Reaction to emergency Budget

 

Madam, — Listening to local politicians attempting to wash their hands of the whole property and central Government finance mess as they gear up for the local elections, one would wonder who actually initiated much of the problem with their land rezoning and planning decisions? – Yours, etc,

GREG O’CONNOR,

Shrewsbury Lawn,

Cabinteely,

Dublin 18.

Madam, – The Taoiseach in his defence of the Budget in The Irish Times(Opinion, April 10th) again claimed it was “a fair Budget in difficult circumstances” and went on to quote the varying impact on different income levels. Remarkably he did not once mention the lowest earners of all – those on social welfare.

These people have had an effective 2 per cent cut in their meagre incomes as a result of the abolition of the Christmas bonus. Yet it does not even merit a mention by the Taoiseach? I suppose we should not be surprised that the promises made previously to protect the most vulnerable in society are quietly dropped when the going gets tough. I am, however, disappointed that this aspect of the Budget has not got the attention and the opposition it deserved.

We all accept that expenditure must be curtailed in our current difficult economic situation. However, there were many choices to be made in how to achieve this other than depriving the poorest in society. It is heartbreaking to think of the grandparents who will be unable to buy Christmas presents for the grandchildren, unemployed people who will struggle to afford any sort of festive fare and incapacitated people struggling to afford the little extras that would make their lives a little more bearable. Why do these people have to suffer more because of the incompetence of those so much richer than them? To save €156 million?

There are many other ways to save this amount that would not impact on the old, sick or unemployed. For example, the abolition of the PRSI ceiling; increasing Capital Gains and Capital Acquisition Tax rates to 30 per cent rather than 25 per cent (why should those who earn their income from these sources pay so much less than those on the higher PAYE rate now paying 50 per cent when levies are included?); or allowing interest at 25 per cent instead of 75 per cent against rental income. Any one of these options would yield the same amount.

In these difficult times, it is more important than ever to protect the disadvantaged. All those who really believe in fairness should oppose this mean-spirited measure and force the Government to find the money elsewhere. – Yours, etc,

LIAM ROCHE,

Sycamore Lawn,

Castleknock,

Dublin 15.

Madam, – Instead of tackling the thorny issue of public service staff reduction and the consequent electoral damage at the polling stations, I suggest the Government put in place a four-day week for the non-essential Government departments and Government agencies for the next two years.

The only question that might arise is: would anyone notice the difference? – Yours, etc,

JOHN TREACY,

Woodlands Road,

Cabinteely,

Co Dublin.

Madam, – The banks, the builders and speculators were not under any duty to the Irish public, the Government was, however. It failed to govern, yet believed that it owed more of a duty to developers than to the people of Ireland.

While the Government rightly points out that harsh measures have to be taken, it seems incapable of including any growth stimulus to counter them. It has now introduced a Budget obsessed with trying to tax us out of recession. Even when it doesn’t accept its own mistakes, it seems incapable of learning from others.

As a nation we must extricate ourselves from the current recession, in spite of, and not with the aid of current Government policy. – Yours, etc,

TOM NEVILLE,

Leopardstown,

Dublin 18.

Madam, – It’s bad enough that Enda Kenny, Eamon Gilmore et al think the Taoiseach caused the worldwide recession and banking crisis all on his own, but what’s really worrying is that they believe they can fix it. – Yours, etc,

RONAN QUINLAN,

Bóthar tSlí Leathain,

Baile Átha Cliath 15.

Madam, – In reply to Eugene FM O’Loughlin, (April 13th), I suspect that looking at the recent Budget, the spirit of John F Kennedy might more plausibly have put it to the Government: “Ask not what your country did to you – ask what you did to your country”. – Yours, etc,

DANIEL K SULLIVAN,

Abbeyvale,

Corbally,

Limerick.

Madam, – Mr Paddy Healy suggests that business people (or as he puts it “crony developers”) who owe money to the banks, should have assets over which they have given no security seized (April 14th).

How many jobs does Mr Healy think entrepreneurs would create in the future knowing that all of their assets were at risk if any one venture should fail? Indeed, he goes further to suggest that even if they pay off their own debts they should be levied to pay off other unrelated people’s debts.

In this brave new world, anyone in business would be responsible for the debts of everyone else. If I owned a business with laws such as he suggests in force I would close it immediately and pay back any borrowings I had to the bank rather then risk continuing in business.

As a nation, we will need our entrepreneurs to play a part in our recovery through job creation and investment.

It is important that an anti-business mob mentality does not develop as people play the blame game. – Yours, etc,

STEPHEN GLEESON,

Grangefield,

Brehonfield Road,

Dublin 16.

Madam, – For Ireland, maybe the international credit crunch has been a blessing.

Without it, over-expansionist government policy, reckless lending by banks, inadequate financial regulation, and extortionist prices charged by property developers would have continued unabated – until the inevitable and complete collapse came.

Some might argue this has already happened. However, with prudent regulation, careful investment, and effective measures to reduce the cost of government, just maybe we have had a lucky escape. – Yours, etc,

IAN LUSH,

Coolnaskeagh,

Delgany,

Co Wicklow.