Education: for the Rich
In 2001 UCD, the country's biggest university, had just 937 students whose parents were in semi-skilled or unskilled jobs. 8,354 students, however, came from employer, professional and managerial backgrounds.
Screwed for Housing
According to Bank of Ireland chief economist Dan McLoughlin, in 1995 25.3% of an average wage was required to make payments on a 25 year mortgage. Today that has gone up to 33.1%. Good for profit hungry landowners and builders, and there is always a few bob for corrupt politicians who look after getting the planning permission. Nice to know that capitalism works exactly as it is supposed to.
Accident? Too Bad!
30 workers died on building sites in the 26 counties between January 2002 and last July. Just 8 of these were in the pension scheme. At least 22 families were denied any compensation for the death of their partners and fathers. It is unknown how many workers who died off-site were not covered. Nor do we know how many out of work through illness are not getting any benefits.
Employers are legally obliged to register their staff for the Construction Pension Scheme. Yet at least 50,000 of the estimated 103,000 construction workers are not registered by their employers. The bosses, both small builders and major firms, are pocketing the money themselves. At least ¤35 million a year is being stolen, yet not a single boss has ever been jailed.
MEPs - Top Notch Window-dressing
In the mid 90s a report into the European parliament estimated the cost to the public for each sitting MEP for one year to be in the order of ¤1,300.000 - that's right, well over a million euros per year per MEP. The EU presidency is also set to cost the Irish taxpayer well over ¤90 million. In return for all this money, we get to vote every 5 years for an MEP who dissappears off to Brussels to talk a lot of hot air and be ignored by all. What a deal!
The Mongan family of Travellers in Miltown Malby, Co Clare had their caravan burnt out. After spending time living under canvas they were able to borrow another caravan to house their 11 family members. Then they were offered a council house. But they turned it down and moved 12 miles away to Lahinch.
Mr Mongen claimed he was threatened by three men who told him to "get out of Miltown if you know what's good for you". Fianna Fail councillor Michael Hillary said "That is welcomed. Miltown is not a traditional area for Travellers and housing them in the Ballard estate would not have been suitable".
This edition is No79 published in Jan 2004