Sunday 26 February 2017

Croke Park deal is main obstacle to economic recovery

To pay for that deal, taxes have been hiked and welfare and public services have been cut, writes Marc Coleman

Last Thursday myself and Jim Glennon were in Drogheda together addressing a meeting of the National Forum, of which I am a member (Jim is a non-member and was a guest speaker at the event). In the audience were the backbone of the country: more than 50 of the 200,000 self-employed business people in Ireland. The kind of people who want to pull us out of recession, but can't. Can't, because the Government has forced them to lie down and is standing with one foot on their throat.

A week ago, the self-employed were the target of a vicious attack -- a hike in the hated Universal Social Charge (USC). On Thursday, they were furious. They told us how every arm of government -- national local and State agencies -- is crushing them with high taxes, criminal business rates and penal levels of regulation.

Where Fintan O'Toole is chairman of the Council of Tasc, the National Forum is headed by myself. And, like Democracy Now, the National Forum believes in political reform, but the two differ in relation to the economy. Fintan wants to reform politics, but doesn't want to reform our dead statist economy. As Democracy Now luvvies agonised over whether to put their public image on the line in a battle for votes, the National Forum is taking the battle of ideas to every corner of the country.

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