Friday 22 March 2019

Letters to the Editor: 'Working hard to buy your own home doesn't involve luck'

'Speaking on RTÉ, John Moran refers to people
'Speaking on RTÉ, John Moran refers to people "lucky" enough to own houses in good areas' (stock photo)
Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor

One statistic that screams out is that 66pc of people over the age of 65 want to remain in mainstream housing, which seems to mean their own homes.

Why, then, is there a never-ending rant about "age-friendly neighbourhoods", "age-appropriate accommodation", "financial incentives to downsize", "options to right size", "under occupancy" etc etc?

This entirely new vocabulary only concerns 34pc of the older generation at present, since the vast majority have no interest in this kind of subtle eviction.

However, the objective here is to incentivise older people to "right size to appropriately sized units", so those statistics may change. Speaking on RTÉ, John Moran refers to people "lucky" enough to own houses in good areas.

If those people inherited a nice house, they paid extortionate inheritance tax. If they didn't inherit, they missed holidays, drove old cars and generally slaved for 40 years to pay massive mortgages because that is what they wanted.

Would Mr Moran explain to us all which cohort here he believes was "lucky"?

Margaret Docherty Terenure,

Dublin 6W

Many taxpayers feel that they've already paid enough

The discussion at the moment is on how to convince those of us getting older to downsize so as to free up our "luxury homes" so that others can benefit.

Social housing, by the way, was meant to be for those who primarily couldn't afford their own houses, and not a rite of passage.

There is now a movement or consensus in this country whereby anyone who is in receipt of social welfare, who contributes very little or nothing by way of direct taxes, can obtain social housing.

As a taxpayer who's paid his fair share of taxes and still does, why should I have the burden of looking after others who contribute little, or nothing, to the Exchequer?

There is a sense of entitlement in this country that if we don't work or don't contribute then we should still be entitled to free money, and free or low-rent housing.

While those of us who worked and paid our taxes were hit with reductions in pay by over 20pc under Fempi legislation in 2010 and the introduction of USC and other wage reduction measures to pay for banking, building and political incompetence, there were little or no reductions of welfare benefits.

A Department of Finance document published in 2018 showed that 1.3 million people receive social welfare benefits while more than 600,000 receive child benefit payments for 1.2 million children, approximately.

While we exclude those on State pensions, disability or carers allowances, the cost to the taxpayer is €20bn per annum. It's all too convenient to expect society to pay for someone else's choices, good or bad, and for them to benefit from those choices, while those of us who have scrimped and saved and paid direct taxes and bought our own homes, after clearing our mortgages, did not benefit from these golden handouts.

Christy Galligan, Letterkenny,

Co Donegal

Sociology is crucial in giving students a rounded education

We note that the original decision to make history an optional subject at Junior Cert level is being reviewed.

Geography is not being considered, even though it also became a non-mandatory subject at the same time. Nor are any other subjects, including sociology.

As sociologists engaged in the study of social change over time, we fully understand and support the need for young students to learn about the past, and welcome a debate as to how this might be best achieved.

But we also urge the Government to equally review the role of other non-compulsory humanities and social science subjects on the curriculum, in a more inclusive and balanced way.

It is crucial that students develop a rounded education about the world in which we live.

Sociology, which provides critical skills for the interpretation and understanding of contemporary societies, social, cultural and historical change, social policies and major societal challenges (in areas such as crime, religion, the media, governance, social inequalities, migration, education, gender, work, violence and family life) should be included.

The capacity to understand and interpret the present through sociology, combined with knowledge of the past, is a requisite skill for future leaders and citizens.

We urge the Education Minister to consider the role of sociology on the compulsory curriculum in conjunction with reviewing history, which is just one and not the only subject in the Junior Cert cycle.

Professor Séan Ó Riain, professor of sociology, Prof Linda Connoll, Prof Jane Gray, Prof Pat O'Connor, Prof Tom Inglis, Prof G Honor Fagan, Prof Siniša Malešević, Prof Eoin Devereux

Irish Independent

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