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Today — December 10th 2018The Workers' Party of Ireland

Workers’ Party: Rejection of Cuban medical support will harm Brazil’s most vulnerable

By Eilis Ryan

The Workers’ Party wishes to offer its solidarity and congratulations to the Cuban doctors and healthcare professionals who have worked to bring healthcare to some 3,600 remote municipalities in Brazil since 2013. The politically-motivated attack by President Jair Bolsonaro on the “More Doctors for Brazil” Programme, which has resulted in its closure, will harm the citizens of these 3,600 municipalities more than anybody else.

In its 55 years of medical solidarity, Cuba – itself a country under extreme economic and political pressure – has brought some 400,000 healthcare workers to 164 nations in need of support. It is a record of real solidarity which surpasses much of the so-called “aid” sent by Western nations to poorer regions of the world.

Perhaps even more impressive has been the Cuban emphasis on training doctors and healthcare workers from countries with underdeveloped healthcare systems. Over 35,000 healthcare workers and doctors from more than 100 nations have been trained in Cuba over the past five decades. These qualified workers have provided the basis for accessible, high quality healthcare in their home countries.

President Jair Bolsonaro’s self-created image is one of a ‘moderniser,’ who can bring Brazil into the twenty-first century as an ally of the United States. And yet, because of the closure of the “More Doctors for Brazil” programme, caused directly by Bolsonaro’s actions, more than 700 municipalities will now lose the first ever doctor they had. What sort of a “modern” country is that?

The forced closure of “More Doctors for Brazil” has exposed once again the deepening political fault-line on the American continent, between those nations who strive to develop fair societies which reject the neo-colonial influence of the United States, and those whose leaders are content to remain subservient to US imperialism, if it allows them to enrich themselves and their cronies.

In this ongoing struggle, the Workers’ Party offers its full solidarity to the government of Cuba, and its thanks for the decades of material support Cuba has brought to poor communities around the world.

Workers Party prevents sale of council land at Model Farm Road to private developer

By Eilis Ryan

Cllr. Ted Tynan

Cllr. Ted Tynan (WP)

The Workers’ Party have secured support to retain in public ownership a 4.7 acre site owned by Cork City Council on Model Farm Road, Cork City. The Workers’ Party motion came in response to a proposal by the city council’s management to sell the site to a private developer.

Speaking ahead of a meeting next Monday to further debate the matter, Cllr. Ted Tynan (Workers’ Party) said:
“This site has the potential to hold 100 homes. In the middle of a housing crisis, the city council should be making urgent applications to the Department of Housing for funding to build public housing on the site, to alleviate the crisis.

“Instead, the city management has recommended that we sell the land to a private buyer for a paltry sum of half a million euro – which would barely buy a single home on Model Farm Road. This represents astounding bad value for the council – and those facing housing crisis.”

Tynan continued:
“When the motion to dispose of the site first came to us at a committee meeting last week, I proposed that, instead of agreeing to the sale at next week’s city council meeting, we should recommend that the full council reject the sale. I secured support from other councillors for this, and am now calling on all councillors to support the public ownership of this land, and the housing that can be developed on it.”

Cork city management justified the proposal to sell as being necessary to repay outstanding loans.

Tynan concluded:
“Make no mistake – if this land is sold, the housing built on it will be totally out of the reach of all but the wealthiest buyers. Much of it will be bought up by landlords intent on charging extortionate rent to tenants. It is noteworthy that it is always the land in “high value” neighbourhoods that developers want to get their hands on.

“If the city management is really keen on improving the council’s financial situation, instead of selling off the family silver, it will build public housing affordable and accessible to all, which will save the city huge amounts in the longer term.”

Before yesterdayThe Workers' Party of Ireland

Message of solidarity from the Workers’ Party of Ireland with PAME

By Eilis Ryan

Dear comrades,

The Workers Party of Ireland and the Workers Party Trade Union Group send warm greetings and extend solidarity and congratulations to PAME, the All Workers Militant Front, on the action for a General Strike all over Greece, including more than 50 cities, today, 28th November 2018, under the slogan, “Our Needs in the Frontline – Not the Profits of the Few” and demanding an immediate increase in wages, pensions and social benefits, an increase in minimum salary and the restoration of collective contracts. This action is yet another example of a militant, democratic trade-union front of employees and workers, acting in the interests of the working class and in defence of the rights and achievements of the labour movement against the anti-working class policies of capital, the Greek government and the European Union.

