There is now an urgent need for the radical left to come together to form a coherent alliance. In recent months the fight against water charges has been one of the most successful protest movements. The sheer size of the mobilisation forced the government to make some retreats but the fight to abolish the charges continues.
In the final analysis, our government should be judged by the way it treats children and the elderly. Long hospital waiting lists, schools in substandard buildings, high rates of child poverty, cuts to children's allowance, social welfare and pensions, abolishing the bin charges waivers.... The list goes on.
Mary Hanafin’s latest plan to punish pensioners is indeed part of a pattern.
Hanafin’s scheme will:
* Force everyone who is currently under the age of 49 to work until they are 68. No state pension will be provided until this date – so we can starve, beg or work despite tiredness and ill health.
* Reduced state pension for anyone who do not have 30 years of PRSI payments. If you have lived abroad or have been out of work for long periods, you will face difficulties.
* Reduced occupational pension for anyone entering the public sector. Instead of getting a proportion of your final salary, your pension will be brought down by the number of years you spent on lower wages.
* Forced contributions by workers to the private pension industry. Workers will be ‘auto-enrolled’ into an industry that rips them off and uses their savings to speculate and gamble. Even if you withdraw from a scheme, you will be automatically enrolled every two years and if you forget to withdraw within six months you lose your contributions.
Basin Street/Grand Canal Harbour development
Residents in the Basin Street area asked People Before Profit (PBP) to assist them in challenging the extensive development proposed for the Grand Canal Basin. The planning application did not make any provision for social housing or community gain, nor did it include any information on what residents could expect in relation to construction timing, traffic management or environmental impact. Residents in the area feel they were not adequately consulted with by the developers prior to submitting their application. In total six objections were lodged on behalf of resident associations in the area. Residents are now proposing that a working group be established with the support of PBP to prepare for the outcome of the planning process.
A number of issues have arisen in relation to the Bulfin Estate:
Tenants First has outlined proposals for a public housing strategy to meet the housing crisis.
The report describes current government spend and policy in housing as ‘social welfare for the rich’, including €391m on rent supplement, €169m on tax incentives, €450m on stamp duty loopholes, and €400m unspent in local authority accommodation.