Bertie's 'testimony' to the banking enquiry could hardly have provided a better example of the way politicians in this country understand they are protected from any consequences of their wrongdoing. Apparently we are to believe that he hardly knew any developers. Even the Mail is outraged, but what will be done about it?
The Bolt is an abandoned hostel for the homeless that has been occupied and brought back into use by an alliance of 6 housing groups in Dublin.
In this video Solidarity Times interview one of the organisers in some detail about the building, support from local residents and what has been going on with the council.
Irish government policy is creating a fresh property boom that is once more driving the most marginalised onto the streets and into insecure accommodation. The deliberate creation of housing scarcity has seen huge numbers being evicted by greedy landlords, normally making use of the rights stripping clause that allows them to claim they are intending to move a family member into the property. Right now in Dublin who doesn’t have friends being evicted under that clause?
Friday June 12ths shock closure of the iconic Clery’s department store in Dublin shows how the law is set up to favour capital and screw workers. Workers are being told there may be no additional redundancy or owed holiday payments as the company is in debt. But this is only the case because right before the closure the largest asset, the building itself, was separated off from the accumulated debts. This was almost certainly legal under our system but of such obvious dubious morality that the workers could expect massive popular support if they occupied the building on a permanent ongoing basis.
The next water charges march happens in Dublin June 20th. Here are 3 reasons why you should do your best to be on it.
1. Both the government and Irish Water are refusing to release figures about the number of people who have not paid the bills. The reason is clearly that so far this figure is very high - if it wasn’t they would be sure to have it plastered all over every newspaper front page. A large turnout for this demonstration is important so that isolated non-payers do not get a sense that non-payment is not flagging.
2. Meter installation blockades have continued all around the country but for four weeks one well known Dublin protester Steven Bennett has been held on remand in Cloverhill prison because he refused to accept stringent bail conditions that would have prevented him protesting. The government abandoned attempts to intimidate protesters with the court injunction after the jailing of the Edenmore 4 backfired and resulted in mass protests. It’s essential that they continue to understand that repression will lead to protest and that they can’t pick off people they view as uncontrollables.
The last 24 hours (29th May) have demonstrated the truth of 'If you want to know who really rules you find out who you are not allowed to criticise'. As the image shows billionaire media mogul Denis O'Brien has managed to almost completely suppress stories about him in the few outlets he does not control.
Those media outlets he has ownership of seem to have somehow missed TD Catherine Murphy's revelation that somehow O'Brien had managed to only pay 1.25% interest on the 500 million he owed to IBRC (in effect to us) rather than the expected market rate of around 7.5%. The difference costs us about 30 million a year.
This isn't the first story of O'Brien getting a good deal from the IBRC. Almost a year ago the Irish Times reported "in a deal that again involved the writing down of bank debt. O’Brien took a controlling interest after he bought about €304 million of the Topaz Energy Group’s] loans from the State-owned Irish Bank Resolution Corporation (IBRC), in liquidation,for a reported €150 million."
The saga of Denis O'Brien trying to stop the media reporting on his relationship with IBRC continues this evening. A short while ago a story reporting on what was said about the deal in the Dáil today vanished from the Irish Times website. Our picture is the screen grab of that story.
I remember being in a tent at Electric Picnic perhaps 3 years ago when Christy Moore belted out the Pogues 'Thousands are Sailing' to 15,000 very emotional people. For sure there were other sources but a good part of the emotion was the sense that it was all happening again.
Homelessness in Ireland could be solved at a stroke by allowing people without homes to move into the 302,602 empty houses in the country.
That figure comes from the National Institute of Regional and Spatial Analysis. It's equivalent of half the homes in Dublin, many of the vacants being in ghost estates that developers have been deliberately allowing to fall apart.