We also extend congratulations and solidarity to those workers who participated in the strike of 14th November 2018 and to the thousands of pensioners who marched on 20th November 2018, demanding a return of the pensions which have been decimated in recent years and for increases in the level of pensions.

We remember the night of 17th November 1973 when tanks were used against the protesting students and workers involved in the uprising against the military junta at the Polytechnic School in Athens. At least 56 people were killed and more than 1,000 were injured. The military regime arrested 2,500 people. Although the revolt had been suppressed in blood, opposition to the regime grew and eight months later (24th July 1974) the dictatorship collapsed.

We salute PAME and the class unions of Greece who this month honoured the 45th anniversary of the uprising and laid wreaths at the Polytechnic building.

The WPI and Irish workers extend their solidarity to PAME, to the class-oriented labour and trade union movement. The future for working people cannot be secured under the failed capitalist system. This can only be guaranteed through workers’ power and socialism.

Gerry Grainger
International Secretary
Lily Kerr
Trade Union Group

Workers Party of Ireland
28th November 2018

Keep Cork Mail Centre open says Cllr. Ted Tynan

By admin

The Workers’ Party has called for urgent government intervention to prevent the closure of An Post’s Cork Mail Centre at Little Island which has reportedly been earmarked for closure with the loss of up to 200 jobs.

Cllr. Ted Tynan

Cllr. Ted Tynan (WP)

Workers’ Party Cork City councillor Ted Tynan said the closure of the Little Island facility would not only cause the loss of hundreds of jobs but would inevitably affect the reliability of postal services in the region and could potentially threaten local delivery offices in Cork city and county.

Cllr. Tynan said it made no sense to close the Cork mail centre or the other regional centres and he predicted that rather than helping An Post to achieve stability, the closure would result in further erosion of its role as the national postal authority.

He said: “The threat to the Cork mail centre is a direct result of the ideologically driven de-regulation of mail delivery in Ireland at the behest of the government and the European Union.  So-called competition is assisting private operators with an anti-union and low-pay agenda to undermine the public postal service”.

The Workers’ Party councillor said that once again the public service role of state owned utilities such as An Post was being abandoned in the continuing race to the bottom.  He called for a united campaign of opposition to the closure of the Cork Mail Centre and said that it was incumbent on individuals and the trade union movement to step up to the plate to prevent this from happening.

The 100,000 square foot facility sorts and distributes up to 500,000 pieces of mail daily throughout Cork, Kerry, Clare, Limerick and Waterford.

Cork Mail Centre

An Post’s Cork Mail Centre at Little Island

Waterford launch takes place of new research revealing extent of religious health and education ownership

By Eilis Ryan

WP calls for public ownership of health and education assets

The Workers’ Party yesterday (Thursday) held the Waterford launch of a new policy document, The Future is Secular charting a path towards state-owned public services.

As well as an analysis of the ownership of both education and health assets, the document proposes a process of divestment which would ensure that the state owns and controls the assets used to deliver public services. The measures proposed include Compulsory Purchase Orders with compensation based on current land zoning.

Speaking after the meeting, Workers’ Party spokesperson in Waterford, Dean McGrath, said:

“If we look the at the trajectory of healthcare and education over the past number of decades, it is clear that a major, unaddressed factor hindering the state’s ability to enhance secular service provision has been the ongoing religious ownership of schools and hospitals – sometimes through opaque and unaccountable networks of companies established for that purpose. ”

McGrath continued:

“In the case of hospitals, we have detailed how companies controlled by religious order receive not only HSE funding, but also infrastructural grants towards infrastructure which those companies then own.”

“This model of funding is both undemocratic and inefficient, and militates against public control of our public services”.

McGrath concluded that Waterford has seen how crucial ownership of buildings and land is to providing secular services, saying:

“In Tramore, the local Educate Together school was left without a premises because of the refusal of Sisters of Charity to allow a former school, now vacant, be used as a new, multi-denominational school. The only way to avoid a repetition of such occurrences is for the government to take full, compulsory ownership of all buildings used to provide publicly-funded education and healthcare. That’s what Waterford needs.”

