‘There must be a fairer way’

AN apartment in negative equity and being unable to afford a car have been made worse by the loss of about €100 a month for primary teacher Lisa McMunn.

The native of Castlebar, Co Mayo, left a public relations job to become a teacher in 2006 and is in her third year of work in a non-permanent position at St Louis Infant National School in the Dublin suburb of Rathmines, earning about €38,000 a year.

“After the income levy and the pension levy in the last year already, my take-home pay is down around €200 to just over €2,000. Now I’ll be losing around 5.4%, most of it off the first €30,000, which means I’m down another €100 every month from January,” said Lisa.

The 29-year-old bought her south Dublin home in 2005 around the peak in property prices, but says she is too frightened to have it valued.

“I’d say it’s lost at least 20% of its price and I’m in negative equity. That means I can’t even afford to sell it if I ever wanted to try and get work near home in the west of Ireland and move back there. It doesn’t help either that my apartment management fees of €1,800 have hardly come down either in the last few years,” she said.

Lisa said she adores teaching and doesn’t regret leaving a private sector job, but she will strongly support the Irish National Teachers’ Organisation (INTO) if it decides on any industrial action.

“I’m not sure I can afford to lose any more pay if we went out on strike, and I don’t want to disrupt the pupils, but I really think there must be a fairer way of finding the savings. The tax system needs to be fairer for starters and the richer people could pay more,” she said.

“There are a lot of public servants too who are close to the bread-line but they are being hit by this too, which is very unfair, particularly if they are also losing children’s allowance or have a partner out of work,” said Lisa.

She is glad to have been kept on this year at her school, which lost a number of language support staff. However, she said her ability to take a job outside Dublin may be restricted because she does not have a car.

“I had hoped that after a few years’ teaching I could afford a banger, but that certainly won’t be happening now,” she said.


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