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Budget

End Special Tax Deal for Top Earners

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The Social Democrats have strongly criticised the Government’s proposal in the Finance Bill to extend the Special Assignee Relief Programme (SARP) until 2020. The SARP relief was introduced in 2012 and was due to expire at the end of 2017. It is aimed at reducing the cost to employers of so-called special “high-end” staff by providing special tax benefits to these individuals. Latest Revenue figures (2014) indicate that the average Read More

Abandonment of FG’s Universal Health Insurance plans was always on the cards

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Press Statement on the abandonment of plans for Universal Health Insurance   The commitment to a system of Universal Health Insurance based on the Fine Gael Fair-Care policy was never a feasible proposition. Rather than facing up to that fact early in the life-time of the Government, the Cabinet seemed happy to accept the Minister for Health’s assurances on the viability of the plan. The result is that the past Read More

Carers Waiting 35 weeks for Welfare Decision while same Department is doling out free Water Conservation Grants

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Applicants for Carer’s Allowance are waiting 35 weeks on average for a decision on their payment according to a Dáil reply. The Dáil reply (see at end) sets out the long average waiting time across a number of schemes including: Carer’s Allowance 35 weeks Disability Allowance 32 weeks Invalidity Pension 21 weeks State Pension Non-Contributory 20 weeks When waiting times for appeals are excluded, the waiting times for carers allowance Read More

Plans for Metro and Bus services

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The Government recently announced funding for transport projects including those in north Dublin.   The plan now is to proceed with a scaled-down Metro North project linking Swords, the airport and Ballymun to the City Centre.   The plan is to have a tunnel from the City Centre to Ballymun Road with a portal on Ballymun Road somewhere between Griffith Avenue and Collins Avenue (the exact location has yet to Read More

The Government’s plan for Water Charges – Does it stack up?

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Photo Credit: Nic McPhee (flickr) Licence: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/   One of the outstanding questions yet to be answered by the Government is just how much it will cost to run the overall water charging scheme, including collecting charges and paying grants – and if these costs render the whole project unviable. A member of the public contacted me over the weekend, and produced the following figures. It is truly shocking that our Government Read More

Water Charges – How things currently stand

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The introduction of water charges has been an absolute shambles. Instead of recognising this and halting the introduction of the charges in the Budget, the Government has done yet another u-turn and decided to introduce a series of reduced charges.   The new water charges are as follows:   For a single adult a standard charge of €160 has been set. For households with two or more adults a standard Read More

Budget 2015 – The more you earn, the more you gain

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Budget 2015 was yet another regressive Budget where the richer sections of our society gained much more than those on low and middle incomes.   Here are just some examples of how Budget 2015 will operate in practice….   Maura compared to Laura   Maura Maura is in part-time work on a salary of €9,000. Maura gains nothing from the Budget – counting water charges she will be worse off in 2015. Read More

Campaign for Fairer Funding for Primary Schools

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Photo Credit: Tommy Clancy (photographer) Róisín meeting INTO representatives as part of their pre-Budget “Room to Bloom” campaign. The campaign is seeking Smaller class size. Sustainable networks of schools. A new model of teaching support for special education. Increased release time for teaching principals. Salary restoration for primary teachers to ensure a pipeline for the future. Fairer funding for the primary sector.