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TIGER STUFFED..

By ATWadmin On February 4th, 2009 at 8:06 pm

Interesting to read that the number of unemployment claimants in the Irish Republic rose by a record 36,500 in January, the highest monthly increase on record, There are now 327,861 people claiming jobseekers’ payments which corresponds to an unemployment rate of 9.2 per cent, Mr Cowen admitted at the beginning of a two-day debate on the Government’s €2 billion spending cuts package. The total number of people seeking employment is now higher than at any other period in the history of the State, even eclipsing the numbers recorded in the early 1990s as today’s workforce is significantly larger. It would be interesting to know what % of the newly unemployed are foreign nationals? I also wonder where will this soaring unemployment end? Will it be 10% – 15%, maybe even 20%? The Celtic tiger is dead, mounted and stuffed.

SOCIAL PARTNERS BREAK UP!

By ATWadmin On February 3rd, 2009 at 3:17 pm

Interesting to see that attempts by the Irish government to agree budgetary cutbacks with the -called “Social Partners” have collapsed, forcing the Irish PM Brian “Biffo” Cowen into announcing unilateral cuts in the Irish budget.

“In the Dáil this afternoon, Mr Cowen resisted Opposition demands for a full debate on the Government’s expected €2 billion cutbacks,saying that a full debate tomorrow would instead allow everyone time to consider the details of the package.  However, the Opposition said the 10 minutes set aside for Mr Cowen’s speech, plus 10 minutes for each of the other party leaders was inadequate and demanded that a full debate take place from 3pm until10pm tonight.  Cabinet sources have told The Irish Times that the Government is to push ahead with its cutbacks plan, including extra pension contributions from State employees, along with cutbacks in expenditure on a number of State services, including childcare, along with cuts in the National Development Plan. Tense talks between the Government and trade unions on a new national economic recovery programme broke down just before 4am.”

I have to say I am surprised that these talks broke down. I expected the usual 11th hour deal, but not this time. In a way this is a good thing – government should LEAD and the vested interest groups that the “social partners” represent should not be allowed to stop the correct economic decisions being taken. However I think this might lead to a lot if industrial unrest? Wonder what Irish readers reckon to all of this? And is €2bn enough?

THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN IRELAND AND ICELAND…

By ATWadmin On January 31st, 2009 at 10:27 pm

I read that Peter Sutherland, the Irish chairman of energy giant BP, the world’s fourth-largest company, says that Ireland’s economy has remained afloat solely because of the country’s membership of the euro.

Speaking to The Irish Times at the Davos economic forum in Switzerland, Mr Sutherland said that if Ireland was not in the single European currency, the Irish economy would be “in a state of destruction”. He described as “absolutely appropriate” the comparison between Ireland and Iceland, a non-euro state whose economy has collapsed, made by European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso during a discussion on the European economy in Davos. “He was quite right to make it,” Mr Sutherland said. “There is no point trying to pretend now what our condition is. That condition is deeply, deeply worrying, so it behoves everybody to recognise this and to react accordingly.”

So, Mr Sutherland, pray tell us what Ireland should do?

“It behoves everybody to recognise this and to react accordingly. Mr Sutherland said the Irish banks needed to be dealt with “urgently” and that it was “absolutely necessary” for the country’s credibility that the Lisbon Treaty be voted through.

Ah – I see. The Europhiles never miss a chance to try and advance their agenda and so even though the Irish people said NO to the EU constitution, the new tactic is to tell them that unless they say YES later this year, then Ireland will become the new Iceland. The threat is clear. Ireland will be frozen out if the people seek to stand in the way of the EU constitution.

U R LSNG UR JOB

By ATWadmin On January 30th, 2009 at 10:18 pm

More stress for workers..

“Hundreds of workers were occupying Ireland’s world-famous Waterford Crystal factory tonight after being told by text message they were losing their jobs. Scuffles broke out as private security teams brought in by receivers tried to keep back employees from storming the plant at Kilbarry, outside Waterford city.  Union officials, tipped off by former managers that the troubled operation was to about to shut, furiously texted staff who were at home, their wives and partners to scramble crowds towards the factory.”

Sad times and my sympathies lie with the workers. An awful end to their month but what can be done? 

NO CREDIT WHERE IT IS DUE…

By ATWadmin On January 30th, 2009 at 9:32 pm

More bad news for the Irish Republic…

“Ireland’s government debt has become the riskiest in the euro zone, surpassing Greece’s sovereign bonds, according to credit-default swap prices. Contracts on Ireland roseto 269, according to CMA Datavision prices, while credit-default swaps on Greece’s debt fell to 248.2 at 5pm. The cost to hedge against losses on Irish debt is now more than Chile, the Czech Republic, Israel, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, Thailand and China, the CMA prices showed.”

