Ireland’s “union-dominated media”

Spotted by the Eagle-eyed John Fay. Columnist with the Sunday Times in Ireland, Alan Ruddock, stopped by the Guardian’s Media section to give his thoughts on the way the Irish media is covering the Irish Ferries dispute[reg may be required, or try BugMeNot]

The Irish media operate in a bubble that shields them from an evolving Irish society. Journalists are rarely sacked and can expect a job for life once they have union membership and a staff position. Culturally, they tend to come from an older Ireland: consensual, undynamic and left leaning. Just as significant, however, is the lack of diversity in Ireland’s media, with none of the sharp ideological divides that characterise the British media. If there is a media bias against business, it is deep-set and cultural.

While he focuses on the Irish Independent, Alan Ruddock also widens his criticism to the general media, the unions.. and the politicians –

But for many businessmen, the dispute has demonstrated how closely aligned the Irish media are with the trade union movement. The NUJ, though waning, remains a force in the industry: journalists at Irish-owned newspapers and in the broadcast media are required to be union members and the NUJ, which operates from Siptu’s headquarters in Dublin’s Liberty Hall, has a credibility long denied to it in the UK.

Bertie Ahern, the Irish prime minister, has insisted on the NUJ playing a key role in the negotiations that will lead to the creation of a statutory Press Council, and the unions’ pronouncements are treated seriously by the media. The NUJ supported the Irish Council of Trade Union’s decision to call a national day of protest about Irish Ferries this Friday, and its members will march in support of the workers who have refused to accept the company’s redundancy terms.

Media coverage of the Ferries dispute has been almost universally hostile to the company. Broadcast news has focused on interviews with union representatives bemoaning the “race to the bottom” in Irish industry and referring to the company’s “slave ships”.

And he picks up on Fintan O’Toole’s somewhat ad hominem appeal –

Commentators, like Fintan O’Toole of the Irish Times, see it as a seismic battle for Ireland’s soul. “If you care about Ireland’s prospects of avoiding the creation of a ghettoised society, if you care about the future of the European Union, if you care about democracy, you have to care about Irish Ferries,” he wrote last week.

As O’Toole suggested, the battleground is far broader than a fight about seamen’s jobs. For the union movement, Irish Ferries represents a line in the sand: if they lose this fight, they claim, then employers across Ireland will follow suit and replace their expensive local workers with cheap foreign imports.

The media, however, are one of the last bastions of union power – Michael O’Leary, the chief executive of Ryanair, Ireland’s most successful private company, refers to RTE, the state-owned broadcaster, as Radio Siptu and laughs at the suggestion that his company could ever get fair treatment from the station.

He has a point. The Irish media operate in a bubble that shields them from an evolving Irish society. Journalists are rarely sacked and can expect a job for life once they have union membership and a staff position. Culturally, they tend to come from an older Ireland: consensual, undynamic and left leaning. Just as significant, however, is the lack of diversity in Ireland’s media, with none of the sharp ideological divides that characterise the British media. If there is a media bias against business, it is deep-set and cultural.

Irish Ferries has been caught in the crossfire between a trade union movement desperate to protect its franchise in an economy that is attracting tens of thousands of willing, cheap workers from Eastern Europe, and the media are suffering collateral damage. Flynn’s troubles at the Independent may yet become a cause celebre for the NUJ as it, too, fights a battle to retain its grip on a local media industry that is being slowly transformed by the emerging power of British newspaper groups. Just as the ferry company wants to bring its labour costs into line with its international competitors, so Irish newspapers have to respond to British predators taking their readers and their market.

Next up is the Daily Mail, whose Irish edition launches in the New Year and will be pitched aggressively at the Independent’s market. It follows in the footsteps of News International’s the Sunday Times, Sun and News of the World, which have all secured strong franchises in Ireland. The pressure on the local players is increasing relentlessly. O’Toole may be right: the Ferries dispute could prove seismic, both for the unions fighting it and the media covering it.

  • Paddy Matthews

    Pete,

    Would you mind explaining what exactly is “somewhat ad hominem” about Fintan O’Toole’s article because its man-not-ball qualities are not particularly obvious to me?

