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The Irish Left is Addicted to Failure

The Irish Left is Addicted to Failure

Article by Brian Hayes MEP published in the Irish Daily Mail on Wednesday 7th December 2016

In Ireland Sinn Fein, the AAA, PBP and other hard left politicians get a very easy ride from the media. Their policies or solutions are never properly scrutinised, which allows them to make speeches in which they pretend to provide solutions.


Last weekend at his party conference People Before Profit TD Mick Barry put it very well when he accurately described the tactics of the hard left by saying that “militancy pays”. It was a very interesting choice of words. Being against everything and not being responsible for solutions, and profiting politically from such tactics – is a dangerous place for the country to be heading assuming the left can build from their current position.

In reality, these groups are addicted to failure. They need to country to go down because it suits their political agenda. They are not interested in good news, they are not interested in economic success and they are certainly not interested in the country doing well. Their only interest is in tearing down what they describe as the “system”. They want to take power at some point without ever describing what they might do with that power. And that’s what they have in common with Europe’s radical right wing parties – they both thrive in times of economic uncertainty and both employ similar tactics.

The water campaigns were mana from heaven for the left. Now that we may finally be moving towards a solution, which in my view must involve paying back law abiding citizens who paid up for the charge, the left will be the first to claim betrayal. Solving the issue is not in their interest politically.

Both hard left and hard right have a lot in common. They are opposed to international trade and believe in economic protectionism. In fact, the Irish left and Donald Trump share many of the same economic ideas and certainly employ similar tactics.

Public sector pay is currently a major headache for the government. Their room for manoeuvre is limited not just because of the Lansdowne Road Agreement (LRA) but also because of the uncertainty of where growth in the economy will be. Roughly, a third of all expenditure relates to public sector pay and pensions. When the LRA is completed in 2018 the lowest paid public sector workers will have achieved full pay restoration. But where do SF and their hard left allies stand on all of this. They are happy to pose with people striking but are never questioned about what they would do. Of course they were against the LRA and the Haddington Road Agreement precisely because of pay cuts to lower paid public servants. Yet both agreements have delivered full pay restoration for that group of public servants. Are they ever called out on this? No chance.

They got it completely wrong on the recovery. Since 2012 the country has experienced a strong jobs rich recovery, almost cutting unemployment in half during the past four years. Do you remember Gerry Adams telling us not to draw down the IMF money or Pearse Doherty saying that the promissory note deal established no savings to the state?

The left call for the abolition of property taxes and water charges, increased spending on services, more public sector pay, increased spending on investment. But never realistically set out how this can be funded. Even when they claim that rising existing taxes will allow more expenditure – they spend the same money over and over again. It’s a big con trick which is played in the media.

Take the sale of Aer Lingus for example this time last year to IAG. The left indulged in an orgy of condemnation of the takeover.  “Treachery”, cried Claire Daly, Paul Murphy called for “a veto on further privatisation”. Sinn Fein’s Dessie Ellis said that IAG had no interest staying in Ireland. He even called for a referenda on the sale of Aer Lingus. Along with a referenda on water, CETA, TTIP and whatever your having yourself! If SF ever got into government, we would face a referenda every week. That’s another tactic of the both political extremes – a constant demand for more and more referendums, as the established parties or the Dail cannot be trusted to make decisions.

What the hard left cannot admit is that the sale of Aer Lingus has been a success. All of their predictions have not come to pass.  Since the takeover Aer Lingus has increased capacity, added new aircraft and new routes and boosted its staff numbers to over 4,000 with further expansion planned in 2017.

They also want to rid the world of the multi nationals. Ireland’s membership of the EU and large scale investment by international companies have transformed our country into one of the most successful countries in the world.

Ireland has travelled a very long way indeed since the 1950s. According to the UN Human Development Index, Ireland is now in the top ten most developed countries in the world. In fact Ireland was joint 6th with Germany in the 2015 Index; but you never see this important piece of information highlighted.

The parties of the hard left and hard right thrive on negativities and false promises. They trade in exaggerated claims and fake indignations. They believe that solutions are not for them. They want chaos and revolution everyday because without that they cannot get their hands on power. But just as things are improving for Ireland after a terrible period – we cannot take that improvement for granted. Every politician should be held accountable for what they say. Especially those who historically get it so spectacularly wrong.

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