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****** Submission Deadline for Bus Connects Fri Sept 28th ******
Make a postal submission. Do not use the online survey as it can be manipulated and ignored !

The plan to re-organise the entire Dublin Bus network known as Bus Connects but really should be called Bus Disconnects has a submission deadline of Fri 28th Sept. This plan is a very thinly disguised plan to privatise the service. Already the NTA has given away 10% of the routes to a UK company which last year in the UK was voted the worst rail operator and whose CEO receives €2 million in salary.

The Dublin bus system needs to be greatly improved to be more like something you will find in mainland Europe and this would require most importantly more investment to buy more buses, new routes and increased frequency. It also needs more routes in a series of rings around the city. This plan is not doing any of this. It is NOT increasing any of these factors DESPITE the SPIN in the confusing information form Bus Connects. They say things like there will be a bus every 4 minutes on the A routes. On closer inspection the A routes each go to different areas completely, so 4 A routes means, the frequency for your A bus since you won't be using all 4, is actually 16 mins. But these times are quoted at peak hour. It disguises how they are stretching an under resourced system to do more than it can. The information is purposely mis-leading in order to spin it so that the public thinks what they are being offered is better than it is.

Additionally any area with a Dart or Luas will have significant reductions. The focus will be to serve these but total journey times will be longer and it will force more people on already over-crowded arteries at peak. For lots of people, they will need to take 2 bus or "connections" to get anywhere -even to the city centre especially from further out. This connection into a high speed backbone might work in a place like Netherlands or Switzerland where they have real and proper public transport systems, but will lead to much longer journeys at higher costs in the case of Ireland considering they don't plan to add anything into it and their only interest is to privatise it so that someone can milk the system rather than either a national or non-profit entity that might have public service as its objective. And just to be clear the NTA intends to put all these routes out to tender in the next few years.

Details for Postal Submission to National Transport Authority (NTA)
BusConnects Dublin Area Bus Network Redesign
National Transport Authority
Dun Sceine, Harcourt Lane
Dublin 2
D02 WT20
Note: The cost is the price of a stamp.

See also: Bus Connects Transport Plan Promises Much But Won’t Deliver | The Privatisation Agenda of Bus Connects Will Lead To Bus Disconnects

international / eu Friday July 09, 2004 20:58 by cdotedot

Those International trade deal-making privateers who orbit silently around the Article 133 Committee in Brussels have suffered a couple of serious setbacks in recent weeks. Firstly there was a conditional restoration of the Member States national veto on the privatisation / liberalisation of health and education in the final draft of the proposed EU constitution. Admittedly it is with the weasly insertion of a get out clause if a trade deal looks like it will cause a 'risk to the delivery of public services' in a member state.

We in our innocence had all thought semi-secret EU / WTO trade deals were not going to harm or affect our control over our public services one little iota. Mary Harney had 'reassured' us all on this front in 2002 and Ruairi Quinn backed Bertie up repeating the same line in the Dail in the days immediately preceding the Nice II referendum. Indymedia reported on their barefaced lies at the time. No-one else in the Irish mainstream media seemed to even notice or give a damn that this was happening.

Secondly, the Article 133 Committee which the privateers use as their in to the EU Commission, and which became the bete-noir of the left campaign against the Nice Treaty (II) might just turn out to be a legal black hole and is due a trip to the courts courtesy of the World Wildlife Fund over its legal standing / existence.

We knew already that the 133 Committee wouldn't say anything whatsoever about what they talk about in their meetings - even to the Parliamentarians of Member States - as 19 TD's, 2 MEPs and 5 MLA's found out last February. Their basic role is to negotiate between EU Member States on who will offer what for privatisation (cough) liberalisation in trade deals such as GATS between the EU and the World Trade Organisation. The price of the Bus Service, or Aer Lingus is commercially sensitive and so won't be released -at least not to us who own the things. Those who know what is good for the populations of EU member states are most likely also concerned at the reactions they might get if it came out in the open that they are trading away publicly owned services in secret closed door deals without a whiff of democratic oversight. A fait-accompli works better and the role of the 133 Committee is and was basically to do the groundwork for a never-ending series of such fait-accomplis.

The People in Government, in Corporate Lobby Groups such as LOTIS (Liberalisation Of Trade in Services) , and even in the Irish Civil Service who are trying to hand the Public Services owned by the citizenry of Ireland surreptitiously over wholesale to the Private Sector have the time to dot their i's and cross their t's and to follow the labyrinthine processes of International Trade Negotiations to their bitter ends. They also have names and addresses.

