The early childhood sector needs investment
We welcome the proposed Single Affordable Childcare Scheme proposed in Budget 2017.
The thrust of this scheme which moves from universal to targeted support for those most in need is particularly progressive.
We welcome the much-needed focus upon children aged from birth to three years, school-aged children, and the much needed contribution towards non-contact time for educators working with children in the ECCE scheme.
However, the measures announced in Budget 2017 will do little to address the crisis in the Early Childhood Care and Education sector which is struggling to attract and retain quality staff.
Currently, staff, many of whom hold a Bachelors Degree in Early Childhood, earn €10 per hour.
This equates to an annual salary of €20, 280 for an educator working a 39 hour week, all year round. The situation is even starker for early childhood educators who have no security of tenure, and are laid off during the summer months to claim social welfare payments.
While the Affordable Childcare Scheme will be a welcome support for parents when introduced in September 2017, a strategic and targeted investment programme is imperative to stall and prevent the exodus of highly qualified educators from the sector, and to remove them from relative poverty.
We’re dying of thirst and don’t need a wet sponge
This budget is a total farce and does nothing for the people who bore the brunt of austerity caused by the Fianna Fáil government.
They caused the crash in 2008 and its the working class who suffered all the cuts and had their pay packets reduced by €2,000 a year since then. The miserable €5 for pensioners is throwing insult to injury and those working overseas will think twice before returning home to this mess.
The high costs of buying or renting at home and the high taxes are a disgrace. The budget does nothing for the people sleeping on our streets in every town in Ireland because of landlords and agencies charging high rents. It’s like offering a wet sponge to a person dying of thirst. A total disgrace.
Fine Gael heads are in the clouds
I listened to an tAire Arigeadas, Michael Noonan’s, dead-pan budget speech and it almost drove me to tears. A week or so ago I had a similar experience as I listened with scepticism to John Curran as he relayed to listeners, that a new Fine Gael officer board had been elected at a meeting in Ballybofey.
My scepticism broke into a trot on hearing John eagerly describe a rising tide in the Donegal landscape that I certainly did not recognise.
This enlightening conversation being beamed into my home, came via Barrscéalta on Raidió na Gaeltachta.
You might be able to make a purse out of a pig’s ear, but you can’t make out that Fine Gael have been good for Donegal in any shape or form. Not being capable enough to devise a Budget that would make the ordinary citizen sleep easy in their beds certainly doesn’t help matters.
John spoke of the money being gifted to the county or words to that effect, but the reality is that we only get sporadic scrapings from the bottom of the barrel.
Boarded up garda stations and post offices, forced closure of smaller schools. Community hospitals are creaking due to not being brought up to modern guidelines because of lack of funding.
Nurses, doctors are having to work longer hours due to under-staffing. Homelessness is a feature in every town in the country, with the demand for soup kitchens multiplying going into the winter months.
The official status of our national language has been further eroded by the cuts that affect the 20-year plan for the advancement of gaeilge as an everyday language. As Pádraig Pearse said, tír gan teanga, tír gan anam.
I’m sure that all those former politicians on €80,000 to €100,000 a year pension pots, will be squirming in their seats with the announcement that old age pensioners got a whopping €5 rise in their weekly pension, enough to buy a tea, scone, and a free newspaper while they’re waiting for a taxi to take them home from the post office, (it used to be within walking distance, but they closed it down).
John Curran, just like Michael Noonan, is someone’s son, father or grandfather and could be very likeable in a family setting, but as far as their political leanings and capabilities are concerned, their heads are in the clouds.
Housing crisis — a missed chance
This budget has nothing for landlords or tenants in Ireland, if the minister was serious about solving the housing crisis, he would have returned the 100% Mortgage Interest Relief allowance of Property Tax against income and incentify the restoration of property in need of renovation.
What an opportunity missed by the minister once again to reinvigorate a declining rental sector.
Selective with the facts on EU benefits
Cal Hyland tells us all the reasons why we should not be members of the EU [Letters, October 12].
He left out the fact, however, that this country made a gain of €43 billion in net transfers from the taxpayers of other countries since we entered the EU. He also left out the fact that when this country was bankrupted by the decisions of a small number of its own most powerful citizens, the taxpayers of other EU countries, some of them poorer than us, contributed to an €85bn bailout in 2010.
He also left out the fact that through our membership of the EU our businesses have access to a home market of 500 million people.
He also left out the fact that the EU is made up of nearly 30 democracies each of which signed a treaty to keep the peace and to cooperate in matters of mutual interest. That is unique in the world and replaced a situation within living memory in which two totalitarian dictators - Stalin and Hitler - not alone exterminated millions of their own citizens, but also reduced much of the continent to ruins in an all out war over which of them would be boss over the whole continent.
UK has right to its fight for freedom
How can we Irish, in 2016, celebrating the Centenary of the start of our War of Independence, object to the UK initiating their Fight for Freedom?
And, how can Sinn Féin attempt to lead the objectors?
Mind you, it took only 50 years from the culmination of that War (1922) for us to sell-out to the Common Market (1972) which has, insidiously, mutated into the hyperstate that is Europe. Freedom how-are-ye.
Expulsion would send loud message
Fergus Finlay’s article ‘old-age pension tension dwarfed by the enormity of Syrian situation’ epitomises the fact that we are powerless and perhaps uncaring.
The horrifying images of yet more and more victims, bring hauled out of the rubble, are overwhelming us with an inevitable sense of helplessness and compassion fatigue.
Therefore I think it is time that we took on board Brendan Griffin, TD’s suggestion for the possible expulsion of the Russian Ambassador to Ireland.
It would send a loud message to the world that we will not tolerate another Grozny unfolding before our eyes.
Be good sports, play trump card
As a woman I am absolutely shocked and disgusted to read that the Irish rugby team have been booked into Donald Trump’s hotel.
This misogynist who reduces women to objects should not be supported in any way.
Irish people cannot vote against him - but we can boycott his business.
Whoever booked them in, book them out! No lazy excuses.
I am a rugby fan and the thought of our lads staying in that hotel makes me feel sick!