asking Merrill Lynch for financial advice in 2008 you were already beyond hope, but that is not entirely fair. The bank analyst who had been most prescient and interesting about the Irish banks worked for Merrill Lynch. His name was Philip Ingram. In his late 20s, and a bit quirky—at the University of Cambridge he had studied zoology—Ingram had done something original and useful: he’d shined a new light on the way Irish banks lent against commercial real estate.
The commercial-real-estate loan market is generally less transparent than the market for home loans. Deals between bankers and property developers are one-offs, on terms unknown to all but a few insiders. The parties to any loan always claim it is prudent: a bank analyst has little choice but to take them at their word. But Ingram was skeptical of the Irish banks. He had read Morgan Kelly’s newspaper articles and even paid Kelly a visit in his university office. To Ingram’s eyes, there undoubtedly appeared to be a vast difference between what the Irish banks were saying and what was really happening. To get at it he ignored what they were saying and went looking for knowledgeable insiders in the commercial-property market. He interviewed them, as a journalist might. On March 13, 2008, six months before the Irish real-estate Ponzi scheme collapsed, Ingram published a report, in which he simply quoted verbatim what British market insiders had told him about various banks’ lending to commercial real estate. The Irish banks were making far riskier loans in Ireland than they were in Britain, but even in Britain, the report revealed, they were the nuttiest lenders around: in that category, Anglo Irish, Bank of Ireland, and A.I.B. came, in that order, first, second, and third. “
For a few hours the Merrill Lynch report was the hottest read in the London financial markets, until Merrill Lynch retracted it. Merrill had been a lead underwriter of Anglo Irish’s bonds and the corporate broker to A.I.B.: they’d earned huge sums of money off the growth of Irish banking. Moments after Phil Ingram hit the Send button on his report, the Irish banks called their Merrill Lynch bankers and threatened to take their business elsewhere. The same executive from Anglo Irish who had called to scream at Morgan Kelly called a Merrill research analyst to scream some more. Ingram’s superiors at Merrill Lynch hauled him into meetings with in-house lawyers, who toned down the report’s pointed language and purged it of its damning quotes from market insiders, including its many references to Irish banks. And from that moment everything Ingram wrote about Irish banks was edited, and bowdlerized by Merrill Lynch’s lawyers. At the end of 2008, Merrill fired him. One of Ingram’s colleagues, a fellow named Ed Allchin, was also made to apologize to Merrill’s investment bankers individually for the trouble he’d caused them by suggesting there was still money to be made on shorting Irish banks.”
“It would have been difficult for Merrill Lynch’s investment bankers not to know, at some level, that in a reckless market the Irish banks had acted with a recklessness all their own. But in the seven-page memo to Brian Lenihan—for which the Irish taxpayer forked over to Merrill Lynch seven million euros—they kept whatever reservations they may have had to themselves. “All of the Irish banks are profitable and well capitalised,” wrote the Merrill Lynch advisers, who then went on to suggest that the banks’ problem wasn’t at all the bad loans they had made but the panic in the market. “
“What exactly was said in meetings on the night of September 29, 2008, remains, amazingly, something of a secret. The government has refused Freedom of Information Act-type requests for records. But gathered around the conference tables inside the prime minister’s offices was an array of top government and finance officials, including Lenihan, Cowen, the attorney general, and bank officials and regulators. Eventually they brought in the heads of the two yet-to-be-disgraced big Irish banks: A.I.B. and Bank of Ireland. Evidently they either lied to Brian Lenihan about the extent of their losses or didn’t know themselves what those were. Or both. “At the time they were all saying the same thing,” an Irish bank analyst tells me. “ ‘We don’t have any subprime.’ ” What they meant was that they had avoided lending to American subprime borrowers; what they neglected to mention was that, in the general frenzy, all of Ireland had become subprime.
