Features

Archive for the ‘Features’ Category

Features, National, Social Welfare

 

Minister Vardakar’s right wing posturing is an insult to working class communities. Hiding behind his false beard claims, it’s not hard to see exactly what he’s about.

The recent high profile advertisement campaign, “Welfare cheats cheat us all” launched by the misnamed Department of Social Protection and their chief of deception, Leo Varadkar, is more than empty posturing by the Tory wannabe; it is a deliberate attempt to negatively portray those members of our society who claim their entitlements to social welfare.

Every taxpayer (and everyone pays tax throughout their lifetime in various ways) contributes to a central fund to provide financial support on occasions when we need it throughout our lives. Children’s allowance, old age pensions, sick pay, disability payments, unemployment benefit and housing benefit all come from a central fund we all contribute to.

Welfare is essentially a progressive policy of a caring society, we call it welfare because most of us are concerned with the welfare of our fellow beings, and we should protect it from this blatant attempt to undermine it. Make no mistake this ‘campaign’ is a precursor and indeed an excuse to justify more neo liberal and draconian cuts to the welfare system.
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Features

 

a poem by Kevin Higgins

In the income tax arena

I am introducing a scheme:

 

whereby a fifty year old man

living in, for example,

Galway, will still be able to claim

for his increasingly rickety right knee

here in Ireland, but allowed register,

for tax purposes,

his far more profitable left leg in Jersey.

 

He’ll be able to claim relief here on his wonky eye

but will only have to pay tax on the good one

at whatever the rate is in Luxembourg.

 

His three sets of dentures, all twenty six

fillings and those two root canals

will continue to be deductible here,

though he’ll now pay tax

on what’s left of his actual

teeth in Bermuda.

 

The good fifty percent of his lungs

he’ll be allowed set up

as an independent company

in the British Virgin Islands,

while the useless half will legally

continue to be Irish.

 

His nausea will remain ours,

though his enormous appetite

will now officially live on the more

glutton-friendly Isle of Man.

 

His beleaguered liver will continue

to be officially resident here,

while his still superefficient

bowels will spend enough time in Switzerland

to pay (hardly any) tax there.

 

The scar above his left buttock,

acquired when he toppled through a glass door

backwards, circa nineteen seventy three,

will continue to be deductible here,

while the balance of his bum –

in surprisingly good condition for a man his age,

though he says so himself – declares

its vast income at an office

in Wilmington, Delaware.

 

Elsewhere, I am extending the relief on brown leather

trousers and industrial strength lawnmowers

for fat couples with Anglo-Norman sounding names

in the better bits of Kildare for another five years.

There is agreement across the political consensus

it’s essential such people are given sufficient incentives

to keep doing

whatever it is they supposedly do.

 

KEVIN HIGGINS

Features

after Leo Varadkar, W.B. Yeats, & Enda Kenny

We are for the Ireland that rolls

laughing out of its bed every morning, those

whose national anthem is the alarm

clock exploding on the bedside locker and it still dark;

 

who, even August bank holidays, are

in the shed before five a.m.

fashioning origami former Garda

commissioners, or writing violin concertos in praise

of the Little Sisters of the Bon Viveur,

Blessed K.T. Whittaker and anyone else

who got up ridiculously early

to make this country what it

allegedly isn’t.

 

We represent those who know should they fall

up a ladder, or for some other reason –

be it insanity or baldness –

be unable to properly function,

we in government will do nothing

except, if they’re lucky, repeatedly

knee them in the nasty bits.

 

We whose ancestors have eaten

the still throbbing heart of General O’Duffy

(or at least what we thought was his heart)

now see leaflets tumbling through respectable letter boxes

in which cretin and comedian crow their gutless song,

their arguments a bladder bloated with animal blood.

 

We say, down the disposal pipe

with all these and their cries

of avarice and failure,

those who engage in wilful wastage of water

by sitting there all day – the jets

fizzing up their crevices –

in Jacuzzis given them

by the tax payer.

 

Drown them in the tank

and bill them for their own extinction,

for they are weasels who’d drink

of your chickens until they’re dry.

 

We are for people who look both ways twice

when crossing the road

and remember where they left their keys.

 

KEVIN HIGGINS

Features, Human Rights, National

Statement from Coalition of Mother and Baby Home Survivors

QUICK AND CHEAP METHOD OF “FULL INCLUSION” ALREADY EXISTS

RESULTS PRESENTED TO THE INQUIRY SEVERAL MONTHS AGO

Paul Redmond Chairman of CAMBS

The Government and particularly Minister Zappone are deliberately stalling with their so called “scoping exercise”. They were presented with a solution almost a year ago.

The Coalition of Mother And Baby home Survivors presented the Inquiry with a simple and easy method to include all survivors almost a YEAR AGO. Minister Zappone and the Department of Children have also been presented with our plan and it was made public long ago.

Briefly, CMABS have strongly recommended that the Inquiry should extend it’s use of the “sampling” method already in place as part of it’s Terms of Reference. If the Inquiry and Government agrees to ‘sample’ as little as 6 institutions and a situation, then all survivors would be included in the Inquiry. While this would not be entirely satisfactory, the priority at this time has to be including all living survivors while there is still time before our ageing community passes away. The survivor community have been pro actively presenting workable solutions for the Inquiry from before it even began.
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