The opinion of a WSM member. This piece has not been reviewed by any WSM editing body

Another €100 million bailout bill for workers as road construction companies take their pound of flesh


Public Private Partnerships (PPPs), as we’ve been led to believe by those who support them, are ways in which public bodies can share the costs and risk involved in providing public infrastructure such as roads, schools etc. with private sector companies.


But in recent days it has emerged that PPPs entered into for the construction of the M3 motorway and the Limerick tunnel are set to land  the taxpayer with a €100 million bill over the lifetime of the contracts.


“Sack 30,000 public servants” says top financier


William Slattery, Executive vice-president of financial services company State Street and head of its Irish operation has called for 30,000 public servants to be sacked.  Mr. Slattery made his call at a conference to discuss the implementation of the Croke Park agreement.

'Bond markets' see Irish taxpayer as easy touch


Minister for Finance Brian Lenihan, Taoiseach Brian Cowen and representatives of the National Treasury Management Agency have spent the time since early Tuesday afternoon boasting about their latest “successful bond auction”. 

HSE & Health Service National Partnership Forum payments - The cost of 'partnership'


Many trade union activists have known for years that “social partnership” comes at a huge price for union independence and the ability of trade unions to defend the interest of their members. The myth that government and employers on one side and workers on the other side have some form of common interest has been peddled for over twenty years.  This has resulted in a trade union movement whose leadership seems incapable of independent thought and whose membership has been browbeaten into accepting pay cuts, ‘pension levies’ and various attacks on our working conditions and living standards over the past couple of years.

Reducing pupil teacher ratio to 10:1 “will not bankrupt the country” says Lenihan


The €25 billion cost of reducing the pupil teacher ratio in all primary schools to 10:1 for the next 20 years is “manageable” and will not bankrupt the country, Minister for Finance Brian Lenihan has contended.

Following consultations with his government colleagues and with the EU Commission, Mr. Lenihan said that the children of Ireland had had to live with the problems caused by the economic policies of his and previous governments and had had to “navigate some very difficult waters”.

BMW owners “sharing the pain”?


As ordinary people continue to suffer the consequences of the economic collapse – through wage cuts, job losses, short term working etc., politicians are fond of telling us that we must all share the pain.

However figures for new car sales released by the Society of the Irish Motor Industry (SIMI) show that not everyone is sharing the pain.  The most popular car sold in August was the BMW 5 series which has a starting price of €50,000.

Words: Gregor Kerr

Response to Pakistan floods shows barbarism of system


Radio, television and newspaper reports of the recent devastating floods in Pakistan are at last beginning to refer to the sheer scale of the problems faced by the victims.  Figures for the number of people affected vary widely.  According to the Irish Minister of State for Overseas Development Peter Power, reported in today’s (Tuesday) Irish Times, “the United Nations estimated that 40 million people had been left homeless; that eight million of those were in urgent need of immediate food and shelter; and that the combination of rising water and humidity had made a cholera epidemic a real danger”.  RTE’s website says “Aid agencies are saying that the world does not fully understand the scale of the flooding disaster ….. One fifth of the country has been hit by severe flooding, with more than 20m people affected…..The UN believes up to 3.5m children are now at risk of contracting water-borne diseases….”.

The Dail expenses scandal


The story of Ivor and his €80,000 in expenses – is just the latest smell arising from our political houses, after the stink that wafted from there last year when John O’Donoghue ran up €126,000 in expenses in two years.    Last year we were listening to stories of €900 a night hotel rooms, airport transfers and hat rentals.

Recession Ridley: The Irrational Optimist


Matt Ridley, has written a book called, "The Rational Optimist: how prosperity evolves".  In the book, the Eton and Oxford educated Ridley, argues that the world is getting better and better, it has been doing so for hundreds of years, and will continue to do so. Nothing stands in the way of his argument, not even global climate changeYou simply could not make this up. I know you could copy and paste that sentence for so much these days, but this one really makes you do a double-take.

After Croke Park: what to do now? - facing reality in our unions


In mid-June the Irish Congress of Trade Unions Public Services Committee voted to accept the ‘Croke Park deal’. ‘Social partnership’, presumed dead and buried when the government unilaterally imposed pay cuts on public sector workers in the December ’09 budget, was revived and given a new lease of life. But this is ‘social partnership’ with a difference. Instead of the union leadership believing that ‘partnership’ gives them some input into government policy (as they have wrongly thought for the past 20 years), all they can now offer in its defence is that this is the “least worst deal” and that “it’s better to be inside the tent than outside.”

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