If Irish and European Activists are going to have any chance of effectively opposing them when they come gunning for the privatisation of Health, Education and Water then they need to get to grips with these complex issues and oppose the privateers at every junction in the labyrinth. Boredom is not an option. These people want our eyes to glaze over when we hear 'Lisbon' or 'liberalisation' or 'Article 133' or ‘GATS’. Let’s not give them what they want.

What they want is EVERYTHING which is why the anti-capitalist movement has since it’s inception consistently targeted the WTO and affiliated trade deals such as NAFTA and GATS in an attempt to bring such machinations out of the shadows where they thrive and into the light.

1.Detailed Background Information on Article 133 and GATS from the Article 133 Information Group. Includes the Phone Numbers of Irish Representatives on the Article 133 Committee. Give them a ring and let them know that just because you can’t look them in the eye does not mean you don’t see them.
2.More background from DAPSE: Health and Education as a Business Opportunity
3.More on the WWF / Article 133 Committee Legal Challenge

national / eu Friday March 19, 2004 14:29 by Indymedia Ireland Editorial Group

Here at Indymedia, we like to encourage a DIY attitude. The slogan "Be the media" would be a reasonable distillation of our ethos. As such, we've picked out this particular report as a good example of someone getting out there and doing it themselves. The writer gives the impression of one who was driven by a sense of curiousity and took the time to write a lively and descriptive report of a meeting he attended.

No reporter is completely objective in their writing and this particular reporter clarifies his subjectiveness by clearly stating from the outset his perspective and reason for being there. Nevertheless, he proceeds to give a detailed account of the meeting and the views and opinions expressed by the speakers.

Regular readers may not like the content of the article. They may prefer that Mr. Barrett did not get any publicity for his views (on Indymedia or other media) but this article still qualifies as a fine piece of original reporting. Indymedia as a quality source of original news depends on the willingness of people to do the same.

international / eu Thursday February 19, 2004 21:44 by dapse(r)

From the Newswire: 'This Friday a little-known body of the European Union will make a low-profile visit to Dublin Castle. There will be no media spotlight, no fanfare, and the anonymous civil servants who work in it will come and go unnoticed. Their work however, could have profound implications for the lives of millions of people – both within the EU and beyond. The name of this secretive body is the Article 133 Committee.

The Article 133 Committee is the body of the EU where member states discuss trade deals. The 133 Committee is currently formulating the EU’s policy for the controversial GATS negotiations at the WTO. These negotiations aim to bring about the “liberalisation” of trade in all services, including health and education services.

Ireland and other EU states are deciding what services they want to see “liberalised” and open to commercial competition - both within Europe and in the developing world. But neither the Irish Government nor the EU will tell us what they are planning to do – information on trade deals is not published until after the deals are concluded.

This is why a cross-party group of twenty one TDs have called on the Government for full transparency in the operation of the Article 133 Committee. In a letter delivered to Minister Mary Harney on Wednesday 19th February, the TDs stated:

“We, as concerned citizens and elected public representatives are disturbed that matters of public interest – including the EU and Irish government’s proposals on the opening of international trade in public services like health and education, and on trade in goods and services with developing countries – are being discussed in secret at the EU Article 133 Committee meeting in Dublin on Feb 20”

They went on to make the following request:

“In the spirit of openness, transparency and accountability, we request the right to observe at this Article 133 Committee meeting; and to have access to documents being presented by the Irish government to the meeting.”

So far, there has been no information forthcoming in response to this request.'

Further Information and Background
Details of 'Another Europe' Dublin Castle Protest - 20th Feb - 1pm
'Of particular concern is that the deliberations of the Article 133 Committee are not made public.'
Why Does Article 133 Matter?
Health and Education as a Business Opportunity: DAPSE Information
The EU Constitution, Gats and Education
How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the GATS
Background From Article 133 Info Group

international / eu Sunday February 08, 2004 12:44 by vlo

cop6 From the Newswire: 'One of the central, but not well known, direct goals of the Irish EU Presidency is to reach agreement with the European Parliament about the CO2 Emissions Trading Market. This market is to be launched in 2005. Ministers of the EU member states are demanding a market full of loopholes, so that companies can escape reducing CO2 and other greenhouse gases on EU territory. Instead companies will be able to produce and trade the commodity “the right to pollute” by financing cheap efficiency projects in Eastern Europe and in the South.

