Take Back Ireland

Ireland a once proud nation is now lying in ruins. We all know how we got here  but the uncertainty of how we get out is what is scaring the people right now. Where do we start to rebuild? Who will lead us towards a new promised land? All these questions are out there but the clear and concise answers are still sheltered from the public. The bottom line is this country has been a game played by a select few. It has been relatively straight forward to play for the chosen few,  even amongst the wreckage they can salvage reward. This inner circle is the cancer that has eroded the soul of the nation and has spread like wildfire. This country now needs political cleansing. We have to examine the root of the disease and that starts with Councillors.

Councillors:

The middle men we don’t actually need. This is where the system of Irish politics breaks down. These are the drug dealers of Irish politics a scourge on the future of local businesses, a drain on public finances. Once you get involved with them, it’s almost impossible to escape their reign that is fuelled by emotional blackmail on the vulnerable . What function do they perform? Simple, they are the creation of a job out of nothing. A job that is promoted in importance by them. A job that is protected by those above them in the political chain, so as to keep everything in order on ground level.

They operate on a level similar to any gangland organization. You need something done in your area, you believe the proper process is to approach your local councillor and seek his help. A simple request then turns into his tool for exploitation. He approaches the council in the same manner you could as a group or individual, except he will create the impression that he has weight to throw around and his association with certain TDs may be mentioned to enforce this impression. The people in the council are hired to perform their duties in an unbiased manner but once the councillor is introduced the system, it is then corrupted. Councils need to create a clear and transparent process for people to approach them for assistance regarding local issues. They should be able to lodge their request and an answer made available within an acceptable time frame. If the request is declined, a reason for it should be afforded to the member of the public that requested it.

To give you an example,Councillors took over €31 million in expenses from county and city councils in 2009. The following link will give a break down of how some of these payments were made  http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/ireland/2010/0524/1224271012025.html. At a time when small businesses are struggling to survive, you really have to question is it viable to have these people draining council funds for personal gain. Are the councils not capable of running themselves? Surely the best people have been recruited from the open labour market to undertake these roles.  Is the sustainment of a role for the councillor saying that we think you are incompetent in managing council affairs and it is better if they are directly involved in how the money is budgeted.

How many of these coffin chasers do you think submit fuel receipts for attending funerals? It would be startling if revealed.  Surely a more forensic approach to their expense claims needs to be implemented. How can people believe that these are sincere individuals that care about their community? Have we really become that gullible? No doubt these individuals will be wearing out shoe leather in the coming weeks campaigning with their selected TD. They will be seeking out members of the public to remind them of all they have done for the community and they will be making this appeal on a very emotional level. If you are lucky they may even drive you to the polling booth. Warning: You may have difficulty tracking them down until the next relevant election.

What of councillors that became involved in land deals directly or indirectly? Conflict of interest never seemed to be an obstacle to them. How many have been financially enriched after been lobbied for votes to pass planning permission? When you trace back the crash of our property sector it will start here. We are not for one moment suggesting all have been partial to a kick back but there is no denying that many could not resist the temptation. The corruption goes all the way to the top and one has to admire their secrecy that surrounds it, as well as the immunity the political process has afforded those involved. This secrecy comes at an extra price to the people of Ireland, as favours have to be repaid to these councillors. Jobs that should be openly advertised for the most suitable candidates, especially ones on state boards are bequeathed to many councillors. It appears to be the price of silence and it is sad that not one whistle blower has had the courage to take a stance against the rape and pillage of this country.

If the job of a councillor was voluntary, how many of these marauders would exist if there was no financial gain? Genuine and caring people would probably take up the slack they leave behind. How many have conflicts of interest? How many are double jobbers? How many fill the role of secretary for sitting TDs. It’s a closed shop and outsiders are not welcome.  The councils simply need to advise people that they are willing and waiting to address the concerns of all citizens in that area in an unbiased and practical manner.  Straight forward transparency would obliterate their role and make it harder for the political omerta to exist. At a time when rates are crippling businesses the savings from reducing the role of councillors and their numbers, would surely trigger a reduction of rates for these businesses. This would also be of benefit to the consumer as it should lead to price reductions across the board.

All people want is a fighting chance to get this country back on the road to recovery but there are those with interests to protect that are an enemy to us reaching our goals. A Political Asset Bureau needs to be established in this country to bring those that were involved in corruption to justice.

