Tag Archives: Eddie Hobbs


last night.

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Financial Consultant Eddie Hobbs, RTÉ presenter Claire Byrne and Liam Doran, of the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INTO)

Last night.

On RTÉ One’s Claire Byrne Live show, financial consultant Eddie Hobbs and Liam Doran, of the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation, spoke about public pay.

It comes as it’s reported that the Public Service Pay Commission’s recommendations are to be presented to Cabinet by Minister for Public Expenditure Paschal Donoghue today, ahead of public pay talks in coming weeks.

Pat Leahy, in The Irish Times, reports:

“The report has not been distributed in advance by Mr Donohoe, and Ministers have not been made aware of its contents. However, sources told The Irish Times that the report will recommend the recession era pay cuts – the “Fempi” cuts (Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest) – should be unwound gradually as part of a wider pay agreement.

It is understood that the Department of Public Expenditure is prepared to offer public servants wage increases of about 6 per cent over three years. Additional pay rises could also emerge from local bargaining arrangements.”

Further to this..

From last night’s discussion on Claire Byrne Live.

Claire Byrne: “Eddie, you think that the public sector have it so good that, if you’re a young, private sector person, you should go and marry one of them. Is that right?”

Eddie Hobbs: “Well, I suppose I was just being funny to make the point that, you know, most people in the private sector don’t have a pension fund and less than, you know, one in six have anything like a guaranteed pension and nobody has the sort of Bugatti Veyron-type pensions that exist at the very top of the public sector, in the private sector. What we do know in the private sector is that, you know, the average rates of pay in the private sector pay, Claire, today, in 2017, just now are reaching the average in the public sector in the year 2000. That’s quite staggering. And it will probably be post-2030 by the time average rates of pay in the private sector match those currently in the public sector.”

Claire Byrne: “So what are you saying, they shouldn’t get any pay rises. And they shouldn’t get, their pension shouldn’t be tackled?”

Hobbs: “No, not at all. What I’m saying is that Ireland has, whether, you know, we’re all interconnected, just to get a few things out of the way, everybody’s interconnected – whether you’re in the private sector or the public sector because most of us contribute into the social insurance fund which funds the old-age pension. And if you look at the growth and the cost of pensions, it’s staggering. In or around the year 2000, the current year’s payout in pensions, for public sector pensions was around €870million. In 2006, it was €1.6billion. Today, it’s €3.3billion. So, roughly, it’s for every €5 paid in pay, there’s about €1 paying in pensions. Now, if you look, say the gardaí, the ratio of serving members to retired members is now almost one to one and the payout of the gardaí is about €1billion a year in Ireland but it’s about €400million in pensions.

“But I just want to make one final point and it’s this: the social insurance fund which funds all our old-age pensions has a projected deficit of €324billion over the next number of decades – that’s the gap that we are failing to fill with our own personal contributions and the debt to public sector pensions is €100billion. It started off before benchmarking at €20billion, it’s now €100billion. So it’s gone up…”

Byrne: “Benchmarking, you’re saying, is at fault for creating that big, black hole?”

Hobbs: “I think what’s needed is we need to, we need to decapitate public sector pensions at a level we can afford. I don’t mean hitting the middle and lower-end. I mean the Bugatti Veyron version. And we need to introduce…”

Byrne: “Will we get enough back though, from the people at the higher end?”

Hobbs: “Well, no we won’t because what we then need to do is, we need to have a substantial increase in all our contribution rates and employers and employees into a universal pension scheme that both public and private workers exist the same and there isn’t a wealth transfer from one to the other because it’s creating an underclass and an overclass in our society. And that’s very, very dangerous down the road.”

Byrne: “Liam Doran, representing nurses, we heard that industrial armageddon relations, armageddon was coming from nurses if you didn’t get what you’re asking for. You’re looking for 12% is it? Over a number of years?”

Liam Doran: “We’re looking for parity with other degree-level health professionals, yes.”

Byrne: “And you believe that you should be a special case?”

Doran: “Well, it’s not a question of I believing it. It’s a question of the market confirming to Ireland that if it wants a workforce of nurses and midwives, it’s going to have to address the pay issue because, quite currently, Ireland is not competitive. Nurses who qualify here, midwives who qualify here are emigrating in their thousands – 7,500 to the UK in the last six years, about 14,000 overall in the last nine years. Those people have left our shores. We need them. But, currently, other jurisdictions, and they’re highly mobile, are paying them much better rates, less hours of work, more access to continued professional development, so we’re not competitive in that private sector sense that Eddie lauds so much. I love Eddie’s comparison about everything within the year 2000 and so on, but he’s conveniently forgotten the cuts that were imposed on all public servants in 2008/9, that have left many of them unable to pay their bills and so on, and struggle. But yet people want essential public services and they want those people at work.”

