Tuesday 18 December 2018

Cut to mortgage relief was brutal - and won't be forgotten

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar. Photo: Mark Condren
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar. Photo: Mark Condren
Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor

The Taoiseach promised a break for the working classes, who pay for everything, including welfare for the unemployed, etc.

He gave an extra five euro per week for welfare, yet only a pittance in tax and USC relief. Then came the sting in the tail: who was going to fund the welfare increases? Very simple answer: cut the mortgage relief on the workers.

This was the most despicable and unnecessary cut ever made by any government, because the real kick in the teeth will be felt by the working classes over the next 20 or 30 years left on their mortgages.

They will then realise what an ugly and sinister move that was imposed on them. One thing that baffles me is why are the union reps so silent on this issue? Do they hope that it will be accepted quietly by the people who pay for their own homes, their own health insurance (which is almost compulsory), medical, dental, pension plans, school and college costs (no grants), etc?

If they are not exhausted, I appeal to all workers to contact their unions, TDs and councillors, and voice their anger, and threaten action at the next election.

If the unions do not act, simply stop your membership contributions, as they are a total waste anyway. They are the same unions that allowed governments over the years to halve the tax relief on mortgages and health insurance, so why should we expect any action from them now?

Of course, TDs know that the unemployed and pensioners have loads of time and energy to vote, whereas the workers are too exhausted and depressed to bother, so that explains the fiver. Why aren't elections held on weekends, when workers might have the time and energy to vote? The long-term TDs know the answer.

Finally, Leo and Micheál, get one of your well-paid advisers to read what happened to Brutus and his cronies after Mark Antony used the phrase "this was the most unkindest cut of all". In modern Ireland, the plebs will use the ballot box rather than the sword.

S O Donncha

Co Galway

 

Evil attackers will never triumph

As Shakespeare wrote, "A coward dies a thousand times before his death, but the valiant taste of death but once". What would he write in the modern world, where one coward can use a simple weapon to kill so many people leading innocent lives? His beauty with words would still be stumped to explain this evil. Seeking divine intervention would not help, as no religion would ever condone this evil, and misuse of their beliefs.

This is a time for individuals to turn outwards to examine the world they live in, and to remember that the evil of a few does not overcome the good of the greater majority. The good will prevail.

Dennis Fitzgerald

Melbourne, Australia

 

Polish influence keeps the beat

Aoife Carrigy wrote a lovely article on Polish food ('From pierogi to pickles: learning to love cuisine', Irish Independent, October 31). Following her question "given how many Polish people now call Ireland home, to what extent has their food culture influenced Irish food culture?", I'd like to highlight another aspect of the Polish culture that has already influenced the Irish culture: the mazurka.

After the third partition of Poland in 1795 - when all Poland's territories were taken by Russia, Prussia and Austria - Jan Henryk Dabrowski settled in Milan, where he created the Polish Legions. The Polish national anthem ('Mazurek Dabrowskiego') originates from the legions, and in 1840, some of the legionaries settled in Donegal, where they played their mazurkas - which soon became a part of the Irish traditional music in Donegal and received their name in Irish: masúrca.

But Irish music has also influenced the mazurkas - unlike the original Polish "mazurek" (with an accent oscillating between the second and third beat of a bar - lending it, so to speak, a nostalgic character), the Donegal masúrca is consistently accented on the second beat (which gives them a more cheerful, syncopated character); and the musician Caoimhín Mac Aoidh (who wrote a book 'From Mazovia to Meenbanad: The Donegal Mazurkas') tracked down 32 different mazurkas in Ireland.

Grzegorz Kolodziej

Bray, Co Wicklow

 

Irish language has Oscar tradition

May I correct your report that the Oscar listing of 'Rocky Ros Muc' is the first time for an Irish language film to make the longlist of 170 films for Best Documentary at the Academy Awards ('Irish language film 'Rocky Ros Muc' first to be longlisted for an Oscar', Irish Independent, November 1).

In fact, the Gael Linn film 'Páistí ag Obair' (Children at Work), holds the distinction of being the first Irish language film to be so honoured. Directed by Louis Marcus, the film was one of five nominations for Best Short Documentary at the 1974 Oscars. The voice-over as Gaeilge was written by Breandán Ó hEithir and spoken by Annraoi Ó Liatháin.

Antoine Ó Coileáin

Príomhfheidhmeannach, Gael Linn

35 Sráid an Dáma BÁC 2

 

Relishing the clash of the titans

What incredible value at a tenner a head to see the (by far) two best teams in the country, Cork City and Dundalk, contest the cup final in the Aviva, Sunday next. Surely enough to bring a smile to the face of any soccer fan? May the best team grin.

Tom Gilsenan

Beaumont D9

 

Strikes are down to State cuts

The strike by Irish Rail workers affected the travel plans of more than 150,000 commuters, and four more strikes are planned over the next six weeks. This strike hasn't adversely affected me. However, had it done so, I wouldn't have blamed the striking workers, rather I would have laid the blame at the door of the Government, and the voices of big business whispering in its ear.

This strike has been one of a number by public transport workers in recent years. Both the travelling public and striking workers are pawns in a plan being implemented by Government which isn't, in the least, complex or opaque. It amounts to continually reducing the State subsidy to these entities until they reach a point where management is forced to claim the wage demands of the workers - in this case a perfectly reasonable 3.75pc a year for three years, after a decade of no pay rises - will leave the company financially bereft. This is, exactly, what successive governments have done since about 2007.

This strategic underfunding is the common thread in these strikes. It isn't difficult to see who the potential victors are - the private operators who will arrive armed with the usual plans for increased efficiencies, streamlining, route rationalisation and, of course, inferior wages and working conditions for employees.

JD Mangan

Stillorgan, Co Dublin

Irish Independent

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