Mel Reynolds #TheFixer Ep 24 pt2


Welcome back to our conversation with architect, project manager, certified passive house designer and writer with Village magazine, Mel Reynolds.
In part one Mel broke down why the private developer market cannot build affordable homes and how the state could. In this next part we discuss:
Why the moral hazard argument is cutting off your nose to spite your face.
How the Rent Pressure Zones have helped create an upwards only rental market.
Why the most optimistic scenario for the Buy to Let repossessions could see a trebling of homelessness.

Finally, Mel gives us 3 relatively cheap and effective solutions that could start to turn the tide. These ideas are so sensible and make so much financial sense that it is a wonder our government haven’t addressed them already.

Mel Reynolds #SolutionsArchitect Ep24 pt1

Returning our series of podcasts on Homelessness and the Housing Crisis, Martin and Tony are delighted to be joined in the tortoise shack by architect, project manager, certified passive house designer and writer with Village magazine, Mel Reynolds. Mel has the tenacity to take the Department of Housing reports, the Rebuilding Ireland Reports and even the Oireachtas Housing Reports, read them, cut through the spin and get to the facts.
Needless to say, Mel’s work is and should be the starting point for people who want to know what the real numbers are and what are the solutions.

In part 1 Mel explains why the underlying assumptions on the housing market are wrong, and have been wrong for 40 years.
Why an affordable home cannot be built by the private sector currently.
Why the government housing stats, putting it mildly, aren’t reliable.
Why it’s a Landlords market.
The Land Casino that is the relationship between new house prices and land prices.
Can we get a real affordable housing scheme?
The HAP Trap and why Fine Gael are financially illiterate here.

Anne-Marie McNally #SocItToDem ECP Ep. 20

Martin & Tony are delighted to be joined in the tortoise shack by Political Director and Social Democrat Representative for Dublin Mid West, Anne-Marie McNally. Anne-Marie is the creator of the #LockedOutGen that we’ve discussed on the pod previously and is someone who has spent her career, in and out of politics joining the dots between politics and what happens in our everyday lives.

They discuss:
The #LockedOutGen and those left behind by the Republic of Opportunity
The #SocDem alternatives and bringing sustainable thinking in politics.
#JoinTheDots and making politics matter everyday
#StormEleanor and the Climate Change Spin Cycle
Anne-Marie tells us why she thinks education is the silver bullet to inequality
We finish with giving their predictions for the next election!

Some strong language, but none from Anne-Marie, she was a complete lady!

My New Year Resolution

Rule Number 1 of Christmas Day: Don’t mention politics on Christmas Day.

Rule Number 2: Always remember rule Number 1.

I had several reports of people who, sure that they weren’t one of ‘those’ families, decided to ignore the rules. I’m not sure what’s worse, ignoring the rules, or the realisation that your cool brother in law isn’t really cool with repealing the 8th?

For so many of us the Christmas dinner table is the first time outside of our echo chamber since, well, last years Christmas dinner.

The peculiar thing is that we, being so wise, are so taken aback by the differences of opinion across the Turkey and Ham table. Of course, we’ve spent all year saying that the opinion polls are crap and that there’s no way 56% of people think Socks, Selfies and Spin make a good Taoiseach.

The realisation that we are wrong makes swallowing the customary brussel sprouts all the more difficult. The truth is a bitter pill to swallow. Around the table the Right Wing (I’m a centrist!) agenda of apathy and I’m alright Jack conversation flows.

Many think, no, many believe that Fine Gael and not the sacrifice of the Irish people rescued the country. Many think, no, many are adamant that the government are doing a good job. Many, many more are opposed, down to their Indo reading bones, with the idea of Left Wing concepts.

They are not the problem. We are. We’ve wasted 364 days talking to each other about the wonderful ideas we all agree on. We never spoke to the people around our dinner table.

We’ve squabbled about Labours place in the Left. We’ve decried concessions as selling out. We’ve reduced Left Wing cohesion to a Brendan Ogle column in the Sunday Business Post. Worst of all, we have allowed the tsunami of the water movement to be reduced down to a Phil Hogan trickle.

Something has to change and it starts at the dinner table. It starts with joining the dots.

We join the dots. Whenever Leo Varadkar says that salary increases could endanger the economy WE must point out the hypocrisy of him getting a €21,000 pay rise.

We join the dots. When your brother says that it’s a testament to the strength of the economy that Ireland has repaid Denmark’s €400m loan early ask him does that house any of the 3,333 homeless children.

