Irish protest – sign of things to come? Hopefully

February 22, 2009

A large protest march in Dublin this weekend is a hopeful sign of how we need to deal with the global crisis.

The march through the heart of Dublin – organized by the Irish Congress of Trade Unions – was meant as a warning shot to the government, which wants to cut public sector pay even as it pumps billions of euros into its troubled banks.

The government has argued that wage reductions are needed to keep Ireland’s ballooning deficits under control and reassure international markets that Ireland isn’t spiralling toward a default.

But the plan – which effectively docks 7 per cent from the paycheques of 350,000 Irish workers – comes amid revelations of shady dealings and irresponsible lending at the banks now getting the taxpayers’ help.

Anglo Irish Bank, which was nationalized last month after collapsing under the weight of its bad debts, said Friday it expected to lose about 300 million ($385 million) on loans made to favoured investors. Anglo’s former chairman, Sean FitzPatrick, was forced out last year after it emerged that he secretly took out 87 million in personal loans from the bank. [AP, NZH]

There is no way we should agree to take a pay cut while the obscenity of the system goes uncorrected. I thought we might see some similar issues arise here and so it’s come to pass. According to a piece in the Herald, a number of New Zealand’s top executives are still lapping up the cream.