No concessions will defuse opposition to water charge

The Anti-Austerity Alliance has today said that any concessions on the water charge, as reported in the media today, will not defuse the opposition to the charge as over 90 protests are set to take place tomorrow. Ruth Coppinger TD said:

“The government are in a panic and are back peddling trying to find a carrot to try to defuse opposition to the water charge. Since the massive October 11th march they have scrambled to try to portray opposition to the charge as being a communications problem. They are missing the fundamental point which is that people are opposed to the charge because it is another austerity tax which people cannot afford. People have had enough and won’t take anymore.

 “We are encouraging people to take part in the national day of protest tomorrow to bury the water charge. The government’s panic is inspiring more confidence in people to oppose this charge and the government will be met with a massive boycott of this charge when the bills arrive in January.”

Paul Murphy TD said “People will not be fooled by the talk of a tax credit. People have the experience of the bin charges when a massive number of waivers were given to people only to be taken away once the charge was established. The same will happen with any concessions the government gives now on water.

“The ‘We Won’t Pay’ campaign will continue to build opposition to the packs, meters and a boycott of the charge itself.”

Joe Higgins TD said “The head of SIPTU, the largest union in the country, Jack O’Connor, has once again abandoned his members by refusing to support the protests tomorrow. In an interview this morning he gave no opposition to water charges. These protests will involve thousands of SIPTU members.

“In the face of the charge being defeated he said that we would pay anyway, the Labour Party line. This is another case of trade union leaders acting as the mudguard for the Labour Party.  If Jack O’Connor was serious about putting forward an alternative, he would be actively fighting to scrap the water charge and to have a wealth tax implemented which could more than cover the cost of the water charge and would lift the burden off ordinary people onto the wealthy in Ireland.”

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JobPath Companies investigated for Fraud

The Anti-Austerity Alliance has today called on the Minister Joan Burton to scrap the finalisation of contracts to award the JobPath contract to Seetec and Working Links after revealing they have been investigated for defrauding the UK government when running similar schemes. 

JobPath is a new ‘activation’ measure which will target the long-term unemployed and see these companies receive a payment for each person they get back to work.

The government has awarded the JobPath contract to Seetec, and Turas Nua a new company which is a joint venture involving a UK based company called Working Links.

These two companies have both been investigated in the UK for fraud allegations when they ran a similar scheme there.

When this idea was first brought up, we raised concerns that, like in the UK which is the model the government are working towards, this would see private companies use the power of welfare sanctions to force the unemployed into low paid and unsuitable jobs so that they could claim their payment. A4E, a company which was involved in this have since lost their contract.

Working Links was accused of fraud and falsifying their success rate to claim payments in 2012 and ended up having to return money. Seetec were disgracefully alleged to have placed disabled people in unpaid work placements and claimed to have found them jobs. Amazingly, this case is at the centre of a British government cover up scandal and is being investigated by the National Audit Office, as recently as July, yet the government have seen fit to award them this contract.

The track record of these schemes is that the unemployed are abused and forced into low-paid jobs or training places. We already have schemes like JobBridge and Gateway which people are being forced into.

The unemployed are seen as a means for making money by these big companies with little or no concern for them. The Minister must stop the finalisation of these contracts.

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PRTB Report: Hand-outs for Landlords, rent-hikes for tenants

The Anti-Austerity Alliance has today commented on the report Rent Stability in the Private Rented Sector released this morning by the PRTB. Ruth Coppinger TD said:

“In the face of a crisis in the number of people becoming homeless through economic evictions, rent hikes and the lack of social housing, incredibly, the PRTB publish a report looking to bring ‘stability’ to the market by ignoring the needs of tenants and suggesting tax-breaks for landlords.

“For tenants this report offers absolutely nothing. There are families being made homeless on a daily basis because of rent hikes, yet despite this and the evidence from other European countries on how rent controls could work, they say that rent controls would make the problem worse. Their only fig-leaf to tenants is that landlords should give them 3 months notice rather than one months notice of a rent increase, this will not affect affordability of rents, it will just give people a longer run-in until they become homeless.

“Landlords already get massive subsidies from the state through rent allowance schemes, now the report suggests giving a further hand-out to them. This report ignores the actual homelessness crisis which is on-going in the country.”

Paul Murphy TD said: “This report was carried out by DMK Consultants, formerly a wing of Davy Stockbrokers, which has always stood in defence of the interests of the wealthy in society. That they are pushing for tax-breaks while ignoring the plight of tenants should come as no surprise.

“Rent controls are needed immediately to stop the flow of people being forced out of their homes through rent increases, along with a reversal of all cuts to the rent allowance payments. This is just a first step to tackling the housing crisis.

“Against the backdrop of this crisis, the obvious solution is the building of social housing. The government’s plans in this direction, as outlined in the budget, are minuscule. There are currently nearly 100,000 families on the housing waiting lists, yet the government’s response is to build 10,000 new social houses between now and 2018. The housing list will increase by more than 10,000 in that timeframe.

“The government should invest in a publicly funded plan to build the necessary amount of social houses."

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Sinn Fein dirty tricks circulation of fake facebook conversation

Press Statement: Paul Murphy (Anti Austerity Alliance) 4 October 2014

  • Condemns Sinn Fein dirty tricks circulation of fake facebook conversation
  • Demand that Sinn Fein leaders publicly disassociate themselves from smear & circulate correction
  • Sinn Fein must make original file available for independent verification 
  • SF Panic as AAA Dublin South West By-Election campaign exposes their weak position in oppostion to water charges

Prominent Sinn Fein members, including Mary Lou MacDonald TD and Lynn Boylan MEP have circulated a false screenshot of a manufactured Facebook conversation whereby Dublin South West By-Election candidate for the AAA, Paul Murphy, indicated he was lying about Sinn Fein policy on water charges ‘in order to get support’. The image makes the message appear to come from Paul’s personal account.

 

Paul Murphy did not write this message. It appears to be either a photoshop or a false Facebook account set up with the name Paul Murphy and the picture used on Paul Murphy’s official page, as opposed to his personal facebook. The source of this image, Jason Roe, has since accepted that this did not come from Paul, alleging it came from a page that he thought was genuine. He claims to have deleted the original screenshopt and has not sent the link to the page that the message supposedly came from.

 

“This is an incredibly dirty trick which Sinn Fein's leadership has given credibility to by circulating the falsehood. I did not write that message. It is either a photoshop or a fake account, designed to damage the AAA campaign in the Dublin South West by-election. The fact that leading members of Sinn Fein have circulated this picture and have continued to do so despite my clear statement that I did not write that message, is absolutely outrageous.

 

“I am asking Sinn Fein public representatives to immediately withdraw this picture from circulation and to clarify to their followers that I did not say such a thing. Sinn Fein must make the original file, untampered with, available for independent verification

 

“This is a dirty trick designed with a specific purpose in mind. It is to divert attention from their opposition to a mass campaign of non-payment of water charges, which represents an abandonment of working class communities who are in revolt against water charges and cannot pay. More and more people are seeing through their position, which in effect means that people should pay and wait for a Sinn Fein government in the future. What we need instead is a massive campaign of working class people power, non-payment, protest and political pressure to defeat the water charges.”

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Budget ‘Kite-Flying’ – Water Charges will mean austerity as usual

The Anti-Austerity Alliance has today attacked government ministers engaged in pre-budget ‘kite flying’ saying that they are ignoring the reality of the new water charges bill arriving in people’s doors from 1st of January. Paul Murphy, the AAA’s candidate in the Dublin South West by-election said:

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