Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Ireland:Siptus Jack O'Connor in idiotic attack on FG and Cumann na nGaedheal

The president of Ireland’s largest trade union has said Fine Gael on its own in government would be “a recipe for disaster”...
Mr O’Connor said a balanced government would be a Labour-led coalition with Fine Gael...He maintained the last time Fine Gael was a single party government, as parent party Cumann na nGaedheal from 1927 to 1932, the country was condemned to 60 years of unemployment, emigration and misery..Source:Irish Examiner
Well if Jack O'Connor said this he is talking through his hat. Nothing unusual there. Remember the Republic of Ireland in the 1920s was all but bankrupt as a result of the War of Independence and the Civil War. The economy in 1922 WAS IN RUINS. Then the country was hit by the effects of the Wall Street Crash in 1929. Has Jack forgotten this?
So he claims does he that the Cumann na nGaedheal government of that time
was responsible for 60 years of unemployment, emigration and misery? What an idiotic comment.
This was the government that set up the Shannon Hydro Electic Scheme in 1927 at a time when the country was practically bankrupt. Patrick Hogan, the Minister for Agriculture, set up the Agricultural Credit Corporation.
That government oversaw the development the Carlow sugar beet factory. It established an unarmed police force. it restored law and order.
O'Connor's IGNORANCE of the problems faced by that government is astounding. It is time for Jack O'Connor to go back to school and learn Irish history.

Incidentally Jack O 'Connor was happy to go along with the policies pursued by Bertie Ahern. Indeed I always considered Jack to be closer in thinking to FF than to the Labour Party.Remember Social Partnership. Jack should stop misrepresenting historical events. It will take this country 20 years to recover. What solutions is he offering? If the economy is to survive we can do without wimps in power. We need milk and watery government like a hole in the head.

The incoming government will in all probability require a STRUCTURED DEFAULT. This I forecast will happen in about two years unless the IMF/EU see sense quickly. It is time for people such as EU Commissioner Olli Rehn to wake up and smell the coffey. The situation is almost irredeemable. It will take a courageous government all its time to even keep the country afloat. Otherwise we will go under.

If the parties in the Dail AND the Trade Unions outside fail to pull together after the election the economy will fully implode.
So Jack stop the sermonising and moralising. Accept the democratic will of the Irish people (whatever it is). Nobody owes us a living. We either swim together, or sink separately. The days of the old war cries are over.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Ireland: RTE Five Leaders Debate-Enda Kenny performs strongly (14/2/2011)

Tonight  the Frontline hosted  the five-way debate between the leaders of the main political parties in front of a live studio audience of approximately 140 people. Debating the issues were  Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin, Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny, Labour Party leader Eamon Gilmore, Green Party leader John Gormley and Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams. All of the audience members were asked to submit questions, but only six pre-set questions were asked tonight.
The debate focussed on
  • The banks
  • emigration
  • political reform
  • employment
  • health
There was a venomous exchange between Micheál Martin and Gerry Adams on the issue of fraud when Adams criticised  white collar fraud in the Republic. Martin declared that Adams had no right to speak about fraud in the Republic. 
“How dare you talk about fraud among politics and people down here in the Republic with what went in the last number of years in the North”.
This appeared to be a deliberate tactic on Martin's part to win back support from Sinn Fein. This approach worked during the 2007 general election campaign.  Another example of this during the debate was where Martin claimed  that Adams was “a bit of a magician” if he and his party could follow through on its proposals without any cuts. But  Adams responded by stating that  Fianna Fáil plans aren't real: “Paul Daniels couldn’t do it the way Micheál Martin is suggesting”.

On the issue of the banks Adams argued for the separation of sovereign debt from banking debt and attacked the  proposals of the other parties. Gilmore  stated that  Labour had opposed the  banking guarantee. He stated that Sinn  Fein and FG had supported FF and the Greens on the banking guarantee vote. Eamon Gilmore argued that the banks should have been nationalised. This brought the retort from Enda Kenny: “Eamon would have us nationalize all the banks. You’d have about five Anglo’s”.

On jobs Kenny performed quite strongly and outlined a raft  of  FG proposals to reduce burdens on employers. Micheal Martin spoke about developing exports further. Martin criticised local authority rates and attempted to blame FG/Labour councils for high rates. Kenny countered by stating that such councils had in many cases frozen rates. Of course Micheal Martin was incorrect to blame councillors for this. After all government  block grants to local authorities have been slashed. Hence the upward pressure on rates. John Gormley argued for household rates.
There were  clashes on the Health Service. Gilmore and Kenny performed strongly here. Gilmore accepted that FG and Labour's positions on Universal Health Care were quite close. Here Micheal  Martin looked uncomfortable as  he came under attack on the issue of the HSE and the fact that FF has been in government for 14 years. Enda Kenny raised the issue of depression. He stated that 300,000 people suffer from depression in Ireland whilst Gerry Adams raised the issue of suicide. 

