Cuts and taxes in Budget 2014

Thu, Oct 17, 2013, 01:10

Sir, – Given the Government’s ability, even enthusiasm, to impose charges and hardship on vulnerable citizens, surely there can be no further justification for not taking action to reduce the pensions being paid to former Ministers and politicians, particularly those responsible for our current economic situation? The rules should be further changed so that no politician or minister could receive any State pension until they reach the standard State pension age.

If entitlements can be arbitrarily withdrawn from citizens aged under 26 and the elderly, then surely entitlements can be withdrawn from citizens who clearly didn’t perform in their duties and who do not deserve ongoing reward for their incompetence?

The Budget further consolidates the two-tier society prevalent in Ireland. Taking real action to spread the hardship to those responsible for the country’s mess will be a small but important step in giving citizens hope of a fair and brighter future. – Yours, etc,

FINTAN REDDY

Oaktree Lawn,

Castleknock,

Dublin 15.

Sir, – I was disappointed that there was no mention in the Budget of any intention to accrue savings by dispensing with certain “special advisers”. After all, in a recent referendum, the people have decided that 60 special advisers are to be retained in Seanad Éireann, with the Taoiseach being empowered to select 11 of them. Surely that should be enough advisers for any government? – Yours, etc,

BRENDAN TREACY,

Drumree,

Co Meath.

Sir, – Like hundreds of thousands of other recent emigrants, it is with mounting disillusionment that I digest another so-called austerity budget.

Surely the collective talents of our young people could be engaged to visualise and lay the foundations for alternative outcomes of social justice, sustainable development and ultimately prevent such an economic collapse befalling the country in the future?

Instead, in striving to attain short-term savings from ambiguous unemployment figures distorted by a clear policy to export the brightest and creative young people graduating from higher education, we are left with a generation of politicians who collectively acted as cheerleaders for tiger-era policies who are now are expected to chart a course for recovery.

The evidence of Budget 2014 and the policies pursued over the past six years does not inspire hope in those of us living overseas and those young people who will be making similar journeys over the coming years. – Yours, etc,

KEVIN McPARLAND,

Field Director,

Shining Life Children’s

Trust,

Kalinga Place,

Sulaiman Avenue,

Colombo, Sri Lanka.

Sir, – Those of us who were deluded enough to think that the Labour Party had something to do with “socialism” now know that it’s the other labour that’s intended: pain, pain, pain! Except, of course, for the elite. – Yours, etc,

BRIAN LACEY,

Donore Avenue, Dublin 8.

Sir, – We have the learned, the great and the good all over the media today (October 16th) complaining about the “austerity” of the latest Budget and the damage it is doing to “the vulnerable”.

We have just had a campaign to get rid of an elitist Seanad because it is unaffordable in a country that has been bankrupt by the decisions of some of its most privileged citizens.

Prominent among the complainants about the severity of the Budget are politicians, members of media and academia who, not alone campaigned to retain the unrepresentative and unaffordable Seanad, but also, during Celtic tiger years, participated in, or supported, the making of decisions which eventually bankrupted the country.

The reckless decisions of the Celtic tiger era, which bankrupt the country, and the decision to campaign to retain the unrepresentative Seanad were made by the privileged for the privileged.

To now complain about the consequential damage to the vulnerable is hypocritical to put it mildly. – Yours, etc,

ANTHONY LEAVY,

Shielmartin Drive,

Sutton,

Dublin 13.

Sir, – So Ministers Brendan Howlin and Michael Noonan have created the situation where an elderly lady can’t phone the gardaí or press her panic alarm due to poverty, when an under-25 youth burgles her home due to poverty. Bravo gentlemen. – Yours, etc,

CONAN DOYLE,

Pococke Lower, Kilkenny.

Sir, – The real low hanging fruit, the elephant in the room for those who know, is civil service and politicians’ pensions. Their level versus anything available in the private sector is outrageous. A reduction in these pensions to a truly market comparable level would resolve the budget deficit at a stroke. These people are responsible for where we are. – Yours, etc,

NICK STRONG,

Killeaney More,

Glin, Co Limerick.

Sir, – As part of a justification for the latest austerity budget, Minister for Public Expenditure Brendan Howlin pronounced that “Austerity is what is left, after Fianna Fáil in Government drove the economy into the ground and led us beholden, like the famine victims of old, to seek relief outside this country” (Stephen Collins, Opinion, October 16th).

Why stop at the Famine? Surely Fianna Fáil must have been responsible for the arrival of the Normans in 1170, Anarchy in Ireland in 1515, The Flight of the Earls in 1607, the arrival of Cromwell in 1649, the deaths of Lord Edward Fitzgerald and Wolfe Tone in 1798, the execution of Robert Emmet in 1803, the death of Charles Stewart Parnell in 1891, the deaths of Arthur Griffith and Michael Collins in 1922 and the Dublin Arms Trial in 1970? – Yours, etc,

PATRICK O’BYRNE,

Shandon Crescent,

Phibsborough,

Dublin 7.

Sir, – Perhaps the saddest thing about the Budget is Labour’s total capitulation to Fine Gael’s far right fiscal ideology. Eamon Gilmore claimed the reductions in dole for the under-25s was not a cut but an “adjustment” while Joan Burton spent the day talking about a version of a “social contract” in which the failure to provide jobs is deemed the fault of those who cannot find one. The “Chicago Boys” are tittering down their sleeves this day; after all that has gone before, they still have admirers about the place. – Yours, etc,

JIM O’SULLIVAN,

Rathedmond,

Sligo.

Sir, – The weak and vulnerable have yet again to suffer for the mistakes made by others – who it seems we are unable to penalise for their actions.

More and more with every budget, they must feel that for them, like in the final words of Thomas Hardy’s Mayor of Casterbridge, “Happiness was but the occasional episode in a general drama of pain”. The mortal world having failed them, they have to hope in the story of Lazarus for any cold crumbs of comfort. – Yours, etc,

JIMMY RYAN,

Lisduff,

Newmarket on Fergus,

Co Clare.