    Just as significant, however, is the lack of diversity in Ireland’s media, with none of the sharp ideological divides that characterise the British media. If there is a media bias against business, it is deep-set and cultural.

    No sharp ideological divides? The Sunday Independent versus Village or the Sunday Business Post?

    If there’s an ideological sameness, I’d have said that it’s socially liberal but economically centre-right. With a single exception (Gene Kerrigan), the Sunday Independent should be far enough to the right for even Alan Ruddock’s tastes, and the business coverage of the Irish Independent that I’ve seen has been broadly sympathetic to Irish Ferries. The Irish Times is edited by a former Progressive Democrat TD and has a newly-appointed business editor (Marc Coleman) with economically hard-right credentials. The Sunday Business Post is ideologically distinctive on Northern Ireland but is right-wing economically – and has also been supportive of Irish Ferries management.

    There seems to be a certain type of right-winger who needs to feel persecuted. For them, the fact that points of view other than their own are allowed to get into print is proof enough of that persecution.

    The biggest anti-Irish Ferries furore last week came after the appearance of Dan McLaughlin of the Bank of Ireland and Eamon Delaney of Magill on Questions and Answers last week. The furore was as a result of their opinions and the way that they expressed them. Sometimes you get bad PR because you deserve bad PR.

  • Ringo

    Sunday Times, Sun and News of the World

    They may sell papers but essentially they are just recycling local opinion rather than being part of the process of forming opinion. None of the three (in the Republic editions at least) could be considered to be part of the national debate in the way that The Irish Times, Independent, Sunday World or The Star is. A cursory glance through the Slugger archives would show that the the national debate is lead by the local newspapers.

    As for the charge that they are stocked by sports coat wearing beardo’s with a leftward tilt – definitely. But what harm. Just goes to show that no matter how integral you are to the national discourse, we’ll all do our own thing anyway.

  • Brian Boru

    What Irish Ferries are doing goes beyond its main competitor on the Irish Sea, namely P+O, which has not reflagged and is therefore subject to UK labour laws. I.F. is trying to reflag with the Cyprus flag, allowing it to pay workers slave-wages that are less than half the Irish minimum-wage. If they are allowed to get away with this, then Irish people up and down the country will have to look over their shoulder and ask “am I next?”. This is unacceptable.

    To those who argue these circumstances are specific to the maritime industry I would disagree, and point out the support by the UK and Irish government (and those of Eastern European EU members) for the EU Services Directive, which contains the “country of origin principle”, allowing Eastern European companies to apply their national labour laws when operating in other EU states. Effectively, this would intensify the race to the bottom by allowing such companies to pay below the Irish and British etc. minimum-wages. It has also been suggested that under this directive, a company on land would be allowed to reflag by placing a third world flag over its factory and thereby be subject to Third World labour laws. This is unacceptable! The Irish government must veto it. But they won’t. They don’t want to upset their business cronies and neither does the Blair crowd, I believe.

    Another issue is the vetoing by countries including Britain and Ireland, of a Ferries Directive at the Council of Ministers in 1999, which would have required that a ferry company must pay workers at least the minimum wage of one of the countries the relevant vessel is travelling to/from on the journey. Had this passed, the I.F. situation would not have happened. It is in the interests of all European workers to stop the race to the bottom. This Directive should be reactivated at the earliest opportunity. I recognise that workers in the UK have few rights nowadays. But that doesn’t mean the rest of Europe should be forced to go the same way.

  • Pete Baker

    Paddy

    The ad hominem reference was in relation to the quote taken from the article – “If you care about Ireland’s prospects of avoiding the creation of a ghettoised society, if you care about the future of the European Union, if you care about democracy, you have to care about Irish Ferries.”

    “somewhat ad hominem” as in ‘appealing [somewhat] to the emotions’.

  • Mickhall

    What really gets to me about this article is like many of today’s scribes, Mr Ruddock writes as if free market neo-liberal economics is the historical norm in Europe. It is not, it is simply currently in fashion because it benefits those with wealth and power. The fact is since WW2 the social fabric of Europe has been successfully held together [for the first time in its history] by what one could loosely describe as Keynesism and a social contract between Labour and Business.

