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Pension pain

Dear Taoiseach, I am writing to you to express my utter disappointment in your lack of backbone and your clear U-turn on your promise to end the cronyism that put our wonderful country in the dire situation it faces on a daily basis.

I feel physically sick when I pick up the newspaper and listen to the radio and hear that people are going without heat, food and medical attention, in what can only be classed as an attempt to further line the pockets of the rich in our society.

You have promised to end this behaviour. Yet we see further cuts to the most vulnerable of our society -- those who helped your generation through some of the most difficult times -- and you reward them by taking away their basics rights of warmth, nourishment and basic healthcare.

You have protected your 'friends', elected and promoted these people, ensuring their fat pay packets while all the time asking Ireland to support and understand your decisions to take more and more from those who believed in you.

You are driving an entire generation of Irish people from our shores and leaving a bitter taste in their mouths for years to come.

You are an utter disgrace to a country that I was once proud to call my home and for your sake I can only wish that you, in your heart, believe that you are on the right path, as I, for one, having behaved as you have done, would not be able to sleep at night.

Name and address with editor

The deductions from pay of public service pensions last January and the increasing tax burdens have been most injurious to older public servants who made agreements on pension contributions in the 1940s and 1950s with the governments of the time.

Those who are now approaching 90 years of age have large medical bills for which there is no allowance, apart from a small number of listed items. Consider my case -- both my wife and I are invalids denied medical cards, who have various outlays on health requirements for which there is no compensation.

This health problem is typical of old age and there are many others like us who tried to make provision for the declining years, only to have pensions decimated and more tax added. Is this the way to treat the closing years of the lives of people who were loyal servants of the State, and who contributed so much to the wellbeing of the country, paying taxes as high as 60pc along the way?

K McGarry
Address with editor

It was reported that the latest Revenue tax letters caused "terror" for pensioners.

Surely the greatest reason for terror is the revelation that the highest paid and most cosseted civil service in the world botched the management of the most important aspect of the economy of one of the smallest countries in the same world.

With what confidence can the natives of the island of Ireland face the future, under the management of such negligent governance?

Ted O'Keeffe
Ranelagh, D6

As one who received "that tax" letter, I have to finally admit to myself that I now have a problem with drink. . . I cannot afford it.

Tom Gilsenan
Beaumont, D9

I wish to complain about the blanket coverage that was given to the issue of tax due by pensioners when the story hit the news on RTE on Friday, January 6, and over the weekend in the print media.

The very mention of the word "pensioner" conjures up images of two old people sitting by a fireplace, throwing their last piece of coal on to a fire. However, when I heard one man state on the Pat Kenny show last Friday that he was in receipt of a work pension of €33,000 a year, plus his state pension, it occurred to me that the coverage was quite excessive compared to that of the Government's introduction of a .06pc levy on private pensions earlier this year.

My reason behind the comparison of the two situations is because I was affected by the .06pc levy, in addition to being one of 400,000 unemployed. My pension scheme was wound up, with approximately 11 years' service going into a retirement bond with Irish Life, and was then subject to the levy.

Where was the level of media exposure given to that particular situation and who might have been affected by it's introduction?

My final point is that since the recession came about in 2008, all of the people who are currently unemployed have lost jobs mainly from the private sector, so perhaps it is time that the Croke Park agreement was torn up. What coverage is being given to that particular issue?

Terry O'Connor
Address with editor

Pol O Cionsaligh (Jan 7) is being incredibly naive when he asks: "Why don't the Revenue Commissioners go after all the big tax evaders instead of vulnerable and soft targets like the pensioners?"

Doesn't he realise that the former can afford clever accountants and lawyers who can drag out disputes for so long that it is simply not cost-effective to try to get any money out of them.

Pensioners are much easier to deal with since their income can easily be seized at source, even before it gets into their bank accounts.

Martin D Stern
Hanover Gdns, Salford, England

Irish Independent