25 September 2003 Edition

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Crowe calls for rethink on Aer Rianta

BY ROBBIE SMYTH

"This is government by dictat and exposes the sham of partnership politics" said Sinn Féin TD Sean Crowe after Fianna Fail minister for Transport Seamus Brennan announced this week that he would not allow an independent review of his plans to break up Aer Rianta into three competing airports.

Aer Rianta unions had sought a review of the government decision announced during the summer. TEEU regional secretary Arthur Hall believes that Minister Brennan has "completed failed" to address worker concerns and his decision is a "slap in the face to the trade union movement".

Brennan has yet to provide any real analysis or research into his breakup proposal. Sean Crowe says that this is worrying, as the last report published in December 1999 by consultants Warburg Dillon Read doesn't recommend the breakup of the company.

Crowe asks "what new information has the minister to back up this decision?" Arthur Hall says that "Mr Brennan's dogged plan for the destruction of Aer Rianta makes no sense in the absence of a business plan, except in the context of pandering to powerful aviation interests".

It seems that transparency, consultation and social partnership only exists in the pages of the wage agreements, because this week they are completely absent in the day to day work of the coalition government.

300% increase in house prices

House prices are still rising according to the latest survey conducted by the Economics and Social Research Institute using Permanent/TSB financial data. An average house now costs 15% more in August 2003 than a year previously. The average price is now €224,340, a massive 300% increase on 1996, when the first ESRI/Permanent TSB survey was conducted.

The average price of a house in Dublin has now risen to €298,196. Another auctioneering company HOK believes that the price rises in Dublin are actually higher than the ESRI survey. HOK believe that prices in Dublin are nearly four times today what they were in 1996.

90,000 children in dire poverty

"We everyday see children who are hungry, children without proper clothing, and children denied the opportunity to realise their full potential." This was the view expressed this week by Owen Keenan, Chief Executive of Barnardos launching the organisation's Children Living Without campaign aimed at highlighting the realities of the 90,000 children still living in poverty in today's Ireland.

Barnados wants the government to:

• Eliminate consistent child poverty by 2010;

• Increase child income support to reflect the real cost of bringing up children for all families on low income;

• Support effective programmes to tackle early school leaving, such as investing in intensive programmes for children under 6;

• Fund a range of accommodation based within local communities for homeless families with children, and for homeless young people;

• Offer daytime facilities to homeless families to help with homework, laundry, and cooking meals.


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