Government must back Digital Turnover Tax if they are serious about taxing mega-corporations

By Eilis Ryan

The Workers’ Party have said the government must back the Digital Sales Tax, proposed by the European Commission, if they are serious about taxing mega-corporations.

The turnover tax would involve taxing all digital transactions in the country in which they take place, as opposed to just the profits the companies in question record at the end of a year.

Cllr. Éilis Ryan, who will run for MEP in Dublin next May, said:
“One thing that should at this point be abundantly clear, is that rooting the Irish economy in tax breaks for mega-corporations has proved unstable and incapable of delivering an equal society and decent public services. It’s time we move to a new, more secure economic model.

“The digital turnover tax makes absolute sense to everyone except those whose primary objective is defending the right of Apple, Google and Facebook to pay tax.”

Cllr. Ryan continued:
“Tech giants make money in many places they don’t have a physical presence, and this must of course be taxed properly in those places. It is ludicrous for Ireland to play the role of defending Apple and Google’s right to transfer profits into Ireland, and account for them in a way that minimises their tax bills.

“Furthermore, because the proposed tax is a tax on turnover, and not just profits, it allows us to tax the money actually made by these mega-companies – and not just the profits they choose to report to us following complex accounting processes.”

Cllr. Ryan concluded:
“It is disappointing to once again see cross-party unity, stretching from Fine Gael to Sinn Féin, in opposing European attempts to tax corporations properly. Multinational companies do not respect national borders. If we want to tax them effectively, we need to work across national borders to do so.

“That’s why a Europe-wide proposal makes sense.”

State companies must withdraw investments from Saudi Arabia

By Eilis Ryan

Gavin Mendel-Gleason

Gavin Mendel-Gleason

The Workers’ Party have called for all state and semi-state companies to withdraw investments from Saudi Arabia. The call comes as the United Nations warned that 14 million people face starvation due to the Saudi-led bombing and embargo in Yemen.

Workers’ Party representative in Cabra-Finglas, Gavin Mendel-Gleason, said:

“It has come to my attention that the “Ireland Saudi Arabia Business Council” includes at least four state companies as members, including the Dublin Airport Authority, ESB International, VHI International and Enterprise Ireland.

“The organisation has as its objective to increase Irish investment in Saudi Arabia. In line with this, Dublin Airport Authority, a company wholly-owned by the state, in 2016 won a contract to operate the newest terminal in Saudi Arabia’s main airport.”

Mendel-Gleason continued:

“Saudi Arabia is engaged in waging a brutal war against Yemeni citizens. They have attacked the country more than 15,000 times in three years, and because of Saudi embargoes more than 14 million people face starvation.

“Humanitarian workers forecast that the famine in Yemen will be one of the most extensive of the past 100 years. And yet Saudi Arabia faces no punishment or repercussions for their actions, simply because they are considered to be a “good ally” of the US and EU.”

Mendel-Gleason concluded:

“The deafening silence of the ‘international community’ in relation to Saudi Arabia’s atrocities shows up the hollow cynicism of humanitarian interventionism. EU and US leaders – including our Irish government – justified an invasion in Iraq on ‘human rights’ grounds, but turn a blind eye to the very real possibility of 14 million Yemeni citizens starving.

“The Irish government must take real action to challenge Saudi Arabia. This means divesting all state-owned companies from business activity in Saudi Arabia.”

ENDS

Bring back Clerk of Works to Avoid Further Schools Disasters, says McDonagh

By Eilis Ryan

Seamus McDonagh

Seamus McDonagh

The Workers’ Party has called for the Clerk of Works to be given responsibility and resourcing for all new building inspections in every local authority, in the wake of the nationwide school buildings crisis.

Séamus McDonagh represents the Meath area for the Workers Party, where a number of schools risk closure. He said:
“The first thing to be highlighted here is the complete disaster that almost all PPPs have been for the state. This is just the latest in a long line of private developer led public projects which caused huge damage to public finances, safety and infrastructure.

“Dozens of schools – tens of thousands of students – are now in jeopardy, and the only way for the state to react is to take a costly suit against a builder who has already made his money.”

