What I aim to achieve
1. Change our political system
Disillusionment with our existing political system has rarely been so evident or voiced so vehemently both nationally and locally. The simple fact is our present multi-seat political system is not working. It has led to a situation where TDs maximize their concentration on constituency work to the detriment of their primary role as legislators.
With my campaign I am proposing fewer TDs at a national level using their expertise for maximizing policy-making and international engagement. The Dail would then encompass a greater number of well qualified TDs who would work on the behalf of the national interest instead of the local one.
In turn, this change to the system would have to be backed by a much stronger local government.
We need a system whereby local governments would have real control, budgets and influence in making decisions for and on behalf of the people and the community. The local government decision making process would also allow for input from a public forum. This means that both responsibility for services and decision making would be placed as close as possible to the people affected by decisions.
We need to reinforce in people’s minds that the services of the state belong to them and that they have a right to these services and that it is not for politicians to decide who does and does not receive them. We need to simplify public access to all state services.
2. Re-negotiate Ireland’s bailout
The next government must aim to re-negotiate Ireland’s bailout package. The current IMF/EU debt plan for Ireland is intrinsically unfair, making you, the Irish taxpayer responsible for investors and bond holder’s debts; these investors had the opportunity to put their money into Government bonds at a lower interest, instead many chose a higher return and therefore more risky option for e.g. Irish banks. And now that these investments have gone sour they want to be able to change their minds and move their investments back to Government bonds. This is not how the markets or capitalism works, the investors understand this, you can understand that if they see any possiblity of getting their money back they will grasp it, they will even demand it, but they know how the system works, they know that they took a gamble and will accept the loss once it’s made clear to them that the Irish tax payer will not be picking up the tab for their investment/business decisions.
Instead of us having a state with a banking system we now have a banking System with a state. We need the State to confront the market investors in the Irish Banks and make them face the reality that their investments cannot be repaid in cash. This means severing the link between the bust banks and the solvent State. The markets know that this is the best option, they will complain at first but once the dust settles and the country starts to make a recovery, they will again invest in Ireland. These investors have very short memories, and they have no loyalty (they will not reward us for bankrupting the state by trying to pay of this debt).
They are only interested in one thing and that is profit. Plain and simple, profit, in other words they will invest in Ireland if they believe that they can make a profit and they will not if they believe they can’t. The only way they can make a profit in Ireland is if the economy is growing. That is their only criteria when deciding to invest they look at the prospects of growth and projected growth, not the history, if there’s profit to be made they’re in and if not their out. Rather than pandering to the markets let’s play them.
This would mean, going to these bond holders and telling them that we cannot afford to pay of this debt, and instead we will give them shares in the very banks that they bought the bonds in. So, rather than getting nothing now they have the opportunity of getting some of their investments back at a later date. This would have the added advantage of tying in their investments to future growth of the banks. They will only get their money back if the banks prosper. so they will have to continue to support the banks and the wider economy in order for that to happen. Now, this is not the only tool countries have to re-organize their fiscal problems, most other countries (other than EU countries, excluding France and Germany of course) have control over their own currencies by increasing interest rates or devaluing their currencies. Ireland does not have these options available to us; we do however have control over taxation. Over the last few years the Government has been cutting tax at every budget, in my opinion this has been a mistake, we were never better off, once we found ourselves with a little more money in our pockets there was always someone there to take it off us, usually in the form of higher prices. Had the Government been adding this money to the pension kitty of putting it into infrastructural projects (e.g. the role out of high speed broadband everywhere in the Country), it would have had the effect of controlling prices, and would have giving us reserves of money to tide us over in the downturn, and would have given us much more room for spending cuts now, cuts that would not be having the drastic effects we now experience. Be certain, we are going to have to default at some time, better now while we still have a solvent state, than later when all prospects of saving the economy are gone. Read More
3. A Better Ireland
Under our current political structure, our TDs spend more time fixing Mrs. Murphy’s drains than concentrating on issues of national importance. Meanwhile a drain of paramount importance to our future continues daily: and that’s our brain drain. Ireland’s disenfranchised youth are leaving our shores in greater numbers every month:We have seen an 81% increase in emigration in the last 4yrs.
65,000 have emigrated to September of this year alone.
This hemorrhaging of our single greatest asset and of our only natural resource must be stemmed before the Country bleeds to death. I propose to address this by focusing on the two issues which are most vital to renewing confidence in this nation for those who have lost faith:
What is of utmost importance in the medium term is
One of the biggest threats to rural communities in Ireland is the lack of job opportunities. What the country needs rather than spending cuts is job creation. We need to grow the economy, not shrink it; to give just one example: if we spent a fraction of what we are putting into the banks on the roll out high speed wireless broadband everywhere in the country it would allow for the development of new, rural, knowledge- based businesses, creating jobs locally and growing the economy. The Internet is at its very beginnings. With the availability of high speed connections it will lead to the creation of new industries, industries not yet conceived. For instance, when electricity was first invented, it was considered a new and novel way of bringing light into our lives; now see how electricity has transformed out lives, what new industries have been made possible by the availability of electricity and how a tiny fraction of our consumption of it is used for light. The same will happen with the availability of high speed broadband. And where do we stand in relation to this new world of high speed connectedness? Well believe it or not, we have slower broadband speeds than Mongolia.
People that are being crippled with personal debt need breathing space, they need to be given some hope, shown some light at the end of the tunnel, they need to be given back their lives so that they can built for the future rather that made pay for the mistakes of the past.
What they need is some kind of “Debt-for-equity” swaps; this is one way of dealing with mortgages that have fallen into negative equity. A householder unable to service his debt on a €300k mortgage for example, may by agreement with their bank have the value of the mortgage reduced (80% of the house’s current value), in return for which the bank will receive 50% of the amount by which any resale value, when the house is resold, that exceeds the reduced amount.
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