Irish Phrase Of The Day

"Cad atá ar súil agat ?" - What are you doing?


April 2014
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Public Servants Now Ask Private Businesses To Do Their Work

Dept-SWIn 2008, it was Mr John McGuinness TD, once Social Protection.’

The recipient of our letter is a male aged 21 years, holding recognised University qualifications, who unfortunately like so many Irish born individuals is currently in receipt of €100 weekly, as an unemployed person residing in the State. To retain issues of privacy we now refer to this individual as Pat.

Pat has to the complete satisfaction of an accountant, supplied full documentation in every respect to The Department of Social Protection, from which he currently receives his assistance here in Tipperary. Since October last Pat has only been employed for an eight weeks contract, on a minimum wage for 18 hours per week, to enable the setting up of a new retail business venture.  His employer has made full returns to Revenue as required at years end, the true facts therein, thus generating this nonsense and lazy double check.

Implications In The Coming Weeks For Small Business & Thousands Of Unemployed

The document shown above was posted in Dublin city yesterday, postmarked 23/1/2014, at a cost to the taxpayer of €0.60 and received mid-day today. According to the date on the content of this communication, it obviously lay in an ‘Out Tray’ on some public servants desk for five days, before someone ran it through a franking machine and dropped it in a post bag.

Note: According to a female public servant at the Tipperary Social Protection Office and who refused to check Pats file, she claims that thousands of these letters have been already posted or are about to be posted to recently unemployed people, over the coming weeks. Same must be completed by employers supplying all necessary documentation sought.

The text of this letter states; “The Department of Social Protection has been notified by the Revenue Commissioners that, according to their records, you are working /having worked for/received a pension from ….

(a) Click on picture above for larger image and note that 3rd line of page one, names the last employer, and now blacked out.

(b) Part one, on page two, require the employer to confirm remuneration details paid to short contract employees, confirming details already supplied in many cases to Social Protection on termination of this contracted employment, thus doubling the workload on these employers.

(c) Since the original communication was delayed some six days prior to issue, based on the date shown on the letter, unemployed persons now have only 6 working days to respond to Social Protections request. Pat has been informed by his last employer that he must wait until time permits their accounting officials locate and copy payslips and time sheets.

(d) From our unemployed man’s point of view, who has already confirmed all of this information, two other issues now arise;

  • Will he be cut his €100 if his previous employer fails to provide yet again this required information on time?
  • Will he have enough money to attend an interview in Kildare in 12 days time for which he must expend €50 of his unemployment income in travel expenses, to attend?

(e) Since, as stated, Pat is aged 21 and has only worked six weeks in his entire life, how could he be accused of being in receipt of a pension?

One cannot feel but genuine sympathy for the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Mr Brendan Howlin and Minister of State, latter with responsibility for Public Service Reform, Mr Brian Hayes, as they both now attempt to implement overdue reform on a specially protected and over paid organisation controlled by unions who in turn protect deliberate daily incompetence, latter which is begun at the highest level and is silently sanctioned by other servile supervisors through the downward chain of command.

We invite your comments please.

What Is To Be Future Of Our ‘Tipperary Star’ Newspaper?

Tipp-StarJohnston Press, the publisher of over 30 regional newspaper titles, including our own county-wide and much enjoyedTipperary Star,’  ‘The Nationalist’ and ‘Munster Advertiser,’ latter all based in Thurles and Clonmel, have confirmed that they are in talks to sell-off all titles held in the Republic.

These newspaper titles also include the ‘Limerick Leader,’ ‘Donegal Democrat,’ ‘Leinster Leader,’ ‘Kilkenny People,’ ‘Leinster Express,’ ‘Leitrim Observer,’ ‘Longford Leader,’ ‘South Tipp Today’ and the ‘Donegal People’s Press.’
In a statement in the last number of weeks to the London Stock Exchange, the company have stated that it was holding discussions about the possible sale of these titles for an asking price of some €8.5 million in cash, but, however to date, state there has been no decision to agree a sale with any interested party. One possible future interested purchaser is understood to be Mediaforce, an advertising agency that has close links with the regional press in both Britain and Ireland and owned by British millionaire Malcolm Denmark.

