News Archive

Blackmail on a monumental scale

Date Released: 30 July 2013

SIPTU President, Jack O’Connor has described as “blackmail on a monumental scale” the call on the Government by the Central Bank and other commentators to stick to an adjustment of €3.1 billion in Budget 2014.

The Central Bank and Klaus Regling, managing director of the European Stability Mechanism, have insisted that working people and their families in Ireland should be subjected to yet another harsh austerity budget in October despite the room for manoeuvre provided by the Anglo-Irish Bank promissory note deal earlier this year.

“This is blackmail on a monumental scale. It is quite clear that there is a well-orchestrated campaign by those at the top of the banking system in Ireland and in Europe, who caused the crisis in the first place, to inflict totally unnecessary misery on our society,” Jack O’Connor said.

“The Government must demonstrate the nerves of steel required to face them down. Granted the blackmailers have leverage but we have some too because if our programme fails then their whole project will collapse like a pack of cards.

“The breathing space afforded by the Promissory note deal would reduce the adjustment to €2.1 billion. The tax measures carried over from last year’s budget together with the proceeds of the Haddington Road Agreement will account for almost €1 billion.

“The remaining €1.1 billion should be further reduced by rapidly investing €4.5 billion of the €6 billion in the Strategic Investment Fund to generate tens of thousands of jobs thus saving significantly on social transfers and increasing tax revenues.

“Any remaining shortfall could be filled by increasing the tax take from the better off. There is actually no need for any further cuts in public provision,” the SIPTU President argued.   

In recent days, establishment commentators, including Professor John McHale the chairman of the Fiscal Advisory Council, added their voices to the clamour for deeper cuts and other austerity measures in the forthcoming budget despite the view expressed by Tanáiste, Eamon Gilmore, and other ministers that the full €3.1 billion adjustment was not required to meet the Government’s target of getting the deficit under 5.1% of GDP by 2014.     

In a document entitled “Budget Perspectives” the Irish Congress of Trade Unions has also called for an investment stimulus of €4.5 billion and tax increases aimed at the wealthiest 10% of earners which, it claimed, could raise additional revenues of €600 million over two years.“We believe this will result in the creation of new jobs, boost economic output and government revenue and avoid further damage to essential public services and social cohesion,” Congress argued in the document released on Monday (29th July).

“Economic history, including our experience of the 1980s, suggests that the fastest way to reduce the deficit is through policies that promote growth and jobs,” Congress said.


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