“The report from Merrill Lynch, which touted the banks as fundamentally sound, buttressed whatever story they told the finance minister. Ireland’s financial regulator, Patrick Neary, had echoed Merrill’s judgment. Morgan Kelly was still viewed as a zany egghead; at any rate, no one who took him seriously was present in the room. Anglo Irish’s stock had fallen 46 percent that day; A.I.B.’s had fallen 17 percent; there was a fair chance that when the stock exchange reopened one or both of them would go out of business. In the general panic, absent government intervention, the other banks would have gone down, too. Lenihan faced a choice: Should he believe the people immediately around him or the financial markets? Should he trust the family or the experts? He stuck with the family. Ireland gave its promise. And the promise sank Ireland. “
“These private bondholders didn’t have any right to be made whole by the Irish government. The bondholders didn’t even expect to be made whole by the Irish government. Not long ago I spoke with a former senior Merrill Lynch bond trader who, on September 29, 2008, owned a pile of bonds in one of the Irish banks. He’d already tried to sell them back to the bank for 50 cents on the dollar—that is, he’d offered to take a huge loss, just to get out of them. On the morning of September 30 he awakened to find his bonds worth 100 cents on the dollar. The Irish government had guaranteed them! He couldn’t believe his luck. Across the financial markets this episode repeated itself. People who had made a private bet that went bad, and didn’t expect to be repaid in full, were handed their money back—from the Irish taxpayer “
“Lenihan offered a new reason for the government’s gift to private investors: the bonds were owned by Irishmen. Up until then the government’s line had been that they had no idea who owned the bank’s bonds. Now they said that, if the Irish government didn’t eat the losses, Irish credit unions and insurance companies would pay the price. The Irish, in other words, were simply saving the Irish. This wasn’t true, and it provoked a cry of outrage from the credit unions, which said that they owned hardly any of the bonds. A political investigative blog called Guido Fawkes somehow obtained a list of the Anglo Irish foreign bondholders: German banks, French banks, German investment funds, Goldman Sachs. (Yes! Even the Irish did their bit for Goldman.) “
“It’s more than two years since the Irish government foisted the losses of the Irish banks on the Irish people, and in that time there have been only two conspicuous acts of social unrest. In May 2009, at A.I.B.’s first shareholder meeting after the collapse, a senior citizen hurled rotten eggs at the bank’s executives. And early one morning in September 2010, a 41-year-old property developer from Galway named Joe McNamara, who had painted his cement mixer with anti-banker slogans, climbed inside the cab, drove through Dublin, and, after cutting the brake lines, stalled the machine up against the gates of the Parliament. The elderly egg thrower was a distant memory, but McNamara was still, more or less, in the news: declining requests for interviews. “Joe is a private person,” his lawyer told me. “He feels like he’s made his point. He doesn’t want any media attention.”
“Smack in the middle of the tiny village of Keel, was the source of all of Joe McNamara’s financial troubles: a giant black hole, surrounded by bulldozers and building materials. He’d set out in 2005 to build a modest one-story hotel, with 12 rooms. In April 2006, with the Irish property market exploding, he’d expanded his ambition and applied for permission to build a multi-story luxury hotel. At exactly that moment, the market turned. “We went away in June of 2006,” Ronan O’Driscoll, the Savills broker, had told me. “We came back in September and everything had just stopped. How does everyone decide at once that it is time to stop—that it’s become mad?” For the past four years the hotel’s site had scarred the village. But it wasn’t until early 2010 that Anglo Irish Bank, which had lent McNamara the money to develop it, threatened to force him into receivership.
This is alongside preparations for a new property tax and a water tax. Despite all the confusion and denial from government on this issue, it's clear that no matter what they end up calling it, a new tax connected to the home is imminent.
Yet another broken promise! Before the election, Fine Gael said there would be no water tax without meters, while Labour said that there would be no water tax at all! Clearly they think that they can bulldoze their way to imposing a raft of new stealth charges and squeeze yet another pound of flesh from ordinary workers and our families, while they continue to line the pockets of unsecured bondholders.
Let them take note - they are not going to get away with this. In the mid-1990s, the Socialist Party was to the forefront of mass campaigns of civil disobedience that made the water charges uncollectable and forced the government to abolish them. Similar campaigns of people power made the Poll Tax uncollectable and led to the downfall of Margaret Thatcher. The catch-call of that campaign was "Can't Pay! Won't Pay!" and there is no doubt this new charge will be met with a similar opposition.