Byrne: “Liam, in order to get that 12% pay rise, are you willing to put pensions on the table, for discussion?”

Doran: “No, no, the issue about. There’s two things going into these pay talks, and I’m quite blunt about these things. One is, the people that I represent, and public sector people at large, want pay restoration, the money that was cut, as this economy grows, we want to get our money back. But, secondly, in relation to nurses and midwives, yes, absolutely, if we are to apply the norms of the market, the things that govern, the ins and outs, the ebb and flow, we are not competitive and we’re going to have to address it. And we can’t afford to wait around for the length of this agreement, whether it’ll be one, two, three or whatever it is, for the day to come to sort it out. We have to sort it out now and the INMO is quite clear: the Government has said, repeatedly, you do these things through process, we’re going into a process and we expect the Government to come to that table. They will have their own agenda and we’ll have to deal with it but our agenda is quite clear: and one of them is parity with other allied health professionals.”


Hobbs: “We have an underclass and overclass of workers. The private sector is an underclass at the moment, when you look, the fact that, if you look at the private sector. Only 16% are in guaranteed pensions, half have no pensions at all and the rest have underfunded pensions. So, with a huge deficit in the social insurance fund, as I said, €324billion, we’re heading for a huge problem within the next 10 or 15 years in retirement and this…may I finish the point… the problem is the same with public, a lot of public sector pensions are dependent for support from the social insurance fund aswell, so it’s a problem common to them. As well as the fact…”

Byrne: “So if they get the 12%, do they have to give it back on the pension side?”

Hobbs:They want to replace FEMPI [Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest Act 2015] with SEMPI, which is Somebody Else Must Pay It doctrine.”

Doran: “Ah well, Eddie, that’s more…”

Hobbs: “That’s the case…”

Doran: “No, that’s more of the soundbite. The problem in pensions in this country, the problem with pensions in this country, it’s not that public servants, on very ordinary income, have one. Right? Cause the vast majority of nurses, for example, retire on the max staff nurse scale of about €47,000/€48,000, after 20 years’ service. They have about 20-30 years’ service, which gives them a pension of about €16,000 that they’ve paid for throughout their working lives. There’s not a problem with that. They deserve that, they’ve earned it and they’re going to hold onto it, as far as I’m concerned.”

The problem with pensions in this country is, is that every private sector employer that can has walked away from their social and other obligations to contribute to a pension scheme for their workers. Even profitable companies.”

Applause from audience

Doran: “Even profitable companies in this country have ran like hares down holes to avoid any moral or social responsibility. Very profitable companies who, in the media business and so on, have all done that. And then, the whole of the commentary come along and says ‘public sector, wrong to have a pension because the private sector don’t have it’.”

Hobbs: “Well, that’s not…”

Doran: “Everybody, everybody needs a pension to protect them as they reach their older age…”


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The results of a survey taken by Amárach Research/Claire Byrne Live, presented during the show.

Pay commission to say public pay cuts should by unwound gradually (Pat Leahy, The Irish Times)

Watch Claire Byrne Live in full here

00158335Eddie Hobbs

‘Other Eddie’ writes:

The very nasty piece about [Reboot Ireland’s] Eddie Hobbs in the Sunday Independent about his various business adventures has been removed from the Independent website. The article was astonishing given that Hobbs was only recently writing for the paper and is a leading part of the Lucinda Creighton’s new political movement (backed by the paper up to now). Incidentally The piece was written by Nick Webb, the son in law of Shane Ross, founder of the other new party and Lucinda’s rival….

Reboot! Fight!

The Consumer Champion Of Catastrophe (Nick Webb, Sunday Independent)


Less taxes.

Less spending.

privatise everything.

Let’s get this party started already.

[Lucinda]Creighton this afternoon said the party would not be adopting any particular stance on the forthcoming referendum on same-sex marriage, but said she would probably vote in favour.
The party is being founded under four principles including building an economy for entrepreneurs and giving politics back to the people.
Ms Creighton said: “We want to reboot Ireland and we want those who are as passionate about this country as we are to join us on this mission”.
She said that planning for the party had been under way since April 2014.
Over 100 people have been working in a voluntary capacity in areas such as policy, research, IT, communications and party structure.
Ms Creighton will be hosting public meetings throughout the country before the party’s launch to seek contributions to policy formation and to recruit people to get involved.

