Head in Sand

August 28, 2017

Hitherto the Irish position on Brexit has been to ridicule the British negotiations post Brexit and hope Brexit will go away.

The EU have provided no plans on what they demand our border with NI should be. They demand these plans from British negotiators

We need to cost the border  with the European Commission, we need to examine what type of border will be put  in place.

We will be required to service and pay for its cost. Think of paying for a leg amputation for yourself to help you win a marathon you are competing in.

Putting the head in the sand and demanding the UK alone find solutions is reckless and irresponsible.

We are after all minions of the EU and we deserve to know what plans the EU post Brexit have in store for us.

The ludicrous demand the European Court of Justice will have jurisdiction in UK post Brexit has been shelved.

Germany’s proposition of a joint UK-EU panel as ultimate judge has now to be examined by each of the 27 member states before joint response.

Germany dictates the course of these negotiations.

You can see wheels will turn slowly if at all. Copy that methodology to every issue to be evaluated by each of the 27 member states and wonder will any Brexit deal pass muster with the EU.

Every dot will require an agreement from each of those member states.

A clean break without agreement would appear to be on the cards.

Pressure is mounting on Ireland to take a more active role in negotiations.We should encourage a more bilateral role for Ireland in these negotiations.

Instead in obedient compliance our head in the sand attitude has dispatched us to bottom of the class relegated to begging those issues effecting Ireland get highlighted.

Dubious and often unreliable and false figures of leprechaun economics frequently emanating as propaganda  from our Central Statistics Office ( CSO ) tell us our economy will boom over the  coming years.

This is challenged by the pain felt by our exporters into the UK market. Pain is being felt right now as sterling reaches an all time low against the euro.

Meanwhile sterling gets a boost for its exports while it’s imports drop. Many British holiday makers choose to stay at home rather than go to the EU including Ireland.

Lower exchange rate is already helping the British economy.

Sterling’s slump will cause many of our exporters to go out of business sooner rather than later.

Our  banks still teeter on the brink. Permanent TSB has over 20% of its lending in crisis. Expect large-scale repossessions.

Previous declaration on this blog on the need for Ireland to set up its own public Bank to provide low-cost building finance received a new twist this weekend.

I have outlined many times how resistant government is to resolving the housing crisis.

If construction and greater numbers of units coming to market brings down the cost of property this could damage vulture fund investments in Ireland, outstanding loans in our fragile banking system could go to negative equity setting off another sell off and another banking crisis.

But we live in an era of casino banking and homes are no longer homes but investments to gamble. There is clear evidence to show the middle class can no longer afford homes.

Supporting banks now translates to screwing the homeless and newer generations seeking a home.

Government has chosen a course to deny the needs of its people and capitulate to every demand from its corrupt financial sector.

Illustrating this fact this weekend was the reported case of Public Savings Bank Sparkasse which writes 50% of all German mortgages.

The bank operates similar to a credit union system not as transparent or public led as Public banks such as Bank of North Dakota advocated as part of a solution to our property crisis here….but ticks lots of the boxes required for a public bank.

It could make large savings for people applying for mortgages offering a lower by far interest rate on mortgages.

Sunday Indo reported 27th August “Sparkasse’s project manager in Ireland:

” I hear that politicians may be discussing in the background that the Sparkasse model may be threatening for the privatisation of AIB or BOI.”

Alas there is no real plan to tackle housing. Coming up with a plan to tackle housing might even threaten the banks in spite of how ludicrous this sounds

A properly funded Housing Agency coordinating policy, funding and provision of public housing is deeply and urgently required.

It needs Plan A to tackle the housing sector in Ireland. There is no sign of it coming soon. Plenty of little trees but no forest.

Dublin city council has a plan to fast track provision of 8000 housing units west of Adamstown but this may turn out to be pie in the sky.

By itself it doesn’t come close to address the number of units required annually over coming years to address the shortfall.

Likewise NAMA published a paper in 2015 on its plans but many plans have been shelved and NAMA is not held to account.

