By Cllr. Seamie Morris
It’s over three weeks since votes were counted and we are still waiting to see what type, and composition of government will form. The votes have been tallied and recounted, pre-election promises have been wriggled out of and any messages of hope, change and recovery have now been replaced by the same stark realities that we had prior to the election.
In the run up to this election, Sinn Fein proposed a different vision for Ireland. A fairer society for all citizens with a fairer recovery at all levels of society. A Recovery that would have guaranteed equal rights and equal opportunities to all its citizens. A real recovery that would sweep in a fresh tide and would lift all boats small and large, not just favouring the enrichment of the insiders and chosen few.
Though Sinn Fein made substantial gains, unfortunately we did not receive the scale of vote necessary from the electorate that would enable meaningful Sinn Fein participation in government in this 32nd Dail.
The false narrative presented by the parties of government, tales of recovery with the on cue pre-election jobs announcements had all the necessary scripted jingle words, but now appear to have as much basis in fact as a unicorn winning the Grand National. Phantom jobs not yet delivered for a phantom, imaginary, recovery. The election is over and the mask has slipped.
We have a Dail and a country divided and adrift. The ghosts of governments past, of Fianna Fail and Fine Gael are sadly the only 2 parties that can form a potentially stable government are more content bickering and jostling for position and seniority. Meanwhile the bridesmaid of Labour, having been jilted at the altar by the electorate, is left at the back of the banquet hall with apparently no room for them at their imaginary top table.
No solutions have been effected and despite all the election rhetoric these parties of government historically, continue to argue and snipe at each other like opposing families before a shotgun wedding. The same shambles in Healthcare with waiting lists and increasing numbers on Trolley watch in our hospitals exists. The quagmire of homelessness and lack of available and affordable housing has been exacerbated with the added ingredients of increased evictions and most sadly a rapid increase in suicide exists from enslaved debtors, who under stress and financial strain see no other way out. These poor misfortunates can no longer cope with or tolerate their plight and leave devastated families and communities in their wake.
In stark contrast, in this centenary year, 100 years after selfless men and women laid down their lives to proclaim the republic as a sovereign independent state, we have a fire sale of our assets, an usurpation of our rights and assets by a foreign people in the 21st century guise of vulture funds and investment vehicles. Billions and billions disappearing with official sanction. A wholesale theft of the resources and assets of Ireland that are laid out on this ‘top table’.
It’s now apparent that its the people of Ireland that are ‘ON’ the top table and ‘ON’ the menu, as starters, main course and dessert and not ‘at’ the top table like some would suggest.
The new buzzword of the past weeks is of ‘Vulture funds’ swooping in to pick the bones of what is left of the carcass of Ireland’s economic ruin inherited from the past few governments, but in reality this is just the continuation of a policy whereby Housing like other financial assets, is merely seen a commodity for barter and enrichment of the few and not seen as a basic human right and a foundation to a fair and equal society for all children of the nation.
With official blessing NAMA is overseeing the greatest plunder and the largest transfer of property and wealth since Cromwellian times and the plantations. The acceleration of this fire sale sell off, only highlights what has been going on below the radar for the past 8 years.
Only the chosen few can get to even bid on our housing stock, distressed loans sold off to those with access to cheap and easy credit. Vulture funds hoovering up bargains at knockdown prices of up to 80% off. If NAMA proved anything it is that’s these new financial outsiders are now the new insiders.
Whatever Government forms and whatever rag tag of coalition partners it ordains, there is a responsibility to address these urgent issues in a swift, meaningful and compassionate manner. On the one hand you have the wholesale theft of state resources and the other a lack of basic services in health and housing that are a prerequisite of a just and fair society.
In our centenary year of the Easter rising, are we to strive for a republic that cherishes all children of the nation equally or are we as a nation to continue to act as mere middleman and glorified stroke merchants in the global credit cycle, no better than the brokers and traders of the 1640’s, who sold Irishmen and women to a life of slavery and indentured servitude on the plantations of Barbados and Virginia.
Instead we now trade our assets to these ‘cute hoor’ finance merchants and vultures funds who avail of accountancy gymnastics and loop holes to eliminate tax obligations in this country and will then reroute their ill-gotten gains through the tax launderettes of the Cayman Islands, British virgin Islands etc all the while clouding the beneficial owners in the anonymity that companies benefit from when registered in places like the state of Delaware.
Let us not in this time of grand theft roll over and play dead. Remember those eloquent words from the 1916 proclamation “We declare the right of the people of Ireland to the ownership of Ireland and to the unfettered control of Irish destinies to be sovereign and indefeasible.”
Let’s ensure these words of those selfless heroes are the living document they were intended to be.