Tuesday 25 October 2016

Charges of a not so light brigade

Published 30/09/2013 | 05:00

Pat Rabbitte: broadcasting charge
Pat Rabbitte: broadcasting charge

* It's not just about "RTE's licence to print money" (Letters, September 27); I would also take issue with the charge system itself.

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On top of property, household, water and waste charges comes a household broadcasting charge.

While you are at it, Mr Rabbitte, why not introduce toothbrush, slipper, carpet, lightbulb and teapot charge systems as well? After all, most "non-cavemen" households have those too.

Just one more roundabout way to raise money without calling it tax, and as it is levied on property occupiers rather than owners, controls are scheduled to continue, costing the State €12m yearly in supervision added to internal accounting expenses – which could have saved some health service in the West of Ireland instead.

Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Spain, Portugal, Netherlands, Belgium, etc, have large public broadcasting stations with funding over the national budget. Outside Europe, specific citizen charges are the exception.

Do Canadian CBC or Australian ABC "lack" in government critical reporting? Hardly, also when compared to RTE. Government funding control is not the same as government editorial control avoided via separate boards making directorial appointments; funding can be set five-yearly by each incoming Government, and licence/broadcast charges can be altered by Government anyway, for what, after all, supposedly is a "public service".

Also, with licence/broadcast charges going to sound and vision subsidies for all broadcasters, the RTE "connection to viewers" is not there either: an odd connection at the best of times, since not paying the licence puts people behind bars. Real RTE connection to viewers and listeners would mean internet forum with producers, 'RTE Guide' letters page, mailbag programmes or other critical review broadcasting with citizen feedback, none of which RTE has.

Similarly, Mr Rabbitte, is this public consultation not just another government ploy to appear democratic, and then you do what you were going to do all along?

Peter Douglas

Pearse Street, Dublin 2


* Someone should telephone Croke Park to let them know we are in the middle of a serious recession with record levels of emigration, unemployment, debt and depression while the GAA behaves like boom-time brats serving up enjoyment and happiness as if they never end – blasting the pundits of doom with levels of entertainment of the highest order at absolutely minimum cost.

Poor soccer has to pay Gareth Bale €100m to score a goal a week while our heroes from Clare, Cork, Dublin and Mayo provide superior displays of skills and scores for practically nothing.

Did you ever see the likes of Anthony Nash's free? Lift, hop, swing and whack! You'd feel like singing, "Messi, I hardly knew you."

It's just not fair: amateurs beating professionals at their own game while providing the populace with happy, healthy, wholesome entertainment for practically nothing.

The GAA should be reported to the European Regulator for 'unprofessional practices' and for defying all market principles.

No! No! On second thoughts, better say nothing. I know it's wrong to be smiling, laughing, backslapping and (God forgive) smirking in this era of austerity but we can't help it.

Let's discreetly congratulate the management and players of the Gaelic games for the superb contests of skill, passion, endurance and commitment they served up this summer, and stuff the troika!

Bernard Hayes

Synge Street, Dublin 8


* I do not wish to express a personal opinion on the upcoming referendum. I would instead like to refer to some words written in 1795, by Thomas Payne.

"It is the nature and intention of a constitution to prevent governing by party, by establishing a common principle that shall limit and control the power and impulse of party, and that says to all parties, thus far shalt thou go and no further.

"But in the absence of a constitution, men look entirely to party; and instead of principle governing party, party governs principle." 'First Principles of Government' (1795).

These words from over 200 years ago show how little politics has changed, or perhaps ever will.

Let the people decide.

Kevin Bailey

Dundalk, Co Louth


* Thank goodness we have scientists in Ireland (Prof John Sweeney) who are not burying their heads in the sand. Ireland has led the way in law and literature and has educated some of the world's best scientific minds.

However, I wonder if we can do anything about climate change when Australia dismisses a group of climate scientists in order to produce more coal. If we must mine coal, then at least put in place a means to collect the resulting carbon dioxide.

The 'blip' in the rise in global temperatures filled me with more worry than if the temperatures had continued to rise steadily. The graph of global temperature rise looked exactly like the one I drew at school when melting ice with a short levelling-out of temperature rise due to latent heat.

If ice is absorbing energy at the cost of temperature rise, we could be in more trouble soon. No scientist will be willing to cause panic by raising such fears until we have scientific reason for it but will it be too late then? Is it too late already?

It will be if some use the 'blip' as an excuse for continuing to produce greenhouse gases.

Ruth Moram

Killarney, Co Kerry

* Once again, we have a major report on climate change and yet once again nobody will mention the elephant in the room. We are still breeding like rabbits and there will be just too many of us on planet Earth.

Population control should be the number one priority on the UN's climate-control agenda.

K Nolan

Carrick-on-Shannon, Co Leitrim


* I was reading about Mr Noonan and the complete mystery it is to him why young people are still emigrating while having jobs. I would like to clear this one up for him. Young people, middle-aged people and people coming close to retirement age are all sick to death of the cuts and the lies that are constantly being spun by this Government.

We want a quality of life, the ability to grow and prosper and to live without the feeling that I am only one pay cheque away from being made redundant.

For the last two years, I have been working in a company hit by recession. I have suffered two pay cuts and tax increases, not to mention the property tax, increase in commuting costs, increase in food, education, medication, the list goes on.

I've looked for work in many places elsewhere and, despite my qualifications, I haven't been able to secure an interview. With a 13pc unemployment rate, the competition is too high.

Will we do what Irish people are expected to do by the Government and take it and "ride out the storm" that has been raging for five years, or do we pack up like millions of Irish have done before us and find a better way of life?

It's not too much to ask to want security in your life. Come the new year, I know what I'm doing.

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with editor

Irish Independent

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