Greed of fat cats making us suffer
Madam -- I was amazed to read in your paper that the "fat cats" who caused the collapse of our economy are to be allowed live the lifestyle that they are "used to". People who are suffering because of these greedy fat cats are not just losing their jobs, homes, enduring the break-up of families through emigration but are carrying the burden of the debts these fat cats caused. To add insult to injury I read that these greedy people are to be allowed buy back some of the assets Nama took from them, but at a lower rate. This brought me to quickly scan what is happening in Dail Eireann.
And it reads like the Mad Hatter's Tea Party. We have Dr Reilly being registered in Stubbs Gazette for owing money, as his party colleague Alan Shatter tells people who owe money that they should sell their jewellery to pay off their debts. We have ordinary business people going to jail for not meeting their obligation on VAT. Meanwhile Mick Wallace sits in the Dail. Then along comes Minister Phil Hogan and his entourage with a bill of €9,000 for a one-day trip abroad, the man who tells us we must raise extra cash through new septic tank charges, water and household charges. Have I missed anything? Then the icing on the cake: we read that Sean Quinn's family want €2,000 a week each to live on. I suggest we give them, and the other fat cats, the same as what the people on social welfare get to live on.
Then just to make sure we are all doing as we are told, the Taoiseach has been flying in the Government jet, 26 times from July 2011 to June 2012, at a cost of €3,790 an hour. That is one very expensive cherry to finish this sorry tale off. The only people who have suffered from all the greed are the people who did not cause it, and those that did, walked away with big pensions, and the other greedy fats cats have been given a second chance, while poverty and fear is the diet of the ordinary citizen who played no part is this economic treason.
Raheny, Dublin 5
Big spender Phil lets down voters
Madam -- I could hardly believe the article in the Sunday Independent (July 29, 2012) which reported on a delegation led by Minister Phil Hogan spending €9,000 on a 24-hour trip to Luxembourg. Has this man any sense of responsibility to the Irish people? It was not even the Irish taxpayers' money which he spent but money given in the bailout. It was not Phil Hogan's to spend in such a cavalier fashion, when this country is just about scraping by each day. What must AJ Chopra and Angela Merkel think?
Minister Hogan is now cutting funding to Tipperary county councils because people did not pay the household charge, again another example of the stupidity of this Government. I paid the household charge on time so I am to be penalised for doing that? Next time round, Minister, I will think twice before I pay anything to this Government.
Your next attempt at collecting funds will be much more difficult given what you are doing to the people of Tipperary. I am quite sure that the people in the IMF will look more closely at how this Government spends the Irish taxpayers' money. Our problems are not being caused by the little people of this country but by an arrogant, irresponsible Government. Roll on the next general election, the Irish people have enough of this lot.
Clonmel, Co Tipperary
Police forces are 'fit for purpose'
Madam -- Eamon Delaney paints a depressing picture of the gardai, but are they "unfit for purpose"? (Sunday Independent July 29, 2012). Here in the UK the police face similar problems to the Garda Siochana and are constantly under the microscope of public scrutiny. Divisional commanders are charged with the task of reducing social disorder and eradicating crime, an impossible demand which the police on their own are unable to deliver.
Social deprivation, long-term unemployment, welfare dependency and the endemic misuse of drugs are all factors which have a significant influence on behaviour and strategies introduced to address these issues will have a greater impact on law and order then posting a bobby on every street corner.
The police are not immune to the austerity measures. Cuts have resulted in staff reductions, the closure of police stations and the provision of less favourable pension arrangements, which all undermine police morale.
Despite all these factors, I do believe that the police here in the UK ( and the Republic also, I suspect) are far from being "unfit for purpose" but are responding in stoic fashion to the complex policing demands of a developed yet changing society.
Don't bank on house price rise
Madam -- Your correspondent Louise McBride (Sunday Indepdent (July 29) described factors providing hope for sellers that the bottom of the property market has been reached, such as the shortage of high-end properties in desirable locations, and repeated sellers' claims that the main impediment to price rises is that banks are not lending. However she and other commentators persistently fail to mention the elephants in the room when it comes to property prices.
Notionally demand is infinite, as everybody wants to own their own home, but demand really means ability to pay. In the coming years we can expect ongoing job and pay cuts, cuts to welfare, and tax increases for all until the State's books are balanced. Inevitably fewer people will have the means to secure ever smaller mortgages. The reduction of state rent supplements will hit landlords, while property taxes at even 1 per cent of value would add an extra month of mortgage payments each year.
However there are indications that restrictions will be loosened so that buy-to-let properties may soon be subject to repossession, and the upcoming personal insolvency bill should see some family homes handed back too.
Taking a figure of 90,000 properties in arrears, split between 40,000 buy-to-let and 50,000 owner-occupied, if we suppose 20,000 (50 per cent) buy-to-let and 5,000 (10 per cent) owner-occupied are repossessed and sold off, we can expect at some point to see 25,000 extra properties up for sale.
This is equivalent to a 100 auctions every single week for five years. A flood of receiver-sale properties to the market of this magnitude would exert huge downward pressure on prices.
The only thing that can avert these circumstances is sustained economic growth. However unlikely this may be, the sting in the tail is that when growth is achieved the ECB will raise interest rates, heaping pressure back on those in arrears, and reducing the ability of new customers to obtain mortgages.
While some buyers may have cash to compete for property, prudent buyers will remain in the wings until things have played out.
The banks rightly remain reluctant to underwrite what currently appears to be fools' wagers on a resurgent market, unless the gambler is a cast-iron certainty to repay regardless of the outcome of their bet.
McCarthy's war theory nuked
Madam -- Colm McCarthy, in his piece last week ("We have to accept that more cuts and higher taxes are on the way"), tells us that in the Second World War in Asia General 'Vinegar Joe' Stillwell, dismissing theories to bring about an early end to the war, asserted: "No matter how a war starts, it ends in mud. It has to be slugged out -- there are no trick solutions or cheap shortcuts". Stillwell was proved wrong, so the analogy is faulty. The Americans dropped atom bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, which forced Japan into surrender.
Could your esteemed columnist extrapolate how Ireland might behave in this scenario?
Carrickaboy, Co Cavan