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Labour Party Minister hurts his voters and sides with the rich

The previous government was bad and we all thought that it can only get better, but it is amazing how incompetent and useless the majority of the Irish politicians are. Many were hoping that the Labour Party would give a social component and a balance to the policies of Fine Gael, but then Pat Rabbitte became Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources and he just seems to screw up everywhere.

I had hoped that a Labour Party Minister would be a little more careful with Ireland’s Natural Resources, but identical to his Fianna Fail predecessor Rabbitte just gave licenses for oil and gas away for nothing, squandering the few resources that Ireland has and giving them as a present to big commercial companies. But if you thought that was enough of a screw-up you were wrong. Rabbitte, who is also responsible for RTE and is in charge of the TV licence re-organisation is again showing his incompetence. I dare to say that apart from the job holders, nobody thinks the ridiculous salaries in RTE for people like Pat Kenny, Marianne Finucane, Ryan Tubridy, Joe Duffy etc are justified. Nobody apart from the people themselves AND Pat Rabbitte. Because instead of sorting out RTE, reducing their budget and forcing them to justify their existence, he wants to give them MORE money.

The TV licence fee should be a thing of the past. It might have had its justification when the TV and radio stations were not commercial entities, but RTE is as commercial as TV3, just that RTE delivery in a lot of aspects even worse quality. So, the TV licence fee should be reduced or abolished OR if it stays in place then ALL TV and Radio stations should be allowed to apply for part of the funds and get fair subsidies. It is ridiculous that each household is financing a commercial Radio and TV station with EUR 160 per year.

But it comes worse! People that can’t afford licence fee and cable TV charges etc currently have the option not to have a TV and then don’t need to pay. Rabbitte wants to change that. Probably from around middle of this year he wants to force everybody to pay a “Broadcast fee”. And all that money goes exclusively to RTE! So even if you never in your life watch RTE or listen to RTE, you will have to pay them a minimum of EUR 160 per year. The justification that Rabbitte uses is that we don’t need to have TV anymore to watch RTE. But has he not realised that young generations are not interested in RTE in its current form anymore?

Now, who are the people that currently don’t pay the licence fee and will have to pay it in future? The majority is people that have limited financial means. The rest has a TV and already pays the licence fee. So the Labour Minister has left his social principles and ideologies in the cupboard and instead sides with the rich and overpaid in RTE. Odd!!

Interestingly RTE has estimated that up to 15pc of households do not pay the TV licence fee – even though 99pc of houses allegedly have a TV. So that means the government is incapable of getting the money and for that reason they a new fee is introduced. If the RTE figures are right, then Rabbitte’s argument that the new fee is needed to capture the people that have no TV is a lie. He even claims even those without a TV, benefit from “publicly-funded, public service broadcasting”. Nonsense!

Undemocratic Ireland

I am shocked about the lack of democracy in Ireland. I never thought that the level of democracy is not much higher than one of these dodgy countries where international observers need to supervise the elections. This statement might seem a little harsh to you, but read this:

1) The Constituency Dublin North has 5 seats. 3 candidates of Fine Gael were elected in Dublin North (Peter Mathews, Alan Shatter and Olivia Mitchell). 3 out of 5 candidates means that FG got 60% of the mandates, but in fact they only got 36.3% of the first preference votes. How is a system that allows situations like this a democratic system?

2) A total number of 2,220,359 valid votes were counted and there are 166 TDs, that means that each TD represents 13,375 people. But the tiny amount of 6,206 voted, for example for Richard Boyd Barrett from the ultra-left People Before Profit. He got elected and now represents more than double the voters than the amount that wanted him to get elected! Overall he got a mandate from the tiny amount of 0.28% of the voters. Should he be in the Dail? I don’t think so! I know he was not the one with the smallest number of votes, that dubious honour seems to be reserved for Kevin Humphries from Labour who just got 3,450 votes.
But the reason why I picked Richard Boyd Barrett is because his party got overall only 21,551 votes, which is 0.97%. His party won 2 seats with 0.97%, while the Greens with 1.8% and 41,039 votes didn’t get any seats.

3) Further up it is not better: Labour got 19.4% of the votes and won 37 seats. Fianna Fail got just 2% less of the votes at 17.4, but won just 20 seats.
The final result is
FG 76, LAB 37, FF 20, IND 15, SF 14, GP 0, SP 2, PBP 2
but it should be
FG 60, LAB 32, FF 29, IND 21, SF 16, GP 3, SP 2, PBP 1
In the elections this time, that result wouldn’t have changed much in the majority situation in the Dail, but the difference to the undemocratic actual vote is significant.

I can’t see how the Irish voting system can be called democratic!

Use your time wisely!

An interesting thought:

At the next election in 5 years (or less) the probability is very high that Fine Gael and Labour will get less TDs than this time. So a sizable proportion of TDs will be in the Dail for just one period.

I hope they use this time wisely and are aware of their political mortality.

It’s all over – Let’s get started!

Finally the election (or most of it) is over. The ballot papers are nearly all counted and while there are still 12 or so TDs to be decided in a few constituencies, we know that the new Taoiseach will be Enda Kenny and that he most likely will form a coalition with Labour.

The Fine Gael win was impressive, but Labour’s and Sinn Fein’s many seats in the Dail mean that Ireland moved to the left and I am not too impressed by that. I prefer a center/liberal/social society, but not a socialist society.

Fianna Fail’s loss was impressive as well, but look at it this way: A party that ran the country into the ground in many aspects still got approx. 20 seats out of 160. That is still quite a high number! So many people still think that Fianna Fail is a party that should be in charge, which is rather shocking.

Now it is over to Enda Kenny! The Dail will meet on 09 March, so he has another 8 days to sort out his government. I am still not convinced that he is suitable or will be good as a leader, so he has to show us now that he can build a government and that he will choose the right people for his cabinet.  So, let’s get the future started. A future hopefully with more accountability and with a less self-serving attitude among the TDs.


Tonight’s Leader’s Debate on RTE1 was the first I saw live. (The other two I saw only partially.) …and I was not impressed with the future Taoiseach.

Enda Kenny did NOT know his facts, he was aloof, arrogant, not in the slightest passionate and – like a broken record – talks about his 5-point plan constantly. The guy on TV tonight is definitely not want as my “leader”.

Having said that, Micheal Martin is not much better. He did impress me this evening, though. He is passionate and knows his facts, but what I can’t get over is why he never cared enough about the facts before and while he was a Minister in the previous governments. So, a NO to Micheal Martin, but there is potential in a few years time if he sorts out his more or less useless party.

That leaves Eamonn Gilmore: He was taking on Micheal Martin and was cosy-ing up to Enda Kenny. My problem with Gilmore is his past. Labour sounds some where slightly left of centre, but Gilmore’s roots where in the party “Democratic Left”, which then merged with Labour. So he would be more in the socialist corner of Labour. And since the  the current economic situation can – in my opinion – not be solved with socialism, he would be a problem if in any powerful position.

Bottom line…AGAIN!!…I would not know who to vote for!

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