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The Green Party are in government, so they’re bound to ensure the biggest users of water are regulated…

I mean…they’re all about conservation, aren’t they?

Well the government’s new proposed legislation has set the bar extremely high in terms of how much water a private company can abstract (take from the ground) before they’re required to obtain a license.

Two million litres per day is what is proposed by government (or 730 million litres per year) in the General Scheme of Water Environment (Abstractions) Bill.

For context, a bottled water company or a data centre can use the same amount of water as 18,000 households before having to seek a license off the State. Yet they want to bring in water charges and make those households pay for the water they use. …


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We’re gonna find out later today if we have a new government but there’s been very little analysis of the actual contents of the PfG. I spotted something I thought was very interesting though.

Under the Green New Deal section there a sentence that says:

“we will: Implement the recommendations of the Committee on Future Funding of Domestic Water Services in relation to excess use.”

What’s really interesting about this line is that it conveniently ignores all of the other 7 recommendations from that committee. …


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On Keelings…and other dodgy workplaces, because this type of shit is not confined to one or two bad employers.

For years I’ve been banging on about exploitation of workers in many sectors. Politically, most TDs just bury their heads in the sand. One solution is very simple though…the right to access workplaces for trade unions.

If unions could do inspections for the following purposes…

  1. Health & safety compliance
  2. Workplace rights compliance
  3. Collective bargaining purposes

…then we’d all be a little bit better off.

Keelings are not a poverty stricken company.

They can afford to regularly fly in hundreds of workers to exploit on a regular basis. They say, “Irish workers don’t want to do the job.” …


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100 years ago today (1st March 1920), the founder of what is now known as Mandate Trade Union died at the tender age of 47. During his lifetime, Michael O’Lehane left an indelible mark on the Irish trade union movement as he battled low pay, precarious work, poverty, and the living in system, while also helping to expand Irish trade unionism beyond the industrial field and into the political arena.

O’Lehane was born in Macroom, Co. Cork in 1873 but moved to Limerick to take up a role in Cannocks as a draper’ assistant in 1898.

The harsh living conditions resulted in O’Lehane contracting typhoid fever from which he almost died. After a few months of recuperation, he travelled to Dublin and took up a role in Arnotts on Henry Street. …


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Published: Thursday 4 December 2014

THE body of Jonathan Corrie, a homeless, 42-year-old father of two from Kilkenny, was found just metres from Dail Eireann on December 1.

Over the past six years or more, politicians inside that building made political choices that put Mr Corrie on the streets and failed him, his family and the rest of society.

Cuts to homelessness services, failure to adequately invest in mental health services, a disastrous housing policy, a persistent and relentless adherence to austerity – all were political choices that no doubt played a part in Mr Corrie’s passing.

In November, we heard how Conor Cribbin, a 25 year old suffering from ADHD and in need of expensive medication took his own life days after hearing his medical card had been stopped. …


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In this election you have the power to do one of two things:

1. You can empower the government parties (Fine Gael & Fianna Fail) and reaffirm the political status quo; or

2. You can vote for change and create a fairer more equal society.

Option 1 allows you to say that a two year wait on basic medical treatment is absolutely fine.

That 10,000 people (including 4,000 children) spending Christmas in a B&B or hotel is grand.

That our children being educated in the most cramped class sizes in the EU is a non-issue.

Or that ensuring a healthy planet for our kids and their kids is totally unneccesary. …


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If you want to understand the word “Establishment” in Ireland, just take note of the coordinated messaging around the upcoming election.

We have a housing emergency with 4,000 homeless children and more than 10,000 homeless in total.

The highest number of people on hospital waiting lists ever (700,000+), and 350 people dying on trolleys every year.

5,400 preventable deaths every year related to economic inequality and 2,900 excess deaths every winter (highest in EU).

The highest class sizes in Europe and not enough schools for children (ave class size in EU is 20, in Ireland it is 25).

Underpaid nurses and frontline public servants and more workers in poverty now than ever before (110,000 compared with 91,000 in 2012). …


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How is inequality growing if we’re winning pay increases? Maybe it’s to do with the type of pay increases we’re winning?

RENTS have gone through the roof. House prices are unaffordable for the vast majority of the working population. Insurance premiums are increasing year on year. Yet for low paid workers, pay increases are meagre and do not keep up with the real cost of living.

Over the last decade the number of adults living in poverty who have a job has grown at a steady pace.

In 2009, there were 91,407 workers living in poverty and by 2013 this had increased to 100,133. …


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Almost 80,000 retail, bar and pharmacy workers are set to lose their flat rate expenses on January 1st 2020 so the government can hand a bonanza to highly-paid millionaire executives.

Retail, pharmacy and bar workers are currently entitled to claim between €93-€400 in a flat rate tax relief for costs incurred during their employment. For instance, the purchase, maintenance and cleaning of uniforms, as well as the purchase of tools of the trade, stationary and other essential work items.

Revenue has decided that low paid workers should lose these flat rate expenses while the Irish government appears happy to stand idly by as Mandate Trade Union members lose a valuable benefit they have enjoyed since the 1970s. …

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David Gibney

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