1. The Issue – A People Ruled Over Rather than Ruling

(from Pamphlet: “IRISH CITIZENS, WE MUST EMPOWER OURSELVES!”)

In the period since the onset of the debt and banking crisis in 2008, a series of extraordinary decisions have been made in the name of the Irish people:

  • The IMF/ECB/EU has been allowed to take over managing our national budgets.
  • Tens of billions of Euro have been paid to bailout national and international bond holders/investors who recklessly gambled fortunes.
  • The National Pension Reserve Fund has been liquidated as part of the policy to treat private debt as part of the State’s sovereign debt, even though much of it was in fact insured.
  • State companies are to be sold off in a depressed market (on the cheap in other words) to raise funds to pay for the bailout.
  • The working population have had severe cutbacks in pay and pensions and a variety of levies and charges were imposed. More cutbacks, charges, levies and new taxes are being prepared in further budgets.
  • Neglected, the domestic economy has been starved of credit, leading to business closures, mass unemployment and immigration.
  • Decisions made mean that vital public services in health and social care have been slashed.

The so-called ‘years of plenty’ were only a mirage. They did not eradicate poverty nor put in place basic child care, education, health and other services, neither did they develop our domestic resources or economy. The ten years before 2008 was a period of massive gambling by the financial sector. This drove the property and infrastructure markets into false expansion and inflated pricing, leaving businesses and householders with unsustainable debt.

The decisions that were made in the lead up to the crisis and since then have been made in our name. However, we were never afforded the opportunity to decide on any of the policies that are having such disastrous consequences now.

Likewise, we were never asked if we wanted to sign over our natural resources to exploitation by private companies – mostly foreign – on terms which are amongst the worst in the world. The same occurred in the EEC negotiations which effectively surrendered our vast fisheries to exploitation by everyone except our own Irish fishermen.

In regard to the EU – when we rejected the Nice and Lisbon treaties, we were brow beaten into re-voting on the same issues until we got it right.

The powers-that-be tell us that we have the right to vote for a government at the time of General Elections. But look what happened after General Election 2011, we voted to remove the last government placing our trust in the promises of the so-called opposition parties.

Once in power, these parties reneged on the policies that they fought the election on. In opposition they opposed the bailout of the bondholders, set their face against the closure of hospitals, cuts in welfare, increased income tax and so on. Now they have adopted the self-same policies of the previous government that were rejected at the polls.

Not only does the will of the people not determine State policy in Ireland but the State is not subject to the supervision of the electorate either. Not only did the regulators fail to control the financial institutions but they actually collaborated in the abuse.

The decisions that are made in our name are made by a handful of powerful people and the Dáil is used to rubber stamp them. We are openly told that the IMF is in town and we must do their bidding.

We live in a state in which we, the citizens, are ruled over rather than ruling.

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