My personal favourite
Fine Gael pump another €24bn into the black hole of Irish banks without any losses being imposed on senior bondholders.
My personal favourite
Fine Gael pump another €24bn into the black hole of Irish banks without any losses being imposed on senior bondholders.
I think I said at the time that he seemed curoiusly emphatic and surely he couldn’t back down from that. Well he did, just a little bit.
NEVER trust a blueshirt.
FG pledges mortgage interest relief
Fine Gael has today pledged to increase mortgage interest relief for people in negative equity to help them save up to €166 a month.
Publishing its banking policy today, the party also said it would shut down Anglo Irish Bank and Irish Nationwide building society by the end of the year and to stop future asset transfers to Nama from the other banks.
It said the plan would bring the sector ?back from the brink? and stimulate economic recovery.
Finance spokesman Michael Noonan said the party?s aim in government would be to achieve a ?well-regulated, competitive, profitable, and privately-owned" banking system.
?Crucially, given that the taxpayer has bailed out the banks, we believe the banks must now act in their interests. The banks must go to work for the negative equity generation,? Mr Noonan said.
The party had set out an alternative banking policy two years ago that would have used the period of stability provided by the guarantee to restructure the banks and ?where appropriate, impose losses on the banks? investors and bondholders?.
Fianna Fail had, however, ?landed the public with a €100 billion bill for the banks?.
Mr Noonan said Labour?s plan to nationalise the entire banking system would have had the same result.
Fine Gael has also proposed cutting bank costs to avoid interest rate hikes for consumers. The party said it would ensure ?fraudulent bankers? were pursued for their crimes and that they would face the law.
It would close Anglo and INBS before the end of the year and halt future asset transfers to Nama from Bank of Ireland, AIB and EBS.
Fine Gael said it would also make bondholders share the burden of the debts of insolvent financial institutions. The policy document also proposes the introduction of a partial loan guarantee scheme for small and medium businesses.
Mr Noonan said, within the first 100 days in government, Fine Gael would require all the banks that are in receipt of taxpayers? money to come up with plans to cut their cost-base. “We want them to cut their cost-base to the level where they can reduce the rate on the variable mortgage by a quarter of one per cent,” he said.
Fine Gael in government would also be potentially interested in negotiations with the California-based Silicon Bank which provided packages of credit and loans to the high-tech sector.
-Anglo is now just being renamed…
Where exactly do these notions in the media about Varadkar and Creighton being “the rising stars of Irish politics”, having " formidable intellect" etc come from?The two have proved themselves to be thicker than the horrible, stinking sludge that lies on the sides of the River Liffey at low tide on sweltering summer days.
Thursday April 28 2011
PUBLIC Expenditure Minister Brendan Howlin has picked a civil service insider as head of his new department.
Economist Robert Watt is the €214,000-a-year secretary general of the breakaway part of the Department of Finance, formed by the new Government.
Mr Watt was brought into the civil service from the private sector, when he was appointed as an assistant secretary general in the department. He previously worked with Indecon Economic Consultants and London Economics.
Mr Howlin chose to only advertise the post of Department of Public Expenditure secretary general within the senior ranks of the civil service, despite a firm promise to open up all senior public sector posts to outside expertise.
Households face €175 water charge after Fine Gael U-turn
By Paul Melia
Tuesday May 03 2011
HOUSEHOLDERS will have to pay an annual charge of up to €175 for their water within two years, the Irish Independent has learned.
[b]The move comes as the Government was forced to admit it will not meet a target to have meters installed in every home in the country by next year.
It will instead introduce a flat-rate annual fee – expected to be €175 per house, regardless of household income.
The U-turn by Fine Gael comes after pre-election promises that it would not charge for water until every home had a meter installed to measure consumption.
As part of the EU/IMF bailout conditions, the State is required to start charging for domestic water by 2012/2013.
Sources last night said the Government was “locked in” to this provision, regardless of whether meters were in place.