    It was only the sheer greed of the Neo-Liberals here, who under a malign influence from across the Atlantic broke this compact down within the UK. What we see as the economic norm today is historically an aberration, the sooner we recognize this fact the better if we wish to live in a socially cohesive Ireland/UK and Europe. After all how many prisons can a government build and locked gated communities without all of us feeling like prisoners and potential victims of crime. This economic throw back to the worst excesses of the 19th century has been a disaster, we have ended up with our society being divided between those with enormous wealth, little of which has been earned in the commonly accepted manner, those who are literally working themselves to death by work all hours to buy trinkets they have no need of, whilst their children hardly get to see them; and a final third of our population who live on the margins of society, ill educated thus unemployable and an increasing burden on the State.

    It does not have to be this way!

  • TOT

    pardon me but whats wrong with a race to the bottom.

    if joe beside me can do a job cheaper then me what gives me the devine right to that job.

    Problem with screaming the socialist argument is that it is about protecting the person shouting it – not his fellow worker.

  • Paddy Matthews

    Pete,

    That is one possible reading of ad hominem, but it’s not the most usual one:

    “As the principal meaning of the preposition ad suggests, the homo of ad hominem was originally the person to whom an argument was addressed, not its subject. The phrase denoted an argument designed to appeal to the listener’s emotions rather than to reason, as in the sentence
    The Republicans’ evocation of pity for the small farmer struggling to maintain his property is a purely ad hominem argument for reducing inheritance taxes.
    This usage appears to be waning; only 37 percent of the Usage Panel finds this sentence acceptable. The phrase now chiefly describes an argument based on the failings of an adversary rather than on the merits of the case:
    Ad hominem attacks on one’s opponent are a tried-and-true strategy for people who have a case that is weak.
    Ninety percent of the Panel finds this sentence acceptable. The expression now also has a looser use in referring to any personal attack, whether or not it is part of an argument, as in It isn’t in the best interests of the nation for the press to attack him in this personal, ad hominem way. This use is acceptable to 65 percent of the Panel.”


    The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language

  • Pete Baker

    That is one possible reading of ad hominem, but it’s not the most usual one

    Paddy.. it’s the one reading I intended.

  • Paddy Matthews

    Paddy.. it’s the one reading I intended.

    Then why not simply say that O’Toole used an argument which appealed to the emotions (although O’Toole’s article also provides plenty of fact) rather than use a term whose most commonly understood meaning implies that O’Toole’s arguments were based on personal attacks?

  • foreign correspondent

    The Irish Daily Mail. Doesn´t that just sound like a contradiction in terms. What´ll there be next?
    An Phoblacht-Loyalist News?
    The Six Counties Newsletter?
    Farmer and Transvestite´s Weekly? Hang on, there could be a market there…

  • Harry Flashman

    Wow, no consensus here then. Let’s summarise shall we; Irish Ferries will be running slave ships with their bosses wearing big black top hats twirling their waxy moustaches and counting their ill gotten gains while chuckling demonically as they think of the starving widows and orphans, that about it then guys?

    Just as a straw poll could we ask how many of the posters above are employed in the public service with pension rights and a job for life and how many have ever actually run a business, you know actually had to meet a payroll on a Friday?

    If the deal that Irish Ferries is so bloody awful can you all kindly tell me why 90% of the workers have accepted it? Coz that bit beats me. Furthermore given that the vast and overwhelming majority of those concerned in a private transaction have come to an agreement what in the name of all that’s holy is it anyone else’s business?

    I’m not sure what age most people here are but there seems to be some illusions about the wonderful socialist state run ecomomy that existed before the nasty capitalists got involved. Now maybe Fintan O’Toole, Vincent Browne, RTE, the Guardian and the BBC would like to convince you that what preceded the Celtic Tiger was Nirvana but take it from someone who lived through it, that this was far from the case.