On the mortgage crisis and the issue of the family home, Gilmore stated that Labour favoured keeping people in the family home once every effort was made to pay the mortgage. Kenny articulated the  FG approach of increasing  mortgage interest relief to 30% for home buyers who purchased homes at the height of the bubble (2004-2008). This was to be paid for by abolishing mortgage relief  for new homeowners this year. Micheal Martin criticised this proposal. However Enda Kenny stated that FF planned to abolish  mortgage interest relief for new homeowners within 18 months in any case.

An interesting clash occurred between Enda Kenny and Eamon Gilmore on FGs financial projections. Gilmore charged that there was a  €5 billion hole in the FG proposals. Kenny responded forcibly and effectively  in countering  this claim.

How did the leaders fare? Enda Kenny was a big winner tonight. He was confident and had an excellent grasp of detail. He looked Taoiseach material. Micheal Martin is an excellent debater  and performed quite strongly. However he cannot shake off the charge that he has been in government for the last 14 years.
Eamon Gilmore  debated quite well  and certainly lost  no ground. However Labour is unlikely to receive any great boost in the polls from this. John Gormley appeared squeezed between the other four.
Gerry Adams certainly made no faux pas tonight and debated  quite strongly. What will probably worry Adams and Sinn Fein is the fear that a lot of Sinn  Fein support may leak back to FF in the privacy of the ballot box.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Video: Young Medjugorje Visionaries speak about the First Apparitions of Our Lady

A short clip from the movie "The Madonna of Medjugorje", originally produced by the B.B.C. with the journalist Mary Craig.  The clip includes interviews with  the young visionaries: Ivanka, Mirjana, Vicka and Marija

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Ireland : Martin/Gilmore TV3 Debate generates more heat than light (8/2/11)

Quite frankly this debate generated more heat than light. It was boring and at times bad tempered. It was particularly interesting to watch the performance of Eamon Gilmore tonight. In recent weeks he has been withering in his criticism of the FG party. Yet tonight when presented with an open goal he failed to deliver a knock out blow. And on several occasions Micheal Martin was there for the taking.

Micheal Martin sought to expose Gilmore and Labour as weak on economic policy. This he did with some success. He accused Gilmore of "chopping and changing" in a bid to win popularity. Now of course Gilmore did refer to Micheal Martin’s 13 years as minister but he failed to fully link Martin with the decisions of the cabinets. He continued to refer to Martin as minister even though he resigned after the first FF leadership coup. In this he had some success.
Key Issues Discussed (in the opening half)
  • Deficit reduction plans  of each party 
  • Their  stance on the EU-IMF deal
  • The impact  of the September 2008 bank guarantee scheme< /li>
The second half covered  issues such as
  • health
  • education 
  •  political reform.
Mr Martin said Fianna Fáil favoured a 2:1 ratio of spending cuts to taxes to reduce the deficit to 3% of GDP or less by 2014 as required by the EU. He said   that the Labour proposal of a 1:1 ratio would result in higher taxes and increased borrowing because it wanted to extend the deficit-reduction deadline to 2016. He claimed that it would extend the recession like the 1980s.

"You’re going to pile debt upon debt," Mr Martin said,

But Mr Gilmore countered that cutting too deeply and too soon as advocated by FF would cripple economic growth and increase unemployment

"Your plan, your deal, will cripple the economy," the Labour leader said. "Let’s not forget something, minister — it’s your Fianna Fáil party that has got us into this hole in the first place."

In relation to the EU-IMF bailout, Mr Martin attacked Mr Gilmore for saying it was "Frankfurt’s way or Labour’s way". Here Gilmores populism was coming back to haunt him. He argued that that the deal could not be changed unilaterally.

Mr Gilmore agreed that it would have to be renegotiated in consultation with the EU.
However he refused to disavow his "Frankfurt’s way or Labour’s way" statement
"That’s what this country needs now — we need some leadership that will stand up for Ireland."

