FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Austerity Grips Ireland

by CAOIMHGHIN Ó CROIDHEÁIN

Dublin.

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/).

Caoimhghin Ó Croidheáin is an Irish artist who has exhibited widely around Ireland. His work consists of paintings based on cityscapes of Dublin, Irish history and geopolitical themes.  His blog of critical writing based on cinema, art and politics along with research on a database of Realist and Social Realist art from around the world can be viewed country by country at http://gaelart.blogspot.ie/.

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

Weekend Edition
February 24, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Exxon’s End Game Theory
Pierre M. Sprey - Franklin “Chuck” Spinney
Sleepwalking Into a Nuclear Arms Race with Russia
Paul Street
Liberal Hypocrisy, “Late-Shaming,” and Russia-Blaming in the Age of Trump
Ajamu Baraka
Malcolm X and Human Rights in the Time of Trumpism: Transcending the Master’s Tools
John Laforge
Did Obama Pave the Way for More Torture?
Mike Whitney
McMaster Takes Charge: Trump Relinquishes Control of Foreign Policy 
Patrick Cockburn
The Coming Decline of US and UK Power
Louisa Willcox
The Endangered Species Act: a Critical Safety Net Now Threatened by Congress and Trump
Vijay Prashad
A Foreign Policy of Cruel Populism
John Chuckman
Israel’s Terrible Problem: Two States or One?
Matthew Stevenson
The Parallax View of Donald Trump
Norman Pollack
Drumbeat of Fascism: Find, Arrest, Deport
Stan Cox
Can the Climate Survive Electoral Democracy? Maybe. Can It Survive Capitalism? No.
Ramzy Baroud
The Trump-Netanyahu Circus: Now, No One Can Save Israel from Itself
Edward Hunt
The United States of Permanent War
David Morgan
Trump and the Left: a Case of Mass Hysteria?
Pete Dolack
The Bait and Switch of Public-Private Partnerships
Mike Miller
What Kind of Movement Moment Are We In? 
Elliot Sperber
Why Resistance is Insufficient
Brian Cloughley
What are You Going to Do About Afghanistan, President Trump?
Binoy Kampmark
Warring in the Oncology Ward
Yves Engler
Remembering the Coup in Ghana
Jeremy Brecher
“Climate Kids” v. Trump: Trial of the Century Pits Trump Climate Denialism Against Right to a Climate System Capable of Sustaining Human Life”
Jonathan Taylor
Hate Trump? You Should Have Voted for Ron Paul
Franklin Lamb
Another Small Step for Syrian Refugee Children in Beirut’s “Aleppo Park”
Ron Jacobs
The Realist: Irreverence Was Their Only Sacred Cow
Andre Vltchek
Lock up England in Jail or an Insane Asylum!
Rev. William Alberts
Grandiose Marketing of Spirituality
Paul DeRienzo
Three Years Since the Kitty Litter Disaster at Waste Isolation Pilot Plant
Eric Sommer
Organize Workers Immigrant Defense Committees!
Steve Cooper
A Progressive Agenda
David Swanson
100 Years of Using War to Try to End All War
Andrew Stewart
The 4CHAN Presidency: A Media Critique of the Alt-Right
Edward Leer
Tripping USA: The Chair
Randy Shields
Tom Regan: The Life of the Animal Rights Party
Nyla Ali Khan
One Certain Effect of Instability in Kashmir is the Erosion of Freedom of Expression and Regional Integration
Rob Hager
The Only Fake News That Probably Threw the Election to Trump was not Russian 
Mike Garrity
Why Should We Pay Billionaires to Destroy Our Public Lands? 
Mark Dickman
The Prophet: Deutscher’s Trotsky
Christopher Brauchli
The Politics of the Toilet Police
Ezra Kronfeld
Joe Manchin: a Senate Republicrat to Dispute and Challenge
Clancy Sigal
The Nazis Called It a “Rafle”
Louis Proyect
Socialism Betrayed? Inside the Ukrainian Holodomor
Charles R. Larson
Review: Timothy B. Tyson’s “The Blood of Emmett Till”
David Yearsley
Founding Father of American Song
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail