Ireland’s mini Hollande
The Keynesian plan of public investment
in the economy, touted by Francois Hollande as an alternative to austerity
but in reality the slimmest of sugar coatings, has arrived in Ireland as
a €2.25 billion infrastructure stimulus package which the Government
claimed will generate 13,000 jobs. Just as the Hollande plan
justifies his support for austerity, the local plan is supposed to save
the local Labour party and trade union leadership by
marking a first step towards the “better, fairer way” that has justified
their unrestrained collaboration in the austerity.
Investment will be highway construction,
in the construction of 20 primary care centres in the health sector, in
courthouses and Garda headquarters and in a new State Pathology Laboratory.
There will be a new campus for the Dublin Institute of Technology and funding
for about a dozen new schools, mostly post-primary.
As there are no proposals to cut back on
the bank bailout or the austerity, this is the thinnest of sticking plasters
across multiple amputation. But this is not the main problem.
In its basic concept the cure is simply a continuation of the disease.
The fundamental problem is that it does
not address the production of new wealth. In a template of all past
government initiatives, public money is to be thrown at infrastructure
in the hope that a private sector that failed so catastrophically in the
credit crunch and which burnt up resources in the Celtic tiger that
preceded it will now deliver the goods. The aim was summed up by Tánaiste
Eamon Gilmore, who said that the Government’s priority was to restore domestic
confidence. The main beneficiaries will be government supporters in the
The only investment indirectly linked
to production is in education, but without a public plan for production
the most likely outcome is to feed the flight of the emigrants.
Worse is to come – the entire scenario
is based on a model of Public-Private partnership. Public money is to be
used to construct facilities that will belong to private firms who will
then extract more public money for decades in maintenance agreements –
this at a time when sections of the health service in Britain are
being bankrupted by the cost of these deals!
And this is just a taster. The big
picture is that the vast bulk of public resources in Ireland are to be
sold off to feed the banks. The state will retain up to 30% of the proceeds
which they will immediately throw at private capital in the form of more
Irish capital and their collaborators
in Labour are preparing a catastrophe for the working class.