An agreement between the EU Member States and the European Parliament should finally be reached at the end of June, but ideally should come about before the last legislative session of the European Parliament in April, before the elections. Ireland already held a conference in Dublin on February 3 to discuss the various National Allocations Plans among the Member States. These allocation plans are the foundation of privatising the right to pollute among companies in the EU, concerning high-polluting industries such as the steel and paper industries. Before the end of March, all Member States should have finished their allocation plans.

The most crucial topic will be on the loopholes that will be provided to companies. Last year, the European Commission proposed to link the European Market with other “flexible mechanisms” for reaching reduction targets, such as the CDM and JI mechanisms, that make it possible for Member States and companies to create the right to pollute with CO2 in the EU, by developing or financing “climate projects” in other countries. The Commission however proposed to put a cap of 8 per cent on this. The EU Parliament agreed on this. In December, a majority of the EU-member states expressed the opinion that they want to get rid of this cap. Now, Member States and the EU Parliament have to come to an agreement so that the trading scheme can be implemented in January 2005.

This so-called “linking directive” will boost the European Market with cheap credits, so reaching the Kyoto-targets will be much cheaper for companies. States such as Spain (which is very energy inefficient), as well as most industries, are heavily engaged in lobbying the EU Parliament and other Member States to link the European market with these other flexible mechanisms. The consequences are that no reductions will have to be met in Europe itself, enabling industry and Member States to continue polluting anyway and further postponing solutions to climate change. Another consequence is that a very lucrative market will be created, by creating a new commodity and very flexible market rules.'

The Effects of this Wrangling in Ireland are Already Apparent: Government is Giving Industry what it Wants: Industry Plays while the Consumer Pays (Waste Charges)
Irish Taxpayer Funds Free Ride for CO2 Industries: Friends of the Irish Environment
Cullen Decision on Emissions Cowardly -SF
Cullen Ignoring Kyoto Targets -Labour
Greens say Government is allowing Industry ignore Kyoto Obligations

galway / eu Monday January 19, 2004 14:14 by Indymedia Ireland Editorial Group

head_bright.jpgThe first major protests of Ireland's EU presidency took place this weekend in Galway, with a number of groups speaking out on issues ranging from racism to fishing in Connemara. They coincided with a meeting of employment/social affairs ministers in a city-centre hotel. The largest demonstration took place under the banner "Another Europe Is Possible", in Eyre Square, close to the venue, and was attended by around 500 people.

Gardai were present in large numbers, and a helicopter hovered overhead. Two people were arrested in a car-park for "obstructing traffic" late on Friday evening. Eoin Rice, a well-known activist, was arrested on Saturday morning, and was allegedly beaten while in Garda custody. In a statement made later that day, he detailed the alleged assaults. "One man stood on my neck as I lay on the ground while several others kicked at me and one man struck me acrossthe legs repeatedly with a telescopic baton which had a large ballbearing on the end. At least a dozen uniformed Gardai stood by watching this scene".

Fintan Lane, PRO of the Irish Anti-War Movement, "unreservedly condemn(ed) the heavy handed approach taken by Gardai in Galway". Edward Horgan of the Peace and Neutrality Alliance called for an "urgent independent investigation of these complaints against the Gardai". The Garda press office confirmed that Eoin Rice had been arrested and is due in court in February. They declined to comment on the allegations of a beating in custody but said that there are "several channels open to him if he wishes to make a complaint". Eoin was examined by a doctor at the Garda station and, on his instigation, was taken directly to Galway Hospital where a wound to his head was stitched, his arm was x-rayed and bandaged and anti-inflammatories and painkillers were administered.

According to Conor Cregan, an anti-war activist who was present at the arrest, all of these injuries were caused after Eoin had been taken away by Gardai. Eoin Rice, Conor Cregan and a third activist (from Spain) confirmed to an Indymedia Editor that they have already lodged complaints about the incident with the Garda Complaints Board.

This serious allegation comes at a time when questions about the accountability of the Gardai and allegations that they are 'out of control' have been recieving enormous public attention as a result of a recent Primetime Programme. The programme in question made extensive use of Indymedia Ireland footage of the Mayday RTS debacle. It is grimly ironic that that the broadcasting by Primetime of the very evidence that made allegations against Gardai in relation to the Mayday RTS impossible to ignore or deny outright is now being used by Lawyers for a number of Gardai as a potential way to have their trials delayed or called off.

IMC IRL Interview with Eoin Rice
Statement issued by Eoin Rice
Conor Cregan's Witness Statement
Videos of the protests and Eoin Rice's video statement
Photos of the demonstrations
Critical Account of the demonstrations
Photos of Gardai Special Branch Video surveillance

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