Monday 24 October 2016

Pensioners will suffer long after pension levy has gone

Published 07/01/2016 | 02:30

Junior Minister Ged Nash. Photo: Tom Burke
Junior Minister Ged Nash. Photo: Tom Burke

It's very heartening to note how much better off we will all be when measures outlined in the recent Budget come into effect.

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Charlie Weston quotes Junior Minister Ged Nash (Irish Independent January 1) on the subject.

However, Mr Nash's contention that hundreds of thousands of private-sector workers and pensioners will be better off as a result of the scrapping of the Government Pensions Levy by the Minister for Finance is far from the truth.

This diabolical and unjust levy was introduced in 2011 by Mr Noonan when he "dipped" into pensioners' savings and netted the Government €2.4bn in a four-year period.

Private pension funds and savings were permanently reduced by this amount, pushing already struggling pension funds further into deficit.

Many pension scheme trustees decided to recover the cost of this levy by reducing pension benefits permanently for the pensioners' lifetimes.

Government ministers and TDs, including Mr Nash, are promoting the scrapping of the Pension Levy as a gain for pensioners, when clearly pensioner incomes have been permanently reduced as a result of this levy.

I would call on all Government ministers and TDs to desist from disseminating misinformation on the subject of the Government Pensions Levy for the purposes of political gain.

Tony Collins

Leixlip, Co Kildare

Everyone must do their bit

We watch television and we see the floods. We wonder if the rain will ever stop. Someone said that it is all about climate change.

That may well be.

However, we do a lot in rural Ireland to prevent flooding. We must all become aware of where we live and our own surrounds.

We might have a shore in our gardens or fields. It is important to make sure that the shore is cleaned of all debris at all times. Eave runs need cleaning so when it rains the water will get to the pipe and into the drain below. Shops and town houses must get eave runs cleaned occasionally.

The River Shannon needs dredging. All weeds and silt must be removed in the narrow waters of the Shannon where the reeds and rushes meet. This is stalling the flow of water. Also, drains with an outlet to the River Shannon are blocked and are causing an obstruction to the flow of water.

2016 may be the year to do this work. A little funding from the Government is needed.

E Harris

Newtownforbes, Co Longford

A partial solution for flooding in future would be the following.

The amount of power generated at Ardnacrusha is proportionately small and could be done without for the winter months.

The floods are caused by the Parteen weir blocking the Shannon to create a supply for the canal into Ardnacrusha.

When the river is in full flood, it is too late to take action without endangering those areas of Castleconnell, Parteen, etc, below the scheme.

If the station was wound down from November to February, the canal level would no longer need to be maintained, the weir could be opened and the upper Shannon level bled at a constant safe volume over these months.

Sean Cloherty

Shannon, Co Clare

Rights of the mother forgotten

One central aspect of the abortion debate has always been that equal rights are afforded to the mother and the unborn child. There is, however, confusion lurking which concerns the rights a mother has when an unborn child is at risk or in danger of being born malformed.

This is potentially the most harrowing part of the birth process and not one to be visited on anybody, but circumstances can and do arise where it becomes part of the decision-making process.

What confuses me is what happens to the mother at risk from the child being born? Does she become collateral damage? And what happens to her rights as a human being? Do they become subservient to the rights of the unborn child?

There are going to be a lot of questions on the whole topic of the Eighth Amendment. It would be helpful if the issue was clarified on this point to avoid confusion.

Hugh Gildea

Address with editor

Over-70s can be counted on

The over-70s are excluded from being enumerators by the Central Statistics Office in the forthcoming census .

Among the 19 challenges for the enumerator are questions like, "Do you enjoy knocking at doors?", "Are you comfortable around dogs?" and "Are you proficient at map-reading?"

How anyone can justify the exclusion of the over-70s on the basis of these so-called challenges is incomprehensible and can only be understood as another example of "ageism exclusion".

I would accept this exclusion if the role of enumerator was limited to unemployed people in our society but not to some bureaucratic decision based on criteria which can only have their bases in ageism. Have the fit and willing over-70s nothing left to offer society?

Brendan Butler

Malahide, Co Dublin

Struggle in the Middle East

I do not believe Ambrose Evans Pritchard's assumption that the execution of Sheikh Nimr Al-Nimr will be the spark to light the flames of animosity between the Sunni and Shia sects. It is true Iran and Saudi Arabia are struggling for regional hegemony and power.

However, their rivalries have been tarred with barbaric beheadings, the oppression and persecution of minorities and dissenters, human rights abuses, unfair trials, arbitrary detentions and the criminalisation of any peaceful criticism of authorities.

Saudi Arabia was and is still the guardian and financier of Al Qa'ida, Daesh, the Taliban and other terrorist organisations behind the horrendous attacks on September 11, 2001. Iran does not offer an alternative to Saudi's medieval acts of savagery.

Both worked to destabilise the region and perpetuate human rights violations. The simple truth is that the West has helped ignite the fires of religious and sectarian violence since the Iraqi-Iranian war and the illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq. It is time to redress grievances, ease tensions, or further undermine global security and stability.

Dr Munjed Farid Al Qutob

London, United Kingdom

Irish Independent

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