McDonagh continued:
“We also have to ask how these buildings were ever signed off as being safe – and the problem fundamentally is self certification. Who ever believed that allowing a private company to privately sign off on their own building’s safety was a good idea?

“I am calling for the Clerk of Works to be upgraded and expanded in every local authority and for it to have full responsibility in certifying building safety. The only reason not to do this is the ideological privatisation agenda of Fine Gael / Fianna Fáil.”

McDonagh concluded:
“The private sector has failed us at every turn. We are now a country with no proper broadband service, with abandoned public housing promises and with unsafe schools. This is all because of a refusal to spend public money on public services.

“The only winners are the private companies making plenty money, and making a mockery of us.”

Calls for OPW to reverse planned sell-off of residential land

By Eilis Ryan

A Workers’ Party councillor has called on the OPW to reverse its decision to sell two residential sites which it owns in Dublin city. The sites are due to be auctioned by Lambert Smith Hampton on November 6th.

Cllr. Éilis Ryan said:
“It is extraordinary that at the height of the housing crisis, we wake up to yet another story of the state selling off the family silver – when land for housing is so desperately needed.

“The two sites being sold on November 6th are small, but if kept in public hands, could be used for infill step-down accommodation for older people, freeing up public housing units, something which all agree is badly needed. Why has this option not been considered?”

The councillor continued:
“Just last June, Dublin City Council passed a motion calling on the Minister to direct the OPW to hand residential land over to Dublin City Council for development. I would like to know, did the council management deal with this motion with urgency? And why, if so, did the Minister choose to ignore it, and allow yet another land sale instead?

“In tackling the housing crisis, the key asset which the state has to work with is the land it owns. Once this is gone, any possible solution will be doubly difficult to achieve.”

Cllr. Ryan concluded by saying:
“I am calling on the Minister to intervene and ensure the OPW halts this proposed auction – and any further sale of public land in the Dublin area. Neither Glasnevin nor Ballsbridge are in need of yet another luxury penthouse development. Public housing is what’s needed, and only the state can deliver that.”

New Politics sinks in the more old sleaze as broadband rollout again in doubt

By admin

Case for semi-state ESB to take over broadband rollout now unanswerable

 

Seamus McDonagh

Seamus McDonagh

The Workers’ Party has said that the latest revelations concerning the contacts between former Communications Minister Denis Naughten and US businessman David McCourt show that the so-called “new politics” ushered in by the Fianna Fail / Fine Gael “Confidence & Supply” agreement was never more than a shabby deception.

Workers’ Party Co. Meath representative, Seamus McDonagh,  said that the resignation of Minister Naughten was inevitable as a trail of inappropriate contacts between the minister and  Mr. McCourt, representative of the last remaining bidder for the National Broadband programme, have been exposed.

McDonagh said:  “Once again a senior government minister has been found to have cavalier disregard for the most basic of ethical guidelines in having numerous personal meetings with the chief representative of a company bidding for one of the state’s most lucrative contracts in some time.  The upshot of all of this is a once again stalled roll-out of broadband and it may yet end in the courts, a sworn tribunal or both”

The Workers’ Party spokesperson said there was now an unanswerable case for ending the bidding process and tasking one of the major semi-state companies, ideally the ESB, with the job of guaranteeing the delivery of high speed and high quality broadband to rural Ireland.

Mr. McDonagh said that in addition to exposing the inappropriate contacts with the bidder’s representative, there are now serious questions regarding the grossly inappropriate use of the Dáil bar for private parties and in particular its continuing use a reception lounge for all sorts of developers and business elements seeking public contracts.  “The Workers’ Party calls on the Clerk of Dáil Éireann to carry out a root and branch investigation in to inappropriate use of Oireachtas facilities for such events which are wholly unacceptable in the national parliament”.

Subsidies to private landlords grow at double the rate of new social housing in Budget 2019

By Eilis Ryan

Budget 2019 is set to expand subsidies to private sector landlords, in the form of HAP and other schemes, by 40% – compared to just a 20% increase in spending on building and acquiring new public housing. This is according to Workers’ Party Cllr. Éilis Ryan.