    Now I’m sure there’s tens of thousands on the streets demonstrating against the current economic system that according to ninety percent of the above posters is so damaging Ireland today but funny enough I just don’t see them, I wonder why, all to busy getting a better standard of living for themselves and their families I suppose. I’ve checked the airports and ferryports and guess what, the thousands of Irish people emigrating to escape misery in the socialist paradise that was pre-1987 Ireland all appear to be replaced by people from Europe and abroad rushing to get here to join our economy, jeez this is confusing me lads help me out here!

  • Brian Boru

    “If the deal that Irish Ferries is so bloody awful can you all kindly tell me why 90% of the workers have accepted it? Coz that bit beats me. Furthermore given that the vast and overwhelming majority of those concerned in a private transaction have come to an agreement what in the name of all that’s holy is it anyone else’s business?”

    They effectively had a gun to their heads. It was between the devil and the deep blue sea (no pun intended). Irish Ferries were going (are going) to reflag under the Cypriot flag meaning they can pay their workers 3.60 an hour. And the choice was: accept being laid off or accept these conditions. No Irish person can accept such a wage, which is half the Irish minimum wage.

    We are not just an economy. We are also a society and a nation. As a nation we have a responsibility to look after Irish workers and not simply allow them to be thrown out of their jobs and replaced with foreigners working for half the minimum wage. If I.F. gets away with it, this will become contagious throughout the whole economy, leading to massive resentment against immigrants. And it would lead to a race to the bottom in which no Irish job would be safe.

    The company should remove the word “Irish” from its name if it’s not going to employ Irish labour. If management are so keen to cut costs then they should start with their own fatcat salaries, e.g. CEO Eamon Rothwell earns nearly 700,000 euro per annum. He should lead by example! Or maybe he should replace himself with cheaper management from Eastern Europe. 🙂

    Workers have rights and are not just tools to be disposed of.

  • Brian Boru

    I would also point out that to add insult to injury, I.F. are expecting the Government to pay 7 million towards the redundancy payments. So the taxpayer is being asked to subsidise the sacking of Irish workers. Brass-neck springs to mind.

    And anyway, there are legal questions about these “redundancies”. A redundancy is when the post is null and void. That is not the case here since the plan is to replace Irish workers rather than reduce the number of workers. Everyone should turn out for the demo on 9th November. I.F. must reverse plans to reflag and there must be no surrender to these latter-day William Martin Murphys.

  • Ling

    side point, Daily Mail in Ireland… Isn’t the Daily Mails emblem a soldier bearing a St. Georges Cross shield?

    Well that’s oging to go down a treat isn’t it?

  • Mickhall

    well said Brian.

    Flash Harry,

    What is it about a job for life and a decent pension in old age you find so offensive? What is wrong with workers if they so wish it having the security of a regular job and a decent pension when they retire. Why is it when the likes of you criticize people who have jobs for life, it is always those on the bottom half of the food chain. You never seem to single out Admirals or Generals, senior businessmen like Richard Branson, freeloaders like Betty Windsor, the governors of prisons or indeed TV newscasters.

    That you call yourself harry flashman is very revealing and shows you have failed to keep up. Thankfully we have passed the stage when people thought it was clever and admirable to bully working people into accepting sub standard working conditions, although you and Irish Ferris still seem to feel such behavior is perfectly acceptable.

    If you feel the behavior of IF is OK, why not tell us why, what benefits will their behavior bring to Ireland and its people. Instead like the politicians and businessmen you admire you offer the above bullshit and bluster. The fact you have failed to do so only demonstrates the shallowness of the neo-con argument which you propagate, once you take away the froth and self righteousness you lot increasingly appear to be men of straw. Take you daft suggestion that Ireland was some kind of socialist state in the 1980s, where did you get that from?

    Still at least you admit your confused, although this does not give one much confidence in what you write.

    happy days.

  • J McConnell

    Mickhall

    > Take you daft suggestion that Ireland was some kind of socialist state in the 1980s, where did you get that from?

    You obviously were not a working age adult during the wonderful ’80’s. If you were you would understanding what a god-awful basket case the country was back then. Kind of like France at the moment, but with worse food and no wine..

    And if you can remember what the the 60’s and 70’s were like in Ireland you will know how easily and how quickly the current booming economy could be run into the ground again.

