28 September 2015
This letter is in response to Ms Hilda O'Relly, Kilmacud, Dublin 14 in response to her letter dated 28/09/15. In the Irish Independant
This letter is in response to Ms Hilda O'Relly, Kilmacud, Dublin 14 in response to her letter dated 28/09/15.
Ms O'Relly, on behalf of the citizens of Ireland I would like to respond to the points you raise.
Us "whinging" citizens most certainly do want to help the homeless as you suggest. Indeed we want to prevent homelessness by making housing a right for every man, woman and child.
Despite what you think, we don't object to the USC, but we do object to those on lower incomes being required to pay it as they are already earning a wage below a living wage. We fully support continued and indeed increased payment of the USC by higher earners and particularly those earning in excess of €100k. Contrary to your claim, we are happy to continue to pay income tax as a contribution towards welfare, schools, hospitals etc. However, we do not believe that those on low income should be most harshly impacted by taxation. Taxation should be progressive with those who earn the most making the greatest contribution.
You appear unaware that we already pay for our water through taxation. So yes we do object to paying for it again. Surely it's not unusual to begrudge paying for something twice.
Multinationals set up here due to our exceptionally low corporate tax rate, not, as you suggest, because our politicians go on jaunts and sell Ireland as the place to be. These big businesses enjoy a scandalously low tax rate of a MAXIMUM of 12.5%. In real terms, therefore, a worker on minimum wage is required to make a greater percentage contribution than mega rich corporations such as Apple. Does that sound credit worthy to you? The effect of that is the government imposes additional and unaffordable charges and taxes on those less able to pay or unable to pay, it makes cuts to vital services and looks to privatise others and sell off our country's resources just to help big businesses build profit.
You claim this government has "got us out of the worst financial crisis we have ever been in...." No. This government has simply transferred the financial crisis from its banks, developers and money men to its people. You also state that "not everyone is feeling the benefits of an uplifting economy yet but the figures are showing that the worst of it is over." Perhaps you could explain that to our elderly left to die on hospital trollies, or to the 1 in 5 children that go hungry each day, or to the families in the court system facing eviction. Perhaps the parents of the hundreds of children living in emergency accommodation or sleeping in cars or shop doorways might not share your view that the worst is over. Maybe the families who have lost a loved one to suicide can't muster the optimism and praise for this government that you seem to expect.
You tell us things are on the up - people are buying cars again. Do you think the parents that can't provide a meal for their children or the old person who can't afford to heat their home, or the worker who can't pay the rent or the mortgage shares that as a measure of success?
You express concern about a government dependent on Independents but I think if you were to step outside of what I can only assume to be a very sheltered life in South County Dublin, a walk around the streets of any town, village or city in this country will show you the harsh reality of how the austerity parties of this government, and the former one, has failed the people and has imposed levels of poverty that will affect families for generations to come. I don't deem that a success by anyone's standards.
But you are right. There is much to credit this government with - increased poverty, evictions, failing healthcare, demand for food banks, high unemployment, emigration, austerity-induced suicides, homelessness, child hunger, privatisation, cuts to mental health services, cuts to medical card entitlement, welfare cuts, hardship for lone parents, and of course the rich getting richer at the expense of the rest of us.
It's time to see the bigger picture, to stop blaming the poor or those less well off, to stop believing the spin and start seeing the harsh reality. It's time for change, starting with a change of government.