December 2014
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Golden Handshakes To Politicians To Cease

dail_chamber1Severance payments made to our politicians are now to be abolished, under a Bill which was published by the Public Expenditure Minister Mr Brendan Howlin at lunchtime today.

On a day when more than ten thousand senior citizens, known as “The Grey Brigade” and a small number of younger demonstrators have held a rally outside Leinster House in Dublin protesting against cuts to Medical Cards, Prescription Fees and Job Seekers Allowance, this decision by the present Government, now makes good the promise to end the “golden handshake” payments to retiring Ministers.

Introduced in 1992, under this scheme, TDs departing senior Ministerial Office received a once off payment of nearly €90,000 over a period of two years, while Ministers of State received a somewhat smaller payment.

The reason behind such payments was to help cushion the reduction in salary between being a Minister and ordinary TD.  This payment was treated separate and cast no reflection on future individual pensions for these Ministers and members of the Oireachtas.

This published Bill will also make adjustments to the Party Leaders allowances, paid to political parties. Parties will now have to report to the public ethics watchdog, SIPO, telling them how their funding is spent.

Budget 2014 – No Country For Old Men

Brendan-MichaelNo Country for Old Men” or Women and indeed youth for that matter, and I am not referring to the 2007 American neo-Western thriller based on the Cormac McCarthy novel of the same name.

I am referring to the Coalition Government’s politically safe budget announced today, which purports to frame the future of Ireland for future Irish people.

Youth Unemployment

The first insults, for young adults attempting to seek employment, came from Labour Ministers for Education and Social Protection, Ruairí Quinn and Joan Burton. “No young person should be able to say at age 19, ‘I’m better off on the dole than going training‘,” Quinn stated. The Minister for Social Protection also defended her cutting of her departments ‘Jobseeker’s Allowance,’ for these same young adults stated “Signing on for Jobseeker’s Allowance on a person’s 18th birthday it’s not the start to adult life that any parent would want for their child. We really have to be more ambitious for our young people.”

Ruairí and Joan obviously believe it is the aim of every young person with a four year University Degree to want to live on €144 a week. If so why have so many emigrated?

Dole payments to young people are now to be slashed by nearly a third, with all those aged 25 years and under and who sign on from January next then to receive  just  €100 a week, down from €144, while the 25 year old unemployed can claim €144, reduced from €188. All hope of current employment for rural dwellers is Dublin based and the current cost of a rail ticket to attend an interview, averages €50 each return trip.

Noonan and Howlin Set To Risk ‘Grey Brigade Revolt’

Deposit Interest Retention Tax (DIRT) on all savings is to rise to 41%, up 7% from 33%, which is estimated to bring in about €95m. (Forget the elderly here,  what about those saving in an attempt to get a step on the property ladder.)
The death grant of €850 to help families with funeral costs is to be abolished.
Over 30,000 pensioners over 70 may lose full medical cards and be placed on GP only cards.
Telephone allowance to Pensioners in the household benefit package to be discontinued from January 1st 2014.
Income threshold for medical cards for over-70s are to be lowered.
Excise duty on beer, spirits and tobacco be increased by a 10 cents rise, with wine up 50 cents.
This move is directly targeting older people sitting on cash savings at a time when this Government wants more spending.

Free GP Care To All Under Five Years To Benefit Wealthy

This same Government look now as if they are about to deliver health care reform by extending medical cards to every child under five years, regardless of family income, while at the same time it is rationing discretionary medical cards for many of this country’s deserving patients. In last year’s budget, free GP care was promised to those on long-term illness which then failed to materialise. It is also unbelievable that this Government should again announce extension to free Doctor Care, without any discussion with the same medical personnel expected to deliver on this service.

Not mentioned in “Budget 2014,” was the proposal that the House of the Oireachtas should develop its own house wine with its own “House of the Oireachtas” wine label and that bottles of same could be used for personal use and gifts by politicians. Perhaps this is also why there was  no mention of  reducing expenses paid to politicians, latter who were paid more than €500,000 during the month of August 2013, a month during which the Dáil did not sit, even once.

TV 3 can now cancel “The Great Irish Bake Off “; sure who will be able to afford French Chocolate Roulade, (a crumble and a bread-based dessert), those Sweet and Savoury Tarts or those Irish tea breads, our elderly have become so used to digesting on a daily basis.

Enhanced Redundancy For Dawn Fresh Food Workers

dawn-ffThe Labour Court has recommended that over 100 workers, who were set to lose their jobs at Dawn Fresh Foods Ltd in Fethard, Co Tipperary on October 25th next, will now be paid aggregate lump sums totalling €52,000, as part of an enhanced redundancy deal.

The Parent Company had opted to shut down the food processing plant in late July last.  Previously it had  produced chilled and frozen ready-made meals for the Irish and UK markets, but claimed that due to increasing costs of raw materials, energy, and unfavourable currency exchange rates etc., their market had declined.

The food giant has been in dispute with SIPTU over redundancy terms for the workers which in turn led to a hearing by the Labour Court.

Now as part of an enhanced redundancy deal for these workers, the Labour Court is also recommending that same be paid an additional one week’s service for each year on top of their statutory redundancy. The €52,000 in ex-gratia payments is made up of €500 to each employee.

€200 Deposit For Access To Tipperary Allsop Properties Auction

Prop ThurlesThose wishing to attend the Allsop Space auctions of ‘Monster Properties’ next Tuesday will be charged a €200 deposit just to gain entry.

The fee is being made a requirement to control and manage the numbers attending according to the organisers, following the cancellations of their auction in July last which was brought about by large protests.

Allsop Space are to offer 115 properties at the RDS in Dublin next Tuesday, however, €15 of this €200 deposit charge will not be refundable to those attending and will instead be retained as an administration charge to cover processing administration costs, online credit card charges and your auction catalogues which will be handed out to all attendees on the day.

Investment properties for sale in North Tipperary will include the 24-bedroom Grant’s Hotel, in Roscrea, Co. Tipperary – (Lot 19) which has a reserve range of € 350,000 – € 400,000; the premises known as Friary Pharmacy – (Lot 11) Friar Street, Thurles, Co. Tipperary, which has a reserve of €200,000; a house at Glenbower – (Lot 60) Coolbaun, Co. Tipperary, and Ashbury Industrial Estate – (Lot 46), Ashbury, Roscrea, Roscrea, Co. Tipperary .

As stated this Auction will take place at the RDS, Merrion Road, Ballsbridge, Dublin 4, and will commence at 10:00am on October 15th next.

Criminal Assets Bureau Selling On eBay

The Criminal Assets Bureau are auctioning a Rolex watch on eBay, with the sale sanctioned by the Court appointed Receiver.


The ladies Rolex watch, which was seized in 2011 from a known Limerick crime figure, was bought for his partner as a Xmas gift.

The Criminal Assets Bureau state that they are using this sales method purely as an experiment, possibly with a view to future selling of other traceable assets seized from criminals. If successful via this sales route, it could be the first of many such auctions, heading down the line.

Bidding for this watch started at €6,000 and all proceeds from this and future sales will go into the coffers of the Department of Finance.

The seller’s name used on eBay is Proceedsofcrimeact1996 and this current item now goes on sale following an application under the Proceeds of Crime Act, 1997 and 2005.

Suppose it is only right and proper since criminals worldwide have been using similar online methods themselves for years.