Creighton to launch new party in spring (RTÉ)

Third pic from left: John Leahy, Lucinda Creighton and Eddie Hobbs launching a “new political force in Ireland” this morning. Less taxes apparently. More as we get it. FIGHT! Reboot Ireland

(Sam Boal/Photocall Ireland)


Eddie Hobbs

Water, oil, shale.

They should be ours.

Eddie Hobbs writes:

Unlike many European countries, Ireland took explicit ownership of natural resources in its Constitution. While the Constitution recites its role in acting in the common good, the State reinforced its hegemony by ensuring that these principles of law, including the alienation of the people from their natural resource endowment, cannot be actionable through the courts under Article 45, which leaves the people marooned by the State when, acting as trustee, it fails in its duty of care.

Had this flaw not been engineered, today’s water protesters could be fighting through the courts and not in the streets for what the UN General Assembly in 2010 declared to be a human right: “The right to safe and clean drinking water and sanitation as a human right that is essential for the full enjoyment of life and all human rights.

Ireland abstained from the vote on the UN declaration.

We could also be holding our Government to account for its reckless policy in handing ownership of large tracts of offshore territory to private oil and gas explorers. We are told our water will not be privatised. You can be sure that’s true. For the time being, no sane private company would want to take it on. But the State, trading at the extreme edges of debt servicing, will sell the family silver to preserve itself first and look after anything else second .

There is only one way to protect the Irish people from the incompetence, callowness, and self-preservation that is second nature to our political leaders and that is to amend the Constitution, not just for water but for all our natural resources. This means overturning Article 10, placing unfettered ownership with the people and trusteeship with the State, reducing it to acting as a fiduciary, not as the owner. The State’s behaviour in such a role could then be actionable through the courts.

Amending the Constitution at any level ought to be done carefully, consulting widely and involving constitutional lawyers to properly address requirements for balance on the question of sustainability for future generations, to allow for temporary leasing to private interests while retaining ownership, and to impose a responsibility to use the resource efficiently.

But the State will not accept diminishing its grip lightly — not without challenge. That challenge has manifestly arrived with the water protests. What is required now is a redirection of the debate towards revisiting the 1937 Constitution, recognising that the fundamental issue here is not about pricing water for the next few years but about the imbalance of power as between the people and the State on the question of Irish natural resources. That means digging under the foundations of State power. That is where we are compelled to excavate, recognising that Irish natural resources could, in a few decades, become the defining intersection in our relationship with the outside world, especially with the EU to whom we have already given up so much.

Eddie Hobbs: Constitutional betrayal of our right to water (irish Examiner)

(Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland)

Yesterday: Well This Is Awkward


[From top: Eddie Hobbs with contributing authors; Hobbs; Hobbs with Chris Sanders and Eilis Quinlan whose father,former Labour Minister and European Parliament member Justin Keating (on screen) who in 1975 introduced the first substantial legislation for the development of Ireland’s oil and gas; Book cover]

The launch of ‘Own Our Oil: The Fight for Irish Economic Freedom’ by Eddie Hobbs in the President”s Room at the RDS, Ballsbridge, Dublin this afternoon.

Mark writes:

In ‘Own Our Oil:The Fight for Irish Economic Freedom’ Eddie Hobbs and contributing authors shine a light on the exploitation that surrounds Ireland’s oil and gas reserves. The authors illustrate their ideal economic model for a healthy and prosperous Ireland, in contrast to the current management of oil and gas reserves in Ireland….


Own Our Own Oil


Eddie Hobbs in today’s Wall Street Journal writes:

So while Time magazine and others eulogise the plucky leader of the Irish people, the truth is that Enda Kenny leads a Vichy government—captive externally to creditors that still insist on loading bank debt onto the sovereign, and internally to a tribe of insiders led by union godfathers in a deal that protects the government’s own excessive pay and pensions while bankers lean over its shoulders to rewrite insolvency laws. This isn’t just crony capitalism. It’s crony democracy.

So there.

Don’t Expect a Celtic Comeback (Eddie Hobbs, Wall Street Journal)

(Graham Hughes/Photocall Ireland)