Seamus Healy TD (Member of Oireachtas Committee on Water Services) calls for complete abolition of Domestic Water Charges, opposes any payment for domestic water and rejects any extra taxation to pay for water twice including a new dedicated water tax similar to Local Property Tax (LPT). Irish Water must be abolished. I have been nominated to the Oireachtas Committee On Water Services. I will be resisting these recommendations.
I will also be organising and participating in mass marches against the implementation of these recommendations
A majority, 90 of the 158 Teachtaí Dála (TD’s) elected in the last general election were elected on the basis of complete abolition of water charges and The Irish Water utility. The combination of Expert Commission-Oireachtas Committee-Dáil Vote in March was devised by Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael after the General Election to negate the democratic vote of the people and bring back water charges.
The Commission essentially recommends that households pay for water twice through a combination of charges and taxes.
The Report states:
“5.2.17 The recommended Funding Model, if implemented, will place the main burden of financing the operational cost of providing domestic water services on the exchequer to be paid for through taxation. The Question of whether there should be a dedicated tax, a broadly based fiscal instrument, or an adjustment to existing taxes to fund this requirement would be a matter of Budgetary Policy and outside the scope of this report, but is worthy of further consideration.”-Commission Report Page 35
The underlying assumption in the above recommendation is that domestic water should be paid for by the citizens for a second time. This must be firmly rejected.
New “Dedicated Tax” suggests an LPT style arrangement which would convert a charges system to a tax liability which can be compulsorily deducted from income at source. This can be imposed on households with no taxable income (e.g. social welfare/low pay).
“A broadly based Fiscal Instrument” means that there would be a specific provision in law for some kind of water or house tax including water tax. This can be imposed on households with no taxable income (e.g. social welfare/low pay)
“Adjustment to Existing Taxes” means that there should be a general tax increase to pay a second time for water through an adjustment of rates/bands/ allowances/ tax credits.
The commission has also recommended that Irish Water be retained and that charges be imposed for extra usage.
Refuse charges were originally introduced at €5. Now hundreds of Euro are payable. The same will happen with water if there is any charge for water under any guise.
I have been nominated to the Oireachtas Committee On Water Services. I will be resisting these recommendations. I will also be organising and participating in mass marches against the implementation of these recommendations.
The money which is being paid and was being paid for water services through taxation for many years was not used for water services but was given to others and is being spent for other purposes. It is being used to fund part of the 7 Billion in interest being paid annually on money borrowed to bail out banks and billionaire bondholders. It is also being used partly to fund the 172 million reductions of personal taxes on the top 5% of income recipients on an average of 186,000Eu per year.
The 172 million tax reduction must be cancelled. A tax on the Financial Assets of the top 10% whose financial assets are now 35 billion above peak boom level could be used to fully fund water services.
Water charges and Irish water Must Be fully abolished.
Domestic water must not be commodified. We will not pay Twice
Seamus Healy TD 087-2802199
Another 100 Tipperary Homes to Be Repossessed?
Government owned banks (AIB, PTSB, and EBS) and other lenders have been seeking
repossession of approximately 100 Tipperary homes every month in the past year.
A similar number of family homes will be threatened with eviction before Christmas. In the New Year, this will be augmented by evictions of private tenants if the Courts Bill 2016, currently going through the Dáil, is passed.
Deputies Alan Kelly ( Labour) and Jackie Cahil (FF) voted for the new bill designed to
fast track evictions through the circuit court. Deputy Michael Lowry did not vote in the division on second stage of the Bill.
I call on them now to join me in voting against further stages of the Bill. I am also
seeking support for the formal declaration of a housing emergency by the Oireachtas.
This would prevent the use of the Constitution by Banks to block a moratorium on
evictions while the housing crisis continues. The Oireachtas Commission on Housing
recommended such a moratorium on evictions.
Eviction of blameless families who are the victims of reckless banks and politicians is
savage, cruel and anti-human. It is even more devastating at Christmas time. Suicide rates have increased steeply since the recession.
How many of our neighbours will end up in the next best thing to a stable this Christmas?
Seamus Healy T.D.
Tel 087 2802199
Deputy Seamus Healy T.D.