The Public Accounts committee should have NAMA and bankers in on a weekly basis to defend their activities in the property sector.  NAMA benefits vulture funds more than the Irish people while it’s activities are put beyond accountability and investigation.

Our Freedom of Information Act requires serious alterations to remove the Chinese Walls cloaks of secrecy protecting indefensible shortcomings and failures in NAMA.

The question why vulture funds instead of native developers and government as brokers using our pension fund have not acquired property suitable for relieving our housing crisis from NAMA is evidence of large failure by government.

There is no evidence to show government ever considered competing against vulture funds for NAMA property.

Countrywide councils are not funded to provide housing. This is the ideological fallout of a government right-wing party that has produced no position papers that address the crisis apart from 29 published housing initiatives that have all failed.

The reason for failure is FG and FF both are controlled by their banking financial sector and by large numbers of TDs in excess of 35% benefitting as landlords from increased rental prices.

They do not see it as the job of government to provide public housing.

Most of those failed plans try to incentives the private sector to build and construct residential property. But our developer and construction sector is broken.

The large players, Irish developers fallen victim of our property crash have been broken by NAMA.

NAMA has serious questions to answer on how it has broken the native capacity of developers in the Construction Federation of Ireland to grow our construction sector.

Government should serve the people. It is not fulfilling its mandate.

Many believe it can no longer respond to the needs of the people.

It’s not fulfilling its mandate constructed as it is by the banking sector complicated by incompetent compliance and useless obedience to the EU.

Till again…

Advertisements

Ireland’s Berlin Wall

February 12, 2017

An Taoiseach Enda Kenny has met with Polish Prime Minister, Beata Szydlo. He got no support from Beata Szydlo in his quest for Ireland to be given special status in coming Brexit negotiations.

In his belief that Ireland must be imaginative re its response to Brexit, it might have been useful to visit Poland’s border with the Ukraine. Delays of up to 4 hours for border control for those travelling by train between both countries.

Depending on the purpose of visit,  the vehicle you are travelling in,  papers carried, security checks, crossing the border might take an hour or so; or you might need to join the lengthy kilometers long grid lock of vehicles that appears not to move at all and is worse than Calais.

Construction and manning of these border control check points perhaps Kenny might have an imaginative word …”former head of the European Commission’s customs procedures has told MPs. Michael Lux told the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee that customs controls on the Border will be unavoidable if the United Kingdom leaves the EU customs union after Brexit”(1)

Crossing the Polish border into Ukraine you have to pass through the Polish border then the Ukraine border. Smuggling of goods particularly cigarettes are big issues. Perhaps Poland’s refusal to accept refugees is also an issue.

If Kenny is soft on the border between Northern Ireland and Southern Ireland could Ireland become a mecca for refugees fleeing Calais. Border patrols on our coastline would have to be stepped up to combat people smuggling and a growing refugee crisis in Southern Ireland may require special European funding arrangements.

People smugglers may resort to parachuting in their delivery of human cargo by night.

By day boats ill-suited to Mediterranean waters may navigate dangerous waters hoping to reach Southern Ireland before crossing over to Northern Ireland.

It would appear inevitable that a wall will need to be built.border-fence-cartoon

The cost of this wall could be astronomical. Much resentment would be felt by many pointing to our…. housing and homelessness crisis.

Walls have a habit of keeping people in as well as keeping people out. At current rates and if further devaluations occur brought about to make the UK economy even more competitive, the thousands travelling north on an hourly basis to stock up on lower price goods, could be delayed at the border, then further delayed on way back to process import duties and other checks….

2. Currently about one out of every 4 litres of milk consumed in the south comes from Northern Ireland amounting to over 600 million litres per year.

That’s a lot of trucks requiring paperwork sensitive to any delay or waiting game.

“IFA chief economist Rowena Dwyer broke down Ireland’s relationship with the UK in numbers at the IFA’s briefing on Brexit recently. 50% of Ireland’s total beef exports goes to the UK, followed by one-third of our total dairy exports. With the UK leaving the EU, a drop in Irish exports of between €150m to €800m can be expected.”(3)

With the collateral damage of border controls I believe the figures above are vastly understated. But it’s not only border controls at Norther Ireland its border controls at points of embarkation/demarcation between Ireland and the UK in general border crossing points both at land and sea.

