Aaron Hartley


Turning Crisis Into Profit


From Forward, 28/8/20

It’s always been painfully obvious that there is one set of rules for the 99% and another entirely for the rich and powerful. The workers are expected to always be moral and upstanding while the rich are free to exploit, abuse and profit off the suffering of others. The COVID-19 crisis has exposed this clearly. While the rich happily hoard housing, food and medicine for increased profits both during and outside times of crisis, no one bats an eye, however the few cases of working class people attempting to stock up on goods to resell at a higher price has seen widespread and deserved condemnation in the media, shame they wouldn’t apply the same standard to the manufacturers of these products. The media is an extension of the capitalist class, owned by it and advancing its interests, and even within the hollow confines of the concept of journalistic integrity, journalists are reared and educated in an increasingly privatised educational system whose culture puts the rich on a pedestal while sneering at social mobility. Is it then any wonder that our media consequently prioritises and lambasts individuals, when as national publications, they should focus on systemic issues? Even people panic buying toilet paper are ridiculed and laughed at widely all while the rich and powerful make bank off this crisis by stockpiling the vital resources we all need - whether it be the hoteliers payed off to house homeless people who should have houses anyway, the renting of private hospital beds for €115 million per month or using contractors to build emergency response centres. And of course, Varadkar’s ideological pedigree is on show when he leapt on the people really exploiting the system – in his mind the poor. The establishment attitude is laid bare as total nonsense when Varadkar’s own disregard for the 2m spacing is taken into account. Meanwhile, the classic Irish capitalist narrative of “spongers” and “doleheads” has permeated through society.

In the words of Varadkar himself:

I have heard stories of people who have asked their employers to lay them off because they would be better off on the €350 payment rather than maybe working 20 hours a week for 11 euros, y’know, do the maths yourself, and I would just say to say to anyone who’s thinking that, we are all in this together and nobody in any walk of life should seek to be better off or seek to make a profit out of this crisis.

The idea that someone earning beneath a living wage going on the dole is harming society, while hoteliers run away with millions in profit off the homeless year on year due to Fine Gael’s ingrained hatred of the working class is unbelievable. Fine Gael’s unelected government is now approaching ten years of administration, and has given up on even pretending to distance itself from its blueshirt backbone. Meanwhile in one of Varadkar’s own tweets about the HSE’s self-isolation facility in Citywest, converted from a convention centre, you can clearly see a vehicle of one of the contractors involved in the conversion is from a company called Actavo, owned by none other than, of course, Denis O’ Brien. Denis O’ Brien is well known for cheating his way into government contracts as exposed by the findings of the Moriarty Tribunal in 2011 which found that:
• Michael Lowry (Minister for Transport, Energy and Communications and Chairman of the Fine Gael Parliamentary Party at the time) “secured the winning” of the 1995 mobile licence for O’Brien.
• O’Brien made two payments to Lowry in 1996 and 1999 totalling £500,000 and supported a loan of £420,000 given to Lowry in 1999, a benefit equivalent to a payment.
• Lowry imparted substantive information to O’Brien which was “of significant value and assistance to him in securing the licence”.
• Lowry bypassed consideration by his Cabinet colleagues and thereby not only influenced but delivered the result for Esat Digifone (owned by Denis O’Brien at the time).
• A $50,000 donation to Fine Gael was made through Telenor on behalf of Esat Digifone.

O’Brien also owned the company in charge of installing water meters, making sure that the newspapers he owned through the Independent News and Media Group PLC pushed a pro-water charges line so that he could make even more money, not forgetting his ownership of Newstalk, Today FM, 98FM, SPIN 1038 and SPIN South West through Communicorp which helped too. No surprise that through cheating government contracts he has made himself quite wealthy, being the third richest person in the country and now this man, once again, is working another government project, really fills you with confidence doesn’t it? So remember next time that someone accuses the working class of leaching off the system, remind them that it is really the rich through bribes and government contracts who are the ones emptying the people’s coffers into their own, even at a time like this.