Austerity Grips Ireland



Despite the fact that the Irish people are currently enduring endless austerity and cutbacks, exports are booming. The Irish Exporters Association (IEA) reports a 10 percent rise in the export of goods and services in Ireland between July and September compared to the same period a year ago. Exports are set to hit a record €183.7bn this year and with the corporate tax rate at 12.5 per cent business elites are doing nicely in Ireland. Meanwhile, the Irish government is handing out a large percentage of the budget to unsecured bondholders to the tune of €18 billion this year with a couple of billion more to go before year’s end. According to Diarmuid O’Flynn writing in his blog bondwatchireland:
“Please know, we are being betrayed by our own. We are betrayed by our own government, who are colluding with the ECB in implementing a policy of private interests over public good, of the primacy of banks over people; we are betrayed by a national media who have abandoned their primary duty of objectively and honestly informing the people of what’s happening.”
However, the media has been busy reporting the jailing of Sean Quinn who was formerly Ireland’s wealthiest man. He was sentenced to nine weeks in prison for failing to comply with a court order having been previously found guilty of contempt of court, for hiding assets from the former Anglo Irish Bank. It is a sign of the desperation of the Irish people for work that the disgraced businessman (along with his son and nephew) has been the subject of large demonstrations in support for the Quinn family.

Meanwhile the Irish Central Statistics Office (CSO) is showing that with all the cutbacks and money being diverted into private interests, household savings are falling, banking business is shrinking and the Government’s finances are deteriorating. In the area of education and health, working conditions and cutbacks are having demoralizing effects on society as a whole. For example, the Teachers’ Union of Ireland (TUI) commissioned a new independent survey which showed “the massive impact that cutbacks have had on schools all around the country. In particular, the loss of posts of responsibility such as year head have severely damaged the support framework so important for marginalised students” and that “reduced family incomes have had a significant detrimental impact on students’ capacity to purchase school books and other general classroom materials.”  In a recent article Consultant Dr Altaf Naqvi “warned that morale among young doctors — both Irish and from overseas — is at ‘rock bottom’.” He states “I have worked in other countries such as Iran and Saudi Arabia but conditions are far worse here and doctors — both national and from overseas — are on the verge of nervous breakdowns, things are at crisis point”.

Business and political elites are determined to make ordinary Irish people pay for the financial crisis with a whole raft of new taxes and charges coming down the line over the coming year. New annual water and property charges of up to €800 a year combined with a ‘gathering tsunami of mortgage arrears’ whereby “about 23 per cent of mortgage holders were either in arrears or had their mortgages restructured following consultations with the banks” may soon create the kind of vocal reaction and demonstrations perceived to be strangely lacking in Ireland up to now.

Caoimhghin Ó Croidheáin is a prominent Irish artist who has exhibited widely around Ireland. His work consists of drawings and paintings and features cityscapes of Dublin, images based on Irish history and other work with social/political themes (http://gaelart.net/).

October 07, 2015
Nancy Scheper-Hughes
Witness to a Troubled Saint-Making: Junipero Serra and the Theology of Failure
Luciana Bohne
The Double-Speak of American Civilian Humanitarianism
Joyce Nelson
TPP: Big Pharma’s Big Deal
Jonathan Cook
Israel Lights the Touchpaper at Al-Aqsa Again
Joseph Natoli
The Wreckage in Sight We Fail To See
Piero Gleijeses
Jorge Risquet: the Brother I Never Had
Andrew Stewart
Do #BlackLivesMatter to Dunkin’ Donuts?
Rajesh Makwana
#GlobalGoals? The Truth About Poverty and How to Address It
Joan Berezin
Elections 2016: A New Opening or Business as Usual?
Dave Randle
The Man Who Sold Motown to the World
Adam Bartley
“Shameless”: Hillary Clinton, Human Rights and China
Binoy Kampmark
The Killings in Oregon: Business as Usual
Harvey Wasserman
Why Bernie and Hillary Must Address America’s Dying Nuke Reactors
Tom H. Hastings
Unarmed Cops and a Can-do Culture of Nonviolence
October 06, 2015
Vijay Prashad
Afghanistan, the Terrible War: Money for Nothing
Mike Whitney
How Putin will Win in Syria
Paul Street
Yes, There is an Imperialist Ruling Class
Paul Craig Roberts
American Vice
Kathy Kelly
Bombing Hospitals: 22 People Killed by US Airstrike on Doctors Without Borders Hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan
Ron Jacobs
Patti Smith and the Beauty of Memory
David Macaray
Coal Executive Finally Brought Up on Criminal Charges
Norman Pollack
Cold War Rhetoric: The Kept Intelligentsia
Cecil Brown
The Firing This Time: School Shootings and James Baldwin’s Final Message
Roger Annis
The Canadian Election and the Global Climate Crisis
W. T. Whitney
Why is the US Government Persecuting IFCO/Pastors for Peace Humanitarian Organization?
Jesse Jackson
Alabama’s New Jim Crow Far From Subtle
Joe Ramsey
After Umpqua: Does America Have a Gun Problem….or a Dying Capitalist Empire Problem?
Murray Dobbin
Rise Up, Precariat! Cheap Labour is Over
October 05, 2015
Michael Hudson
Parasites in the Body Economic: the Disasters of Neoliberalism
Patrick Cockburn
Why We Should Welcome Russia’s Entry Into Syrian War
Kristine Mattis
GMO Propaganda and the Sociology of Science
Heidi Morrison
Well-Intentioned Islamophobia
Ralph Nader
Monsanto and Its Promoters vs. Freedom of Information
Arturo Desimone
Retro-Colonialism: the Exportation of Austerity as War By Other Means
Robert M. Nelson
Noted Argentine Chemist Warns of Climate Disaster
Matt Peppe
Misrepresentation of the Colombian Conflict
Barbara Dorris
Pope Sympathizes More with Bishops, Less with Victims
Clancy Sigal
I’m Not a Scientologist, But I Wish TV Shrinks Would Just Shut Up
Chris Zinda
Get Outta’ Dodge: the State of the Constitution Down in Dixie
Eileen Applebaum
Family and Medical Leave Insurance, Not Tax Credits, Will Help Families
Pierre-Damien Mvuyekure
“Boxing on Paper” for the Nation of Islam, Black Nationalism, and the Black Athlete: a Review of “The Complete Muhammad Ali” by Ishmael Reed
Lawrence Ware
Michael Vick and the Hypocrisy of NFL Fans
Gary Corseri - Charles Orloski
Poets’ Talk: Pope Francis, Masilo, Marc Beaudin, et. al.
Weekend Edition
October 2-4, 2015
Henry Giroux
Murder, USA: Why Politicians Have Blood on Their Hands
Mike Whitney
Putin’s Lightning War in Syria