Commenting on the figures, Cllr. Ryan said:
“Fine Gael / Fianna Fáil’s budget is wrapped in so much spin that it’s easy to miss where the real shifts lie. But when we look at the figures in greater detail, it’s clear where they intend spending money over the coming years – by forcing more and more households into insecure, unaffordable private sector tenancies.

“Budget 2019 gives us a 20% increase in capital expenditure – money used to build and buy actual social housing. Even if this is actually delivered, it is still not nearly keeping pace with the massive growth in money being poured into subsidising social housing applicants in the private sector. The budget for HAP has grown by over 40% for the second year running.”

Cllr. Ryan said that the figures undermine the government’s promises that HAP is only a temporary measure, saying:
“It would be one thing to see an expansion in subsidies to private landlords if it was matched by equal – or greater – expansion in spending on building public housing. But it’s not – nowhere near it.

“If these patterns continue, within a decade the state will be spending more on housing people in the private rental sector than it is on actually building homes. What reason do we have to believe next year’s budget will be any different?”

Cllr. Ryan concluded:
“Fine Gael has set us up for a lose-lose situation. The 17,000 new households who will receive HAP because of this budget could be evicted at any time. And meanwhile the 40% increase in spending on HAP by the state is just money down the drain, with no new housing stock to show for it.

“The only winners, under this scheme, are landlords who will continue to benefit from inflated rents.”

Tenants will never see €120 million landlord tax break

By Eilis Ryan

100% interest relief amounts to an increased annual tax break of €100 per landlord

The Workers’ Party have said it is immoral of the government to hand a €120 million tax break to landlords who have consistently raised rents throughout the housing crisis.

Responding to the Fine Gael / Fianna Fáil sponsored budget, announced today (Tuesday) Cllr. Éilis Ryan, Workers’ Party, said:
“It is astonishing that the government have found an extra €18 million to reward landlords for their rack-renting behaviour – bringing the total available for interest relief for landlords’ loans to approximately €120 million in 2019.

“The total cost of interest relief equates to €600 per landlord – and as usual, the biggest landlords stand to benefit most.”

Cllr. Ryan said:
“The budget shows up how Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil intend to handle (or rather mis-handle) the housing crisis – through tax breaks and subsidies.”

Cllr. Ryan warned the tax break may in fact lead to a growth in so-called “renovictions,” saying:
“Landlords are looking for ways to break the 4% rent cap, in Dublin in particular. By offering 100% interest relief on loans to “improve” the properties they own, we may well see more and more tenants evicted so landlords can borrow to renovate properties, and then re-let them at increased rents.

“And this will all be financed by the state.”

Cllr. Ryan concluded by saying that the budget lacked any measures to drive down rents:
“We should have learned from the so-called “Celtic Tiger” that tax-breakers and incentives only fuel the upward spiral of property prices, rents and speculation. Apparently not. Tenants will not see a penny of the massive transfers being made to landlords in Budget 2019.”

681 public housing units lost due to Kilcarbery land sell-off

By Eilis Ryan

David Gardiner - WP Lucan/Palmerstown Representative David Gardiner, Workers’ Party representative for Lucan, has criticised Fianna Fáil and Labour councillors on South Dublin County Council for voting with Fine Gael to sell-off public land in Kilcarbery, and has called for publicly-owned land to be used for public housing.

“It’s clear that Fianna Fáil and Labour jumped on the bandwagon last week by supporting the Raise The Roof rally for the sake of publicity,” said Gardiner. “And yet here we see councillors from both parties voting to sell-off public land to private developers. I believe this site should be kept in the ownership of the council to build public housing.”

“When the time comes for a photo opportunity or a sound bite, Fianna Fáil and Labour are all for ending this crisis, but when they can actually make a difference by voting to keep public land, they come up short of it.”

Gardiner continued:

“There are roughly 8,000 people on the waiting list in South Dublin. Alongside that, the vast majority of people not on the list are also not able to afford to buy private housing. The Workers’ Party calls for public housing, with rent based on income, to be built on this site and others owned by the state. This would address the needs of both those on the waiting list, and those who aren’t on the list but can’t afford to buy.”

Gardiner concluded:

“So-called affordable housing isn’t the solution to this crisis. By Fine Gael’s definition, you’d have to earn double the average household income to be able to purchase “affordable housing.”

