22 May 2008 Edition
Cuireann An Phoblacht fáilte roimh litreacha ónár léitheoirí. Scríobh i nGaeilge nó i mBéarla, 200 focal ar a méid. Déantar giorrú ar litreachta más gá. Cuir do litir chuig [email protected]
An Phoblacht welcomes readers’ letters. Write in Irish or English, 200 words maximum. Letters may be edited for brevity. Send your letters to [email protected] No attachments please
Labour Party spreading myths on Lisbon Treaty
THE MYTH being bandied around by the Labour Party that the Charter of Fundamental Rights affixed to the Lisbon Treaty will give workers the right to strike and collectively bargain, has to be dispelled by Sinn Féin canvassers in this current campaign.
The Charter states that these rights are applicable only “in accordance with national laws and practices”. So basically we need the right to strike and collectively bargain in our own constitution before workers can ever avail of these basic necessities.
It would appear that there are some within the Trade Union movement who have been swayed by the ‘potential’ of what is in the Charter. They believe that if people endorse these fundamental rights by voting Yes then our own Supreme Court cannot disregard them when making rulings. This is a naïve, to say the least, view. If a right is only a right in accordance with national laws and practices, then no matter who calls it a right, the adjudicators of our national laws do not have to see it as one.
I won’t even get into the lunacy of the Charter’s terminology of a ‘fundamental’ right. A right is a right is a right, unless your government doesn’t believe it so.
So, what if we say Yes and endorse this Charter? Well we will become dependent on the European Court of Justice to protect what’s in the Charter and its record to date has not been sterling.
The ECJ has been called a ‘creative’ court. If it wants us to have the right to strike it uses some such protocol to make it so. But if it sees the rights of employers as being fundamental to the internal market - such as the right to move services across EU borders and participate in the race to the bottom on wages and conditions - it will restrict workers’ rights by interpreting other protocols or aspects of this current Treaty. We have seen in the recent Laval and Ruffert judgements that workers’ rights generally come second to business interests.
This Charter says you have the right to strike - but the EU says you can only use it proportionately and not when it interferes with employers rights to profit.
Thanks you but no thanks.
ARTHUR MORGAN TD,
Stop trafficking women
THE trafficking of women is a very serious and rapidly growing worldwide phenomenon. Women’s human rights are violated through being bought and sold, raped, falsely imprisoned and tortured.
Trafficking affects both developing and developed countries.
Trafficking involves a woman leaving her home country in search of a job abroad. Generally, the woman is approached by a trafficker who offers to assist her in travelling abroad and securing work. The person could be a friend of the family or could pose as working for a job agency. The woman, however, is deceived and instead is generally put into prostitution in a foreign country. The trafficker keeps the woman in prostitution through instilling fear into her and using tactics of rape and violence against her.
This trade in human beings is for monetary gain only and is an extremely lucrative business, third to arms and drugs. Several billion dollars a year is produced at the expense of innocent lives.
The growth of this problem is increasing globally and as an international problem requires the co-operation of multi-disciplinary agencies and countries, both nationally and internationally.
The government of Ireland must play their part in ending this trafficking of women, this clear violation of women’s rights, and stop the use of Ireland as an easy base to work from.
For years Sinn Féin has been the only party in the Dáil prepared to outright oppose the use of Public Private Partnerships. This was not just an ideological position, but one based on the reality that PPPs in school and road building in Ireland have been shown by the Comptroller & Auditor General to be more expensive than public sector provision.
The collapse of the PPP projects in St Michael’s estate in Inchicore and O’Devaney Gardens in the north inner city exposes again the foolishness in being reliant on private speculators and cowboy developers. When times are good they leech off public money to pad out their shareholder dividends and when times are bad it is the taxpayer who has to bear the burden when they abandon communities with unfinished projects or shoddy work.
As terrible as what happened to those communities in Dublin is, it will not be the last PPP project to collapse in this state. But you can be sure the construction companies, who donated almost 25% of money given to Fianna Fáil last year, won’t be losing out.
Gifts for TDs
THE Green Party and Fianna Fáil are reported to be ‘at odds’ with each other over new draft legislation that would allow politicians greater secrecy around the acceptance of gifts and the declaration of shares.
Politicians currently have to declare gifts worth €650 or more and shares worth €13,000 or more but these figures could increase to €2,000 and €20,000 under the proposed legislation.
When you think of Ray Burke, Liam Lawlor, Charles Haughey, etc, it doesn’t take a brain surgeon or an offshore accountant to see why Fianna Fáil TDs are enthusiastic about ramping up the limits on share profiteering and backhanders (sorry, gifts).
What was that Fianna Fáil slogan? Something like, “A lot done, more favours to do,” was it?