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Non Green Property Rent Allowance To Go?
Tenants who live in rented accommodation which does not meet new energy
efficiency standards are likely lose their rent allowance. Energy Minister Eamon Ryan said regulations to be introduced
before the end of the year will force landlords into upgrading their properties into warmer and cleaner homes.
the plan, leased flats and houses that do not meet set standards on the Building Energy Rating system will no longer be eligible
for relief. The move is one of 90 measures in the National Energy Efficiency Action Plan, published yesterday, designed to
significantly cut Ireland’s energy use by 2020.
Rent allowance was paid to more than 74,000 people last
year, up 15,000 on the previous year. The projected cost for the scheme for 2009 is €461 million. Mr Ryan insisted
by targeting the tenant allowance, landlords will be pressured into carrying out the work, such as retro-fitting insulation.
"The rent allowance is very significant, several hundred million euro the State is giving out every year. So it is right that
we should insist that we are going to have a good standard of accommodation with it. "We are going to require those landlords
to improve their buildings, cut back the fuel bills and cut back our overall use of fossil fuels and our emissions." Tenants
can claim as much as €1,600 a year in rent relief, and under the new regulations, will only be able to claim this if
the property is deemed energy efficient.
Mr Ryan said his department will be finalising the details over the
coming months to allow building energy assessors to test properties registered for rent relief.
There are several
hundred thousand properties that have no insulation or proper energy efficiency measures, he said. The minister accepted there
were slum properties most in need of improvements, which may not be registered for relief, but said the Government would act
immediately on registered properties.
The Wire In The Mire
As if to show
how screwed up they are in their thinking in these tight economic times, there is to be built another huge useless statue
which has already been dubbed "the wire in the mire". A 48m metal figure on the banks of the Liffey which will loom over
the city. It will be constructed from an open latticework of steel coated with bitumen, incorporating previously unused techniques.
A name for the work has not yet been decided upon,
as Gormley believes "it has to be in the world before you name it." But not everyone is happy with
the proposal. The East Wall Residents Association said it planned to
object to the project because there had been no public consultation.
Update: Common sense
has prevailed. Its has been shelved.
The DDDA said in a statement that the project was being "postponed
temporarily", and would be kept "under review, adding that it was "very pleased" with the granting of planning permission.
"However, given the current economic environment, the Docklands Authority will not be proceeding with this development."
Are You Being Charged
is growing anger and concern over the vast difference in sterling rates and the Euro in Ireland. Products that advertise a
sterling cover price are being sold to customers at a price that at counter tills in Ireland, are exceptionally over the rate
A simple example of this is the British
magazines on our newsstands. Magazines that carry a sterling price of £3.99 end up being sold in Ireland across the counter
as high as 7/8 Euro!
Many businesses have tried to justify the vast difference in the prices (beyond exchange rates)
citing transport costs, etc but it has become increasingly all too aware by the public, that they are being ripped off and
sadly, there is no one yet in our state departments willing to do anything about it. Independent watchdog bodies that exist
have recently commented on this situation and are continuing to watch the ongoing situation. In relation to this area of business
however, their authoritative powers need to be increase for them to become more effective in combating this public viewed
An example of the reported issue by the media, can be
found by clicking here.
Prison or Holiday Camp?
The Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL), the Irish Penal
Reform Trust (IPRT) and Free Legal Aid Centers went complaining to the UN Human Rights Committee about our prisons on Monday
the 14th of July. Their complaint was that the conditions of the prisons were shockingly bad, despite the prisoners having
snooker tables, other sports facilities, TV's (flatscreens too) as well as radios, phones, libraries, computers, education
facilities and multi-assorted drugs to say the least as their disposal at short notice!
ESB Staff Get Special Treatment
IBEC has said the decision by the ESB to pay a 3.5% increase
to staff at a time when cutbacks are needed is disturbing.
Chief economist Danny McCoy was speaking outside
Government Buildings where talks between the social partners on spending cuts are continuing.
