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A retreating state? April 12, 2017

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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Odd looking at the headlines on RTÉ this morning and seeing both Bus Éireann and An Post in the frame for cuts in services and, of course, numbers employed. And the thought occurs that this is how matters proceed here, not in Thatcherite grand plans but more quietly and almost covertly, albeit with similar ideological intent. An Post is different to BÉ but still, assumptions litter these areas about the state and its role, usually presented in a negative light.

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1. 1729torus - April 12, 2017

The D4 crowd don’t understand the nature of the country they’re supposed to be governing, and clearly harbour fantasies of turning the place into Britain, or even Singapore.

15 minutes on Wikipedia would be enough to tell you that this will precipate a political crisis of some sort that could fracture the country and drive business out. As system that caters to only ~30% of the population at most is unsustainable. It is interesting how FG apparently rely on institutions like the EU to get around that.

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2. ivorthorne - April 12, 2017

Ideology? We don’t do that here. These are just sensible options you see. We’re just reacting to acts of God that have nothing to do with our policies at all. Move along now.

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3. Gerryboy - April 12, 2017

Bus Eireann has lost passengers in rural Ireland, partly due to competition from private transport companies and largely because so many people now have cars. An Post has lost most of its parcel delivery business to the DHL-type companies, and has lost most of its postage stamp revenue because people have stopped writing letters.

I’d like suggestions as to how the state bus company and An Post could drum up more revenue to prevent the mass closure of transport services and village post offices.

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sonofstan - April 12, 2017

Here in privatised England, all the local bus services are in private hands – and are subsidised by the County Council (and thus paid for out of council tax). The effect is that drivers are badly paid, companies are constantly short-staffed because of that, but can’t pay more – they say – because they have to tender relatively regularly for the contracts; and vehicles are ancient, prone to breaking down etc. Fares, which are controlled by the council, are high-ish – certainly, a 20 minute journey here costs more than it would with Dublin bus.

There is competition on some routes around here, which is meant to be a good thing, but isn’t because passes are not interchangable and return tickets only usable on the service you bought it for.

It’s hard to see how this is any better than a single, council owned provider. But that would be ideologically unsupportable. Although strangely, and unlike Dublin, waste collection is still entirely council managed (and very good) – but then council tax is a significant cost to householders (owners and tenants)

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ivorthorne - April 12, 2017

The increase in car ownership is not really a recent development. The private operations, while sometimes more convenient, undermine the state owned operations and their owners make a profit and the expense of those they employ. We can’t really say the demand is not there while someone is making a profit!

As for An Post, well the network they operate has a value to the entire economy. They offer services in locations that would otherwise be less popular. The result of the removal of services is an increase in the demand for areas that have services. People complain about house prices in Dublin but this is natural given the fact that it is the best services area of the island. It makes sense to locate your business there so that’s where people end up living! Balanced regional development requires thinking about these impacts (let alone the social impacts) on communities.

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EWI - April 12, 2017

I’d like suggestions as to how the state bus company and An Post could drum up more revenue to prevent the mass closure of transport services and village post offices.

You’re joking, right? Subsidise essential routes and curtail the parasitical private operators for BÉ, finally progress the ‘third force’ banking proposals for An Post from nearly two decades ago (which were killed at the time by the bloody PDs).

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4. Paddy Healy - April 12, 2017

