Wednesday 13 December 2017

FF/Greens ministers claimed €86,665 in tax breaks in last days of power

ELEVEN junior ministers claimed €86,665 in tax breaks for keeping second homes in Dublin in the dying days of the Fianna Fail and Green Party government.

The latest figures for the 2010 tax year show that the perk cost €35,532 in tax forgone. The perk lets ministers living outside the capital claim tax breaks on Dublin properties. They are allowed to write off the cost of mortgage interest and can claim tax relief on their utility bills, repairs and maintenance of the property.

The Revenue refuses to disclose who the government ministers are who availed of the second-home tax break, citing confidentiality. Taoiseach Enda Kenny vowed to abolish the tax break in 2009 but never did. The Taoiseach has a second home on Fenian Street, Dublin 2.

The allowance is now capped at €6,350 per minister -- as recommended by the Commission on Taxation.

No plans to exhibit €259,000 map

Cork city council has no intention of exhibiting a map of the city that cost €259,000 to commission. The council said the giant knitted map -- which took 2,250 people almost a year to produce -- is now stored in an authority-owned warehouse with no costs arising.

The council admitted that it has no plans to exhibit the giant map of Cork city -- despite what it cost to produce.

'Criminalise men who use prostitutes'

A call for men buying sex to be criminalised has been made as prostitution grows in the small towns of Ireland.

Anti-trafficking organisation Ruhama said the sex trade was now largely run from brothels in residential or commercial areas, rather than through "street prostitution". Spokesperson Gerardine Rowley said: "Those buying sex should be criminalised. This is only way we can stamp out this trade." She spoke following a crackdown by gardai last week on prostitution in Leitrim and Cavan.

No winner of €4.2m Lotto jackpot

There was no winner of last night's €4,207,060 Lotto jackpot. The numbers were 2,4,9,21,22,38 (bonus 43).

There was one Match 5+bonus winner who gets €25k; 58 Match 5 winners (€1,279); 96 Match 4+bonus (€194); 2,585 Match 4s (€44); 2,336 Match 3+bonus (€33); and 42,538 Match 3s (€5 each). The Lotto Plus 1 numbers were 12, 14, 29, 32, 43, 44 (bonus 11) and the Lotto Plus 2 numbers were 12, 23, 25, 31, 36, 39 (bonus 13).

In the stg£14.9m UK lotto jackpot, the numbers were 2, 6, 7, 15, 25, 44 (bonus 45).

Cost of filling Lenihan's seat? €400k

The Dublin-West by-election to fill the Dail seat vacated by the death of Brian Lenihan cost more than €400,000. The costs included €92,000 for the returning-officer fees, fees for one additional poll clerk per ballot box, count staff, clerical and administration costs.

Minister for Expenditure and Reform Brendan Howlin told Fianna Fail TD Niall Collins that an astonishing €274,707 was incurred for the free-postage scheme for candidates and a further €10,460 by the OPW.

Tribunal costs jump by another €3.5m

THE cost of the Mahon tribunal rose last week when it was revealed that the Department of Communications had racked up previously unknown costs of €3.5m.

Figures given to the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) show that of that sum, €2.8m went on legal fees and €435,000 on administration. Latest figures presented to the PAC by the Department of the Environment show the taxpayer faces a final bill of at least €196m for the Mahon Tribunal -- and not all third-party costs are yet known.

Clarification

In LAST Sunday's coverage of RTE's appearance before a Dail Oireachtas Committee, we incorrectly linked RTE Authority chairman Tom Savage to Carr Communications.

Neither Tom Savage nor his wife Terry Prone has any connection with Carr Communications. Carr Communications is owned by Donal Cronin (executive director) and Fergus Hoban (non-executive director).

Air-ambulance staff threaten to quit

Six supervisors drafted in to man the air-ambulance control centre in the wake of the Maedhbh McGivern liver transplant fiasco threatened to resign their posts at midnight last night in a row with the HSE over "grave safety concerns" they have over their new duties.

In July 2011, teenager Maedhbh's joy in learning that a donor had become available turned to despair, when the chance was lost due to a transport logistical foul-up.

More patrols after Forty Foot bust-up

Gardai are expected to step up patrols of beaches and bathing areas in Dublin after a day out in the sunshine ended in bloodshed at Dublin's Forty Foot last week.

The swimming spot became a battleground, with four people hospitalised and three arrested after a group of men from Crumlin and East Wall clashed after spending the day drinking last Thursday.

TV Miriam's firm 'deficient in assets'

TV star Miriam O'Callaghan's company, Baby Blue Productions, has reported a 'deficiency of assets' of €59,079. According to documents filed in the company's office last week, the financial situation of the company required it to call an extraordinary general meeting.

Hidden treasures of Ireland exposed

Enthusiasts for the Ireland that lies behind the more conventional tourist trails can find out more about the delights of Laois. A new book, The Built Curiosities of Laois, by JWH Carter, detailing 15 tours worth taking in Laois, is to be launched next Wednesday at 6.15pm.

Former minister leaves €462,729

Justin Keating, the former government minister and retired university professor, who died on December 31, 2009, has left €462,729 in his will. The son of the painter Sean Keating, he was head of agriculture programmes at RTE, before becoming a Labour Party TD and later minister for industry and commerce in the coalition government of 1973-1977. Mr Keating, who lived in Ballymore Eustace, Co Kildare, was instrumental in the state taking a stake in Tara Mines.

Other wills: (Michael) Paul Walls, Lissenhall Bridges, Swords, Co Dublin, businessman, €3,718,816; Gerard Carroll, actuary, Ashurst, Military Road, Killiney, Co Dublin, €2,374,430; Colum Moran, company director, Ballydowd, Lucan, Co Dublin, €1,978,409; Herbert L Ashmore, farmer, Corries, Bagenalstown, Co Carlow, €1,802,272; Niall McCrudden, company director, Griffith Avenue, Dublin, €1,363,542; and Margaret Murphy, farmer, Cashel Leap, Co Cork, €1,331,003.

The value of wills include property and should not be regarded as cash amounts.

Sunday Independent

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