News Letters

Monday 15 September 2014

Taxpayers left to foot the bill yet again

Published 01/04/2014 | 02:30

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Hopefully President Michael D Higgins will deliver a grounded message during his State visit to Britain

* Well holy God, they're at it again.

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The Lord Mayor and the burghers in Cork City Hall have decided in their expansive wisdom and generosity that President Michael D Higgins should shortly be given the Freedom of the City.

No great harm in that, you might say – the only problem is that we, the ordinary people of Cork, will, as usual, end up footing the rather expensive bill through our rates, property and other taxes.

Conversely, there is no money for those citizens who are crippled with negative equity and unsustainable and crucifying debts, no money for the many children daily going hungry to school, no money for the homeless, the aged and the disabled or the thousands who are jobless and in despair.

No money to bring home the thousands of our young and not so young who have been forced to emigrate. No money for our struggling small businesses or to fix our potholed and broken roads.

Miraculously, however, we have plenty of money for a meaningless shindig in the present economic climate and in the throes of a raging recession.

It is, of course, in microcosm, another measure of the disdain and disconnect that those in positions of power and influence have for the lives and travails of ordinary citizens who have been force fed on debilitating austerity for the last six years.

No doubt the people of Cork and elsewhere will express their feelings on this and other matters next May.

JOHN HEALY

BISHOPSTOWN ROAD, CORK

HEARTWARMING STORY

* Reading the Irish Independent on March 24, a beautiful photograph on page 14 caught my attention; surgeon Pat Kiely and formerly conjoined twins Hussein and Hassan Benhaffaf from Cork.

Speaking as a co-founder of charity Straight Ahead (which I confess I was unaware of), Dr Kiely referred to problems caused by delays in carrying out spinal surgery on children at Crumlin and Tallaght hospitals.

Dr Kiely and his fellow surgeons have already given up their free time to operate on 26 children at no cost to the parents.

The twins' mother, Angie, was quoted as saying "their generosity moves me . . . what they do is life changing".

It was heartening to hear of such dedication and generosity at a time when we have been bombarded with stories of the obscenely high executive salaries/pensions in organisations like CRC, Rehab, etc – some even having the nerve to tell us they should be earning more and are entitled to bonuses but have (generously) not taken them for four years!

Do these people realise or care about the enormous damage being done to the whole charity sector?

Well done to Dr Kiely and fellow surgeons for the wonderful work you do.

JOHN O'DONOGHUE

MOHILL, CO LEITRIM

HELPING CHILDREN

* I write regarding Sinead Moriarty's comment piece entitled 'We're too busy being paranoid to help a child in distress' (Irish Independent, March 28).

About three years ago, I noticed two small children playing on a narrow path outside a newsagent's beside a very busy roundabout in south Co Dublin. I advised the older one, a five-year-old boy, to please be very careful as it was just at dusk and traffic was heavy.

They were still there when I came out and I asked if their mother was in the shop. They said, 'No, she's gone to work'. It transpired that the five-year-old was 'looking after' his three-year-old sister. I took them to the far side of the road where the path was much wider and safer, and decided I should wait with them until a parent arrived to collect them.

Around 20 minutes later, I asked the boy if he knew where his house was and he pointed to the far side of the roundabout. It seems he had navigated this roundabout safely earlier!

We began to walk, me hoping we were going the right way, and the children chatting away happily. We reached their house about 10 minutes later to find people running around frantically looking for them, including their father who had just fallen asleep in the chair and was horrified to know they had gone so far from home.

I was very glad that I was the person who found them, but the thing is it never crossed my mind to call the police or that my motives might be suspect to anyone. I just wanted to know that they got safely home.

As a mother of four adult children, I would always be very aware of a child with apparently no adult accompanying them.

LILIAN CHAMBERS

BLACKROCK, DUBLIN

TIME FOR THE UNSELFIE

* The so-called selfie in our brave new world serves as the ultimate distraction. One's self.

This, if I may say so, to use a word of some disputation currently, is little short of being "disgusting".

Great hardship is being endured by men, women and children in this country and in countries across the world, and to propagate the concept that the self or narcissistic preoccupation should prevail is to veer dangerously close to fascism.

It is a time not for the selfie but for the antithesis of the selfie.

The unselfie.

JOHN KELLY

MULLINGAR, CO WESTMEATH

21ST-CENTURY THINKING

* There is need for far fresher ideas than those implemented by Government (Editorial, Irish Independent, March 31) to overcome the unemployment problems that are accumulating in an entirely unprecedented work situation.

Work is being eliminated on a truly massive scale by rampant automation and much more than stopgap programmes for a few is needed.

There is need on a world basis, or at least a large trading bloc such as the EU or US, to move to much shorter hours, longer holidays and earlier retirement for all.

The maths are simple; more people working less or fewer people working more.

There is also need for Government to generate much more public service employment. Private enterprise will require fewer people even working shorter hours as technology advances.

Employment change is the most urgent crisis we face; greater even than climate change. If employment escalates out of control, as it will without drastic action, and society breaks down, climate change will matter only to the birds.

We need 21st-century thinking for 21st-century employment. There seems little sign of any yet.

PADRAIC NEARY

TUBBERCURRY, CO SLIGO

Irish Independent

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