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Posts Tagged ‘ Mary Harney ’

Once Again, the Many Bear the Burden of the Few

‘A Government of the people, by the people, for the people.’ These were the now iconic words spoken by Abraham Lincoln at Gettysburg, nearly 150 years ago. An ideal we wish was still in use today.

The Irish cabinet has met, discussing changes which would see a drop of €8 in social welfare and €10 in child benefits. This drop has been casually referred to as only a pack of cigarettes. Such a description only serves to demean further the worst off in our society.

€8 less means one meal less. Less paid off a bill, a loan, a mortgage.  One commentator said, “That €8 is the difference between whether or not I can light the fire for next few days or whether or not I have the money to get the bus into town to go to my next hospital appointment or not.” There are undoubtedly those in Ireland today who live off the system as leeches, who see a life on social welfare as a desirable path. But today, with such job losses as Ireland has seen, more often than not the queues at the dole office each week are packed with fathers and mothers who have lost their jobs and can barely pay the rent, the mortgage, the ESB. And for what? For the continued payments to Europe, the ever increasing measures of austerity, ensuring the survival of the elite class, whose actions threatened that of those beneath them?

Madness has entered the country and our psyche. Wages and benefits are falling rapidly as prices rise. In the background, politicians like Mary Harney have the gall to feebly attempt to justify thousands of euro in salaries and pensions, for their ‘services to the country.’ Services which, when history has finished judging, will amount to little more than a paragraph of brown envelopes and evening soirees with bankers and builders. It’s really surprising that our streets aren’t filled with protestors, mobs baying for blood, the likes of which Paris and Cairo have and are continuing to see. What is it about our country that sees us take cutbacks and austerity measures with little more than a moan or a whimper, after which we roll over and accept, conceding that it may be hard, but sure isn’t it in the best interests of us all? Sure, the students come out in force every once in a while against the student fees. And yes, the Occupy Movement has taken root in Dublin’s Dame Street, slowly spreading across the country. But however noble their intentions, however justified they are, such efforts will never succeed.

I don’t condone violence. Violence, it has been said, is the recourse of the uncivilised man. I also don’t say that violence has never succeeded. The Easter Rising was not fought with placards and tents pitched across the city. Michael Collins did not wage the War of Independence camped out in front of Dublin Castle’s gates.

We can blame Europe. We can curse the names of Merkel and Sarkozy and the day they were born. We can even blast the IMF and those who seek our money and took our sovereignty. And we would be right too. It’s very cathartic. But really we need look no further than Dáil Éireann. Parties come and go, but as is our way, the ethos will never change. Change is never more than skin deep. Those in power will only do what they must to retain that power.

€8 is more than a pack of cigarettes. It’s an indication of where or who the government places value these days. It tells us once again who the government is willing to sacrifice in order to fix the mistakes they and their kind have made. History repeats itself. The sacrifices are forced upon the many by the few.

The 1916 Proclamation set in place the values upon which our country was built. The Republic, it stated, ‘declares its resolve to pursue the happiness and prosperity of the whole nation and of all its parts, cherishing all the children of the nation.’

Think about Ireland today. Does that ring true?

Not anymore.

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Harney Defends “very decent” €130,000 pension

Former Irish politician Mary Harney has defended her €130,000 a year pension as “very decent”, stating that she feels she is worth this amount. The former Tainiste defended her large pension by claiming that she deserved it, as she had already taken “substantial cuts”, when the pensions of TDs and public servants were cut last year.

Mary Harney, who was formerly Minister for Health, is set to pick up a pension worth €129, 805 for the rest of her life and feels she deserves this as she had dedicated her life, a career spanning 34 years, in politics. In an intervew with online tv station Kildare TV she said “many people have dedicated their life to politics. In my case, I spent 34 years in politics. I don’t have business interests. I don’t have another career.

“Many people can move easily from politics into another career or from one career to another. Many politicians have given their whole life to public service.”

This revelation about Ms Harney’s pension followed Taoiseach Enda Kenny’s announcement that he would not be cutting the, already huge, pensions of former politicians and government ministers. However, it was revealed, that he is planing to cut public service workers by 23, 500, increase VAT to 23% and impose a 5% cut on maintenance grants paid out to university students. These revelations came last night after the Irish Budget plan was leaked to the German parliament, in a document provided to them.

Government sources have blamed the European Commission for this.

The Cabinet Crumbles

Noel Dempsey, Dermot Ahern and Tony Killeen have joined Mary Harney in resigning from Cabinet.

A spokesman for the Taoiseach confirmed that he had received letters of resignation from the three.

The ministers had already announced that they are not to contest the general election.

Their letters are to be forwarded to the President who will formally accept the resignations.

Their resignations bring the number of vacancies in the Cabinet to five, after Taoiseach Brian Cowen pulled the plug on MichaelMartin`s tenure as Minister for Foreign Affairs.

Minister for Health Harney was first elected to the dàil in 1981 and served as Tànaiste under Bertie Ahern. She later became Minister for Health but during her time in this position she was far from popular, as overcrowded hospitals and inadequate services saw the public vent their fury.

Many have welcomed her decision to step aside as the Irish healthcare system is in need of an urgent revamp. However even with her resignation she has made many people furious. Many believe that she has resigned as she will get more money from her pension than if she stood for re-election. She leaves with a golden handshake of 310,000.

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