Currently within the Irish media or at a political level in spite of the abjuration of Enda Kenny there is no imaginative or otherwise setting down of the precise implications of Brexit. A small group led by Kenny himself is handling Brexit.

We’ve had a cabinet setting up of an all-Ireland dialogue on Brexit but nothing concrete has emerged. Its imagined that Kenny is visiting fellow EU leaders to drum up support for Ireland’s special position in regard to Brexit.

But perhaps no one apart from Kenny knows what Ireland’s special position on Brexit amounts to? Is Kenny asking that a standing army of customs officials, construction companies, be provided by the EMU to police Ireland’s new borders with the UK, for free?

 

On the face of there are no plans other than to bury the head in the sand and hope for the best. Kenny is about to bow out of politics so the fall out wont effect him much, but it will affect the rest of us.

So let’s answer Kenny’s call for us to be imaginative. Let’s demand answers that put down on the table what exactly will happen with Brexit and what the fallout will be for each Mary and Joe citizen living on this island.

The only way to effectively do this is to call a referendum on IRexit to give each citizen in the Republic a vote on whether to stay in the EU or leave. There are profound implications which should force the facts to the surface and allow each citizen to make their choice.

One imaginative solution if Irexit was chosen would be to consider the Cyrpus situation. Turkish occupation of northern Cyprus has been an issue since 1974. In recent years the following proposed solution is emerging:

“The UN plan for settlement (Annan Plan)

'Sorry! I've changed my mind.'

‘Sorry! I’ve changed my mind.’

Under the final proposals, the Republic of Cyprus would become the United Cyprus Republic. It would be a loose federation composed of two component states. The northern Turkish Cypriot constituent state would encompass about 28.5% of the island, the southern Greek Cypriot constituent state would be made up of the remaining 71.5%. Each part would have had its own parliament. There would also be a bicameral parliament on the federal level. In the Chamber of Deputies, the Turkish Cypriots would have 25% of the seats. (While no accurate figures are currently available, the split between the two communities at independence in 1960 was approximately 80:20 in favour of the Greek Cypriots.) The Senate would consist of equal parts of members of each ethnic group. Executive power would be vested in a presidential council. The chairmanship of this council would rotate between the communities. Each community would also have the right to veto all legislation”

The US, the UN, UK and IR have all had deep involvement in finding solution for the conflict in Northern Ireland.

One solution would be for this island instead of building walls to adopt a solution along similar lines to the Annan Plan above. Ireland would form itself into a loose confederacy of states with Scotland, Wales and England operating under a similar umbrella of trade, legal, constitutional and social. Instead of this island being the Irish Republic, it would change to The United Ireland Republic.

Surely the above road is better than a road that promises imminent collapse of our banks, destruction of our social services, ruination of our agri industry, all to make this a smugglers paradise or Pirate Island for foolish politicians…..

Postscript

There needs to be a criminal investigation led by an external police authority outside this country to pursue those who engineered and executed the dirty tricks campaign mounted against whistle blowers including Garda McCable that has lasted for many years corrosively in An Garda Siochana covered up with inaction from the Department of Justice and now spread to other state organisations.

The handling of the above by this Fine Gael led governent rivals the incoherent way it has approached and currently prepares for Brexit. There is no reason to assume the incoherent opposition led by FF will in any way improve on matters.

 

Till again…………….

 

  1.  http://www.irishtimes.com/news/politics/may-s-border-promises-are-nice-words-says-ex-eu-customs-head-1.2959694
  2. http://www.agriland.ie/farming-news/ireland-set-to-import-record-levels-of-milk-in-2015/
  3. http://www.farmersjournal.ie/implications-for-irish-agriculture-if-british-cast-a-brexit-ballot-212787
  4. http://www.irishtimes.com/news/politics/cabinet-sets-up-all-ireland-group-to-prepare-for-brexit-1.2816034