In his Budget Statement, the Minister, Deputy Donohoe, told us the budget will create a fairer society. This is dishonest claptrap. The budget maintains and widens the rich-poor gap in our society. Under the tax and the universal social charge changes alone, the wealthiest 5% of people in our society, those on average incomes of €186,000 a year, will get a €15 per week increase and, of course, they will get it from 1 January. They are not subject to any wealth tax and neither are they subject to any assets tax, even though net financial assets have increased and are now higher than peak boom levels. They have increased threefold from €69 billion in 2008 to €192 billion in 2015.
The budget also provides for outrageous increases to politicians, to which I am opposed. It provides for an increase of €15,000 for the Taoiseach of the day, an increase of €11,000 per annum for a Minister and €5,500 for a Deputy in the House. Compare this to how our old age pensioners were treated in the budget. Pensioners on a little over €12,000 per annum will receive an increase of €5 a week, but not until March. This is less than what they received last year. Despite the promises of the so-called Independence Alliance, there is no return of the telephone allowance, no increase in fuel allowance, no increase in the household benefits package and no increase in the living alone allowance.
This budget is socially divisive and deeply unfair.
It means that a total of 750,000 people continue to live in poverty in this country; one in five children will live in households with incomes below the poverty line; one in four of those living in poverty is a child; almost 20% of those whose income is below the poverty line are working and they are the working poor; since 2007 the deprivation rate has almost doubled; and, therefore, that 1.3 million or 29% of the population live in a state of deprivation.
This budget, once again, protects and supports the rich and powerful in our society while low, middle income and poor families are doomed to live from hand to mouth.
This budget is a pretence. In it, the Government is pretending to determine public expenditure and taxation in the State. The reality is that revenue from all sources will be approximately €50 billion. The House is determining the disposal of only less than €2 billion or 4% of the total. The EU powers, through the fiscal treaty, have determined the disposal of the other 96%. The charade being enacted here tonight flies in the face of the 1916 Proclamation, which declared “the right of the people of Ireland to the ownership of Ireland, and to the unfettered control of Irish destinies, to be sovereign and indefeasible”. The Government, similar to the outgoing Government, has sold our sovereignty to the EU.
The Minister for Finance recently told the Committee of Public Accounts that the EU powers insisted on the rapid sell-off of NAMA properties, even though retaining them would have led to higher prices being achieved for the taxpayer. Together with the sell-off of assets by banks, it is probable that there is now greater foreign ownership of Irish assets than when British landlords owned all the land. Effectively there is no sovereignty residing in the State.
The various proposals in the budget in respect of health, housing and education are grossly inadequate. Housing is a fundamental right of human beings, but, shamefully, the Taoiseach has written to the EU seeking permission to borrow the money required to build social housing. Ireland does not have even the sovereignty to house its own people. The Government has also refused to formally declare a housing emergency, something that is necessary to deal with the housing crisis. It is essential under the Constitution but the Government through banks it owns, other banks, and landlords, including vulture funds, is continuing to evict people. As a result, unfortunate families have been devastated by suicides.
Unnecessary deaths will continue in our hospitals despite heroic efforts by staff. According to the Irish Medical Organisation, IMO, hospitals are now operating in “the death zone” where occupancy levels are in many cases more than 92.5%, which is leading to significant increases in mortality rates. Despite the intense efforts of front-line staff, in particular, once occupancy rates reach this level, deaths occur that would not otherwise happen. Ireland needs an additional 3,500 inpatient hospital beds immediately to bring us in line with the western European average. By abiding by the fiscal treaty, the Government is causing unnecessary deaths and unnecessary pain.
With regard to education, class sizes in the primary sector are the highest in the Eurozone. The programme for Government makes a specific commitment to smaller classes, but the budget proposals are inadequate. The pre-cut capitation rate should be restored immediately. In primary and second level schools, the full pre-cut quota of assistant principal and special duties posts must be restored in the interest of pupils. Our third level system is grossly underfunded and being continuously damaged. Today’s measures are grossly inadequate to solve these problems.
At a time the Government cannot deliver safe hospitalisation or housing, or halt evictions and related suicides, it is farcical that an additional €255 million must be contributed to the EU budget this year.