Further Reading:

http://www.leinsterleader.ie/news/Councillors39-expenses-cost-taxpayer-E390k.4943161.jp

http://www.independent.ie/opinion/analysis/time-to-rein-in-councillors-on-expenses-gravy-train-1441913.html

http://www.shane-ross.ie/archives/797/wasters/#more-797

http://www.herald.ie/national-news/councillors-notch-up-836490k-bill-on-freebie-foreign-trips-2135676.html

http://www.faber.co.uk/work/ship-of-fools/9780571260751/

Manifesto on NAMA

NAMA has failed the taxpayer. NAMA is now turning into another tribunal in disguise but with the added bonus of non transparency. Frank Daly is now presiding over the biggest debacle in Irish financial history and now the IMF have their man Steven Seelig on the inside. Coincidentally it now has come to light that AIB lobbied NAMA to stop transferring loans under €20 million regarding 4,000 borrowers. This means that all associated loans these small to medium enterprises are involved in are now under NAMA control. This completely undermines AIB and will leave it with only cobwebs in its vaults. Brian Lenihan can only explain these actions as the madness of a man obeying IMF orders. This will be his legacy, the day he gave up Ireland to appease bankers and bondholders. The IMF are here and they are going to take everything, even if it means busting this country.

NAMA will never make the taxpayer any money back because now the advisors are in , legal teams  involved and the money will be evaporated by these vultures. Nothing will be left for the people and this process will be dragged on until the life is sucked out of it. This is the bleed Ireland dry experiment and the IMF are over seeing it.  The bottom line is that Frank Daly and his team have not been able to stand up to the elite developers who seem to have been afforded some kind of  political protection. We are sorry but the Prime Time expose highlighted the fact that so many politicians appeared to have intricate links with the major developers. We believe Frank Daly, for the sake of this country and its children, resign his position and admit to the people that NAMA is not going to work. We plan to tender a letter t him, that will be published on here, with this request.

How the NAMA Board can stand by and watch the major developers who caused this crisis, transfer assets to family members defies reason. Frank Daly says these people are being dealt with but no evidence of this is being served up to his paymaster, the Irish taxpayer. These developers should have all assets frozen and all operations ceased. They are an affront to the Irish people and if to make things worse it now appears more abuses are emerging. Information has emerged that some developers are now involved in buying back some of their properties that have been heavily discounted and through newly established companies sell it on again for a profit. It has also been revealed that many of these properties have not been openly advertised, which is in itself strange if you want to maximize their retail value. If they have not been tested on the open market, how are NAMA determining that it is in the taxpayers interest to offload them at the very first offer?  This is of no surprise as there is no transparency involved in the NAMA process. Information of operations should at all times be public knowledge.  This is now turning into a rape case.

For the sake of common sense, we believe NAMA should be shut down, a Political Asset Bureau established to investigate political involvement with developers  as part of it’s remit. It should also investigate where political figures, town councillors and public sector workers invested in properties that were leased back to the Government on the grounds that there is a serious conflict of interest to be addressed.  A team of our leading Economists should be drawn up to tackle the best way of dealing with this issue. Government building contracts with these developers should be cancelled. There should be no political influence in the process, as it is becoming apparent that too many people are receiving protection from politicians, with an agenda for secrecy.

Sources:

http://www.nama.ie/Publications/2010/NAMAboard.pdf

http://newswhip.ie/national-2/nama-not-working-as-developers-profit-from-haircuts

http://newswhip.ie/national-2/nama-not-working-as-developers-profit-from-haircuts

http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/finance/2011/0129/1224288526793.html

http://namawinelake.wordpress.com/2010/12/21/prime-time-investigates-nama-developers-but-exactly-what-new-information-was-revealed/

http://namawinelake.wordpress.com/

http://namawinelake.wordpress.com/the-developers/

Manifesto on Job Creation

Firstly,we find it hard to fathom how so many parties are claiming to envisage creating 100,00 jobs, when firstly they seem incapable of identifying the industries/area where this event will happen, secondly that the convenience of the number 100,000 was not highlighted to be the same number the ESRI offered when calculating emigration from Ireland this year.

In the last few weeks it has been highlighted that the world is heading towards a food shortage and the population will reach 9 billion. Like a smart economy we see the need for smart agriculture.
Research centres like Teagasc and third level institutions should become directly involved with leading technology players that could sit down with the IFA and Department of Agriculture and look at ways of increasing productivity and future crops that would be best suited to our climate and have high potential for export. The possibility of bringing these organisations together to brainstorm could reap long-term benefits for the future of Irish farming. Farmers that are struggling to survive should be helped with initiatives to help them streamline costs and embrace future farming concepts to increase the possibility of survival. All eyes should be on the Chinese markets right now and products and natural resources that they are showing strong demand for should be targeted. Maize has been embraced by many farmers and become a very visible crop on the Irish landscape in recent years, it is well-known to be a staple diet in many African countries. Sugar production has to be looked at again as prices surge on the commodity markets, we congratulate the people from the Carlow plant that was closed, who are regrouping and trying to re-establish a manufacturing facility again. These are the markets we should be looking at.