    The equation is quite simple, strong reactionary labour unions equal low growth and high unemployment, weak pragmatic labour unions equal high growth and low unemployment.

    I know which I prefer.

  • TOT

    Mickhall

    “what benefits will their behavior bring to Ireland and its people”

    And therein lies the fundamental point, a company is not there to benefit anyone except its owners and their wishes.

    If the owner chooses to give half his profits to charity, great – its his money.

    Where there is separate mgt and ownership – the one instruction mgt have to follow unless told otherwise is MAKE MONEY FOR THE OWNERS, all mgt are is stewards of the owners wealth – they are not they’re to tackle any other agenda.

  • George

    Mick Hall,
    There were never any salad days in Ireland, south of the border anyway.

    There used to be huge billboards posted all over the country, showing an Irish passport with the caption “your passport to a job”. That was the reality.

    If you stayed, the only place you could get a job was in the civil service or the like. Ever heard of the CPSSU? That was the civil service union for low-paid clerical workers. How many times did they go on strike 1922-Celtic Tiger?

    A big fat zero. They took the weekly contributions for five decades though. Protected their own narrow interests.

    That’s the reality of Irish trade unions for many people. The only ones I had time for were those in the NBU.

    As for SIPTU, it has been waiting in the long grass for this but it won’t change a thing for the 60 Irish Ferries workers affected. And they don’t seem to care about the repurcussions for everyone else of their actions.

    If you want to protest at Irish Ferries, boycott them and close your account at AIB, the largest shareholder.

    SIPTU have lost their pfeifdom because they have become irrelevant in today’s labour market.

    Most working class Irish mothers are glad their children don’t have to leave anymore and can’t believe 100,000 have actually come back from the UK in the last decade.

    Give them the choice between that and SIPTU, they’ll take the former.

  • Mickhall

    J McConnell.

    Trade unions are an integral part of any free and democratic society, to blame the failures of the Irish economy back in the 1980s or before on TUs is ridiculous and totally ignores how the economy was structured back then. My only comment on the economy back then was that it had nothing to do with socialism. By the way I started my first full time job in 1964, although I did spend a long period in the 1980s blacklisted.

    TOT,
    Let me ask you this, if someone moved in next door to you and had all night parties, ill treated their children and dealt in drugs, would you feel it was their right to do so. I doubt it. We are all responsible in some way for each other and the community within which we live, surly? The same goes for business, to believe business can behave as it wishes without a thought nor care about the communities it has chosen to situate in, its only raison-det’re is profit, is IMO plain wrong and a throw back to the worst excesses of 19th century capital.

    One of the reasons people turned to violent revolution in the 20th century was because they saw business behaving in such a heartless and irresponsible manner. Do we really what a repeat of that type of thing.

    As to France, sure they have problems like most nations, but as anyone who spends anytime there will tell you, it is still a pretty civilized place to live in and visit.

    Regards to all.

  • Brian Boru

    “Most working class Irish mothers are glad their children don’t have to leave anymore and can’t believe 100,000 have actually come back from the UK in the last decade.”

    Well they may have to emigrate again if immigrant cheap labour is allowed to take their jobs again!

  • George

    Brian Boru,
    This is an article on whether the Celtic Tiger is built on quicksand, which you might find interesting. Writer certainly feels a heavy fall could happen.

    http://www.finfacts.com/irelandbusinessnews/publish/article_10004162.shtml

    The writer also brings up the Irish Ferries issue, citing the experience in the United States. It sounds awfully familiar.

    “Just consider the following news report from last month:

    Former General Motors parts unit Delphi, which is in bankruptcy protection, has said that it will close all its US plants unless trade unions agree to wage cuts to rescue America’s largest auto parts-maker.

    Delphi CEO Steve Miller, who received a signing-on hello bonus of $3.7 million last summer, said that he hasn’t received union counteroffers to his proposal, which includes reducing wage levels from an average $27 per hour to as low as $9 and slashing up to 24,000 jobs over a three-year period. Motor union UAW President Ron Gettelfinger called Delphi’s offer an “insult.”

    “We are going to try and save as many jobs as we can, but at the current wage rates, we would have to close down all of our US plants,” Miller said. Delphi will pay an average US wage of $26.97 an hour in 2005.