Ireland is, indeed, moving sharply to the far right.
Remember that by 2019 all routes including those served by Bus Eireann must be put out to tender. There is no regulation of wages among the “suppliers” except the legal minimum wage.
Under EU Fiscal Treaty for current or capital expenditure. Neither can proceeds from sale of state assets be used. Resources for immediate essential expenditure must be extracted from the population.
Proceeds from corporation profits tax will decline in future years because the 12.5% , even when fully paid, will apply to a declining share of multi-national profits as tax must now be paid on sales in the country where the sales take place.
FG-FF-Lab-Greens will then attempt to compete for FDI by driving down wages. Hence the extreme position taken by government in the Bus Eireann dispute. These parties will be reluctant to increase income tax even on the very rich to avoid upward pressure on wages in the private sector.
Where will the 26-co government get money for essential extra spending on social housing, health, to mend the massive leaks in water mains etc?
These parties will continue to refuse to place any tax whatsoever on the financial assets of the 10% of households who are now 35 billion richer than at PEAK BOOM LEVEL in 2006. (CSO Institutional Sector Accounts) They will also refuse to put any increased income tax even on the top 10,000 income recipients who are on an average of 595,000 Euro each per year. Instead they will give them back more money on top of what they gave them back in tax concessions in the last two budgets.
So where will they get the money?
There will be increases in regressive indirect taxes and stealth taxes together with further cuts in public services. Closure of post offices, VAT on now low rated goods, increase in the price of services from utilities such as electricity, gas, television services will feature inter alia. Water taxes through excessive use charges and increased general taxation to make us pa a second and ,arguably, a third time, will also contribute. (Water Charges were transferred to motor taxation, VAT and other Duties anf Fees by Brendan Howlin in the 1997 Act abbolishing water charges but the revenue has been put to other uses)
BTW, the OECD advocated this over 12 months ago
OECD ADVOCATES AGGRESSIVE MOVE TO THe RIGHT IN IRELAND http://wp.me/pKzXa-vk
BTW2, CSO and Nevin Economic Research Institute have shown that the poorest 10% of citizens pay the SAME PROPORTION OF THEIR INCOME IN TAX as the richest 10%. That is when all taxes are taken into account and not just income tax.

How did Irish Trade Union leaders allow all this to happen?

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1729torus - April 12, 2017

That situation isn’t sustainable without a political crisis of some sort.

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WorldbyStorm - April 12, 2017

+1

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Aengus Millen - April 12, 2017

Yet, These crisis never seem to favor the left or at least not enough to make a difference. Kerry feels left behind it elects the Healy-Rae’s. Dublin south elects Shane Ross on back of nothing but his ability to write newspaper columns. Tipp elects Lowry even still. Rural parts of America elect rich racists who they think will work for them and then ignore the fact that they raise their taxes and worsen their benefits. Hope for better but unfortunately past precedent does not give me great hope

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Paddy Healy - April 12, 2017

Don’t be too hard on Tipp-It has elected anti-water charge campaigner Seamus Healy for decades.

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WorldbyStorm - April 12, 2017

+1 Paddy.

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5. Paddy Healy - April 12, 2017

Error aove-omission of words in block caps below
Under EU Fiscal Treaty, IRELAND CANNOT BORROW For current or capital expenditure

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Paddy Healy - April 12, 2017

Yes, there will inevitably be a huge political crisis. But there will also be a deep crisis in the trade union movement. Since Tom Johnson and willie O’Brien deserted the Connolly tradition, the political arm of the Labour movement has always been marginal. The real Labour movement in Ireland is the trade unions.
The position now is that Bus Eireann can be put into examinership/liquidation and all the workers made redundant.
Wy did trade union leaders tolerate the development of this situation? Any experienced trade unionist knew that this would fundamentally weaken the position of Bus Eireann Workers and the defeat of such a group would weaken the entire working class!
A trade Union official said from the platform outside the Dail: If we loose this one we can pack up our bags and go home”
Isn’t it high time trade union leaderships realised the danger into which they have led members!!!

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6. Dr. X - April 12, 2017

Regarding the decline of rural post offices, there’s a thread here which includes a bit of chat that deals with the issue as it exists in New Zealand, against the backdrop of a burgeoning housing crisis in that country:

https://thestandard.org.nz/motels-are-full-of-homeless-so-now-what/

tl:dr – apparently some NZ post offices have free phones where you can ring up government services such as those you might have to resort if you’re rendered homeless by flooding. Bloody good idea – if you have a working post office anywhere near you, that is.

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