Friday, February 13, 2009




A new opinion poll to be published in the “Irish Times” today provides devastating news for Taoiseach, Brian “Biffo” Cowen’s shambling Government as his party, Fianna Fáil, is pushed into third place by surging support for the Irish Labour Party and its leader, Éamonn Gilmore, T.D.

The historic results, which have Labour in the lead over Fianna Fáil for the first time in the history of the Republic show the government party at 22%, its lowest rating since the party was founded by Éamonn DeValera in 1926. Labour, at 24%, has gained 10% since the last poll in January in an astonishing turnaround which will have profound affects on the Irish political scene in this year of Local Government and European Parliament elections in June. Labour leader Gilmore is also the most popular leader in the Dáil with 44%, compared to Taoiseach Cowen’s 24% and Fine Gael leader, Enda Kenny at 30%.

Political commentators and politicians alike have been stunned by the shock results and the rapid and catastrophic decline in support for a Government only a year and a half into its five year term. Gilmore’s strong performance in Dáil Éireann backed by finance spokesperson, Joan Burton, has obviously resonated strongly with the public in comparison with the Two Brians, Cowen and Lenihan, bungling and hamfisted attempts to deal with the worst financial crisis in a century with delinquent banks, soaring job losses and a speculative property bubble which Cowen facilitated as Finance Minister for four years.

Labour has now the opportunity, with determined action and political courage to increase its support even further and detach forever from FF their unjustified and merely populist support among working class voters as their vicious attacks on workers standards of living has been their only response to the severe economic deterioration their failed policies have brought about.

The massive, and undoubtedly also of historic proportions, workers demonstration in Dublin on 21 Feabhra/ February next is one such opportunity where the Labour leadership can show their mettle in a very public way and initiate the greatest change in Irish politics since the state was founded. The fine example of the founder of the Labour Party, James Connolly, in taking his place as Commandant General of the forces of the Irish Republic in 1916 comes to mind.

FearFeasa Mac Léinn

Áth Cliath/DUBLIN, 13 Feabhra/February, 2009.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Forget it Biffo!


Scapegoating public sector workers with a 7% levy on their income to add to their pension fund is the one big idea announced in the Dáil today by Brian “Biffo” Cowen as his solution to the current financial crisis. Following months of government dithering accompanied by a sustained campaign of direct slander and abuse of public sector workers, which includes doctors, nurses, transport workers in bus and rail, local authority workers, notably by the O’Reilly Press and Fine Gael, all Cowen’s shambolic government can come up with is this attack on the standard of living of those working in the public sector.
What the government announced yesterday is a direct transfer of wealth from workers to their own pension fund which has already been targeted by the Government for re-distribution to the delinquent Banks to the tune of €6-8Bn. This government is robbing the National Pension Reserve to bail out another gang of robbers, the Commercial Banks, who are the ones primarily responsible for the financial crisis. In other words, the public sector workers are being forced to subsidise the mistakes of a gang of irresponsible and greedy financial tricksters several of whom have departed the scene of the crime while pocketing millions of euros in ill-gotten gains. A new form of social welfare for the rich at the expense of low-paid workers.
Apart from vague references to “broadening the tax base”, something which should have been done years ago, there are no concrete proposals to increase taxes on those holding massive capital assets and cash hoards in this country and various tax-havens abroad. There are no plans for preserving employment as dole queues pass the 300,000 mark. The Government has used their delaying tactics trying to drag the Trade Unions into a cover-up for the failures of the financial system while the fat-cats jettison their toxic debts onto the exchequer and swan off to the Bahamas with their cash hoards. So far, the Trade Unions have refused to be conned in this way and have, quite rightly, rejected the Government’s schemes. There will be the usual shrill headlines in the O’Reilly Press and the outbursts of the Screaming Mimis of TV and Radio about “national interest” and “solidarity” but these harpies should be ignored. What is needed now is an alternative programme of economic re-structuring and development in the real “national interest”, that is the interest of the people who actually do the work which creates the national wealth from the rich resources of land and materials and talented people which we have.
The real way to guarantee buying power is to guarantee decent wages. Instead of reducing wages and cutting jobs and services the Government must create an expanded public enterprise sector, businesses collectively owned by their employees. Waterford Glass is one example of where this could begin. This asset of craft workers and an internationally recognized product should be retained for our economy by setting it up as a worker-owned co-operative with state financial backing. Finance could be provided immediately by nationalising the entire banking system (see FPB’s article below) and directly lend money to companies who make real products or provide services both for our home market and international trade. This is the real solution to the economic crisis, which will occur again and again if the economy is not restructured and we go back to the debt-ridden, wage-cutting, sell-out to foreign monopolies, policies of FF/PD and their cronies in IBEC and CIF.
The so-called “Celtic Tiger” has been a sham and a fraud. It is now beyond time that its inevitable demise be acknowledged and a Government put in office which will rebuild the Irish economy in the interests of those who’s labour by hand and brain creates the wealth that actually exists, as distinct from the paper mountains sat on by the speculators of finance capital.

FearFeasa Mac Léinn
Áth Cliath/DUBLIN, 04 Feabhra/February 2009.