He said the pay increase
sends out the wrong signal at this time.
Meanwhile, ICTU General Secretary David Begg said if more companies followed the
ESB example, there would be fewer workers struggling to make ends meet.
Ryanair to impose
new €30 surcharge
(4th Feb' 2009)
'Low-cost' carrier Ryanair is to impose a €30 surcharge on customers who cannot
cram all their duty-free purchases into the one item of on-board baggage allowed per person.
Handbags, laptops, duty-free
shopping and briefcases will count as separate items under new baggage restrictions being operated by their airline.
And anyone who cannot or who refuses to squash their box of chocolates or personal computer into their suitcase will face
being put off the plane unless they stump up the additional fee.
(New visitors must register - free)
Only 12 TDs Now Making Pay Sacrifice
to report in the Irish Independent (here) only 12 of our national TD's are taking cuts. This
is all the while they are on the whole pushing the rest of us to take even larger cuts in our lifestyle, savings and incomes!
Is this a further smacking of hypocrisy the public is continuing to ask?
The Perks Of Government
Our present glorious leader
is paid €70,000 more than the head of the Labour party in England. Add to that a near €40,000 extra he gets in
perks, it adds up to quite a wage.
The taxpayer is now forking
out nearly €100,000 in unvouched expenses for TDs every day they attend the Dail.
Unlike practically every other worker in the
State, the elected representatives do not have to provide receipts proving they spent the money. And
the majority of backbench TDs receive allowances on top of their basic pay for service as chairs, vice-chairs or whips on
one of the 20 Oireachtas committees. This means that the average expenses claimed by TD during
the first 10 months of 2008 amounted to €39,905 each -- €6,000 more than the average industrial wage. On top of this, the country's 60 senators claimed almost €3m between January and November last year. The generous agreement which allows them to claim lavish expenses is unsurprisingly set by the Oireachtas which
they run. Mileage, overnight allowances and office costs are all payable unvouched.
Just for showing up, TDs who live within 15 miles
of Leinster House are entitled to €61.33 in travel and subsistence. Those who live 16 miles and further away are given
€139.67 for overnight expenses. Each TD is also provided with €40,090 to employ an
office secretary, although recent Freedom of Information requests have shown that many hire family members.
An analysis of expense claims for the first 10
months of last year shows that TDs claimed a whopping €6.5m, when the Dail sat for just 68 days. That works out
at €95,588 for every day the Dail was in session. On top of this, allowances received for
chairing Oireachtas committees are pensionable. Other bonuses include office equipment and stationery,
a free parking space in Leinster House and free postage of 21,000 envelopes a year.
Government Ministers are also entitled to "walking
around money". The €240-a-week extra is paid to reimburse them for money spent acting as a Minister.
The special tax-free expense was not reduced when Ministers agreed to a 10pc pay cut in the October
budget. And that is before you factor in overseas travel.
Last year, it was revealed how in just eight
month, TDs and senators (excluding the Taoiseach and Government ministers), spent over half a million euro on overseas travel.
Some 115 of the public representatives bagged junkets to destinations including Australia, Washington,
India, Egypt, Mexico and even Kazakhstan.
Thirty-six current politicians from across the political
spectrum are pocketing €700,000 a year worth of ministerial pensions -- on top of inflated salaries and massive expenses.
None of them have reached retirement age!
Among the biggest beneficiaries is former Bertie Ahearn who has a pension of
over €160,000 on top of his salary. Other 'pensioners' include the leader
of Fianna Gael Enda Kenny,
who draws a yearly pension of €15,000, and his deputy, Richard Bruton
who gets €14,041. But when Senator Brady raised the matter at
Brain Cowen's economic briefing for Fianna Fail TDs recently he says
he got "the silent treatment".
Other individuals in receipt of large State pensions
include the multi-millionaire businessman and 'God's Banker' Peter Sutherland,
who is chairman of BP, one of the world's largest multi-nationals. He collects
a yearly pension of €50,000 as a former Attorney General -- as does wealthy Senior council Harry Whelehan.