Work on the metering programme – which will take four years to complete – has not yet begun. The Government hopes to start installing meters next year.
“At some stage, there’s going to be flat-rate charges,” a senior government source told the Irish Independent.
“No decision has been taken on how we’re going to marry the programme for government with the EU/IMF deal, (but) we’re absolutely locked into this deal.”
Ireland is one of the only countries in the EU not to charge households for water.
The State spends more than €500m a year treating water for domestic use, something the EU/IMF insists must change.
However, the Government will likely face stiff opposition to get a charging system in place. The charge cannot be considered an environmental tax aimed at encouraging conservation if consumption cannot be measured.
If a household of two people has to pay the same as a household of six, there would be no incentive to reduce use.
It will take at least four years to install meters, at a cost of around €500m.
The project will be funded by the National Pension Reserve Fund.
If the flat rate was imposed on each of the country’s 1.4 million households, around €245m a year would be collected.
The Government wants to set up a national authority to take responsibility for the water network and impose charges,.
Details of the plan must be finalised for the EU/IMF by the end of this year. A soon-to-be commissioned study will set out the state of the country’s water network, examine how much water is being lost and what works are needed to bring it up to standard.
Junior Environment Minister Fergus O’Dowd would not comment on water charging yesterday, saying it was a matter for the Department of the Environment. But he admitted the country’s water system was in a “critical way”.
“We need to spend €5bn over the next 10 years to stop leakages, with €250m needed immediately,” he told the Irish Independent.
However, collecting the domestic charges could prove difficult, given the experience in the commercial sector.
In some areas, as few as 27pc of businesses pay their bills and councils are currently owed €90m.
Fine Gael promise to ban corporate donations to political parties
Corporate Donations are ok, we’ll just reduce the amount a bit.
Listen to this utter tard hang up a minute and a half into a radio interview this morning :lol:
Christ, that’s disgraceful. Arrogant bastard.
I’ve left him an abusive message here:
February 2011 - NO NEW TAXES
June 2011 - Michael Noonan said: “Given the scale of the economic challenges facing the country I cannot rule out any tax initiative.”
An excerpt from an open letter by James Reilly (the FG spokesperson on health at the time) to the people of Roscommon two weeks before the general election:
I would like to confirm that Fine Gael undertakes, in accordance
with the Fine Gael Policy on Local Hospitals, to retain
the Emergency, Surgical, Medical and other health services at
Roscommon Hospital which are present on the formation of
the 31st Dáil.
I see Fine Gael have appointed 4 of their buddies to the judiciary, just in time so they won’t be affected by the cuts in judges pay.
Nice one from Phil Hogan here - http://www.irishtime…4307166805.html
Unbelievable the power IBEC has to set policy whenever it wants to.
Hogan’s U-turn on climate is short-sighted and damaging
WILL THE real Phil Hogan please stand up? On June 16th last, responding in the Dáil to questions from Sinn Féin’s Martin Ferris on whether climate change legislation was being “put on the long finger”, the Minister for the Environment gave a response that left no one in the chamber in any doubt as to where he stood: “Climate change is widely recognised as the most fundamental and far-reaching environmental challenge to humanity, both globally and nationally.”
When in opposition, Phil Hogan was even more passionate. In the Dáil last December, Hogan offered his strong support for then minister, John Gormley’s carbon budget.
However, as a seasoned campaigner, Hogan warned Gormley there would be concerted attempts to wreck this critical legislation. “I know it was not easy for the ministers to pursue this matter through Cabinet because it is an area with many vested and conflicting interests.” Fine Gael would be “as constructive as always in the climate change committee when the Bill comes before it”.
Gormley was at the time under a ferocious two-fronted assault from the farming and business lobbies, specifically the Irish Farmers’ Association and Irish Business and Employers Confederation. The Green Party’s failure to get climate legislation enacted on their watch was, however, primarily down to their own lack of political nous.
