The Connell family from Blanchardstown, Dublin, have been made homeless through a combination of rent allowance cuts and rack-renting by their landlord. Fingal County Council have no houses. The family cannot get any alternative rented accommodation within rent allowance limits. They are split up…the family are staging a protest at Joan Burton’s Department of Social Protection on Store Street in Dublin tomorrow at 11am, asking ‘Where is the social protection’? They will be supported by their family and members of the local Anti-Austerity Alliance.
[Minister for Social Protection, Joan Burton with Labour TD John Lyons, Labour MEP Phil Prendergast, Tánaiste and Labour leader Eamon Gilmore and Labour TD Ciara Conway at a Labour party think-in at Johnstown House in Co. Meath last September]
Ms Burton told Newstalk this morning that, while she will be in New York with Taoiseach Enda Kenny on St Patrick’s Day, she will not be attending the city’s St Patrick’s Day parade, which has banned public displays of gay pride.
Meanwhile, Fine Gael TD Jerry Buttimer, who last week told the Dáil how he was ‘beaten, spat [at], chased, harassed, and mocked’ for being gay, has said he’d prefer if Mr Kenny didn’t attend the parade.
New York City mayor Bill de Blasio is boycotting the event.
[The 'We're Not Leaving' youth protest in October outside Leinster House, Dublin]
Welfare officials have sent 4,000 letters to young people encouraging them to take up work abroad, the Irish Mirror can reveal.
Social Protection Minister Joan Burton detailed how her department is urging people on the dole to go to the UK, Spain, France and Norway if they want a job.
…Ms Burton said: “In notifying jobseekers of such vacancies the Department is simply drawing their attention to vacancies that exist and that are simultaneously being brought to the attention of jobseekers in other countries.”
The latest Irish Times piece backing up Joan Burton and her soft-focus attempt to come across as some sort of benign Irish Thatcher as she cracks down on “welfare tourism” is breathless in its promise, giving us a statistic that “one case has been detected every four days.”
It then goes on to produce Burton’s most fantastic, and transparently made-up, claim.
Welfare inspectors at ports and airports discovered 122 cases in the past 18 months, saving the State €1.35m as a result, Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton said.
Firstly, “discovering” one case every four days is entirely irrelevant, as you’ll soon find out. And the €1.35 million in savings is based on “estimates (of) future payments the welfare recipients would have received if they were not detected,” according to the Department.
That is to say – in Anglo parlance – that the Department “pulled the figure out of their arse.” They stuck their finger in the air and put 122 cases together, and came up with €1.35 million out of nowhere.
By this point most readers would have headed on over to theJournal.ie to engage in a flurry of comments about ne’er-do-wells too lazy to work.
A shame, because if they read further they’d discover that the 122 cases led to a whopping FIVE prosecutions.
And the concrete, non-pulled-out-of-the-arse figure for money recovered by the state? €54,000, or an average of around €11,000, give or take a claimable ministerial expense.
That can hardly be a sum Burton considers huge, given that she pays her “special adviser” €35,796 (or the tangible equivalent of three fraudulent social welfare claims) as a top-up to the €92,000 they are supposedly restricted to.
There is a widespread belief, fostered by successive governments, that Ireland’s real enemies are the handful of crooks (and the fact that there have been only five prosecutions shows it’s truly a handful) that check in, sign on and fly out. Those doing the real damage are those who fly into Ireland with a laptop bag, not a holdall.
Joan Bruton this afternoon announcing an extension to the JobBridge national internship scheme to “allow for further internships in the crafts sector” at a press conference at Farmleigh, Phoenix Park, Dublin.
Yesterday’s Sunday Times reported about a scheduled photocall with Labour leader and Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore and Denis O’Brien which took place on October 9.
A spokesperson forLabour’s deputy leader Joan Burton told the paper
“Photocalls for the Tánaiste are a matter for the Tánaiste’s office and the minister has no objection to the same.”
