Tuesday 27 September 2016

Obscene pensions still being paid to retiring politicians

Published 08/06/2015 | 02:30

Eamon Gilmore, who announced last week he will not contest Labour’s selection convention for the next general election. Photo: Frank McGrath
Eamon Gilmore, who announced last week he will not contest Labour’s selection convention for the next general election. Photo: Frank McGrath

Eamon Gilmore’s comments in last Saturday’s edition of the Irish Independent contrasted sharply with the piece the previous day on the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission’s report, headed: ‘Most vulnerable forced to bear brunt of recession’.

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That report underlines the unfairness of the decisions taken by the Government in which

Mr Gilmore was second in command.

For many people, one of the worst examples of this unfairness is the obscene pensions paid to “retired” politicians and other senior civil servants as compared with the basic State pension of just €230 for others who worked and contributed PSRI all their lives.

This situation has been made even worse under the watch of the present Government, as changes to eligibility will see most people retiring at this time only qualifying for the non-contributory pension of €219 a week.

This will be the case for those with gaps in their contributions and, given the boom/bust economics pursued by successive governments here, such gaps have been unavoidable over recent decades.

Maybe Mr Gilmore might consider taking a lead in addressing this shameful disparity, and opt to forego the massive payout and pension that will come his way soon and take only the basic State pension in solidarity with the thousands who supported and voted for the Labour Party for years.

Your legacy awaits, Mr Gilmore.

Jim O’Sullivan

Rathedmond, Sligo

 

Footnote to football history 

 A footnote to history. On November 20, 2009, I participated in a protest march from the Dart station at Sydney Parade to the French Embassy on Ailesbury Road. The protest resulted from the intentional  handling of the ball by Thierry Henry, which resulted in a goal by William Gallas with 17 minutes of extra time to go in our 2009 qualifier.

I was given the opportunity to address the crowd and suggested that there should be a replay of the entire game, or a replay of the final 17 minutes.

I said there had been two precedents – in an international and a national game – for such a replay. I then suggested that there was a case to be made for a lawsuit if a replay was not granted. The next day, I contacted the FAI office and asked to meet with a member of the association. I was told in no uncertain terms that I was wasting my time and such a meeting would not be granted because “the issue has been concluded and no sanction would be granted nor sought.”

Vincent J Lavery

Dalkey, County Dublin

 

Ridding the world of tobacco

Ten years ago, the workplace smoking ban was introduced in Ireland to great acclaim worldwide. We were hailed as a leader in the area of health promotion, perhaps rightly so.

Other countries have followed suit and Tasmania seems to have led the way, with the recent second stage reading in its parliament of their Tobacco-free Generation Bill introduced by Independent MP Ivan Dean.

This Bill seeks to make it illegal to sell tobacco products to children born in this century and to extend it to protect them as they grow older. Mr Dean says that there is precedent for such successful incremental measures, as witnessed by the elimination of opium smoking in Formosa and Ceylon. Perhaps Ireland can now look to Tasmania to lead the way and follow suit, that is, if we have sufficient will and determination to finally rid ourselves of this most harmful product.

Bobby Carty

Templeogue, Dublin 6W

 

England and the monarchy

I was delighted to read Dr Gerald Morgan’s letter (Irish Independent, June 1) ‘The English are quite happy with their monarchy’. Mr Morgan is right, the difference between Ireland and England is “often to the point of mutual incomprehensibility” and has been for 800 years.

I would like to point out to him that we, the Irish, have too sacrificed ourselves for our freedom. But Mr Morgan, you digress. I simply mentioned how the English working class would be better off without the tax burden of royalty. England is mature enough now to evolve into a modern democracy, such as Germany or France. Have the plain people of England ever been asked their opinion about royalty? Furthermore, Mr Morgan, your letter was not the least bit discourteous. So now you tell us the English will soon celebrate the Magna Carta at Runnymede. I know they will also celebrate the fact that we are all equal, regardless of our family name.

Tom Leonard

Spideal, Co Galway

 

Renua and health care agenda

Eilish O Regan, in the Irish Independent, May 20, reports Lucinda Creighton calling on Tony O Brien, CEO of the HSE, to resign on foot of the Hiqa report on Portlaoise Hospital’s maternity services.

While it is entirely reasonable to make managers accountable for their failures to manage, the leader of Renua has failed to appreciate the real problem in health care over the past 40 years – the failure of political leadership.

It is my view that the state of our health system reflects this failure. Ms Creighton, first and foremost, should be asking which politicians over 40 years should have considered resignation over the state of our health services. Where is the political accountability?

Ms Creighton’s comments at an Oireachtas health committee in May relating to the care she and her baby received at Holles Street maternity unit are objectionable to those who work without appropriate resources at smaller maternity units in rural Ireland. Problems in our maternity units are not restricted to small units. I believe our health service problems will never be resolved until a future Taoiseach puts health care at the top of a government agenda. Will Lucinda Creighton put health care at the top of Renua’s agenda?

Dr John Barton, Physician/Cardiologist

Portiuncula Hospital, Ballinasloe,

County Galway

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