Meanwhile, the Phil Hogan who understood not alone the gravity of the climate crisis, but was also wise to the spin and special pleading from an assortment of lobby groups, has vapourised, to be replaced by his Doppelgänger, Phil “the fixer” Hogan.
Early last month, Hogan and his senior officials took part in a behind-closed-doors briefing organised by Ibec. The meeting, according to Ibec chief Danny McCoy, was “a timely opportunity for our members to influence the development of a climate policy framework”. Understandably, McCoy was “particularly pleased the Minister will be joining us”. In private. No reporters, no notes. Oisín Coghlan of Friends of the Earth remarked at the time that Hogan was running the “Galway tent of climate politics”.
The volte-face by Hogan has been stunning. His capitulation to special pleading by IFA/Ibec is testimony to the power of these unelected bodies in “shaping” legislation before it even reaches the public domain.
Apparently, Fine Gael’s pledge to revoke the ban on stag hunting has itself been revoked - http://www.independent.ie/national-news/kenny-rules-out-reversing-staghunt-ban-2927998.html
The Greens are pleased - http://twitter.com/#!/greenparty_ie/status/133964537203404801
The newly constituted Ógra Fhianna Fáil has marked 250 days of this Government with an online campaign to highlight Fine Gael and Labour’s growing list of broken promises. This is the list as they see it
• “Is it Labour’s way or Frankfurt way” – Eamon Gilmore; “Fine Gael in
Government will force certain classes of bondholders to share in the cost of
recapitalising troubled financial institutions” – Manifesto.
• In government, they refuse to impose losses on the €3.5 billion of unsecured,
unguaranteed senior bondholders at Anglo Irish Bank and Irish Nationwide
Building Society (INBS).
Third Level Fees
• “Labour is opposed to third-level fees by either the front or back doors” –
• Now Quinn refuses to rule out increased student fees in the future.
Student Services Charge
• Quinn signed a USI election pledge to reverse the €500 increase in the
Student Services Charge in Budget 2011.
• Refused to do so once in Government, and won’t rule out increases to it in the
• Varadkar said that not another “red cent” would be put into the banks.
• The Central Bank announced in March 2011 that the banks would require
€24bn. €19bn of this will be met by the taxpayer by July 2011.
• Pledged to “re-structure boards and replace and directors who presided over
failed lending practices.”
• BOI appointed 4 pre-2008 directors; AIB has 3 non-exec directors still in
place; Irish Life and Permanent still has one.
Force Banks to Cut their Interest Rates
• The Programme for Government promised that banks in receipt of state
support would be forced to forego a 25 basis point increase on their variable
• Despite cuts by the ECB to interest rates, NIB is pressing ahead with raising
rates, and other banks are refusing to lower theirs.
Mortgages Interest Relief
• The Programme for Government has a commitment to abolish mortgage
interest relief for new buyers from June this year in order to finance an
increase in relief for those who bought their homes from 2004-2008.
• Now Michael Noonan says “it is unlikely that any measures will be introduced
before Budget 2012.”
Sell the EBS
• During the election Fine Gael pledged to sell EBS.
• EBS has now been merged with AIB.
Medium Term Loans to Irish Banks
• Michael Noonan “We need medium-term facilities from the ECB so that the
liquidity problems in the Irish banks are not addressed on a fortnightly basis
with a rollover of the liquidity funding every two weeks.”
• It now appears this is not going to happen – The ECB rejected it.
The EU-IMF Deal
• The EU/IMF deal was a “bad deal for Ireland.” ( Eamon Gilmore), “a disaster
and an obscenity” (Micheal Noonan)
• After election: Eamon Gilmore said: “It was never going to be the case that
the renegotiation of the agreement was something that was going to be done
in one great big bang.”
• FG 5 point plan: No new taxes including no income tax increases
• Minister Noonan: “I am not going to rule out any tax initiative, or any tax
increase or any tax reduction.”
Universal Social Charge
• The PfG states: “We will review the Universal Social Charge”.