EU Emigration Proposal To Effect
21st Sept' 2009
Europe's Justice Commissioner
will today demand a change in the law in regards to emigration. Under current law the asylum seekers could be sent back to
the country where they entered the EU. But a proposal which would allow foreigners to claim asylum in any EU country they
want is currently up for change. The fact that illegal migrants can only claim asylum in the first EU country they come to
has offered huge protection to the European states as it tries to stem the tide of those drawn by generous welfare benefits
and jobs in the black economy.
The rule dates from 1997, when Tony Blair agreed them at a
summit in Dublin. Before then, however, illegal immigrants could be returned directly to the country from which they entere.
But with both the European Commission and United Nations calling for a change in the law, thousands more could soon be allowed
to make straight for Ireland and the UK.
You Got Frozen Bank Rates?
Thursday 3rd September and the ECB (European Central Bank)
has announced that it is freezing it interest rates for a whole year across Europe at just 1%. This means that mortgage holders
should now expect to hold onto their record low interest payments. However if the individual banks are not treating their
home customers in the same fashion, customers are advised by the ECB to move their mortgage elsewhere if possible or at least
start asking questions at their bank! The ECB is freezing its rates till September 2010.
Parents And Children Take Wallop
Fianna Fail and its useless head, Brian Cowen reported yesterday that he is making the children and parents of Ireland
pay by cutting the Early Childcare Supplement by 100 Euro per head. Cuts to this supplement, at a time when young parents
working in the private sector are having their salaries reduced heavily by a larger pensions levy weekly, and when their
jobs are under threat, will create hardship and provoke outrage in equal measure. The Government is looking at cutting the
supplement by up to €400m.
The Early Childcare Supplement is a direct, non-taxable payment paid monthly for each child under five and a half
who receives Child Benefit. The payment, €92 per month, or €1,104 per year, is intended to help parents of children
of that age to meet their childcare needs. Reduced now by €100, this is now to come into effect right away from March
Irish People Not legally Contained.
Are Irish people illegally contained? This question arises after IHRC president Dr Maurice Manning has stressed
that the European convention on human rights states that no one should be deprived of their liberty because of their inability
to fulfill a contractual obligation.
The numbers of people that are now being jailed for not being able to pay their bills has risen sharply. 276 people
alone were jailed last year for failing to repay loans to banks, credit unions and other financial institutions. A further
1,000 are jailed each year for refusing to pay fines imposed by the courts.
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Banks Still Screwing Irish Customers
11 May 2009
The Irish banks will have to pay back 45 million
Euro a year less than was expected it appears. They will make this saving while at the same time saving 90 million Euro by
failing to pass on interest rate cuts to their customers. On top of this it's likely that the banks will go begging to the
government again for 1.70 billion Euro as a further cash injection.
The AIB appears to want 1.1 billion Euro and the
Bank of Ireland seeking 630 million Euro. Fianna Fail Finance minister Brian Lenihan said the government would be able to
charge the banks 500 million a year but its been discovered that the figure will actually be only 455 million for providing
state guarantees for a supposed 80 billion Euro.
Also revealed is that Brian has no powers to
force the banks to pass in the cuts in interest rates to the public!
Rip Off Ireland Does Nothing!
Men in Ireland are paying over the odds
for a clean shave because of a huge mark-up on razor heads. The products sold by Gillette and other companies cost as little
as 8 cent to make, industry insiders have revealed. But consumers are charged up to a whopping €11.00 a packet
of four. A mark up in the thousands.
In England the Office of Fair Trading has decided to do something
about the situation. Meanwhile in Ireland the toothless consumer affairs department is doing nothing. The British government
watchdog is involved in a long-running inquiry into alleged collusion between manufacturers and retailers. It is alleged that
salesmen from Procter & Gamble, which bought Gillette for $57billion (£35billion) in 2005, urged retailers not to cut
the shop price of its brands.