Attendees to the €420 per head inaugural Water Metering Summit in Croke Park on 31 May were met with a lively and determined protest of United Left Alliance and No Water Tax activists to let them know that they will be met by a mass campaign of civil disobedience on this issue. The conference was organised with the backing of the likes of Celtic Anglian Water and addressed by no less than the Minister for the Environment himself. You could almost see the dollar signs lit up in the eyes of engineers from companies hoping to win contracts for installing water meters in approximately 1.2 million homes, at an estimated cost to the state of €600 million.
Many of those in attendance are already sniffing around Ireland's water and waste water systems, with a proliferation of “Design, Build and Operate” contracts being awarded to public private partnerships, despite costing the state more in the long run. Workers from local authorities who presently run the state's water supply met with United Left Alliance TDs last month to express their opposition to a speeding up of this process.
It is clear that the introduction of meters has nothing to do with efforts to conserve water but rather to try and individualise the supply, ultimately making it easier to privatise. Combined with the intention to set up Irish Water, it is clear that there are powerful vested interests pushing in this direction.
We will not allow an environmental cover to be used to hide what is in reality an attempt to extort extra taxation. With over 60% leakage of the public water supply in some areas, it is a joke to spend money on meters, which simply measure rather than modify the supply. If they were serious about addressing water conservation, then they should invest in a massive programme to repair the water network, and a grant scheme to retrofit homes with water saving devices.
‘Politicians have been humiliated, so too have bankers — and some of them should go to jail. In Iceland, they put their politicians on trial; here we put them on TV3. But they are taking flak.
Yet, all the while, behind the scenes, secure with their bullet-proof contracts and their gold-plated pensions, the real establishment continues to draw huge salaries in the shadows.They answer to no one, are threatened by no one and continue to operate with impunity while they tell the rest of us to tighten our belts.”
If the people of Ireland capitulate meekly to the new flat rate taxes in the next budget the government will continue to take the soft option of crucifying the poor and the private sector.
1“It can only be hoped that the presence of the troika forces Kenny and his Government into seeing sense and that they once and for all declare Croke Park to be dead.
Ed Walsh, the founding president of the University of Limerick, hit the nail on the head in his speech at Beal na Blath last Sunday. "The Croke Park deal happened . . . yet one more incredible deal the public-sector unions managed to extract from a weak and disorientated former Government," he said.
It is simply staggering that after three years of economic chaos, a change of Government and the arrival of the IMF we are still entertaining the public-sector unions at all. Actually, it is worse than staggering, it is downright lunacy. The country long ago stopped being able to afford the shameless indulgence of the cosseted public sector.”
2“present governor, Patrick Honohan, replaced John Hurley while Matthew Elderfield was brought in from Bermuda to replace the widely disgraced regulator Pat Neary. Both Mr Neary and Mr Hurley received substantial pay-offs to depart.
Mr Neary, who retired in 2008, got a massive €630,000 pay-off. This was despite his office having knowledge about the secret directors' loans of up to €129m to ex-Anglo Irish Bank chairman Sean FitzPatrick for at least 11 months.
Under the terms of his contract, Mr Neary will also receive a guaranteed public service pension of almost €143,000 a year, €2,750 per week, for the rest of his life.
Last year, the Department of Finance's top official at the time of the bank guarantee received a pension top-up worth €725,000 in added years on his retirement earlier this year, the Sunday Independent can reveal.
As a result, David Doyle, who stepped down at the age of 60 at the beginning of February 2010, walked away with an initial golden handshake worth almost €600,000 and has seen the value of his pension increased significantly.