We join the dots. When an old friend explains that she knows a family looking for help from St Vincent De Paul who have 2 televisions, ask her why that’s a crime and screwing 40,000 Tracker Mortgage holders into debt (and death) for nearly a decade is not.

We join the dots. When your pal in your local says that the Multinationals will leave if we make them pay tax, explain that we are, according to the OECD, the best tax haven in the world YET only get one sixth of the jobs from Multinationals that non havens do.

At every water cooler moment we join the dots. At every lazy OpEd we join the dots. We forget about infighting. We forgive ourselves and others for slights and we take the fight to the barrage of bullshit that is the machinery of State.

We act as our own Strategic Communications Unit, our goal/mission statement/blue sky thought is simple: Join the Dots!

Join the dots. That’s my New Years Resolution. That’s this blog. That’s the Echo Chamber Podcast. That’s my Twitter timeline. That’s my dinner table.

We join the dots in 2018. You’re welcome to join me.

Tony Groves Dec 2017

ECP: Ep 17, Joan Collins TD #NotOurDebt

Tony and Martin are delighted to be joined in the tortoise shack by Independent TD for Dublin South Central Joan Collins. When the book is written on this age of austerity, Joan will be remembered as a constant voice for the ordinary citizen. Her challenging of the promissory note alone was a battle cry that rejected the “we are where we are” BS that is used to defend the many crises facing the country.

They Discuss: The day Joan confronted outgoing Taoiseach Bertie Ahern.
The worsening housing and homelessness emergency.
What is next for the Irish Labour Party.
How close we really came to a Christmas election.
And how, by having open conversations, the #RepealThe8th referendum can be won.

Not sure there’s any strong language, for once!

The United Left!

Echo Chamber Podcast: Anthony Flynn Ep14


In advance of tomorrows A Home For All Event, Martin and Tony sit down with CEO and Co Founder of Inner City Helping Homeless Anthony Flynn. Anthony is a tireless activist for protecting the most vulnerable in our society and along with his dedicated team are on the front line of what is the single biggest issue facing Ireland today as a country.

They discuss:
The heartbreaking fact that 39% of our homeless people are Children.
The inability of the government to get a grip with the issue.
The battle to beat the normalisation of this societal crisis.
Turning the success of The #MyNameIs campaign into a wider campaign.
Above all, telling the government that #HomelessnessIsNotNormal

This is all in advance of tomorrows Songs and Words, A Home For All Event, Dáil Eireann, Kildare St from
pm onwards. Please get along and show your support.

A Home For All
Tony, Anthony and Martin #HomelessnessIsNotNormal

The Echo Chamber Podcast: Episode 13, Sir Lorcan Sirr!

As part of their series of podcasts in asking if an Alternative Ireland is possible, Martin and Tony speak with DIT Housing Lecturer, Lorcan Sirr.
They Discuss:
The fact that the Department of Housing cannot begin to tackle the crisis until they assess the real scale of it.
That we don’t really have a dysfunctional housing market, we have a functioning “free market”.
They ask do we want tax cuts or to tackle homelessness?
Lorcan explains the new reality of the Irish relationship with property and the locked out generation.

This is an important conversation about cutting through the spin of Government housing plans and into the reality of a crisis that is effecting nearly every level of Irish Society.

May not have strong language, for once!

Sir Lorcan Sirr
A Home For All

The Echo Chamber Podcast: Episode 12 Rory Hearne

Martin and Tony are joined in the tortoise shack by Rory Hearne, Rory among the many strings in his bow (Academic, Author, Political Analyst, Activist) is also a constant thorn in the side of the people who like to say “It’s not that simple”, or “we are where we are”. Basically, he’s the guy in the room who thinks there are solutions, it’s a lack of implementation that holds us back.

They discuss:
How to solve the housing Crisis.
A Republic of opportunity vs a republic of equality.
Is a Left Wing Government possible.
How a unified left could put an alternative Government together.
And they discuss Tuesday’s A Home For All Event which Rory and Erica Fleming will both be speaking at.

There’s also a little story about the day Rory ran with Leo in the Phoenix Park…

Strong language about the destruction of language!

A Home For All

Tony, Rory and Martin

Taxing Truths

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Ireland is a tax haven. This simple statement of fact causes the most ridiculous responses. We get told that we are talking down the country, that we’re not wearing the green jersey. We even get the whopper, preferred by the Minister for Finance Pascahl Donohoe, that the recent OECD report confirmed we weren’t a tax haven.

Firstly, let’s deal with the facts. A recent study of tax havens, €600 Billion and Counting: Why High-Tax Countries Let Tax Havens Flourish, put numbers on what is essentially an organised, tax compliant and totally legal, global larceny. And no, there’s no contradiction in that sentence.

