A young Galway nurse has spoken of the ‘hopelessness’ of her financial situation caused by a ‘cruel’ taxation system – as she pays more in pension levy each payday than she does towards her own retirement fund.
The mother-of-one – who works at University Hospital Galway – has already been forced to sell her home after its negative equity reached €100,000.
Now, left working long hours and not knowing how to cope, she has demanded to know: “Why is the Government deducting more in pension levy from my salary than I am contributing to my own pension fund and how is this compassionate?
“I don’t know where to start or how to cope. I am working all the hours God sends. There is no respect, the way I’m being treated. My taxes are cruel. Is my hopelessness the price of recovery?” she asked.
From her fortnightly pay packet, she pays €107.21 in pension levy, while her personal contribution to the State pension is €86.81. So far this tax year, she has paid €2,604 in pension levy and €1,987 into her pension fund.
This is on top of PAYE of €6,160; PRSI of €1,620 and USC of €2,175.
The mother of a six-year-old child spoke of her plight when she met with Senator Fidelma Healy Eames at UHG last Thursday.
The Senator said: “She was at the end of her tether trying to make ends meet having already lost €100,000 in the value of a home she had to sell, due to negative equity.
“In essence, the State requires her to pay €20 more in a pension levy than contribute to her own retirement fund and that’s with the uncertainty about the reliability of pensions into the future. The pension levy is a cruel ill-thought out tax.
“We all know that taxes are extremely high in this country, but the real impact on workers is best proven by seeing the reality of deductions on payslips.
“And if we think the pension levy is bad, this young stressed-out working mother has already had a further €9,957 deducted in PAYE, PRSI and USC so far this year.
“I want to see a real improvement in this young woman’s lot in the forthcoming Budget. I want her to be able to afford basic renovations to her home, something that she cannot now afford due to her inordinate tax burden. She is but one of thousands of Irish working families in the same situation,” said Senator Healy Eames.
Voice of ‘Big O’ reflects on four decades
From this week’s Galway City Tribune – The daytime voice of Big O Taxis is celebrating four decades in the role – and she has no plans to hang up her headset any time soon.
Roisin Freeney decided to seek a job after staying at home to mind her three children for over a decade. It was 1981 when she saw an advert in the Connacht Sentinel for a dispatch operator.
The native of Derry recalls that the queue for the job wound its way past Monroe’s Tavern from the taxi office on Dominick Street.
“There was a great shortage of work back then. I nearly had a heart attack when I saw the line of people. My then husband who was giving me a lift in never thought I’d get the job, he was driving on past and I said, let me off.
“I got it because I worked as a telephonist in the telephone exchange in Derry. But I was terrified starting off because I hadn’t been in the work system for so long.”
Back then Big O Taxis had only 25 drivers and just a single line for the public to book a cab.
“We had an old two-way radio, you had to speak to the driver and everybody could listen in. It was easy to leave the button pressed when it shouldn’t be pressed. People heard things they shouldn’t have – that’s for sure,” laughs Roisin.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of Róisín’s story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.
Baby boom puts strain on Galway City secondary schools
From this week’s Galway City Tribune – A baby boom in the late 2000s has left parents of sixth class pupils in Galway City scrambling to find a secondary school place for their children next September – with over 100 children currently facing the prospect of rejection from city schools.
The Department of Education is now rushing to address the issue and confirmed to the Galway City Tribune this week that it was fully aware of increasing pressure and demand on city schools
Local councillor Martina O’Connor said there were 100 more children more than there were secondary school places for next year, and warned that this would put severe pressure on schools to increase their intake numbers.
“This will put a lot of pressure on schools because they will have been working out the number of teachers and what resources they would need in October or November last year and they could be facing a situation where they will be asked to take an additional eight or 10 students.
“There would normally be a small excess – maybe two or three – but this year, it’s over 100. There is a bigger number of children in sixth class this year and there will be the same issue for the next few years,” said the Green Party councillor.
A Department spokesperson said while there were capacity issues, factors other than numbers could be at play, adding that there were approximately 1,245 children in the city due to move onto secondary school in September.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.
GMIT warns partying students they are delaying return to campus
From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Partying students have been told their actions have impacted GMIT’s plans to re-start practical classes on campus – and Gardaí are monitoring the city’s bus and train stations to catch those breaking the 5km travel restriction by returning home for the weekend.
College authorities said the current “extremely serious outbreak” of Covid-19 among students in Galway City was caused by a small minority who are “moving and mixing between different households”.
Following a meeting with Gardaí last week, GMIT contacted all students to clarify that because there are no ‘onsite’ classes, there should be no need to travel for educational purposes.
“The Gardaí have notified us that there will be checks at the bus and train stations to implement the 5km travel rule, as well as checkpoints on the roads, and that fines will be given for any non-compliance with this rule,” students were told.
In a separate communication issued this week, the college’s Covid Officer appealed to students to abide by the rules.
“This outbreak has had an impact on our plans with regard to return to onsite practical work, with consequences for all students.
“We are appealing to all students to comply with all Covid restrictions and in doing so, to help ensure that those students who have to return to onsite practical work can do so,” the email read.
Many students from outside the city have opted to stay in their accommodation for access to better broadband.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story and more coverage of Covid figures and vaccinations, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.