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After the dreamtime - Workers rights or vulture capitalism? 

The promises held out to Irish workers over the past decade have proved illusory. Now the illusions have faded and we face a grim reality.

The story was that if we did as we were told and sacrificed for the bankers and bondholders then Ireland would recover and workers rights and living standards would recover also.

We were also told that the legacy of 1916 had been delivered, conflict in the North resolved and that we could embrace British royalty and declare an Irish democracy achieved.

In the economic sphere fulsome claims of recovery have been made. We now know that they do not involve a recovery for the workers. The promise is that most people will not face water charges. This will fit inside the fiscal space for public spending in the budget, as will the promises to bring forward public sector pay inside the Lansdowne Road Agreement, especially as the faster payments will again involve speedup and redundancy to avoid any overall increase in cost.

But then there are all the other things that will not fit; the €10 billion budget for modernisation of the water network, ending 2-tier pay, paying for social housing and rent controls and for effective public services in health, education and transport.

After a decade of austerity we face an even greater attack that will drive living standards down further, this time overseen by mass privatisation and the penetration of vulture capitalism and a firesale of Irish resources. All this before we face the shock of Trump.


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