Green energy projects that are offering employment but were hindered by John Gormley and his Department must be revisited and made a priority. We call on these projects to be fast tracked and all red tape dealt with in a swift manner. The people are our priority and the people need jobs. The Greens agenda was in direct conflict with progress and it is a period of our history we must never revisit. One man’s ego should never again be allowed to provide a stumbling block to jobs.

The construction industry needs to come together and those over the industry need to form a panel tasked with sourcing contracts abroad. A new Irish company should be formed and every project with a high employment requirement should be tendered for across the euro zone. We can’t argue that the expertise is not there and it would be a shame to see people with so many skills not offered a chance of utilizing their skills. We have to accept that this industry is on the floor here and there are a lot of people who would willingly travel anywhere to secure work. The organisation needs to create a pool of workers willing to travel on short notice and they should receive assistance with flights, work permits, accommodation to get them off the ground. With the right people overseeing this project it could become viable and all necessary equipment is probably lying in yards and liquidation sale yards. It should be viable to do deals to source what would be needed with the application of some common sense by those involved.

The gaming industry needs to be one of our priorities and is an area already starting to blossom. Third level institutions that provide relevant courses to this industry should be assisted in establishing partnerships with gaming companies. Encouragement to assist in creating a highly skilled  workforce has to be actively pursued by the Department of Education. Our corporation tax rate should be an attractive proposition for them to establish bases here also and become in course formation and research.

Forestry has to be put on the forefront of the agenda for providing a profitable resource for the next generation. It is one of the highest yield industries in the world right now. As politicians have been busy serving self-interest, all activity to increase efforts to promote and encourage entry into this industry would be welcomed as an atonement for neglecting this industry.

The councils can no longer stand idly by and just expect to collect rates from business owners. The current climate is one that is anti job creation and traders are experiencing difficult trading conditions. They should establish a database of new landlords with viable properties to rent at realistic prices. Many developers have properties lying idle and deals should be established where the council can offer these with preferable rates to encourage the demise of present landlords that have lost touch with reality but not greed. The council should also negotiate on behalf of businesses trapped in rental agreements that are not viable in the current climate. If this issue was tackled in such a way, more people may be encouraged to start-up and thus create jobs.

We also hope that people will see in our other policies, that once cronyism is eliminated and that the financial profligacy of the previous governments is tackled, thus more money can be harvested back into the relevant areas the finances are most needed and support employment for these departments.


Common sense left the Irish political arena a long time ago and it is time to bring it back. The proper people need to be promoted to the most relevant portfolios in the Dail. The political parties lost the ability to function without compromises a long time ago, around the same time they lost the desire to listen to the people on the ground. For too long FG and Labour have been complicit with the ruination of this country by Fianna Fail. Now we are going to be subjected to their version of the blame game as they will try to distance themselves from what has taken place.

There are also certain Departments that need to be looked at which should not be overseen by a politician and especially any with no expertise in the designated field. Do you want to see a publican running Health or a solicitor running Agriculture. Deals will be brokered and favours for past allegiances repaid, this is not in the public’s best interest. Finance needs to be put into more capable hands and we have an over abundance of top rate economists and accountants that should be brought together to  oversee operations in this department.

The time for NAMA to be shut down is now. It is another tribunal in disguise to be bled by advisory boards and those from the legal profession. It will not make the taxpayer any money long term and money it generates will not even cover the fees being extracted as we speak. New corruption taking place by NAMA developers has come to light today and already the process is been abused. Also Prime Time recently covered the abuse by developers of transferring assets into family members names to put them outside the reach of NAMA. This should be a jail able offence but they are carrying on this practice unchallenged. Frank Daly should tender his resignation immeadiately as he has either had the wool pulled over his eyes or he is innocently overseeing the greatest swindle of  Irish taxpayer money on record. The below link is essential reading on what is taking place.

