Monday 19 February 2018

Middle Ireland is left to carry can once again

The unfairness of the situation vis-a-vis public and private pensions is clear, says Marc Coleman

IF you are sad enough to keep such things around the house, dig out Fine Gael's 2011 election manifesto and turn to page 67. There, in black and white, you will see that last Tuesday's pension levy was clearly flagged in no uncertain terms by a commitment to "a temporary, annual 0.5 per cent contribution for all private pension funds so that older beneficiaries of past tax relief make some contribution to deficit reduction".

It's worth noting in passing for two reasons: Firstly, commentators who supported Fine Gael in the election but now rail against the levy really should have done their homework. Secondly, it is only fair to to point out that Fine Gael -- the sly addition of 0.1 per cent aside -- were up front on the issue before polling day.

That, sadly, is where the fairness ends. Providing for one's old age is a basic right. Far from people being "beneficiaries" of past tax relief, those affected by last Tuesday's measure have committed no crime other than to save the State the cost of providing for their retirement by doing so themselves. The fact that Fine Gael regards exempting their efforts from taxation as some generous gift from the State speaks volumes about the statist bias in a Cabinet most of whose members are former public servants.

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