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Letters to the Editor: 'Pension fiasco is tantamount to State-sponsored fraud'

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Write to Letters to the Editor, Irish Independent, 27/32 Talbot Street, Dublin 1, or email them to independent.letters@independent.ie
Name and address must be supplied for verification. Lengthy contributions may be edited. (stock photo)

Write to Letters to the Editor, Irish Independent, 27/32 Talbot Street, Dublin 1, or email them to independent.letters@independent.ie Name and address must be supplied for verification. Lengthy contributions may be edited. (stock photo)

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Write to Letters to the Editor, Irish Independent, 27/32 Talbot Street, Dublin 1, or email them to independent.letters@independent.ie Name and address must be supplied for verification. Lengthy contributions may be edited. (stock photo)

I'd like to share some thoughts and reflections about what many perceive to be the outrageous unethical fraud-facilitating old-age retirement pension provisions in Ireland in 2020.

The current old-age retirement pension debacle requires some serious reflection – in the first instance it is a hangover from a range of austerity fiscal measures championed by the Labour Party in coalition government that need to be repealed.

The banks that nearly bankrupted our economy and are now in profit are operating with a tax exemption – the banks need taxing and their tax exemption needs to be repealed. USC and pension levies remain in place whilst we expect 65-year-olds to seek Jobseekers’ Allowance; people who have never been on the dole and who have always paid their taxes.

The old-age pension fiasco needs addressing forthwith, because expecting those who have to retire at 65 to seek Jobseekers’ Allowance as a result of government legislation and an individual’s contract of employment is unethical, immoral, unconstitutional and tantamount to State-sponsored fraud.

Here’s the rub – effectively the current situation created by the former Fine Gael-Labour coalition government asks 65-year-olds who retire from employment to lie and say they’re seeking work to get Jobseekers’ Allowance as an interim pension arrangement. This situation should be tested in the courts, because it seems it’s asking people to de facto technically commit fraud.

Paul Horan

Asst Professor, Trinity College, Dublin

Defence Forces must be given representation in Cabinet

Given the neglect and mostly lip-service paid to the Defence Forces by the last two Fine Gael-led governments, it comes as no surprise that its third election manifesto is long on words and short on the actions necessary to address the many issues across the Army, Naval Service and Air Corps.

It’s clear from this manifesto that vague intentions and platitudes constitute, yet again, military policy. This approach will hold no water with members of the Defence Forces and their families on election day. They have had enough.

The Fianna Fáil manifesto, by definition, necessarily contains much similar wording to the Fine Gael one but is costed and clear on the actions that it intends taking if returned to government. Specifically, and this should be of great interest to serving personnel and their families – this party promises to restore defence as a lead portfolio in Cabinet.

This move cannot be overstated, as for the past eight years the Defence Forces were under-represented in Cabinet and the result of this political neglect and indifference at the highest level has led to the sorry situation that all branches of the Defence Forces are facing today.

Comdt Frank Russell, Ret’d

Blanchardstown, Dublin 15

Saturday election gets the vote of some working parents

I could not disagree with Larissa Nolan more (‘Sorry Leo, but Saturday vote is of no value to working parents,’ Irish Independent, January 25). It’s about time changes like this happened. As a full-time working parent with some distance from my kids’ school, additional unplanned days off cause cost, challenge and disruption. I struggle to get childcare, to pay for childcare and usually end up taking the day/time off work.

My kids already missed one day this school year for the local elections on Friday, November 29. Annually they have a huge amount of time off, plus days off for teacher training, half days for teacher meetings, early finishes for parent teacher meetings...

I’m delighted and I for one did punch the air and say ‘at last’.

Kate Cahill

Malahide, Dublin

Emphasis must be on curing not containing coronavirus

THE Chinese have always had a fascination with walls, culminating in the Great Wall of China to keep the invaders out. They soon realised that walls don’t stop things coming in. Now they have put up another set of walls around a number of cities, initially Wuhan, to stop the disease coronavirus escaping, but again the walls failed.

Coronavirus has started to spread, and we see desperate attempts to stop its spread, but the emphasis must be on curing rather than just containing the problem. The modern world moves too fast for walls to work.

The real dilemma is to find a solution using the full range of scientific research including vaccinations, often under attack from the ignorant, and antibiotics which are starting to fail in many cases because of their overuse.

There is a need for massive increases in funding for medical research.

Let’s hope there is a solution and that it is found soon.

Dennis Fitzgerald

Melbourne, Australia

Irish Independent