“There has been considerable public and political unease about the fact that Mr. O’Brien has continued to pop up at various public events, most recently at the New York Stock Exchange. However, the Taoiseach was invited to attend that stock exchange event. The organisers of the event not the Office of the Taoiseach decided who was on the balcony for the bell ringing ceremony. It is perhaps time for the Government to reflect on how it should in future interact with people against whom adverse findings have been made by tribunals.”
“We do not want to return to the days of, “uno duce, una voce“, the immortal phrase which the former Fianna Fáil press secretary P.J. Mara, himself a tribunal veteran, used to describe Charles Haughey, nor do we want a Berlusconi style media-political complex with its attendant codes of omertà undermining the principles of transparent democracy. In this regard I welcome the statement by my colleague, the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, on the introduction of legislation to deal with the registration of lobbyists, ethics for public representatives and office holders and transparency in public life. We should look back to the 1830s in the United Kingdom and the great reform Acts which were introduced to clean up politics and end the rotten boroughs for election to Parliament.”
“We live in a Republic and the representation of each citizen should be what counts rather than the amount of money a particular citizen can spend. We can look forward to a period of reform in which this Government will change the political landscape and our capacity to report and hold to account lobbyists.”
“The Ten Commandments prohibited murder and envy but they did not put an end to sin. Similarly, this House needs to legislate for transparency and accountability from all elected representatives and office holders.”
(Joan Burton at the Global irish Economic Forum in Dublin Castle last month)
Mark Malone writes:
Its hard to know were to begin. A Labour minister announced yesterday that sections of the police force are to be drafted in to set up road blocks and stop workers in cars outside industrial estates.
When I first heard this mentioned on my Facebook and Twitter feeds I assumed it was some kind of left knee jerk interpretation. (I’m prone to them myself) Then I thought it might be FG spin from either within Burton’s department or the Dept of Finance to politically damage Burton. This was before I realised she said this herself on air, though ‘clarifying’ later in the day that she was referring to industrial estates rather than housing estates. Should we be eternally grateful that a Labour minister in only sending cops to harrass the labouring classes at our places of work, rather than at our homes? This is a deeply authoritarian step for any government to take, and as such it is a risk for Labour in further antagonizing ordinary working class people . Though given that Labour is hemorrhaging support, it seems that the party will face a similar fate to other centrist minor coalition partners right across Europe over the last ten years.
This political policing begs some serious questions too. How exactly is a cop stopping cars of people coming out or heading into a days work going to be able to tell if people are signing on the dole while working. Under what legislation can a police force be entitled to demand your personal information on the presumptive basis that all workers coming out of a workplace might be doing the double.
On what information are they using to pick those to stop. Are they going to stop every car, thereby creating long tail backs for workers in and out of work? I cant help thinking of how the RUC used to stop people coming and going to local GAA matches, creating massive tailbacks, often delaying kick off times. Simple harassment of a population to suits the states aim. What’s the difference here?
Are people who work in industrial estates going to have to do what people in the north used to? Head off half an hour early to build in time being held in a traffic queue by the cops? How long does the Labour/FG government think people will put up with this shit?
(Eamon Gilmore and Joan Burton at the Labour parliamentary party’s think-in last month)
Beyond that, the country can’t stand Labour. Or its leader. Within the party, Eamon’s leadership is under threat from Joan Burton. Somehow, Joan has positioned herself as the protector of old Labour values, while attacking the unemployed and their lifestyle and slashing away at the social protections that we – in our work and our taxes – have already paid for.
As if Eamon hasn’t enough to worry about, last week he and his comrades got a kick in the teeth from the German SPD. The SPD is negotiating to go into coalition government with Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats. And they’ve been laying down conditions that involve this country.
No deal, they told Merkel, until you force the Irish political classes to stop mollycoddling big business. And, Angela – you know how the Irish politicians expect help with reducing the banking debts they’ve heaped on to their citizens? If you want the SPD to prop up your government, knock that on the head.
…In short, Eamon is being shafted by his comrades abroad, his comrades at home are waiting for the appropriate moment to slip a knife between his ribs and the Irish electorate look on him with the kind of distaste usually reserved for a genital rash.