His top-up and severance payment are among a number included in a €10.5m pension lump sum payout to top civil servants by all government departments since 2005”
(both quotes from the Irish Independent)
Hogan trashes independent review of his party's total and utter collusion with Fianna Fail and Labour councilors in the creation of Ireland's infamous ghost Estates
"As reported by RTE this afternoon, the independent review of planning irregularities in six local authorities, commissioned by former Minister of Environment, John Gormley, has been terminated by the Department of Environment and will be replaced by an internal review instead. The independent review was to be carried out by a panel of independently appointed reviewers (who have been recruited) and was due to focus on planning processes, systems and policies in Dublin and Cork City councils, as well as county councils in Carlow, Meath, Galway and Cork. The reason given by the Department is that the format for the review was considered ‘inappropriate’ by Minister for Environment, Phil Hogan TD and Minister of State for Housing and planning, Willie Penrose, TD.
By ‘inappropriate’ one presumes they mean ‘independent’ with a license to ask difficult and awkward questions. By downgrading the review to an internal process, the Department has left itself open to accusations that it is seeking to narrow the parameters, remit, autonomy, openness and transparency of any review. Whether such accusations are fair or not, presentation and process are important in creating trust, faith and confidence in the system of governance. Downgrading a review does not built such sentiment.
There have been many accusations that planning has not worked as effectively as it should in Ireland and that clientelism, cronyism and in some cases corruption has been at work in the system. An independent review seems entirely warranted to identify issues that need redress and reform. If planning had been working properly, neither the councils involved, nor the Department of Environment, should have anything to fear from such a review. Indeed, if that were the case, the review would highlight examples of best practice that other councils might learn from. The fact that such a review was sought by the last government suggests that this is far from the case. For an interesting account of planning irregulatories in Carlow, one of the councils that is due for review, see this article in The Village. Also, see this article in the Independent.
The present government were elected in part on a promise to address shortcomings in public administration and the political system – planning falls into the domain of both. Cancelling an independent review does not instil faith that such a mandate is being persued. Instead, it suggests that there are issues that need to be buried and glossed over. We got independent reviews into the banking sector. We need one with respect to the planning system to either identify and address shortcomings or to create confidence and faith in the planning system."
"Ryanair has the lowest air fares in Europe and we make a profit. Aer Lingus loses money most of the time and has high fares here in Ireland, mostly because it's government-controlled and therefore it's run to satisfy a trade union.
"But you're not allowed to say that in this country, because we've had 20 years of social partnership. But that has helped to destroy the economy."http://www.independent.ie/national-news/oleary-ill-quit-ireland-if-they-raise-income-tax-2853865.html
The picket lines are up. This past weekend 45,000 Verizon workers on the East Coast of the USA, represented by the Communications Workers of America (CWA) and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW), went on strike. The cause of the strike was the company’s attempts to win massive concessions from the unions. Verizon argued that the employees should give up gains they had won over many years of struggle and negotiation in previous contract fights.
As the Wall Street Journal put it, “Verizon Communications Inc. is seeking some of the biggest concessions in years from its unions.” Demands include the weakening of health-care benefits, cuts in pensions, reduced job security, and elimination of paid holidays such as Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. This despite the fact that the company reported billions in profit last year, and that, in the words of New York Times reporter Steven Greenhouse, “Verizon’s top five executives received a total of $258 million in compensation, including stock options, over the last four years.” The unions argue that Verizon has made some $20 billion in profit in the same time period, and Citizens for Tax Justice has pointed out that the company has done so while paying little to nothing in corporate income taxes.http://dissentmagazine.org/atw.php?id=530
Thursday August 11 2011
OUSTED tycoon Sean Quinn yesterday broke his silence on Monday night's arson attack against the home of the new Quinn Group boss, saying he had "no knowledge whatsoever of any unlawful acts" and had already called on agitators to cease their campaign.
The comments came after Quinn Group chief Paul O'Brien took to the airwaves to call on Mr Quinn to "renounce and condemn" the attacks "before someone is really hurt".
In a lunchtime radio interview, Mr O'Brien also claimed he was "flabbergasted" that Mr Quinn had refused a previous request by the Quinn Group board to condemn the attacks, "which are clearly being carried out in his name".
Hours later, Mr Quinn's spokesman issued the businessman's first public statement on the campaign of intimidation and sabotage that has been waged against Mr O'Brien since he joined the Quinn Group in April following its controversial takeover by Anglo Irish Bank.