In his presentation to the Committee on Budgetary Oversight, the Minister for Finance confirmed that the financial emergency is over. This was also recently re-certified by the Minister for the Public Expenditure and Reform. The confiscation of public service pensions under the FEMPI legislation is, therefore, unconstitutional. The right to private property of pensioners in their pensions must be fully restored immediately. This is not provided for in the budget. In addition, the pension reductions imposed on occupational pensioners in State bodies and in the private sector must be restored.
The budget is a joint effort by Fine Gael, the so-called Independent Alliance and Fianna Fáil. Fianna Fáil has taken responsibility for this shameful and socially divisive budget. The problems relating to health, education, housing, roads and various other public services will not be resolved until Irish sovereignty as set out in the Democratic Programme of the First Dáil of 1919 is re-established. This requires the political defeat of the austerity parties, Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and the Labour Party, and those prepared to support or to coalesce with them in the framework of the fiscal treaty. It is important to recall what the Democratic Programme of the First Dáil said. It stated, “We declare in the words of the Irish Republican Proclamation the right of the people of Ireland to the ownership of Ireland, and to the unfettered control of Irish destinies, to be indefeasible, and in the language of our first President, Pádraig Mac Phiarais, we declare that the Nation’s sovereignty extends not only to all men and women of the Nation, but to all its material possessions, the Nation’s soil and all its resources, all the wealth and all the wealth-producing processes within the Nation, and with him we reaffirm [remember this] that all right to private property must be subordinated to the public right and welfare.”
That sentence is particularly relevant to the housing crisis and the need immediately to formally declare a housing emergency.
Seamus Healy T.D.
Tel 087 2802199
South Tipperary General Hospital
Statement by Seamus Healy TD 087-2802199 Chairperson Save Our Acute Hospital Services Committee
The decision by the Minister for Health to approve the commencement of the procurement process for additional beds at South Tipperary General Hospital is another success for the Save Our Acute Hospital Services Committee.
The Committee, embracing all stakeholders, has been pursuing this project for some time. It is a decision which was expected and one that is very welcome.
As chairperson of the Committee, I want to thank all those who worked together on this issue, including the general public, hospital patients and their families, hospital staff and their representatives, the media, especially the Nationalist newspaper and Tipp FM radio, hospital management and local and national Public Representatives
These hotel type beds are, of course, only an interim and partial solution to the continuing crisis at the hospital. The delivery of these beds and the crucial future development of permanent beds, new wards and upgraded facilities will require a continued united effort to deliver for the people of the County.
The Hospital Committee policy over the last 8 years of inclusivity and united effort of the public, patients, staff, hospital management the media and people of all political persuasions and none has been particularly successful.
I want to appeal to all concerned to put aside any personal or political differences and to continue to work together for the future of hospital services in County Tipperary.
The early delivery of the additional beds will require a hugely concentrated effort and commitment and the dovetailing of a number of processes including procurement, planning, building, fitting-out and staffing. It is vital that this be done with the greatest possible haste.
Other measures are also necessary to address the overcrowding crisis at the hospital.
· Full time Community Intervention Teams
· Additional Home Care Packages
· Reversal of the cuts to Home Help hours
· Additional Step-down Beds
The Save our Acute Hospital Services Committee sees the commencement of the promised Phase 2 development at the hospital as both urgent and vitally important. It has raised this issue on an ongoing basis with HSE officials and previous Ministers for Health including Minister Varadkar.
Minister Harris must now instruct the HSE to complete a Development Control Plan for the Hospital and commit Capital Funds to the hospital in Budget 2017.
The Development Control Plan should detail Phase 2 developments at the hospital, including new medical, maternity, paediatric and acute psychiatry inpatient wards, together with support facilities and services.
The closure of St Michael’s Unit and the transfer of acute in-patient psychiatric beds to Kilkenny and Ennis has been nothing short of disastrous and these beds must be returned to South Tipp General Hospital in the short term.
The Committee will be raising these issues directly with the minister on his visit to the hospital on the 1st of October next
Seamus Healy TD
Chairperson of the Save our Acute Hospital Services Committee 087-2802199