James McBarron

Overheard pre budget conversation in Cork

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Overheard pre budget conversation between two women shoppers in Aldi in Cork city.

Solidarity Books in Cork - making a difference

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Early in the morning the crew arrive from the Occupy Cork camp to do their dish washing in the back kitchen of Solidarity Books. At 12 o'clock the days first volunteer arrives to open the bookshop and by lunch time the campers are back for the lunchtime wash up.  By evening the bookshop is closed but will invariably re open by 8 for a meeting or organising group, maybe a movie showing or a talk, the Climate Campers doing their vegan cafe or it could be the Couchsurfers for their meet up, maybe the Campaign Against the HouseHold Tax for an organising meeting or just a crew to paste posters onto corriboard.

Government to Cut Rent Allowance but NAMA has 90,000 empty units

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1 billion euro in welfare cuts are being hinted at by the government for Decembers budget. One of the areas identified for potential savings is rent allowance. Rent allowance payments total 500 million per year, they are subsidies to help pay the rent of people who qualify due to low incomes, mostly people on the dole or other welfare payments. There are 95,000 recipients.  The money goes to private landlords and is paid on half the housing rental property in the state.

Waterford Gardai convicted of assault

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 Three Gardai have been convicted in Waterford in the case of a man set upon and assaulted in the city centre. Anthony Holness was taking a piss in New street when he was set upon by the Gardai who beat him and arrested him. Garda Daniel Hickey and Sgt Martha McEnery were both convicted of assault whilst Garda John Burke was convicted of intending to pervert the course of justice, in his case by moving away the cctv cameras from recording the scene.

Enda Kenny and Joan Burton declare WAR on the Poor

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Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Minister Joan Burton have begun the process of preparing the way for further attacks on the poorest sections of Irish society. As part of the governments strategy for dealing with the economic crisis there will be further cuts in welfare dressed up as reforms.

Burton threatens unemployed

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Labour minister Joan Burtons proposed dole are cuts designed to force people into low wage jobs.  Wages are under attack in the lowest paid sections of the economy with the active support of the government, as a result people are far less inclined to take up employment in these areas.  To resolve this the government wish to compel people to take up these jobs by threatening their social welfare payments.  This is the strategy that was developed and enforced by Maggie Thatchers rightwing government in Britain in the eighties.

Census shows no housing shortage

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The 2011 census results show that Ireland is not suffering a housing shortage. But taken with local authority waiting list figures and homeless statistics , it shows clearly that we have a housing distribution crisis. The latest statistics from the Central Statistics Office regarding the latest census shows 294,202 vacant housing units in the state; that's almost 15% of all houses in existence.  To better illustrate the meaning of this let us take the example of Cork City because that conveniently excludes the issue of holiday homes in rural locations. Cork City has 6,386 vacant houses according to the CSO or 11.4% of homes in the city.

Rich and poor must share the pain says Gilmore

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Labour's Gilmore says we must all share the pain. A water charge of 200 euros a year, wage cuts for the low paid courtesy of Minister Bruton, house reposessions by the bailed-out banks, emigration for school leavers, overcrowding for prisoners, fee hikes for students, cuts in hospitals... none of this really affects the life style of the wealthy, whose very wealth insulates them against the worst effects of the recession.  Not many bankers, newspaper editors, company CEOs or government ministers are suffering in any real sense.

Apple Retail Workers Union initiative

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 A Union drive in computer giant Apple retail is breaking new ground. Apple showroom employee Cory Moll who works in an Apple computer store in San Francisco has started a drive to unionise retail workers in a rare move at the company. He wants to unionise his fellow workers to fight for better wages and conditions. Unfair practices at the company have spurred him in this struggle.

Irish prisons in deepening crisis

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Overcrowding, slopping out, TB infection, pathetic education facilities, Irish prisons are in deep crisis.  Judge "Padlock" Patwell recently retired after 52 years on the bench. He was notorious for his hardline attitude and sent many a man and woman to jail. It was on the subject of  Cork prison that he remarked whilst being interviewed on radio the other day, he was bemaoning the temporary release system, but refered to the 40 prisoners currently sleeping on matresses on the floors of the recreation room.

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