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.


1 comment to The Property Tax, S-Class Mercedes, Christmas & Paddy,

  • Michael

    A good laugh


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