Archive for March, 2010

The Most Vital Day in Banking Since 1783

Today will be the most vital day, in the history of Irish banking, since 1783. The decisions that our democratically elected Govt is committing country to, in terms of capitalisation and restructuring, are critical to every single citizen regardless of political persuasion.

All our public representatives should remember that their remarks are being watched internationally, and that signals of criticism ,that create uncertainty, will cost us in borrowing terms.

To put into context, Greece yesterday had to offer more than five times the yield premium of comparable Spanish bonds in order to attract investors to its €5b bond sale, its first since its bailout plan was agreed (specifically 334 basis points over German bunds).

If Ireland had to pay the same rates as Greece, it would cost us an extra €3.6b in interest over the next ten years, that is the equivalent of the salaries of over 80,000 newly qualified teachers.

I sincerely hope that people understand that we all have to put on the Ireland Jersey on this one, in order to show the international community that we intend to take whatever decisions are necessary to return the Irish economy to growth, and in so doing give renewed hope to all those who have lost their Jobs in the past 2 years. Higher borrowing costs will only result in more cuts and/or higher taxes, and higher taxes will be a disincentive to jobs and investment.

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Politicans Right To Travel Abroad

The Wicklow People have today published my letter regarding St. Patrick’s Days travel:

Dear Editor

It was with surprise that I read the comments from your contributors regarding our elected representatives travelling abroad for St Patrick’s Day.

Such utter nonsense from a bunch of illformed, shortsighted people!

To quote An Taoiseach on the importantance of St. Patrick’s Day, “it gives Ireland a unique global platform and an opportunity to reflect on all that is best in our country”, and leader of the opposition, Enda Kenny TD “St. Patrick’s Day provides us with an opportunity to focus international attention on Ireland”

As Ireland is suffering the effects from the worst, worldwide recession in living memory, it is even more important that our representatives travel this year, as our road to economic recovery and new jobs for our people is through innovating at home and growing our exports abroad.

Foreign Direct Investment is extremely important to our economy, plus 80% of everything this country produces is exported, therefore to turn down the unique goodwill and publicity Ireland gets on St Patrick’s day would be pure madness, and damaging to our recovery.

Sincerely

Stephen Kearon

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Public Service Action in Passport Office

East Coast Radio – Public Service Action in the Passport Office

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Saying Yes – The Wicklow Way

On Tuesday, March 16th, Ireland for Europe, launched Saying Yes which describes the unique citizens’ campaign which, from a standing start, rapidly grew into a nationwide organisation. Its leaders had been aware for many months that if the Treaty was to be put to the Irish people again, a very different type of campaign would have to be mounted, involving people from all sectors, of all ages and mobilising people in their own areas.

The book is an essential read for everyone involved in the campaign and will also be of interest to political scientists and students of Irish and European politics – nationally and internationally, and be purchased from here.

The chapter describing the Wicklow Way can be downloaded here.

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SF Economic Policy Means Lower Wages and Welfare in the Republic

Sinn Fein’s economic policy, lauded by its delegates at last weekends Ard Fheis,  is based upon ending partition.

Yet as Pat Leahy points out in today’s Sunday Business Post there’s little evidence that an all-Ireland economic entity would be more successful.

The most likely outcome of joining the Republic’s economy with the dysfunctional and state-subsidy dominated economy in the North is lower wages and lower welfare; as it means combining the lower standards of income and welfare in the North with the higher standards of the South.

According to the Independent Review of Economic Policy report – commissioned by the Stormont government and published last year, the economyremains deeply damaged by the Troubles.

One of its authors summarised some of its findings:

“In essence, the Northern Ireland economy has operated under wartime conditions for nearly four decades. Public sector output amounts to around 60 per cent of gross value added (the regional equivalent of GDP) . . . living standards have not converged on the UK and have diverged markedly from the Republic of Ireland and other successful countries.”

Clearly Arthur Morgan TD, who moved the motion to the adopt ‘Financing the Future’, has no idea what his comrades in Government in the North are doing.

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Saying Yes: How Ireland reclaimed its future in Europe

A very important book launch takes place this Tuesday, March 16th at 18.30 in the Burlington Hotel, with special guest, Mary Davis, Chairperson Office of Active Citizenship & Managing Director Special Olympics Europe & Eurasia

Wicklow for Europe has the honour of having a chapter dedicated to the story of the tremendous work of the dedicated volunteers who came together, under the leadership of Dermod Dwyer, to ensure a resounding Yes vote in Co Wicklow   Broken wrists, nearly getting arrested, canvassing and that’s just me! :-)

There is also a Gala Dinner later that night. Under the leadership of Pat Cox, Ireland for Europe ran a very successful Lisbon campaign and collected significant funds through various fund raising activities. However, with the late escalation of the ‘No’ campaign it was necessary to intensify the campaign efforts during the last two weeks and this has resulted in a campaign deficit of circa €150,000.

The Gala Dinner will be the significant fund raising activity, to which it is hoped to attract a wide range of people and the civic society groupings who have clearly benefited from the resounding Yes vote. Apart from being a fund raising event with tables of ten at €1,600 per table (€160 per head), it will be a great Social evening celebrating the outcome of the referendum.

If you are interested in attending either the book launch, and/or the dinner, then please contact me.

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UK Jobcentres launch iPhone and Android Application for Jobseekers

The UK’s Jobcentre Plus service is now available through iPhone and Android applications, providing a vital service to the jobless-but-gadget-obsessed.

The app is free to download and provides for keyword searching, with location-specific filtering and maps showing where the work is.

A great idea we should implement in Ireland, especially as so many of our recently unemployed are young people, and therefore happy to use technology.

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Sterling to Collapse, UK Sovereign Default Coming?

There is a very interesting article in the Telegraph entitled “Europe’s banks brace for UK debt crisis”  which states “UniCredit has alerted investors in a client note that Britain is at serious risk of a bond market and sterling debacle and faces even more intractable budget woes than Greece”

I remember when I was in Hong Kong 11 months ago reading an article in a local newspaper that suggested that the UK would be first EU country to call in the IMF.

The consequences of a sterling fall, and/or a UK default would be severe for Ireland; however I think it now only a question of which country, Greece or the UK, will be the first to default, with the other following within months.

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My Response to Cllr Snell

Below is my response, and challenge to Cllr Snell

See here

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Finally iPhone to get multitasking

Apple this summer will go a long way towards silencing critics and catering to one of the most prevalent demands of its iPhone user base, when it introduces a multitasking solution through the handset’s 4.0 software update that will finally allow several third party apps to run concurrently and in the background.

Full details here.

No mention though if they will implement same on the iPad.

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