Another Referendum

We have another referendum approaching and we have the opportunity to make our opinions count. I have always felt that it is important to vote. There have been times when I truly wonder whether it really makes any difference to vote, the same policies seem to be in place no matter which of the parties get in however I will not give in to disinterest or frustration, I will always exercise my right to vote no matter how disillusioned I feel.

If everybody who really feels disenfranchised were to become engaged and vote then perhaps things would finally change – I live in hope!

I have copied here a blog piece by John Perkins, writer of The Economic Hitman, I think it’s worth a read.

Ireland’s Referendum- an Opportunity for Change

On May 31 Ireland will put the EU’s new treaty for fiscal discipline to a referendum, giving Irish voters a chance to overturn this controversial agreement. The crisis in Ireland is symbolic of ones facing many European countries, as well as the United States, and is a direct outgrowth of policies implemented against developing countries when I was an economic hit man (EHM). The upcoming decision by Irish citizens is a harbinger for other countries around the world, as well as crucial to Ireland’s financial future.

If voters agree to sign this treaty for fiscal discipline, it will obligate Ireland to run low government deficits and maintain drastically reduced levels of public debt; in other words, the country will be forced to implement even stricter austerity measures on its already beleaguered citizens. It is important to remember that Dublin accepted international aid in 2010 in order to deal with a huge budget deficit brought on by the previous government’s pledge to bail out Irish banks for billions of dollars in bad loans. The Irish Government has been “asset stripping” –selling off public resources, including gas from the west coast, utilities, and forests in attempts to reduce the debt. This is an old tactic that was perfected by economic hit men in countries throughout Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East during the 1970s and 1980s. Many Irish are vehemently protesting such acts and are opposed to signing the EU treaty, declaring them a loss of sovereignty for a nation that fought a bloody battle for full independence less than a century ago.

The Awaken Ireland Movement is an example of an approach aimed at empowering the people to create a different future, bringing the people together in a community-based grassroots movement to share information on viable alternatives and to encourage conversations towards a vision for a better future. The challenge will be to base the movement on formulating realistic solutions at local levels in ways that respect differences and allow a voice for the many. Austerity measures are killing the European economy. Not surprisingly Goldman Sachs and other investment organizations are at the root of the problem; they are strategically staffing Europe’s government and the Central Bank with hard-hearted investment bankers more interested in the concerns of the financial sector than those of the people. These ex-European Commissioners and former central bankers are helping the banks gain access to those in power.

Housing Problems?

I thought that it was worth posting this information on behalf of a group called CUBE (Campaign to Use Buildings that are Empty)

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Carbery Housing Association was set up ten years ago by local West Cork residents, who could see that local people and new arrivals were unable to find affordable housing to rent in West Cork. As a result they were obliged to emigrate, or to live in unacceptable conditions, dependent on state Rent Allowance. Because of this CHA has made several attempts to progress sustainable housing projects, notably in Bantry (Kinaith-Fineen and Slip) but on all occasions our proposals have been rejected by Cork County and Town Councils.

Today the housing situation nationally is in shambles. A recent University College of Dublin study has found that there are around 345,000 empty homes in Ireland that are standing empty and unused. Some are in need of repair, but the majority would be immediately habitable. At the same time Local Authority housing lists have grown to over 80,000 households.
In view of this, CHA has decided to concentrate on trying to bring empty properties into use. The Government has recently introduced a new scheme to lease private empty properties, where the DEHLG will pay up to 80% of the market rent to the property owner, on the basis of a 10 to2 0 year lease. The tenant pays the equivalent of a Council rent, to cover the management and maintenance of the property.

CHA is now actively looking for privately-owned properties that can be used under this Scheme. So far we are following up the use of 2 properties in West Cork, but we aim to secure many more properties for rent to persons on our housing list in the coming months.

We would like to invite you to join CHA. We need your help to keep looking for homes, and to help raise funds. We currently receive no grants of any kind. We need to carry out surveys of properties we are offered, we need to carry out essential repairs, we need to administer and publicise the Scheme. We want to get as many property owners as possible to understand that letting their houses to us for use by people who cannot afford to buy or rent is a win-win situation.

We are also currently looking for Volunteers, who can help out for one day in the forthcoming West Cork Music Festival, to be held in Skibbereen on July 31st. We need Volunteers to act as Stewards on the day, and for each Volunteer, the Festival organisers will contribute € 100 to CHA for every Steward found.

If you are willing to help out in this, or in helping to identify empty houses and their owners, then please contact me, on 028 21890 or 086 8224429, or by e-mail at
Many thanks,
Yours sincerely

Jose Ospina

Running on Renewables

I am really excited about having moved my blog to a new server courtesy of a local business – my own company, in fact – Osprey Hosting.

My blog posts have always been written using renewable energy  because that’s the energy I have – we use a home made wind turbine and a photovoltaic array to provide our electricity.

I was always keen to have this blog hosted on a server that also uses renewable energy however it was not easy to find a solution that I was happy with – until now…