Cuts and taxes in Budget 2014


Sir, – I am a lone parent of an eight-year-old daughter. I was once a designer. The Budget basically said to me: Stay at home and live off social welfare as we don’t care about you and your daughter’s future.

Single parents who, due to our system, are better off staying on social welfare and in turn don’t have any chance of getting out and working and contributing to the public purse, are painted in a very ugly light because of the system. Not only that, what kind of example are single parents setting for their children?

Have they no right to go out and work and make something of themselves and instil that in their children? According to the Government, they don’t.

And now it brings in an outrageous change in payments to single parents who have joint custody. Is it trying to put more pressure on already pressured families? It looks like it. There is no thought for the children in this Budget.

Disgusting behaviour! – Yours, etc,


Herberton Road,


Dublin 8.

Sir, – Given recent Government concern about the (alleged) annual cost of running the Seanad, I expected to see action in the Budget. Surely the ideal time to cut the Senators’ tax free “turning up” money (officially their travel and accommodation allowance)?

But no. In its wisdom, the Government decides to save by abolishing the telephone allowance paid to the elderly.

Well I suppose it thought that if the Senators lost their “turning up money” then logically TDs would have to lose theirs.

It’s a lot to lose. For example TDs in Band I (they live 25km to 59km from the Dáil) get €25,295 pa tax free to cover their “travel’ expenses to work and within their constituency on top of their €87,258 salary. – Yours, etc,


Moyne Road,


Dublin 6.

A chara, – Anthony Leavy (October 17th) attempts to make the tenuous connection between the public’s recent decision to retain the Seanad and this week’s Budget, which took money from pensioners and raised the cost of medicine for the sick. That is a disingenuous attempt to defend the indefensible.

The generally accepted saving from scrapping the Seanad would have been far less than the €20 million that was spuriously put forward by the Government in its campaign, probably around €6 million, and none of it would have been realised until 2016. To suggest it is hypocritical for the public to complain about the unfairness inherent in the Budget because we have voted to retain the Seanad is ludicrous.

The decisions to raise prescription charges, remove the telephone allowance from pensioners and slash jobseekers’ allowance for the young cannot be blamed on the Celtic tiger or the democratic decision to retain the Seanad. They are decisions being taken by a Government that is ideologically drawn towards business – as demonstrated by the raft of “pro-business” tax breaks that accompanied the cuts and charges for the old and sick – and is less concerned with governing for the citizens. – Is mise,


Lismore Road,


Dublin 12

Sir, – In the Budget, Michael Noonan renewed the Capital Gains Tax scam, whereby, provided a speculator/investor purchases before 2015, and does not sell that property on for seven years, that speculator/ investor pays no capital gains tax, creating a revenue loss for the Exchequer.

Ireland’s economic collapse was exacerbated by over-reliance on a housing market driven mad by speculation, driven in large part by stimulus in the form of unnecessary tax breaks.

The same now appears to be happening again in certain areas of Dublin. A shortage of houses for sale is claimed. This is not true. Family buyers requiring a mortgage are outnumbered approximately two to one by “cash” buyers. These “cash” buyers are being drawn into the market by the above scheme and outbidding families seeking to buy a home.

The net effect of this is to artificially push up demand and therefore prices. High house prices are detrimental to the economic recovery and societal health of the country. They drive up the cost of mortgages and rents and ultimately wages, as workers struggle to pay the higher cost, making Ireland less competitive on the world market.

This unnecessary tax break should be scrapped in the Finance Bill, as it does not stimulate jobs growth or add to the economy. In fact, due to the restriction on selling for seven years, it is artificially creating a shortage of houses for working families seeking to purchase a home

A cynic might also suggest that it is being paid for by pensioners who are losing their phone line rental allowance and also in many cases, medical cards. – Yours, etc


Royal Oak Road,


Co Carlow.

Sir, – I would take issue with the heading on Miriam Lord’s article: “Budget . . . fails to outrage” (Budget 2014, October 16th).

Leaving aside the impact that the new 41 per cent DIRT tax (almost 45 per cent once the PRSI element is included) will have on the meagre income supplements pensioners and others derive from their hard-won savings, a glance at the tables on pages 8-9 of Budget 2014 supplement shows that the two groups with the highest incomes suffer no after-tax loss of income, while pensioners, single-income families and low income earners will all suffer such a loss.

Outrage indeed! – Yours, etc,


Maynooth Park,

Maynooth, Co Kildare.

Sir, – I hope that the “socialist” “partner” in our Government is proud to have collaborated in a Budget that has punished the Irish people from the cradle to the grave.

Then again, I suppose we should be grateful that they and their partners in power haven’t yet found a method to punish us from conception to the after life. – Yours, etc,


The Park, Skerries,

Co Dublin.

Sir, – According to your Seanad report (Home News, October 17th), Deputy Deirdre Clune (Fine Gael) states regarding the medical card system that reports indicated GPs were being paid for people not using their cards.

As a GP in the General Medical Service for more than 30 years, I am puzzled about this comment. How does Deputy Clune or anyone else know whether a patient has used his or her card in any particular year? There is no reporting mechanism to the HSE to indicate whether or not a patient has attended his or her GP practice. Is Ms Clune suggesting that someone who has a medical card on the basis of the current income rules and does not need to visit a GP is to be punished for being in good health?

I think this comment displays a very poor understanding of the medical card system and is symptomatic of widespread ignorance on the matter.

Perhaps Deputy Clune is referring to people whose circumstances have changed and no longer qualify for a medical card. The auditing of this is the role of the HSE and not the responsibility of individual GPs.

Finally, the public should be aware that GPs are paid a single fee for each patient per year, irrespective of the number of visits to the GP and currently we are paid between €72 and €75 per child under-five years per year! Good value? – Yours, etc,


Lucan Court Medical

Centre, Esker Hill,

Lucan, Co Dublin.

Sir, – My mother will be spinning in her grave at the news of the bereavement grant being buried with her. – Yours, etc,



Moate, Co Westmeath.

Sir, – At the maximum of €300 per annum, per item prescription charges may cost a chronically ill, disabled or elderly medical card holder the same amount as a Toyota Yaris driver’s motor tax. This is inexplicable and quite vicious. It’s extraordinary that in the same budget, Michael Noonan added 10 cent to the price of a packet of cigarettes and €1 to the price of an inhaler for medical-card holders. – Yours, etc,


An Cheathrú Rua,

Co na Gaillimhe.