only a week or two ago since we predicted that the current crisis in Ireland would
unleash a whole series of defensive struggles as the bosses attempt to make us
pay for their crisis. The fact is that, although the Irish economy is rapidly
heading towards the rocks and Brian Cowen and the bosses are sharpening their
knives for cuts in wages and redundancies, the Irish working class was
immeasurably strengthened during the years of the so called Celtic Tiger. As
the saying goes you can peel an onion skin by skin, but you can’t skin a tiger
claw by claw.
Well, sooner or later it had to come. As we have been
saying recently sooner or later the bourgeoisie, and not just the Irish bosses,
would come for their pound of flesh. After all, someone is going to have to pay
for the crisis and it doesn’t take Einstein to work out that it’s us.So the Irish government is looking for €2bn worth of cuts and that means pay cuts for
public sector workers.
The Irish government’s decision to nationalise the
country’s third largest Bank Anglo Irish is yet another sign of the fragility
of the Irish economy. As explained over the past period the bubble is seriously
affecting the real economy and this is the outcome. The nationalisation move comes after the government had originally proposed a
€1.5 billion bail-out plan. The situation at Anglo Irish however has clearly
got much worse. Things haven’t exactly been helped by the revelation from the
Finance Minister as to how the management had been running the bank.
In Ireland unemployment is rising at the fastest rate
since the records began in 1967. It’s
now standing at 295,000, having grown by120,987 in the last year. The only
thing growing faster than that is opposition to the Israeli onslaught against Gaza. The dole figure now
stands at 8.3%. Since December 2007 male unemployment has gone up by 83% and
female by 50% (although this is likely to be a big underestimate). Among young
people under 25 it’s gone up 24%. Estimates from the state training agency FÁS
indicate that unemployment will reach 12% this year.
Reports that Waterford Crystal and the Wedgwood China Company were to go into
administration will add yet more gloom to the outlook for the Irish economy.
Waterford Crystal is an internationally known company and helps bring some
300,000 visitors to the town each year. In the current climate people won’t be
racing out to the shops to buy smart glass or china, but it’s going to have a
big effect on the economy and it shows the depth of the mess that we are in.