The first key finding is that 45% of multinational company profits are artificially shifted to tax havens. Ireland, as you can see below is the worst legal offender. 45% of profits whisked away to tax havens; that’s like saying that you or I could put almost half of our monthly salary into a tax avoidance scheme.

IMG_6429

 

The Global Corporate Tax revenue loss is estimated to be over €200 billion per annum, or 12% of Global Corporate Tax Revenue. To put that in context, the World Bank says that global foreign aid totaled €130 billion in 2016. So Multinational Companies shift nearly double the world’s total aid budget for tackling poverty into tax havens.

The next finding is a cracker; the main loser in tax revenue is the EU, with losses estimated to be above 20% of its taxable profits. Now, and here is where it gets mind-bending, the main beneficiaries of this legalised larceny are Ireland, the Netherlands and Luxembourg. 

IMG_6424

The 3-Tax-Haven-Amigos, not mentioned on the above graph, impose real effective tax rates of 2-3% on huge artificial bases and in doing so financially hamper the ability of the combined EU 27 countries to tackle various social crises. So definitively, Ireland is a tax haven.

That doesn’t mean that Minister Donohoe was wrong. He wasn’t, he was just being selective with the way he read the OECD report. The report that he was referencing was the OECD’s Tax Transparency Ratings and was dealing specifically with individual countries legal framework and legal implementation of their own tax laws.

Ireland was the only country of the 3-Tax-Haven-Amigos to achieve a rating of compliant. But rather than it confirming us as not a tax haven, what the OECD report actually confirmed is that we are the best tax haven. We have the most transparent tax avoidance structures in the world. It is, in sales-speak, our Unique Selling Point.

It starts and ends with transfer pricing. In simple terms: if Company A is operating in Germany but opens a small company Company B in Ireland which then assumes ownership of the intellectual property of Company A, then, even though Company A is producing and selling their product in Germany, the profits are taxable in Ireland via Company B.

This Transfer Pricing method, the study found, has resulted in high-tax countries stealing from each other, while letting tax havens flourish, in the name of free market competition. Companies like Apple, Google and Facebook have True Global Profits of totaling tens of billions, yet using the profit shifting are able to only show Observable Profits of hundred of millions.

This sounds like a good deal for Ireland and our other Amigos, right? Not really, no. The average profit for multinationals per employee in a non-haven is 34%. In Ireland it’s almost 200%. Simply put, Ireland gets one sixth the number of jobs equivalent to non-havens for the same money. See below:

IMG_6427

 

There is a simple solution to this conundrum, something that could end transfer pricing overnight and see a more equitable re-balancing of both the tax take and ultimately the workforce: make the profits taxable where the jobs are.

So if Company A employs 10,000 people in Germany and 5,000 in Ireland then it can only “shift” 50% of its profits.

This, I’d argue, is not something we should be afraid of. Rather than costing Ireland jobs, such a strategy should create more jobs. Remember, we are the most transparent tax haven in the world. Why wouldn’t the multinationals increase their workforce’s here if it meant increasing shareholder value?

So, yes, Ireland is a tax haven. That’s not up for debate any longer. The debate must now move on into how we make us the best little tax haven in the world in which to create jobs. An transparent low corporate tax, high job economy. It’s possible and it’s certainly a damned site more ethical than what we are currently doing.

Tony Groves

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Other Graphs of Interest: IMG_6431IMG_6425

 

          

The Echo Chamber Podcast: Episode 7

The guys are delighted to be joined by the man behind Callan’s Kicks, the Leader of the Late Late Show Band and creator of Kilkenomics, Paddy Cullivan! Paddy tells the lads all about his love of music, his wacky/not-so-wacky ideas about fixing the country.

They discuss the events of the week, including:
#NotNormal and the Fine Gael Meltdown
Damien English’s media faux pas and admission that our international reputation comes before tackling homelessness.

They also share their views on the:
#RWC2023 the failure and the fallout.
#PSC card and how that controversy continues to grow.
#FutureofEurope The White Paper and the effects on Ireland
#8thCommittee and how the Barry Walsh side of the argument might be the best thing to happen for the Pro Choice side.

They finish by wondering what the Irish robot, who is going to take all our jobs, will look like. A Healy-Rae Bot, anyone?

Strong language and mature themes, by 3 very immature people.

Paddy also breaks the world record for most plugs for his shoes/books/albums in one podcast!

Paddy Cullivan and Martin McMahon