Having previously taken the decision to close the ‘Offaly Express,’ the parent company, as part of their cost cutting measures, has announced a group-wide voluntary redundancy scheme. The company has already laid off almost a quarter of its workforce between 2011 and 2012 and merged a number of senior posts in its Irish operation.

Recent accounts for Johnston Press Ireland show that its pre-tax profits fell by some 44%, from €1.7 million to just €941,000 last year. It is noted that in the height of the boom in 2006, its pre-tax profit reached €13 million. Accounts show that the Republic based company also incurred one-off redundancy costs of some €757,000 in 2012, rising  from €125,000 in 2011.

What do you, our readers, find missing from your local newspaper, keeping in mind that local newspapers play a valuable role in all local communities?  Your local newspaper is still today the most reliable source for reporting local crime, local government activities, local school activities, local politics, advertising of local jobs, commenting on local community/neighbourhood events, local arts events, not to mention being a reliable historic archive for future generations.

The Property Tax, S-Class Mercedes, Christmas & Paddy,

It was Christmas Eve, that widely celebrated annual half holiday and the evening that eventually ushers in Christmas Day.

Paddy and Mary, both aged in their mid sixties, were out and about doing a little Christmas shopping, using up their remaining few quid, having paid their property tax, on a home they truly believed that after paying a mortgage for some thirty five years at a high rate of interest, they now would actually own.

Mercedes-S_350A downtrodden race of people taxed into oblivion and now entitled to nothing at the end of a full working life,” had been Paddy’s only comment earlier over breakfast that morning.

He had been looking at the new advert for the S-Class Mercedes featured on his morning paper, not that he could afford the required €100,000 for any new car, you will understand. But it was the idea of only paying €200 for road tax, promised by the manufacturers on this new luxury car, which had caught the attention of his failing eyesight.

Five years ago he had purchase a second hand, two-litre family Mercedes himself and having owned same for two years, woke up one morning to the news what in future he would be paying €900 plus in road tax, because the government felt his vehicle was contributing more to climate change than the current newer vehicle models available; or so they claimed. Efforts to try to sell and buy a smaller, newer vehicle had proven fruitless. Despite only 70,000 kms on the vehicles odometer, no one any more wanted his carefully minded, spotless vehicle, due to the high road tax costs about to be implemented. All he needed his car for now at the latter end of his days, was to collect the morning paper, maybe drop into the Cathedral of The Assumption in Thurles to say a quiet prayer on the odd week day, a journey which constituted only a round trip of 1.5 miles. Why should he spend over €17 per week on tax for roads he no longer used, to a government who now despised him because of his age and retired status; all so that he could read about the murders and other grizzly crimes being committed daily in a drug ridden capital city, one hundred miles east of his chosen place of residence.

But why had the government not increased the taxes on petrol sufficiently to removed road tax altogether, allowing those who used the road most, to pay most?” Paddy mused. This same simple application would have also freed up civil servants working at various Motor Tax Offices around the country, to take on work in other now neglected public service sectors, currently weighed down and over worked, or so same would claim.

He remarked as much to Mary, as they entered Thurles Shopping Centre; “The  irony of it all, we are now expected to live, partially ruled by a Labour Government, in a bankrupt Irish State, while persons of wealth who can afford to spend €100,000 on a new car every couple of years will now only have to pay some €200 in road tax, while those who cannot afford even to change their old current vehicle to attend their place of work, must now subsidise these same wealthy road users.  Fair play, equality for all and government transparency my arse,” Paddy complained.

His remarks went unheard as Mary’s main thoughts were at that moment, focused on her two younger children who had just graduated top of their class from university. It had been a hard struggle to educate both her sons at the same time.  Both remained presently jobless and while she had kept it secret from Paddy, she had overheard both boys as they made secret plans to rid themselves, as they each had stated, “of a God forsaken hell hole ruled by idiots,” namely Ireland, in the vain hope of obtaining employment and a future of some kind abroad. How she now hated those TD’s and Ministerial individuals which she had previously supported believing they had ability to run a country, not to mention the greedy bankers and developers; many shady criminals who remained walking freely about our towns and cities, never once taken to task. If her children emigrated, they would have to be financially supported by Paddy and herself, out of Paddy’s small pension, until such time as they could find work in either Australia or Canada. One thing was obvious to Mary, this Christmas no money could be spent by her family on any form of non-essential goods or services.

