Mick Wallace The #US and #EU are increasingly using #sanctions as a weapon against countries that don't bow to their financial i… https://t.co/qMbVI1XYfc
Mick Wallace How bad that the #EU of the so called 'European Values' has supported this Terrorism against the people of #Syriahttps://t.co/wRXMSubfYi
Mick Wallace Western Colonialism never really stopped, it just got a make over - It's now called 'Financial Imperialism'. Are we… https://t.co/KoMpQ69bBw
Mick Wallace RT @wallacemick: Would mean something for Irish people and the notion of 'Irish Neutrality' if Irish Minister for Foreign Affairs @simoncov
On Monday December 5th and Tuesday December 6th, the Goverment announced Budget 2012 in the Dáil. As expected cuts were made in many Departments with the most vulnerable being hit the hardest again. On Tuesday evening the Technical Group got their first opportunity to speak on the details of the document and Mick was selected to speak first for the group. In his address Mick pleads with the Government act in the best interest of the people; the people who are struggling the most in the current economic climate. You can watch the full speech here. Mick Wallace I am not sure what people expected from the budget of today and yesterday, but there was a mixture of hope and fear. There is much anger out there and people are not very happy about how things are. It is very difficult for many people, and those people have many reasons to be angry. The recession is getting deeper for many and unemployment is at a very high level, especially for young people. Many parents are demoralised because it is impossible for children to get jobs. People are also still angry about the excesses of bankers and the manner in which the banking crisis became a crisis for everybody, including those people who may not be let in the front door of a bank. What makes people most angry is that the level of inequality in our society has not been challenged. This is hard to take for many people. Poverty is relative and when making comparisons, we would look at what others have against what we have or our kids have. People think there cannot be poor in a country where most people have mobile phones and televisions. However, it is not like that. I would rather be poor in La Paz in Bolivia than poor in Dublin. Europe plays a big part in all our dealings. Ms. Merkel and Mr. Sarkozy seem to be calling the shots more and more. They are now talking about a compromise not a solution. Some people want the ECB to be a lender of last resort while others want European sovereign bonds, neither of which the Germans want. What the Germans want appears to be lifelong austerity for us. They would like us all to be Germans now. That would involve a very different life for us. We will probably never get our economy back on an even footing but then we would not have to make anything because we could buy everything from the Germans anyway because they make many things. They are the second largest exporters in the world after China. There has been a huge transfer of power. This country joined the EU with the belief that it was joining a family of nations and that we would be treated well in the group. We expected fairness. The principle was that the strong would help the weaker. The truth is that for many years money came into this country that provided a huge boost. Admittedly, we had to give away our most valuable asset in the fishing industry. It was one of the main things we gave up. A great deal of money came in that helped to drive this country into the 21st century but more and more the benefits have disappeared. Not only are we now facing a situation where the financial markets seem to be making the decisions, but we also have a serious democratic deficit. Decisions are being made for us and we have no say in the matter. Italy and Greece are governed by people who were not elected. Spain is being governed by a party that got fewer votes than the number of abstentions and spoiled votes, so great is the anger in Spain. We no longer expect a democratic right from the great rulers of Europe. If anyone thinks that the financial markets will act in the interests of the common good then he or she should think again because that is not the way they work. They are very good at organising the movement of goods and the transfer and exchange of goods across Europe and the world but they are not quite as good at training workers, creating infrastructure, protecting the environment, and regulating themselves. They would not be good at looking after the most vulnerable in society. We should not depend on them so much. I am not fond of what Europe is offering and I am less fond of what it seems to be about to offer in the near future. Finance should be a servant to society not the master of it. I refer to an article by Larry Elliott of The Guardian to whom I have referred a few times as I find him particularly good. He says: The European Union has always had problems with democracy, a messy process that can interfere with the grand designs of people at the top who know best. When Ireland voted no to the Nice Treaty, it was told to come up with the right result in a second ballot. [Likewise, with the Lisbon treaty.] The European Central Bank wields immense power, but nobody knows how the unelected members of its governing council vote because no minutes of meetings are published. That said, the latest phase of Europe’s sovereign debt crisis has exposed the quite flagrant contempt for voters, the people who are going to bear the full weight of the austerity programmes being cooked up by the political elites. Here’s how things work. The real decisions in Europe are now taken by the Frankfurt Group, an unelected cabal made of up eight people: Lagarde; Merkel; Sarkozy; Mario Draghi, José Manuel Barroso…; Jean-Claude Juncker…; Herman van Rompuy…; and Olli Rehn... This group, which is accountable to no one, calls the shots in Europe…What matters to this group is what the financial markets think not what voters might want [or need]. I voted “No” to the Nice treaty and I voted “No” to the Lisbon treaty, even though I am very pro-European. I would never describe myself as a Nationalist; I describe myself as a European, even though I would also say I am Irish. One of the things that frightened me about the Nice and Lisbon treaties was the inroads they allowed for large corporations to seriously affect how we run our country. The driving philosophy is neoliberalism and at its core is to put the maximum power one can into the hands of the fewest people who control wealth. They like to control resources, production and services. They function best in so-called democratic countries where elections are held on a regular basis. Sadly, politicians are influenced by people in power and people with money. The elected politicians elect the legislature and it makes the decisions. A good example from the past 20 years is when Mr. Tony Blair got elected in 1997 in London. Murdoch’s newspapers came out on the morning of the election and called on people to vote Labour. The first measure Labour brought into parliament was one which allowed Murdoch a €50 million reduction in his tax bill that year in Britain. One must pay for favours. That is nothing new to any of us. Unfortunately, the people who most need our help do not have much influence with the powers that make decisions. If one comes from Darndale, one would probably find it difficult to get a meeting with a Deputy, let alone have a decision made in one’s favour. The people of Darndale probably need our help more than most. I am concerned about where we are going. Part of the EU agenda with its neoliberal slant is for our postal service to be opened to competition that can be cherry-picked by private organisations and for that reason we are closing post offices around the country. We are closing Army barracks and forcing people to drive further to work. We are starting to close Garda stations. Small pubs in rural areas are closing. Now we are going to close nursing homes. One could ask what it will be like to live in this country in ten years’ time if we keep going this way. I know there are no easy answers to how one runs a country. I do not like all the different ways the Government sought to find the required €3.8 billion. It must be difficult for old people to hear their fuel allowance is being cut. Parents who are trying to get their children to school are being told that back to school allowances are being cut. We have seen what is happening in health and education. There is huge undermining of the real values in society.  Mr. Albert Einstein, the philosopher and mathematician, said the human being is both solitary and social. As a solitary being he looks after his best interests, himself and his nearest of kin, and tries to develop his innate abilities and survive the best way he can. As a social being he develops a caring approach to other people. He develops an interest in his neighbour and cares about how his neighbour is. If his neighbour feels pain he feels pain too. A human being realises his fulfilment only when he engages in society and cares about his fellow man. This budget does not tackle the inequalities that are rampant in our society. It does not show care. We must change. The people expect much of Members of the Oireachtas. They do not want the banks to make decisions for them. They would not like the Europeans to make their decisions for them either. They would like us to run this country, to represent them, to behave in an ethical manner and to give a damn.

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namaleaks

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Namaleaks is a project that seeks to uncover possible injustice and poor practice related to NAMA (National Asset Management Agency) and financial institutions in Ireland.

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