Phil Hogan Out Of Touch With Reality

The number of household’s categorised under the heading “At Risk of Poverty Rate,” rose to 15.8% in 2010, up on the 2009 figure of 14.1%. Latest published figures also show, in 2010, that another 6.2% were listed as “Consistent Poverty Rate,” again an increase of 0.7% on 2009.

Figures from the Central Statistics Office (CSO) reveal that the gap between rich and poor grew over 2009/10, while the average income of high earners was 5.5 times that of those in the lowest income group and 1.2 times higher than a year earlier.
A survey on income and living conditions in Ireland found that the threshold for identifying those at risk of poverty fell by more than 10 per cent – from €12,064 in 2009 to €10,831 in 2010.

The CSO said children remained the most exposed age group living consistent poverty, a rate of 8.1 per cent.

Meanwhile the Government has admitted, following a parliamentary question from former Labour TD Tommy Broughan, that Social Welfare applicants are waiting for up to 84 weeks to have appeals heard. The Department of Social Protection have confirmed that between 2009 and 2011, the number of social welfare appeals had increased dramatically from 15,000 a year to 32,000. The average summary appeal period rose from 18.2 weeks in 2009 to 25.1 weeks in 2011 and if an oral hearing is required, the average waiting time has risen from 34.8 weeks in 2009 to 52.5 weeks (Over a year) during the same period.

These statistics further highlight the unfairness of Minister Phil Hogan’s Household Charge, which in four days time will force people to break the law, because of their present financial standing.

Is This Government Forcing Law Abiding Citizens To Break The Law?

I am no lawyer, but surely, in jurisprudence, duress or coercion refers to a situation whereby a person performs an act as a result of threat or other pressure against the person. Call it a law protecting, those who are being coerced, because of their personal financial circumstances, to break the law, because they cannot afford to pay the Household Charge.

Black’s Law Dictionary (6th ed.) defines “Duress,” as any unlawful threat or coercion, used to induce another to act in a manner that otherwise they would not.  Surely a person can raise an “Economic Duress defence,” when force or the law, compels him to enter into a contract which he cannot afford.  Is the defendant therefore being forced to break the law by another party, in this case our government, which caused the financial distress and for which the defendant is being now asked/coerced into paying?

I repeat, I am not a qualified legal person, so is there any qualified legal opinion out there, willing to comment?


2 comments to Phil Hogan Out Of Touch With Reality

  • Michael

    I came across The statement below mins ago.


  • Michael on all of the debate going about, this is the best defence scenario for people todate. Those who caused the crisis should pay, after all it “is only €2 per week.”

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