While we see manifestos for the major parties being produced and expounded, as TDs and senators go door to door on their hustings, let me remind them of a few home truths.
They may be unpalatable but it’s the truth. But why should truth matter it never did before?
In relation to pensioners between the ages of 66 to 70 receiving a social welfare pension, they can access and benefit from a household benefits package without a means test.
People who have retired with a pension from abroad in the EU, USA, Canada and Australia, etc, are also eligible for the household benefits package.
The only group that is means-tested is retired public servants who have paid PRSI at classes B,C and D.
That means that those from abroad who retire here have right of access, as opposed to retired civil servants.
On top of this, we have the scandalous and demeaning approach adopted by Gthe overnment that a retired person must sign on for Jobskills from 65 to 66 and this, unfortunately, will be extended outwards as the years go on.
Another major anomaly is the level of Universal Social Charge (USC) that is being paid and how it discriminates against one section of society.
Let me give you a few examples.
Someone on a State pension of €12,651 and a private pension of €13,000, totalling €25,651, will not have to pay any USC.
A retired public servant on €25,561 will pay a total of €505.51 in USC contributions.
I wonder how some in government or certain parties, who will ask us for our votes, will able to square that circle.
Letterkenny, Co Donegal
Fr Ray should be content to simply be called ‘a priest’
On ‘Dancing with the Stars’, contestants are introduced by their names and pursuits most closely associated with them.
For instance, we have “Olympic medallist Michael Carruth” and “eight-times All- Ireland-winning hurler Aidan Fogarty”.
Then we have “singer Fr Ray Kelly”.
It’s not as if singing is his main occupation and he does the odd wedding and funeral service in his spare time!
There was a time in Ireland when being a priest was an occupation of status. Now it appears to me that to have that word associated with someone is something to be avoided.
What is surprising about this seemingly minor fact is that Fr Ray Kelly presumably okayed this introduction with the producers of ‘Dancing with the Stars’.
Salthill, Co Galway
Brexit and Megxit can really chime with the British public
I suggest that Britain’s Prince Harry and his wife Meghan step back from royal duties at 11pm on January 31 with a farewell bong from Big Ben.
Dr John Doherty
Mr Trump may well be right about four-year ‘witch hunt’
To any external spectator of US politics, it will be apparent that both the Republican and Democratic parties who collectively bind the legislative branch of US government are ideologically opposed to such an extent that they are unwilling to work in co-operation to pass even the most crucial legislation.
However, the impeachment process spearheaded by members of the Democratic leadership, which ultimately aims to remove President Donald Trump from office, is going to be counterproductive for the Democrats as the 2020 presidential election approaches.
It can’t be disputed that the conduct of President Trump when dealing with Ukraine must be called into question and scrutinised within the perimeters of the Congress and Senate.
But the growing desperation of Democrats to remove President Trump from office through judicial means is premature.
The reality of this impeachment process is that the Republican-controlled Senate will not convict President Trump or consent to his removal from office, but instead resoundingly exonerate him.
When this impeachment process inevitably fails, President Trump will argue that, rather then working for their constituents, the Democrats have been engaged in a bitter four-year witch hunt to remove a president who has presided over relative economic growth and stability – the definitive feature of any successful presidency.
In this instance, President Trump’s argument may be valid.
St Peter’s College, Co Wexford