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Ireland’s mini Hollande plan

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 construction industry.
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 PPF agreements.
Irish capital and their collaborators in Labour are preparing a catastrophe for the working class.


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