This debate was disappointing on a number of fronts. It produced no new insights into the thinking of the party leaders on the economic crisis. It failed to address the comments of Anglo chairman Alan Dukes to the effect that the bank could require another €15 billion of taxpayers money. This was testimony to the irrelevance of the debate. It featured a series of sterile exchanges, which tested the patience of the viewers.
It was nothing more than an academic exercise more suited to a university or high school debating society.
Scored as a debate Mr Martin came out on top marginally. In the preliminary part Eamon Gilmore was hesitant and failed to shine. However as the debate progressed he improved and had a stronger second half.
The media is obsessed with personality politics. This debate is part of the obsession. This type on nonsense has served the country very poorly.
It is interesting to note that none of the party leaders has economic expertise. The function of the next Taoiseach (Prime Minister) will be to build a cabinet, which has as many economic heavyweights as possible. Geographic considerations must not enter the equation.
The country faces three more debates. Mr Kenny the FG leader will participate in all three. Quite frankly tonight’s debate was little more than window dressing.
The economic ministers will drive the next government. A series of debates involving economic spokesmen from all parties would be much more beneficial

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Ireland: Eamon Gilmore's idiotic comments concerning TV3 debate (8/2/2011)

Today when asked about the decision of FG leader Enda Kenny not to participate in the TV3 debate Eamon Gilmore made a snide remark concerning the FG party. He said, "It is not the first time that we have been left on our own to face FF". He was of course referring to the bank guarantee vote.

However Mr Gilmore failed to state that Labour did line up with FF to form a coalition government in 1992 having harvested votes on a strong anti FF platform. The same Labour Party supported a tax amnesty for the rich, which FG opposed. It seems Mr Gilmore can be very selective with the facts.

"Mr Angry" is strong on rhetoric and weak on substance. Our Eamon rides the populist tiger. Recently he declared that “It’s Frankfurt’s way or Labour’s way,” as he denounced the IMF/EU bailout deal and pledged that his party would renegotiate it. So Labour on its own is going to renegotiate the deal is it? Has the man lost the run of himself?

Certainly every effort must be made to renegotiate the deal. Otherwise a default looms. However such rhetorical flourishes are to say the least quite silly. Negotiations are best pursued behind closed doors.
Gunboat diplomacy is counterproductive.

Don’t rule out a Labour/ FF coalition after the general election. Gilmore's family background is FF. Now he himself was a member of Sinn Fein the Workers Party and the Democratic Left before joining the Labour Party. Notwithstanding this it can be argued convincingly that Gilmore contrary to much of his rhetoric comes from the FF wing of the Labour Party. Indeed most of his harshest criticism during this campaign has been directed at FG. Looks like he still has a sneaking regard for FF.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Ireland:Labour Party Leader Eamon Gilmore’s silly attacks on FG

The lead in to this general election has been characterised by snide and petty attacks from Labour party leader Eamon Gilmore on the FG party. Elements in the Labour Party amongst others have been engaged in an ugly personalised campaign against Enda Kenny. Gilmore’s attacks have been marked by selectivity with the truth. He has attempted to paint FG and FF as one and the same. Incidentally many would argue that Sinn Fein and Labour are one and the same. Gilmore is terrified of a five party debate, which would include Sinn Fein as Sinn  Fein has been nibbling away at  Labour support.

He attempted to peddle  the possibility of an FG/FF coalition or an FG minority government supported by FF. Of course this is utter nonsense. Today he completely misrepresented the FG position on the IMF/EU deal. We have had caustic remarks from Gilmore about the trip by Michael Noonan and Enda Kenny to Brussels to meet European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso to make it clear that if FG were elected into office it would seek to renegotiate the bailout package. In essence he was behaving like a spoilt child. FG opposed benchmarking when it was not popular to do it. Labour and FF supported it. It is a bit rich of Gilmore to lecture others. After all this is the man who could not take a stand on the Croke Park Deal. He refused to recommend a Yes vote to workers when it was absolutely essential to secure a positive outcome in the national interest. He awaited the outcome and then promptly welcomed it. Now we hear that Labour has changed its tax policy in another u-turn.

Gilmore is strong on the politics of condemnation and populism. Every speech is peppered with the word change. Rhetoric trips off the lips of Eamon like water cascading down a waterfall. He is the leader of a party, which backed a tax amnesty in 1993.

If Gilmore had the courage of his convictions he would stand sufficient candidates to win the election. Instead Labour is standing just 67 candidates. 84 seats are required for an overall majority. Eamon wishes to be all things to all men. It is time for him to get off the fence and spell out the hard realities. Rhetoric and flowery language is no substitute for policy. This country needs political cowardice like a hole in the head.