Budget 2020 – erring on the side of caution?


Sir, – The 2020 Budget brought yet another misguided attack on the Irish motorist in the name of environmentalism. The increased carbon tax on motor fuels will only serve to burden those unable or unwilling to buy a new car.

The incentives for electric cars are also misguided. The Irish electricity grid is slowly increasing the penetration of renewables, but is still dependent on highly polluting coal, diesel and peat for base and peak loads. A dramatic increase in the grid-load caused by electric cars will lead to a dramatic increase in emissions from these outdated energy sources. Electric cars may be a solution, but not before the underlying grid is reformed. Unless electricity storage solutions dramatically improve, nuclear power is the only technology that can actually reduce the greenhouse gas emissions of a country.

Environmental reforms are obviously required, but this kind of virtue signalling by Government is not the answer. – Yours, etc,



Co Dublin.

Sir, – It is abundantly clear that the posh boys of Fine Gael have little or no understanding of the challenges facing rural Ireland from the beef crisis to the lack of tangible support and adequate preparation for climate-action measures and Brexit.

Rural Ireland is facing decimation with the onslaught of the fallout from Brexit which will affect all farming sectors. All farming organisations have spoken about the disappointment and worry Budget 2020 have brought.

The Fine Gael rural vote will surely collapse, and Fianna Fáil will also face tough questions on the doorsteps. Yes, it was allowing the Government time and space to deal with Brexit, but sometimes the road to hell is paved with good intentions. It is now time to call time on this charade and call a general election. Rural Ireland needs an opportunity to fight back! –Yours, etc,



Co Wexford.

Sir, – Phew. Sorted. Job done. Who knew tackling climate change could be so simple? Carbon tax on an ever-increasing scale. Claims of it being ring-fenced for measures to counteract climate challenges sound about as likely as ring-fencing the air we breathe.

Still, let’s not be despondent. We live, we learn, and our Government’s carbon tax policy has suitably disabused me of the fanciful notion that it is helpful to the environment if I drive my car less. Au contraire! If I drive my car more often, then I’ll need to fill it up more often, so I’ll pay more carbon tax, and voilà, help counteract climate change. My head is doing wheelies as I write. – Yours, etc,




Sir, – I have been surprised at the lack of comment on the widening of the medical card for the over-70s. In this regard I venture back to the protest by the “grey” voters a number of years ago where it was proposed by the then-government to means-test the medical card for those over 70.

This would have meant a substantial reduction in the numbers entitled to the medical card who were over 70 years of age. Government at the time pulled back on this.

However, without publicly announcing it, that government reduced the income limits from €64,000 per couple to €45,000 per couple. This gave rise to large numbers being refused medical cards.

In this budget there has been an increase in the income of a couple to €54,600, with a lot of fanfare. However, the Government is still a long way off from the previous high of €64,000, which would now be substantially more than this with increases over the intervening years. Let’s protest about that. – Yours, etc,



Co Sligo.

Sir, – Budget 2020 is your typical “devil take the hindmost” Fine Gael offering. “Hard decisions”, it seems, are only for the little people.

This budget reminds me of the story about the two lads crossing the African Savanna. A cheetah suddenly appears in front of them. One fellow kneels down, opens his backpack and takes out a new pair of runners. The other fellow says, “They’re very fancy runners you have there, but there is no way you’ll outrun a cheetah.” The man with the fancy runners looks at his friend gimlet-eyed and says, “Yes, but I’ll outrun you.”

Watch out, rural Ireland. This Government is not your friend. – Yours, etc,



Co Donegal.

Sir, – What about the people who get up early in the morning? They continue to get up early in the morning, pay for everything, and get nothing. – Yours, etc,



Dublin 5.