• No review now forthcoming; Noonan robustly defends the levy in the Dail
saying the “universal social charge is progressive.” He added: “It is hard to
argue that is regressive; that is one of the more progressive taxes one will
• FG & Lab voted against Budget 2011.
• Now it seems they’re only too happy to take ownership of the budget and
boast about the adjustments that have been achieved to date.
More Pay Cuts to Public Servants
• They opposed the public sector pension levy – “It is a crude and unfair
system.” (Brendan Howlin)
• Now they won’t rule out more cuts to public service pay.
• FG promised a Jobs Budget within 100 days.
• The jobs budget then became a mere revenue neutral “jobs initiative”, with no
Getting People Back to Work
• FG Election Slogan: Let’s Get Ireland Working
• Latest Live Register figures show unemployment stagnant – the jobs initiative
failed, the New Era jobs didn’t materialise, and the Medium Term Fiscal
Statement acknowledges unemployment will rise next year.
New Era Jobs
• Enda Kenny boasted that “New Era plan will create over 105,000 jobs.”
• At its launch in Sept, there was no mention of jobs it would create, and no
mention of cost.
New Era Funding
• The Programme for Government and the Fine Gael manifesto state that it
would funded through the sale of state assets.
• However, the EU/IMF agreement clearly states - “It is important to make
effective use of our state assets and, where appropriate, dispose of them to
help reduce our government debt.”
• Programme for Government: “We will target up to €2 billion in sales of nonstrategic
• It now looks like up to €5bn of assets, strategic or otherwise, will be sold.
Strategic Investment Bank
• The Programme for Government states “we will establish a Strategic
• Kenny, September 2011: “A Strategic Investment Bank would be difficult to
implement in current market conditions.”
Upward Only Rent Reviews
• The Programme for Govt states: “We will legislate to end upward only rent
reviews for existing leases.”
• Each time the Justice Minister has been asked about it, he’s fudged the issue.
Protecting the Low Paid
• Labour Manifesto pledged to reform JLCs in a way that protects the most
• Jobs Minister Richard Bruton is dragging his feet on introducing a reformed
JLC system, leaving workers vulnerable since July.
Competition & Consumer Protection
• FG Manifesto: Promised a new “powerful consumer champion”, giving it
“additional powers – by constitutional change if necessary – to break up
public and private sector monopolies and cartels.”
• No mention of this in Competition Bill 2011, and no commitment to
Ban on Corporate Donations
• The Programme for Government clearly states “we will introduce the
necessary legal and constitutional provisions to ban corporate donations to
• The Bill allows corporate donations to continue and Enda Kenny has
confirmed that there will be no constitutional ban put to the people.
Severance Pay for Senior Civil Servants
• There will be no more “golden handshakes” for public servants that have
failed to deliver.
• Big payoffs for senior civil servants continue.
Reducing the number of TDs
• FG had previously promised to reduce the number of TDs by 20
• The Electoral Act proposes a cut of as little as 6 TDs.
• Enda Kenny, April 2011: “We will set out a programme to allow for a series of
constitutional amendments to be decided on what we called “Constitution
day”, to be held within 12 months of the new Government being formed.”
• Little mention of it since
• Both parties pledged to abolish the Seanad.
• There was no mention in the legislative agenda of legislation to scrap the
• During the election campaign Eamon Gilmore identified child benefit as a red
line issue. Labour’s “Every Little Hurts" advertising campaign lambasted Fine
Gael for their proposed cuts in the child benefit rates
• Joan Burton has since refused to give an explicit commitment on child benefit
Social Welfare Rates
• The Programme for Government clearly states “We will maintain social
• Joan Burton has continuously refused to give an explicit commitment on
National Educational Psychological Service
• Ruairi Quinn promised to provide “€3m to reverse the cut in the National
Educational Psychological Service.”
• He has made no mention of this commitment since then
Water Charges & Utility Charges
• Labour previously said they would be opposed to the introduction of flat rate
water charges “A flat water charge is not something that we’re going to
• The government has now admitted that two charges are on the way by 2013,
a flat rate household utility charge (by 2012) and water charges.