“We need to stop the sell-off of public land, and to make public housing available to all of those who need it and want it.”

Calls for immediate recruitment into Dublin Fire Brigade in wake of latest short-staffing crisis

By Eilis Ryan

There have been calls for an immediate recruitment drive to increase staff numbers in Dublin Fire Brigade, in the wake of yet another day of fire appliances remaining off road due to staff shortages.
Cllr. Éilis Ryan (Workers’ Party) said:

“On Friday (October 5th), at one point there was no fully-staffed fire appliance operational at Tallaght fire station. One appliance was completely off the road, while only three fire officers were available to man a second fire appliance.

“Health and safety regulations say that a minimum of five fire officers should be present in responding to any emergency, but at one point on Friday there were only three officers available. These staff were instructed that they should respond to any calls without the required minimum number of staff.”

Cllr. Ryan continued:

“It is totally wrong to require fire officers to break minimum safety regulations in this way. It’s a disaster waiting to happen. The city’s fire service is already at a critical low point because of repeated cutbacks to both appliances and staffing. This is just the latest incident.

“The fire station in Tallaght covers a massive area, which for a period on Friday was completely without coverage. It’s unacceptable that the current solution to understaffing is asking fire officers to work in unsafe conditions.”

Cllr. Ryan concluded:

“The only real solution to this is for Dublin Fire Brigade to begin immediately recruiting sufficient staff that everyday occurrences like sickness and holidays don’t jeopardise either staff wellbeing or the safety of the general public.”

Statement on Michael D. Higgins’s candidacy for the Presidential elections

By Eilis Ryan


The Workers’ Party is calling on our members and supporters to vote for the best candidate in the field, Michael D. Higgins, in the upcoming Presidential elections on October 26th.

President Higgins stands out from the other candidates in the field as having the aim of building a more equal society based on peace and solidarity both at home and abroad. During his time as President, he has used his platform to criticise capitalism’s corrosive impact on human dignity via its incessant increase in economic inequality. He has a consistent record going back to the 1980s of opposing US imperialism’s role in poor and vulnerable countries around the world, including recent public criticism of UN Security Council members for fuelling wars through their arms sales.

He supported abortion rights, and the principle of separating church from state, well before these things had been accepted by most Irish political parties, not least his erstwhile colleagues in the Labour Party. He has a record of long-term support of women’s equality and gay rights.

Of course, The Workers’ Party is not without significant differences with President Higgins. We base our aspirations for a free and equal society not simply on ethical values — necessary though they are — but on the dynamic of class struggle and the necessity to build a workers party to wage it. The absence of such a perspective militates against the development of an independent class movement which alone can build a socialist society.

It is a dispiriting sign of the times that the field includes no less than three men whose primary qualification for the role of President is their position as television propagandists for capitalist ideology.

The election of one of these individuals to the office of President would give yet another platform to those who seek to ensure that political debate in our country completely ignores the interests of the working class while further entrenching the normalisation of free market dogma: the commodification of public services, exaltation of profit-making, and the concomitant widespread alienation that is spreading throughout Irish society.

The Workers’ Party is of the view that the office of the President is of limited value to the country. It is a mostly ceremonial position with a few powers regarding the formation and dissolution of governments. It is, of course, no substitute for mass struggle and the development of a class party.

However, it would be simplistic to suggest it doesn’t matter who our President is. It would be embarrassing indeed if one of the television imbeciles made it to the Phoenix Park, thereby condemning us to seven years of their ignorant and egocentric babbling.

Any public platform with as much reach as the Presidency can be used to influence popular opinion in one direction or another. We believe President Higgins has the best capacity to sway public opinion in favour of a more just world, and that socialists and progressives should give him their support in the forthcoming election.

Workers’ Party Calls for abolition of National Transport Authority

By admin

Expressway busCllr. Ted Tynan of the Workers’ Party  has deplored the decision by the National Transport Authority (NTA) to privatise yet more routes operated by Bus Éireann and said that instead the NTA itself should be abolished.

Cllr. Tynan said that since its inception the NTA had shown that it was only interested in pursuing an ideologically driven agenda of privatisation.

He said: “The NTA’s statement that its further privatisation decision would lead to better services for commuters is a blatant lie and this is borne out by evidence from abroad where publicly run transport is shown to attract more commuters than where transport is privatised”.

