From: Debt and Development Coalition.

The United Nations General Assembly has passed a resolution to create new legal rules to stop financial speculators like vulture funds from undermining debt restructurings. The motion, passed by 124 votes to 11, has decided that the UN will create “a multilateral legal framework for the sovereign debt restructuring processes”. Ireland was one of the 11 countries to vote against the motion along with the US. At present, there are no rules regarding how to restructure the debts of countries when they can no longer be paid, leading to prolonged debt crises and expensive bank bailouts, and an open door for vulture funds extortion of countries in debt crisis.


You've probably never heard of Julien Mercille. He's a Canadian academic working in UCD and the author of The Political Economy and Media Coverage of the European Economic Crisis: The Case of Ireland. He recently made a presentation to the banking enquiry on the role of the Irish media in the property bubble leading to the banking crisis. His main point is that it is still the interests of elites that are mostly reflected in editorials and news stories, while those of ordinary people are often left out. You can read his presentation here. This mightn't seem a particularly controversial point but it led to a barage of criticism from senior figures within the media. Here's a sample:

-A “messiah” and “self-appointed guru”, and also “an obscure academic” (Gerry O’Regan, ex-editor of the Irish Independent).
-“The finest conspiracy theorist I have heard in a long time” (Geraldine Kennedy, ex-editor of the Irish Times).
-A “man of the hard left” (Dan O’Brien, Irish Times)
-“I attach no credence whatsoever to Dr. Mercille and his views regarding the Irish Examiner. They are from a planet I neither recognise nor inhabit and they do not apply to the Irish Examiner” (Tim Vaughan, Irish Examiner editor).
-“Far left”, “not a media academic”, and has “never worked in the Irish media” (Michael Clifford, Irish Examiner journalist).

The meeting that took place recently between Patrick Holohan, the governor of the Central Bank, with the Ballhea Says No group with a number of MEPs and TDs from the Technical Group gives a rare insight into the current conflict between technocracy and democracy in Ireland. Diarmuid O'Flynn's summary of the meeting gives a flavour of what transpired.

Read a summary of the meeting by Diarmuid O'Flynn here.

"Budget 2014 provides no guiding vision, no real sense of direction for Ireland’s future, and no sustainable solutions to the major challenges Ireland faces.

It continues this government’s austerity approach that has been shown to have no basis in theory, does not work in practice and is profoundly unethical in that it targets those who are vulnerable rather than those who are better able to meet the challenges of the present difficult situation.


It also continues the unfair distribution of the adjustment with two-thirds being achieved through expenditure cuts while only one third comes from tax increases.


It is not acceptable that Government has persisted with this approach despite recent studies from the IMF and others showing that such an approach increases poverty and inequality. Reversing the tax/cuts ratio would have positive impacts on both these measures.


Budget 2014 also failed to meet the terms of the ‘Troika’ agreement. That agreement specified that Government’s adjustments in Budget 2014 were to be done “while protecting core services and the vulnerable”. This budget has failed to honour this condition."


Budget 2014 Analysis and Critique - Social Justice Ireland


The existence of the Clearing House Group within the International Financial Services Centre (IFSC) in Dublin is unknown to most people in Ireland. It is made up of top civil servants from the departments of An Taoiseach and Finance, the Irish Banking Association, Merrill Lynch, Bank of America and KPMG. It draws up the legal framework within which companies operate within the IFSC. If you imagine a group of professional criminals sitting around a table with top civil servants drawing up the legal framework for dealing with bank heists you'll have some idea of the work of this group. They draw up the laws within which they then operate as a group. A recent edition of the Live Register looked at its work.


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