Julien Mercille (left) and Owen Jones at the Sinn Fein Summer School last weekend
Syriza has to be broken, or so the EU great powers decided long before it was even elected. But how? First: compel it to impose another dose of disastrous austerity, in violation of the party’s clear electoral mandate. This would inflict on it the same fate as the Greek social-democratic party Pasok, which so alienated its support base that its vote plummeted from 44 per cent in 2009 to 4.7 per cent by 2015.
A second possible strategy: strangle Greece’s economy until the people decide that the lesser catastrophe would be to resign themselves to endless austerity within the eurozone. This is the current course of action.
The third strategy: force a default and drive Greece out. However, this might expose the eurozone’s Achilles heel. A precedent would be set: the eurozone would no longer be an indivisible currency union, but a club that weaker members can leave or from which they can be de facto ejected. Italy, say, could find itself the subject of extreme market speculation….
Cllr Seamus Weir told those gathered about of a trip to New York when incoming Cathaoirleach Michael Holmes brought Weir and a couple of other councillors into a hotel to pass the time. A relative of the Tiernaur man was working there.
“We had worked with her in Asahi, and we all had a crush on her,” said Cllr Weir. “She was one beautiful-looking woman,” he gushed. “That woman is my wife’s sister,” Cllr Holmes revealed to Cllr Weir.
…Meanwhile, when congratulating Ballyheane’s Cllr Lisa Chambers on her election as Leas Cathaoirleach, Cllr Patsy O’Brien told her she is ‘a good woman’.
“I went out there (to Ballyheane) 32 years ago and got a good woman too … I know all the women out there are very good.”
In these, it’s okay to leave out any fact that doesn’t suit your narrative.
Fintan chose to leave out some basic facts about the approach of Enda Kenny’s Government to dealing with Ireland’s financial crisis.
As the Taoiseach has said repeatedly, Ireland’s recovery is based on the forbearance and resilience of the Irish people, and that recovery remains fragile.
However, it should be acknowledged, this Government removed job-damaging income tax increases from the original bailout agreement, with no income tax increases in Budget 2012, 2013 or 2014. Budget 2015 saw income tax reductions benefitting 742,000 people. 330,000 individuals were removed from the USC entirely in Budget 2012. A further 87,000 were removed from the USC entirely in Budget 2015….
…Enda Kenny’s Government has pursued pro-growth, pro-jobs policies with a range of measures to support small business, growth in jobs-rich sectors and foreign direct investment. Enda Kenny himself has explained this approach in full at two press conferences subsequent to his original comments but Fintan O’Toole, and others have chosen to ignore that completely. I guess it didn’t suit the narrative either.
In 2014 for instance, Mr Ahern was paid a ministerial pension of €81,140, on top of which he received an additional €53,291 from Leinster House, totalling €134,431. In 2011, he received significant farewell payments including a ‘termination lump sum’ of €16,404 and another ‘lump sum’ payment of €159,873.
Following Mr Ahern on the list is another former Taoiseach, Fianna Fáil’s Brian Cowen who has been paid €726,367 according to the figures. His payments mirror almost exactly those of Mr Ahern and his pension – both ministerial and Oireachtas combined – is worth €134,379 annually.
Next on the list is the former Tanaiste Mary Harney, who according to the figures was paid €647,406. Her annual pension is currently worth €116,987, which is almost €13,000 less than she was being paid in 2012 due to a series of budgetary cuts, which have seen payments for all retired politicians reduced.