Mary silently swore a personal oath that if she lived to see the next European, General or Local Elections, this present government would no longer receive her support. Politicians she now believed should no longer be chosen because of their family connections to a so called patriotic party which had dubious affiliations to their father or IRA pensioned grandfather.  TD’s and Government Ministers instead should now be chosen purely on their educational qualifications, their real proven ability and where possible, previously recognised experience in their chosen field of expertise. The voting public should now eschew ‘the patronising historic past glories of pro and anti treaty party politics,‘ when choosing their governments officials at all levels and select instead a strong new progressive business type government, whose membership contained only those with clean, unselfish and wholesome reputations.

Leaving her heart-felt thoughts aside as she entered Thurles Shopping Mall, Mary suddenly became aware that her husband was no longer by her side and glancing carefully around she discovered Paddy was in fact nowhere to be seen in the now crowded shopping interior.

Without a medical card, which had been recently removed pending financial investigation, she worried about Paddy’s health as he had been noticeably losing weight in recent months and knowing also she had a lot to still organise for her family of five, before Christmas day, Mary became upset. Unable to locate Paddy visually she decided to call him on her rarely used, outdated and case cracked mobile phone, to ascertain his present whereabouts.

Paddy’s “Hello,” answered Mary’s mobile phone call  almost immediately to her great relief, his voice exercising it’s usual low, crisis calm tone.

Where are you?” Mary demanded sharply.

Not far,” Paddy replied, adding,  “Do you remember the jewellery shop we went into about 10 years ago, you know the one, where you fell in love with that small diamond necklace that we couldn’t afford back then, and I told you that I would get it for you one day, in the not to distant future?”

Mary hesitated, then slowly choking up and with her eyes slowly welling with tears, she replied slowly and more calmly, “Yes,” she said, “Yes, indeed I remember that  jewellery store very well.”

Well,” said Paddy “I’m having a ‘quick one,’ in the pub that’s next door to it, so I will be with you very shortly.”

Mary hit the ‘End Call’ button on her phone sharply, swearing under her breath that it was not only this current unfair and unjust Fine Gael/Labour government that needed sorting out, Paddy would now also need adding to this, her lengthening list of wasters, after Christmas.

True for the Irish Socialist leader James Connolly; “the female is the slave of the slave.“  For the moment Mary set aside her thoughts and moved on to focus her concentration on the job at hand, just for Christmas and the children’s sake.

Senior Civil Servants Have Discovered Rural Ireland

Now the things I’ve come to know seem so confusin’
It’s gettin’ hard to tell what’s wrong from right
I can’t separate the winners from the losers anymore
And I’m thinking of just giving up the fight.

Good Christian Soldier,” Lyrics By Kris Kristofferson

An as yet unpublished report that will guide current Government policy on rural Ireland up until 2025, has discovered that the rural areas of Ireland have had twice the business failure rate as their larger urban counterparts, when it comes to a study of our economic downturn.

Despite 3.5 years of continuous cries of ‘Help,’ from rural dwellers, this report leaves sleepy Senior Civil Servants now considering whether perhaps a Government Department and a Minister of State should now be delegated, with responsibility for future Rural Development.

Other initiatives understood to have been identified by this Senior Civil Servants report include the re-energising of rural tourism.

I trust that the recent announcement by Cork County Manager Martin Riordan of three interpretive centres to be opened on Spike Island in lower Cork Harbour by the summer of 2015, at a cost of €40 million, will not be seen as the re-energising of rural tourism. It is also interesting to note that Bord Fáilte have confirmed it is reversing its initial decision not to grant aid for this project and will now release €2.5m for redevelopment of this island. Someone obviously had a word in someone’s “Shell Like,” (Nod, Nod, Wink and Wink.)  Do tell us why this decision was reversed Mr Riordan or should we be asking Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, one James “Jimmy” Deenihan, the Irish Fine Gael Teachta Dála for the Kerry North–West Limerick constituency, how this decision came about.

Mr James “Jimmy” Deenihan and Mr Noel Coonan were two of the people who failed to ensure that the Derrynaflan Hoard, latter stolen from Tipperary, was not returned for “The Gathering,” this year thus reducing tourism numbers to Co Tipperary, by some 25%, as my email records and other unanswered communications will attest.