The Cork city councillor said: “The National Transport Authority’s decision to hand over a significant tranche of Bus Éireann and Dublin Bus routes to the private UK operator Go Ahead shows a cavalier attitude to this country’s transport needs. It should be pointed out that Go Ahead’s sister rail company, Southern Trains ,who operate rail services in the South of England was voted the worst rail operator there two years in a row, due to the appalling level of service it provided”

Cllr. Tynan said: “The NTA has also shown it’s incompetence in its proposal to introduce orbital bus routes in Dublin and this was shown by the massive negative reaction of the public to this proposal”

“It’s handling of the Dublin cross city LUAS and the disruption this caused shows the  this Thatcherite quango is as good at running public transport as Basil Fawlty was at running a hotel”.

The Workers’ Party calls for the abolition of the National Transport and the transfer of its functions to the CIÉ holding company which is the way that most European public transport is run such as in Paris where the RATP is both the regulator and operator of all public  transport .

Repair and leasing scheme failure shows private sector incapable of tackling housing crisis

By Eilis Ryan

The failure of the repair and leasing scheme to come close to meeting its targets demonstrates the inability of the private sector to tackle the housing crisis, according to Workers’ Party councillor Éilis Ryan.

Cllr. Ryan was responding to this morning’s (Monday) reports that the Repair and Leasing scheme has delivered only 15 homes nationwide, despite having aimed to deliver 3,500.

Cllr. Ryan said:
“The Repair and Leasing Scheme is one of countless tax break / subsidy style incentives for the private sector to deliver public housing. In this case, the Scheme provided a €40,000 cash subsidy to a property owner to renovate their home, on the condition that they lease it back to the council to be used as social housing.

“This is an extraordinarily generous scheme – and yet, apparently, it wasn’t a big enough give away to get the private sector interested. It underlines what the Workers’ Party have been saying for years now – unless the private sector are allowed to accumulate enormous profits, they will not help tackle the housing crisis.”

Cllr. Ryan continued:
“I am calling on Minister Murphy to use Budget 2019 to show he has learned this lesson. We do not need an announcement of five more complex, costly giveaways to private developers and landlords. We need a multi-billion allocation to capital spending to simply build public housing.

“Delivering a hundred houses here, and a hundred there is not even sufficient to stop housing waiting lists from growing even longer.”

The Workers’ Party councillor concluded:
“We need to end Ireland’s reliance on private developers and landlords, once and for all. The way to do that is through a massively expanded public housing sector, which delivers high quality, secure lifetime-rental accommodation for anybody who wants it – regardless of their income.”

Disappointment at Cork council’s failure to tackle severe air pollution

By Eilis Ryan

Cllr. Ted Tynan

Cllr. Ted Tynan (WP)

The city councillor behind an initiative to roll out air pollution monitoring in some of Cork’s residential neighbourhoods has expressed disappointment that his proposals are being rejected because of budget constraints.

Workers’ Party city councillor in Cork, Ted Tynan, said:
“The motion I proposed to Cork city council would have seen the council to work in tandem with UCC’s Centre for Research into Atmospheric Chemistry (CRAC) to monitor air pollution on the city’s north ring road in the Mayfield area.

“That highly residential area is blighted by a constant line of heavy goods vehicles, and there is absolutely no accountability as to what impact these commercial vehicles are having on quality of life in the community. Air pollution has a massive impact on quality of life, but those responsible for it are just not being held to account.”

The motion was rejected by Cork city council officials on cost grounds. Tynan continued:
“In this age of environmental awareness, it is astoundingly short-sighted that a motion aimed to improve air quality would be rejected on cost grounds. What hope have we of tackling the environmental challenges we face if we are limited to the rigid rules of austerity?

“Environmental concerns are being used to justify increased waste charges for ordinary people. But when it comes to massive companies creating environmental damage in our neighbourhoods, all driven by their own profit, we see no willingness for action at all.”

Cllr. Tynan concluded:
“I intend to continue to pursue this issue. If we bow to the profit and austerity agenda, environmental concerns will never be addressed properly, and the consequences of this will be disastrous.”