Manifesto on Education

Education
The brain drain must be slowed down and people in current education have to be offered signs of hope, that their future lies away from Ireland. A student council that becomes more actively involved in the governance of the Department of Education has to be established. An Education Watchdog has to be established to tackle wasteful spending and oversee contracts that are being issued. The issue of over rent being charged to the Department regarding prefabs is a matter of grave concern. Future builds and purchases, should have a proposed budget and a transparent selection process, as this has been openly abused by the political class.
It should be also proposed that a new programme will be established in local communities where people in the teaching side of education that are seeking employment, will be offered experience and a subsidy, on a programme that will help people up skill. A local pool of student teachers and recently qualified teachers should be established to help unemployed and employed alike to upskill in various disciplines. It is proposed that possibly NAMA listed commercial buildings in central locations are utilized and that fit outs would be conducted by local trades people to make these areas comfortable and welcoming to people in need of these services. It would be proposed that people would be able to achieve an Open University type qualification at the end of it. In fact the Open University template would be advised as the model to base it on, so people could actually achieve worthwhile awards. We strongly oppose taking people off the live register to do meaningless, non-viable courses that carry no credit in the workplace or in the search for future employment.
A lot of people in full time employment receive no assistance in furthering their studies on a part time basis. No grants are available and the costs are prohibitive in relation to taking on courses. It is suggested that if someone undertakes these courses that a deposit loan is made available to them in the region of €500. A tax break will be afforded to the potential student to the value of the monthly cost of paying the course. If completed there will be no penalties or repayments and they will revert back to their standard tax rate. The hope is that once qualified that the individual will be in a position to achieve a job on a higher salary scale, which will be of greater benefit to the exchequer in the long run. People in employment with a willingness to undertake further study would be more likely to complete courses and especially if they were penalised in their take home pay if they quit.
We would like to see measures introduced to see schools and teachers financially rewarded, commensurate with performance of the school overall and pupils. If schools are not performing funding should be withheld until they enforce changes that show improvement.
We are seriously concerned with classrooms that have over 30 students. Primary school classes must at least return to the European average of 24.3. Children will be lost in the system and their learning needs not met. It is unreasonable to expect teachers to maintain discipline in classes of over 30 and maintain discipline. Also to  ensure that the learning needs of each students are met, giving that child the maximum potential to achieve an education which will allow them to realise the greatest career and quality of life possible.

The banking crisis has been well covered in the media and people have made their feelings very clear about what took place. As usual the Government have failed to listen to the men and women on the street. The last acts of this Government were to sell our future and the futures of our children and to now leave us vulnerable to national asset stripping by foreign investors. Their legacy may well be ghost estates but the truth is that it will also be the creation of a ghost Government as they have jeopardized  the potential of future Governments to govern and recover. Power has been handed over to new external masters.  Hopefully we can renegotiate as we had deals made by a Government that was pass it’s sale date. It was acting without the support of the people. We are sure their will be much debate on how we can ease the pressures of the bailout.

The country should never have been put in this position.  We are part of the euro and they would never have allowed us to collapse as the ripple effect on the devaluation of the euro currency would have been a risk too high for them to take. The bottom line is that the bondholders are gamblers and lost but unlike a traditional bookmaker our banks have with the backing of the Government decided to pay them back. Brian Cowen and Brian Lenihan launched a kamikaze attack on a nation. We also condemn the actions of Michael Lowry and Jackie Healy Rae in exploiting their positions of power for personal gain at a time when the country stood to lose so much. They should be brought to account and we beseech the people of their constituencies not to vote them back into any position of power again. When hardship comes knocking at your door, remember that these guys are riding into the sunset after pocketing millions from the Irish taxpayer.

Through all of this the one golden light for the people was ignored, the trusty Credit Union. How they have managed to keep the ordinary men and women, along with small enterprises/businesses afloat is a testament to their board and their staff. These people have their finger firmly on the local pulse and continue to be an essential part of the community. They have to be complimented for those members that do so much voluntarily and how they manage their costs. We can’t say big banks ‘take note’, as we no longer have big banks. The people of this country should continue to support their local credit union and help them to develop into an even stronger unit that may grow and offer the majority of services that were available in the main banks. The Government should acknowledge the work they have done and should consider giving them an unconditional cash injection so they can expand and extend their loan facilities. They are an essential element in financing education for most people. They are what makes Ireland great.

We propose that no politician is ever allowed to oversee the Department of Finance again. These portfolios have been filled by people who do not have financial backgrounds. It has been the equivalent of letting a farmer carry out open heart surgery on a patient. It makes no sense. A board has to be established and drawn from the financial industry, central bank and the financial education sector to oversee our budgets. Budgets should then be presented to the Dail for signing off. It is just the application of plain common sense.

 

 

We the members of Ireland Future Forward have serious concerns regarding voting practices that take place in local constituencies. We ask the people of  Ireland not to succumb to vote blackmail on Election day. We are of course referring to the practice of politicians, councillors and their family members calling to constituency members houses and driving them to polling booths.  This puts people under duress and they are mislead into believing that the relevant politician has forged  an emotional bond with them. We completely oppose these kind of tactics being used, especially to exploit older and vulnerable people.

These practices should be renounced and discouraged by election committees  and overseers.

We would also welcome an announcement on who will be supervising the election process and would welcome delegates from UN countries to become involved in helping this Election be free from corruption.

We would actively encourage you to assist in helping take family members to the polling booths unhindered and free to vote of their own accord. If you believe these practices are taking place in your area, please do not choose to ignore it. We will be more than happy to assist in highlighting offenders.

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