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A clean way of dipping into your back pockets

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Cold and dearer winter for pensioners

Country Living with Francis Farragher –

If right was right, as they say out the country, we should all be giving ourselves a clap in the back this month as another little tax is stealthily slipped in, supposedly on environmental grounds.

Since the beginning of the month, a bag of coal has gone up in price by €1.20 and a bale of briquettes by 52 cent as we in Ireland valiantly play our part in trying to save the planet.

That €1.20 on a bag of coal now brings the total carbon tax on this purchase to €2.40, and while this might make us look good with the ‘big wigs’ in Europe and in the environmental lobby, it all adds up to looting more money out of the pockets of ordinary people whether they be workers or pensioners.

The Carbon Tax will end up of course being swallowed up in the coffers of central Government, not making one jot of difference to environmental issues but next winter for a pensioner finding it hard to make ends meet, it is a €2.40 that they could do with in their own pockets or their own stoves.

In the UK they seem to have copped on to the fact that somewhere along the way, a balance must be found between imposing draconian taxes and allowing people – especially the more vulnerable and less well off – to stay warm during the winter.

Chancellor George Osborne announced that Carbon Tax levels would be ‘frozen’ at their 2015 levels until the end of the decade but here in Ireland, the tax was slapped on again from May 1 by Michael Noonan, despite pleas from different groups for him to at least defer the rise.

The Brits, for all their perceived faults, do at least tend to look after their own. Coal keeps millions of houses warm in the UK each winter, and ongoing increases in the Carbon Tax, would have meant less warmth for many people over the winter months.

Here in Ireland we tend to take a different view. A little pat on the back from the EU for the Irish goodie-goodies and on goes another tax on solid fuel, quite sneakily slipped in on the first day of summer when the necessity for home heating is diminishing for the season.

Earlier this month, people like Michael Kilcoyne, Chairman of the Irish Consumers Association, made the point that the Carbon Tax, had little to with the environment – it was just ‘another means of draining money from households’.

He pleaded with the Government to defer the imposition of this latest leg of the Carbon Tax, in order to allow household incomes to improve, especially in the wake of the property tax and the water tax that’s now on the way.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune

Time can play tricks on you – as it keeps on ticking by

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Dave O'Connell
Dave O'Connell

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

It takes a bit of adjusting to accept that 1988 – when Ray Houghton, for example, put the ball in the back of the English net – is as far away from today as 1988 was from 1954 then, as the world was still only really getting back on its feet after the Second World War.

In other words, the exploits of Euro ’88 and a great day in Gelsenkirchen, still fresh in the minds of our fifty-plus generation, is as far into the distant past as the Roger Bannister’s first sub-four-minute mile is to the twentysomethings of today.

It was also the year that marked the end of McCarthyism in the US, when Senator Joe’s ‘communist’ witch-hunt – destroying the lives of so many high profile public figures who could be described as a little liberal at best – was finally pulled into dry dock.

In fairness, McCarthyism has always seemed like ancient history, and we’ve only ever seen Bannister’s achievement through grainy black and white footage – ignoring the fact that our parents had lived through it.

The juxtaposition of personal experience and third-party history rose its head in a different context recently when the latest – and much-pilloried – series of the Crown hit Netflix.

To describe the makers’ approach to history as loose would be an understatement; fact offers little more than a backdrop to the vivid minds of writers who have come up with nothing more than a Royal version of a soap opera.

They got away with that when they were dealing with the early years of Queen Elizabeth’s reign, but this time they were dealing with a history most of us lived through, most notably the death of Diana in 1997.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

Guard changes but tough calls wait for another day

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Changing of the guard...Leo Varadkar and Micheál Martin.

World of Politics with Harry McGee

Sic transit gloria mundi. I used to love using that expression when I was a student. For obvious reasons. A. It had the right degree of pretension for a show-off like myself. B. It actually means something.

It should be engraved on the headstone of every politician. Enoch Powell had another way of saying it; all political careers end in failure.

Anyway we have another changing of the guard on December 17, where Micheál Martin steps down as Taoiseach and Leo Varadkar steps in. It might equally be described as moving the deckchairs on the Titanic, if you are an opposition TD.

Unless my political judgement is completely off beam, I think it will be Martin’s last spin as Taoiseach – making him shortest-lived Fianna Fáil Taoiseach, although, in fairness, Albert Reynolds did not last all that much longer than he.

Strangely enough he will remain as Fianna Fáil leader. For how long? Indefinitely. Martin has managed to be a better survivor than many of his predecessors. When he was elected party leader in 2011, many predicted he and the party would be gone by the next election. They weren’t.

Then they said he would be the first Fianna Fáil leader never to be Taoiseach. Then they said he would be gone as Fianna Fáil leader around the time he stood down as Taoiseach. He isn’t and there is a strong chance now he will lead his party into the next general election.

Why? Because there is not a ready-made natural-born Fianna Fáil leader among its parliamentary corps. Not yet, anyway.

If he survives to 2025 he will be actually the second longest serving Fianna Fáil leader after Eamon de Valera, outlasting Bertie Ahern and Charlie Haughey and Sean Lemass.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

 

 

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Connacht Tribune

Dream year for Maigh Cuilinn ends with club’s first ever Connacht title

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Maigh Cuilinn's Michéal O’Reilly on the attack against Oisin Kennedy of Tourlestrane during Sunday's Connacht Club Senior Football Final at Pearse Stadium. Photo: Joe O'Shaughnessy.

Inside Track with John McIntyre

Watching Maigh Cuilinn dismantling Westport a few weeks ago, you could never imagine the Galway champions failing to score from play in a half-hour’s football as they chased an historic first ever Connacht title.  Perhaps, the warning signs were there in Maigh Cuilinn’s subsequent struggles against Strokestown in the provincial semi-final when they required extra-time and a terrific individual display from Seán Kelly, together with the accuracy of Owen Gallagher, to eventually fend off the Roscommon men.

After that scare, we presumed Maigh Cuilinn would cut a dash in last Sunday’s Connacht final, especially that they were back on their favourite hunting ground at Pearse Stadium and the opposition was being provided by the Sligo champions Tourlestrane.

But every game is different and with Fergal O’Donnell’s team setting up defensively on a cold December day and having the advantage of the wind in the opening half, Maigh Cuilinn had to be content with a paltry tally of four points – all from Dessie Conneely’s frees – up to the interval.

Compared to their free-scoring outing against Westport, Maigh Cuilinn were having to dig deep and be patient against teams adopting a conservative approach. Their players aren’t robots either and it’s been a long season for the Galway title holders, especially their swathe of county players.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

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