    Delphi was spun off from General Motors in 1999 and a strike could cripple both the parts maker and its largest customer GM.

    To add to the woes experienced by US car workers, General Motors announced that they would fire 30,000 workers.

    If GM had decided to move some of the jobs here, the welcome mat would be unwrapped without a blink.

    However, globalisation and open markets are not a free ride and someday surely, the penny will drop.”

    I will tell you one thing. If Delphi did move here, SIPTU would be trying to set up a union in the factory, not bemoaning the loss of American jobs.

    Maybe I’m being cynical but SIPTU aren’t acting in my interests and they certainly wouldn’t be big on international solidarity with workers either.

    They are acting in the interests of their workers, fair enough, but that doesn’t mean they are acting in the interests of workers per se.

  • Harry Flashman

    Mickhall you accuse me of being a bully despite there being no evidence of that from my post, you accuse me of blustering, my post seemed fairly straightforward, and of bullshit, you accuse ‘my lot’ (who? I wrote on my own behalf) of selfrighteousness and that we are straw men, you also have a problem with my choice of name, do you have the same problem with Comrade Stalin who choses not a fictional character but a real life mass murderer?

    So after that neat piece of man playing I assume you have no interest in playing the ball so there doesn’t appear much need to debate your sad old socialism much further, I’m sure you’ll agree.

  • Brian Boru

    George, Irish Ferries are most certainly NOT in bankruptcy protection. They are a highly profitable company accounting for 30% of freight on the Irish Sea. Their profits last year were 20 million euros so that comparison is bogus. I.F. has no right whatsoever to adopt a poor-mouth on this matter.

  • George

    Brian Boru,
    GM slashed 30,000 jobs too and they aren’t bankrupt. Would SIPTU refuse to have dealings with GM if they decided to move those jobs here? No, they’d be banging the door down, trampling over American workers’ rights in the rush to the shiny new machines.

    I have no time for Irish Ferries, who have behaved unbelievably on this matter but I equally have very little time for SIPTU. I’m simply going to travel Brittany and Stena from now on but I’m not going to be a tool for SIPTU’s limited ambitions.

    I have very little time for a national day of protest, which has the primary aim of raising SIPTU’s profile. It’s a bit of placebo to make all the comfy workers happy.

    You bring up William Martin Murphy. You are joking, right?
    If that is the case, then let’s see if SIPTU are OBU and call a general strike. If it’s a fight to the finish then let’s get it on. It isn’t. It’s SIPTU trying to ensure the maintenance of its cosy cartel for its workers. As I said, fair enough, but don’t expect me to bite.

    After Hanafin said the teachers won’t get paid, you won’t be seeing them for a start.

    This day of action is a bit like the paying your fiver to Live8 or Concern and heading home to write out your Christmas shopping list content in the knowledge that you have done your bit.

  • Mickhall

    This day of action is a bit like the paying your fiver to Live8 or Concern and heading home to write out your Christmas shopping list content in the knowledge that you have done your bit.

    Posted by George

    George,

    You sound like your getting a bit cynical in your old age mate, what is wrong with doing the above, ever bit helps, surly.

    All the best.

  • Richard Dowling

    Of course, IRISH FERRIES gets one hundred and fifty million
    Euro every year from the public in Licence Fees…. OOOPS,
    sorry, that’s RTE… (But, it’s only £120,000,000 Sterling. to
    keep it ahead of its competitors).

    But, Irish Ferries publicly advocated that Poland, Hungary,
    Latvia, the Chech Republic, Slovenia, etc, NOT be allowed to
    join the EU in the first place… OOOPs, sorry, it was actually the
    same culprits (SIPTU, ICTU, David Begg, Joe O’Higgins etc)
    who want to take away people’s FREEDOM to REJECT a
    Union imposed economic narrative on our society.

    But, the Sunday Times knows nothing about local politics….
    OOOPS, sorry…. They are a hugely popular paper and growing
    rapidly. And Alan Ruddock (who was head hunted from the
    Sunday Independent, I believe) is an excellent and insightful (if
    controversial ) columnist. I look forward to reading him and
    comparing his analysis to others like Gene Kerrigan.