• “We’re not in favour of a tax on the family home” – Gilmore
• July 2011: Phil Hogan announced the introduction of a €100 flat rate
household charge which is to be applied to the 1.6 million households in the
• Fine Gael’s plans for the setting up of a new water company introducing water
charges featured heavily in its New Politics policy document published in
• However, FG has now admitted that they have no plan for the setting up of
this company, no idea of the timeline involved and have also admitted that
there are significant legal and administrative changes involved in transferring
water services from local authorities to the new water company.
• FG Manifesto p27: “Fine Gael will reverse the ban on stag hunting”; Junior
Minister Shane McEntee (Meath East) told the Seanad on 25th Oct that
legislation reversing the ban was forthcoming.
• 8th Nov – Kenny spokesperson: McEntee was “expressing an opinion” and
there was “no commitment” to reverse the ban.
• Fine Gael Manifesto: “It is premature to cease the cutting of turf for domestic
purposes in 2011”; Roscommon TD Frank Feighan said he would “sign in his
own blood” the future of turf-cutting.
• 27th Sept: Deenihan signs regulations making turf cutting on Special Areas of
Conservation a criminal offence, and allows for the confiscation of turf cutting
• Programme for Government: “We will publish a Climate Change Bill.”
• This was dropped by Phil Hogan in November 2011.
• Shatter said in December 2010 that a reduction in Garda numbers would
“obstruct the battle against crime”
• “The job of this Government is to reduce public expenditure, not to increase it.
That is as applicable across the justice sector as it is in other sectors.”
• FG manifesto: “We believe that the Triple Lock must be modified to allow
Ireland participate in peacekeeping missions. The failure of the UN Security
Council to pass a resolution should not prevent us from taking part in
• Shatter: “As matters stand the triple lock remains part and parcel of Govt.
• FG Manifesto: “We will introduce a new code of practice for the use of the
government jet ensuring cost effective and transparent travel. To stamp out
any abuse, cheaper commercial alternatives must be taken when possible.”
Transport spokesperson Simon Coveney said last year: Jets were “being
abused” by Ministers.
• Oct 2011: Jet had been used 24 times at a total cost to the taxpayer of almost
€14m, including a trip to Cork for the Taoiseach and a trip to Algeria for
• FG pledged they would cut the number of junior Ministers to 12.
• Once elected they appointed 15 Junior Ministers.
• Fine Gael pledged to abolish 145 quangos in their document Reinventing
• By end Oct 2011, they had abolished 5, but had created 8.
Guillotining of Legislation
• Enda Kenny, July 2010: “I do not accept the Government’s guillotining of Bills
in any shape or form.”
• By November 2011 they had guillotined almost a dozen Bills.
Staff in Constituency Offices
• FG pledged to reduce ministerial staff allocated to work on constituency
matters to two per Minister
• In March 2011 it was announced that ministers will keep 4 staff each in their
• Enda Kenny promised to direct all Ministers to focus entirely on their new
portfolios in the first 100 days and completely avoid constituency work.
• However, Kenny himself repeatedly broke this promise with dozens of
appointments in Mayo every week.
• Ministerial advisors will be subject to salary caps
• Most Ministers’ advisors have breached the cap.
• They promised an end to cronyism and transparency in board appointments.
• FG & Labour members and donors have been appointed as Judges and to
the boards of Quangos.
Transparency in Appointments
• FG and Lab Manifestos: They promised vetting of appointments to state
boards by the Oireachtas.
• Party political appointments have been made, without any oversight or
transparency. In October 2011, they appointed the former head of AIB
Investment Management as head of the New Era quango, without revealing
her pay or conditions.
Freedom of Information
• Programme for Government promised to legislate to restore the Freedom of
• No commitment for when legislation will be published on this.
Willie Penrose has resigned from the Government due to their plans to close some barracks
What’s closing barracks got to do with him? Wasn’t he minister for planning and local governement?