It seems that regardless of Government spin, the Irish economy is now seen as a basket case almost on a par with Iceland, and there is much more trouble to come. Can Ireland survive?

WHISTLING IN THE DARK…

By ATWadmin On January 30th, 2009 at 8:13 am

It strikes me that UK PM Gordon Brown and Irish PM Brian Cowen share at least one characteristic, they have been promoted way above their competency level and both countries are paying for this.

I read that Cowen has been suggesting that negotiations between the Government and the “social partner”s on an economic recovery plan are “going well”.

Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Brian Cowen described the discussions as ”sincere”. The talks, which continue at Government Buildings in Dublin this afternoon, are focusing on ways to increase taxes and reduce public spending in order to plug the massive deficit in the public finances. No concrete details have been revealed, but a framework document approved by all sides says the burden of any harsh measures must be shared fairly, with those who benefited most from the Celtic Tiger bearing the brunt of the adjustments.

I think Cowen is whistling in the dark here, too little, too late. Ireland is heading for the financial rocks and it seems to me that much more dramatic action needs taken but the “social partners” have far to tight a grip on the government and Irish society in general than to make the most token of sacrifices. They needn’t worry – economic forces will ensure that adjustments are made.

A GREENER AND FAIRER EMERALD ISLE?

By ATWadmin On January 29th, 2009 at 9:40 am

Is there anybody out there who STILL puts any weight on the opinion of “financial experts”?

“The European Commission has warned the Irish economy is particularly vulnerable in the wake of the housing boom and the erosion of its competitive position. In a report released today, the Commission recommends careful prioritisation of public spending, strengthening productivity and rebuilding competitiveness as key factors in helping the country to weather the current financial crisis. The report is part of a regular review of Member States’ national programmes to create growth and jobs. Each country’s progress is monitored by economic experts and specific recommendations are issued.”

Not so sure I agree with that. I suppose it depends what is meant by “prioritisation”? Productivity can of course be strengthened but that may mean more job losses and the currency issue is left unaddressed.

However the bit that caught my eye was this..

“Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said the EU must agree and implement the much-needed structural reforms set out in the report’s recommendations “to pave the way for a gradual but lasting return to creating growth and jobs, within a greener and fairer economy.”

What does that mean? Socialism, I’m guessing.

IN A RECESSION, TAX MORE?

By ATWadmin On January 26th, 2009 at 8:01 pm

 What a draconian and arrogant idea this is…

“The tax on second properties in the Irish Republic should be increased by the Government and all monies raised by it should be shared between central and local government, Chambers Ireland said today.

The organisation, which represents over 12,000 businesses across the country, said the €200 levy on second properties, introduced in the Budget in October, should be increased to generate revenue and help offset the recent collapse in tax revenues. This would incentivise both parties to adopt strong collection and enforcement policies while also reducing cost pressures on business by providing alternative revenue streams to local authorities,” Chambers Ireland chief executive Ian Talbot said.

Why should property owners be punished to help falling tax revenues? Will this not simply further accelerate the collapse of property prices? I cannot see how increasing taxation will help anyone and I think this is a daft idea.

IN A RECESSION? INCREASE WAGES!!

By ATWadmin On January 22nd, 2009 at 1:40 pm

Did you see that the group representing small and medium businesses in Ireland has said that trade union calls for an increase to the minimum wage is out of touch with economic reality?

ISME says the Irish Congress of Trade Unions demand for a €1 increase in the national minimum wage will lead to thousands of job losses.  Chief Executive Mark Fielding said it is ridiculous at a time when the country is haemorrhaging jobs and businesses are going to the wall on a daily basis.

I really do wonder at the Trade Unions mindset? Can they not see that Ireland is in the ravages of recession and that employers need co-operation from employees to ensure that jobs are maintained? Where do they THINK this extra money is coming from? Don’t they see that these demands for wage hikes verge on the suicidal?

IRELAND HEARTS GITMO!

By ATWadmin On January 21st, 2009 at 10:23 pm

Entertaining to read that the Republic of Ireland may take in Jihadi prisoners from Guantanamo Bay if it gets EU backing for the move, Justice Minister Dermot Ahern said today. Mr Ahern said the Government may be willing to resettle some of the remaining 245 detainees in Guantanamo. Maybe Mr Ahern is hoping for more alleged terrorists as constituents? I mean, I thought the Republic had enough terrorists..but obviously if the EU tells them to take in captured Jihadi, Ireland once again will give a warm welcome to terrorists.