NOTE
The full text of the motion proposed by Cllr. Tynan is as follows:
“In light of heavy diesel powered goods vehicles travelling from Silverspring’s Hotel through to Ballyvolane Service Station, including in particular the Tinker’s Cross Mayfield Shopping Centre area, that Cork City Council would employ the services of the Centre for Research into Atmospheric Chemistry (CRAC) to carry out an air quality survey in the area.

“Surveys to be carried out at peak traffic times on a similar basis to the survey recently carried out in St. Patrick’s Street and surrounding streets by CRAC under the auspices of 96FM.”

Statement of Solidarity from the Workers’ Party to the Communist Party of Turkey

By Eilis Ryan

Dear Comrades,

The Workers Party of Ireland sends warm comradely greetings to the Communist Party of Turkey on the occasion of its Conference on the 15th-16th September 2018 in Izmir under the theme “To the Workers” and sends its congratulations and best wishes to the TKP, the oldest party in Turkey, on the occasion of its 98th anniversary.

The Communist Party of Turkey is a symbol of hope for the Turkish working class, a party that approaches the issues confronting contemporary Turkey from the perspective of the working people. The TKP, proceeding under the slogan “this social order must change” recognises that the struggle against the US imperialism cannot be separated from struggle against the current social order.

In addition to the struggle to defend and advance the achievements of the working class and the poor and the resistance against the assaults of capital against labour the TKP confronts the growth of Islamic fundamentalism, obscurantism and reaction and the increasing oppressive influence of religion in the areas of education, culture and law.
As the TKP has repeatedly pointed out the struggle against imperialism, reactionary forces, authoritarianism, tyranny and fascism and the struggle against exploitation, inequalities and for social injustice cannot be separated from one another and must be viewed from the class perspective.

The Workers Party of Ireland declares its solidarity with the Communist Party of Turkey which represents the interests of the working class and defends workers’ and people’s rights and salutes the militants and supporters of the TKP which unambiguously promotes the socialist alternative. We are confident that the outcome of the Conference will strengthen and consolidate the TKP through its organisational measures and advance the struggle to increase the influence of the working class and orient it to the goal of socialism.

The Communist Party of Turkey, through its struggles and mass political work, has demonstrated its commitment to the interests of Turkish workers, to the struggle for equality, to providing a clear class based alternative to the failed capitalist system, to ending the power of the Turkish bourgeoisie, to the struggle for workers’-people’s power, for the overthrow of capitalism and the construction of the new socialist-communist society where workers will have fulfilled their historic mission.

With comradely greetings and best wishes,

Gerry Grainger
International Secretary

On behalf of the Central Executive Committee
Workers Party of Ireland

FG Land Agency will copperfasten profits for buy-to-let landlords

By Eilis Ryan

The Workers’ Party has said that the government’s newly-announced Land Management Agency will copperfasten the role of landlords as providers of housing for those on low incomes.

Speaking in response to this morning’s announcement, Cllr. Éilis Ryan said:
“The Land Management Agency’s strategy of allowing 50-70% of public lands to be used for for-profit housing will copperfasten our dependence on private landlords to accommodate those in need of public housing. Even if the full quota of public housing is delivered on the land in question, it won’t come near to addressing current and future need.

“Given this, much of the market-value housing built on these sites will inevitably be sold to investor landlords, and rented back to those who will continue to wait on our housing lists. There are no mechanisms to prevent middle income earners being gazumped by buy-to-let buyers, so why should expect that this won’t happen?”

Cllr. Ryan continued:
“Fine Gael’s strategies are effectively being piloted in O’Devaney Gardens, where 50% of the housing will be sold at full market value, upwards of €400,000. These prices are unaffordable to even those earning above average wages.

“And if we think simply increasing supply will magically drive down house prices, we should look back a decade when non-stop building had precisely the opposite effect.”

The Workers’ Party are campaigning for the full public development of all publicly-owned lands:
“St. Michael’s Estate will be developed publicly, with housing then available to rent to people on all incomes, permanently and at affordable rents. Minister Murphy launched the scheme to great fanfare, saying it was a pilot for future developments.

“But what use is it if the rest of our land is sold off before we can build on the St. Michaels’ pilot? We will have no land left, and will be even more dependent on renting overpriced private sector accommodation for those in housing need.”

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