In the past few days the Dáil have passed the Social Welfare and Pensions Bill after 77 TDs voted in favour of these cuts and new changes announced, and with only 46 opposing the most controversial parts of our recent Budget. These changes included the scrapping of the bereavement grant (77 votes to 43), cuts to maternity benefit, and a reduction in dole for new Social Welfare claimants who are aged under 26.

Just as a matter of interest did any of our readers see even one of our North Tipperary Government representatives in the Dáil, contributing to this debate? I ask this question as my eyesight isn’t what it used to be and these people may have taken up a space at the back of the class. Fobs need to be checked on more than Friday’s here Enda.

Scrapping Of The Bereavement Grant

We the elderly do not have to worry really about this, simply just leave our bodies to Medical Science and the State via one of the 5 medical colleges /universities, latter who in gratitude will provide an embellished coffin. They will cover the expense of (1) bringing the remains to Glasnevin Crematorium, (2) your cremation and (3) your ashes will be buried in the medical school’s private plot within two years of your death. So no problem for relatives here, unless of course you object to medical students standing around your stiffened freezing torso with a smile on their faces when they observe your hidden tattoos.

Continue reading Senior Civil Servants Have Discovered Rural Ireland

No Gardaí Yet Scheduled For Templemore Training

Templemore Garda Training College

Templemore Garda Training College

It was Garda Commissioner Mr Martin Callinan who told an Oireachtas Justice Committee in November 2012 last, that he would not like to see his Garda Force sink below 13,000, before new recruitment resumes.

Current natural wastage through Garda retirements runs between 250 and 450 per year, thus signalling that Garda numbers will fall below 13,000 before any new Garda recruits can take up postings late next year or in early 2015, since all new recruits are required to complete a 32 week period of training before being posted to selected stations.

In realistic terms this would indicate that if new recruits are not sought to begin their training immediately or within the first three months of 2014, then it would be early 2015 by the time they could be granted station posts, thus reducing Garda numbers to several hundred personnel below the specified required 13,000.

It was expected that the Minister for Justice Alan Shatter would use the latest ‘Budget 2014,’ to inform this country of his future plans for such recruitment. However while Budget 2014 appears to grant a commitment to resuming Garda recruitment, it failed to indicate a specific date regarding the lifting of any current staff embargo.

As part of the terms of our EU-IMF bailout, the Troika had stipulated that Garda numbers were to be reduced to 13,000 by the end of 2012. They were not, rather instead overtime and wages were cut to meet the cost overspill. It was anticipated that while numbers would be reduced close to 13,000, it was never imagined that Gardaí numbers would be allowed to fall below Commissioner Callinan’s required stated level.

In July of this year Fine Gael Justice Minister Alan Shatter stated that it was very important for an organisation like An Garda Síochána, given the demanding nature of policing, to receive a reasonably regular intake of new recruits. He also stated he would be making arrangements with the Public Appointments Service, so that they could do the necessary preparatory work to deal with new applications later this year.

Earlier in February 2013 Deputy Noel Coonan TD warmly welcomed positive news from his Fine Gael colleague, Justice Minister Alan Shatter, that the Government was now to review its position regarding the future recruitment of new Gardaí.

In his statement of February last Deputy Coonan said; “Garda numbers have been reducing, due to the moratorium on recruitment put in place by the previous Government as part of its plan to reduce the strength of the force to 13,000. Our objective, despite the enormous financial pressures facing the Government is to ensure that Garda numbers will not fall below 13,000.  At Wednesday’s Cabinet Meeting, Minister Shatter announced the good news that recruitment may recommence as part of a wider determination to ensure that the Garda Síochána, as a body, has the greatest possible resources made available to it, and that it is supported in making the necessary new reforms to ensure that those resources are used to the greatest effect.”

For A Ha’porth Of Tar The Ship Was Lost

Despite cuts in pay, cuts in staff numbers and cuts in overtime, no commitment to future Garda recruitment has commenced, despite the continued diminishing of services to the taxpaying public.

To my knowledge no Troika members were in attendance at the funeral of a murdered Dundalk detective earlier this year, to apologise, seek forgiveness or offer their sympathy to his family.

However, no doubt the huge financial cost now incurred by the State, following this detectives unnecessary death was discussed, yet the moratorium on Garda recruitment continues to be ignored.

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