A check of Tesco, Asda and Sainsbury's found in the UK, their three
biggest supermarkets are selling Gillette's Fusion Power cartridges at the same price. A pack of eight there costs £18.53,
and the replacement razor heads are so expensive that they are now the most shoplifted product in the High Street. Special
security measures have been introduced, including sealing the packs in boxes with an electronic tag which sets off an alarm
if it is not removed before leaving the store, and CCTV that activates if the product is removed from the shelf. A pack of
four Fusion Power cartridges costs only 20p to manufacture, plus 8p for packaging. But they are sold for £9.72 -
An industry insider said Gillette takes the lion share -
£6.28 - to cover its operating costs and make a profit. Some £1.90 goes to the retailer and £1.26 to
the Government in VAT.
The insider said: 'I know as a matter of fact that it will not cost
more than 5p to produce a refill cartridge, it is a question of pennies given the bulk involved, yet Gillette is
charging a wholesale price which is much higher. 'The figures tell you why it can afford to use stars such as Tiger
Woods on its payroll (for advertising) and how it could afford to give David Beckham a diamond-encrusted mach3 razor for Father's
Day some years back costing $54,000.
'With the Gillette products, the company is so dominant that it is able to
spell out the terms of sale, including the price they want to see, to retailers.'
As well as Beckham and Woods,
Gillette has splashed out large amounts of money on tennis stars and footballers such as Thierry Herry to help market
A recent Which? survey praised Gillette's products but gave a 'Best
Buy' rating to the King of Shaves Azor. Its four cartridge refill pack comes in at a much cheaper £4.88.
Tesco's Matrix system, which has a triple blade head, has also won
plaudits. A four cartridge refill costs only £2.20. A spokesman for Procter & Gamble said the retailers, rather than manufacturers,
set the price paid by customers. She said: 'Delivering value to our consumers is critical to our business. 'P&G determines
the (wholesale) prices at which we sell to customers primarily based on covering our costs - the cost of product
development, raw materials, processing, packaging, transport, general-expenses and marketing.'
She said that the company also needed to earn 'a sufficient return
to sustain our business' and argued that its products provide good value in terms of performance in relation to price. She
said the company was unable to comment on the OFT investigation, but added: 'Our policy is to comply with the letter and spirit
of the law everywhere we do business'
Church And Orders Remain Stubborn
In The Face Of Public Anger.
27 May, 2009
The religious orders and churches of Ireland continue
to refuse cough-up any realistic amount of revenue that might help those that was indecently treated while under their care.
As of yesterday they were continuing to shrug off the people of Ireland and their government as further contributuion from
them was demanded by the public, politicians and officials. Under a deal ten years ago that was quietly made to limit how
much they would cough up, the current money they are willing to pass over is only up to €127 million. This is flying
in the face that they own many, many properties around Ireland that run to the tune of Billions of Euro.
Knowing the serious extent of their sex crimes and
abuses for many years, they are still refusing to be held even accountable to any serious degree. Instead, they are continuing
to anger the people of Ireland by getting them to pay for the religious orders sins and crimes!
Representives of the 18 orders met two days ago
and in a joint statemant afterwards, said they were not willing to renigotiate the far inferior deal made with the government
at the time. Instead, they also added another vague statement 'we fully accept that we seriously failed vunerable people
while in our care and we have an ongoing responsibility to meet their needs'. Just how they were going to do that yet again,
remains unclear. A situation it appears the public is getting used to in regards the actions of the orders within Ireland.
Much increased anger is also aimed at those that
so far, have gotten away with their many crimes. Many having been protected from the public, smuggled out of the country in
some cases or just moved from parish to parish, they have yet to see or pay personal penalty for their horrendous crimes.
Deep seated anger is also at those that helped cover up their crimes and who are also equally accountable under the eyes of
the law for shielding the perverts within the orders.
It has emerged that Garda commisioner Fachtna Murphy
has appointed one of his most senior officers to look at the posibility of bringing further prosecutions against some of the
culprits in the near future.