    I still prefer Kevin Myers but, hey, you can’t have it all…!

  • George

    Mick,
    I accept cynicism has set in but I have come around to thinking that many people do such things to cleanse their conscience of the patent wrongs in our world. (Not criticising those working in Concern etc. they should have money as of right, or even better shouldn’t be needed.)

    It’s the modern “first world” way of people saying or fooling themselves that at least they have done something.

    I saved a child’s eyesight for Christmas, amn’t I wonderful, now pass the controls it’s my turn on the Sony X Box 360. Will we open the Bordeaux now?

    I think it’s hypocritical and just not good enough.

    If you want to effect real change, you have to take real risks.

    There is no risk in handing over a few quid you won’t miss and which you would otherwise have spent on a good bottle of wine.

    There are no risks going for a stroll and then cutting in to the pub afterwards saying how disappointed you are with the turnout before going online to plan your next holiday.

    If these people thought this day of national action would actually achieve something for the downtrodden workers of this world, many of them would be organising a counter-demonstration to stop it.

    Why because the losers in this achievement would be them.

    Ask these people if they feel they deserve 40,000 for pushing paper while others get 40 quid for for making their plush rugs and they get quite hostile.

    I don’t have a problem with honest, unabashed capitalists, who admit their 40k job is only possible through the desperate suffering of others, but who say it’s survival of the fittest. If we don’t do it someone else will.

    It’s the hypocrites I can’t stand.

    They will do nothing that in any way threatens or jeopardises their existence. It would be like turkeys voting for Christmas.

    These days out give too many people the chance to live the lie that they are actually morally upright human beings doing their best.

    They aren’t. They should stay at home as it will have the exact same effect.

    Rant over. I feel better already. Sometimes I think punk had it right. Destroy.

  • Ringo

    I saved a child’s eyesight for Christmas, amn’t I wonderful, now pass the controls it’s my turn on the Sony X Box 360. Will we open the Bordeaux now?

    Good stuff George. This day of protest is sheer tokenism.

    There is no appetite for demonstrations over this or any labour relations issue. We’re all in the comfort zone now – and ironically, the unionised workers in the state sector are the most comfortable of all.

    The treatment of workers at Irish Ferries is a disgrace, but less of a disgrace than the stitch-up of the tax-payers between the Government and the Unions in the Benchmarking pay awards. Did we have a day of protest organised by the likes of ICTU over that? Did we f…

  • Paul

    Much of the success of the Irish economy has been based on outsourcing jobs from the USA, people can’t complain when it happens to the Rep of Ire now. Re. the Live8 references, the only real solution to world poverty will come thru trade. One of the first signs of hope for Africa will be low skill, low paid jobs moving from the West to Africa. That’s how prosperity spreads, because, to the countries where the jobs migrate, they are well paid jobs. People go on about “workers being thrown on the dole”, as if that’s a life sentence. I bet if a follow-up story was done on the IF workers in a years time you would find that they are all in work and maybe better jobs. Capitalism has its faults but it is dynamic, change is inbuilt to the model, it’s about time the left wised up to that fact.

  • yellow belly

    I had to laugh when I read Alan Ruddock’s daft suggestion that Ireland’s poor bosses can’t get their message across, because of the NUJ stranglehold on papers such as the indo.
    How did he get this absurd notion about a paper which publishes the thoughts of David Quinn, Moore McDowell, Ian O’Doherty and countless other bargain basement neocons and champions of the overdog?
    Justine McCarthy, one of few journalists who does not do the bidding of the bosses, was fired as a columnist after she was critical of Irish Ferries. Independent thought – not at the independent please!
    Can Ruddock name a left-wing columnist at the indo – or indeed at the Irish version of the Sunday Times? If you want get ahead, you should follow the neocon consensus of Ruddock and his ilk.
    One of the greatest weaknesses of the indo, compared to the Irish Times, is its lack of diversity. For all its weaknesses, the IT at least publishes a range of views from O’Toole and Raftery on the left to Myers and Steyn on the loony right.