I know in a democracy you're supposed to get the government you deserve, but really: we don't deserve this. The decision by Dublin City Council to increase commercial rates by 3.3% must amount to one of the dumbest decisions by local politicians in recent times. On the same day the UK government announces that VAT rates fifty miles north will fall to 15% next Monday, a majority of our capital city's representatives vote to make things even worse for Dublin's retailers.
The latest press release on the Council's website has the Lord Mayor calling on Dublin's shoppers to buy fairtrade goods this Christmas. Really - what planet do these guys live on? To their credit Fine Gael voted against the increase. But the big surprise was Sinn Féin: creid e no na creid, Ireland's only all-island socialists voted against the increase. Labour voted for the increase - why am I not suprised? There is no greater evidence for the effective capture of ICTU and Labour by public sector unions than their voting for the increase. If Mandate have any sense they'll reconsider their support for Labour in future as their members are not well served by the party that should have their interests at heart.
The bottom line is businesses don't have votes: local politicians assume they are dumb sheep who can be fleeced any time they feel the economic chill. Think Tony Soprano with a cash flow problem. But businesses vote with their feet and investment decisions - and anyone thinking of opening a shop, office or factory right now would be well advised to look at Newry, Enniskillen or Derry rather than Dublin.