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Property Tax and Insolvency - A Human Story

category national | rights, freedoms and repression | opinion/analysis author Friday March 22, 2013 18:07author by Gale Vogel - Birds Eye View Report this post to the editors

The suffering of the Irish people.

John and Louise are a Dublin couple who weep each evening in a cold house, their frustration ever growing. John is visibly angry but resigns to the fate that is meted by our leaders to comply with international dictate. We are being watched, pummelled and slowly destroyed. The busiest events are international job fairs. This is a synopsis of lives less than they should be.

John bought a car in 2007, he chose it with a engine capacity of 1.9 litres, diesel. This particular engine was chosen and specified due to the low Carbon emissions and the fact that it could be altered to run on bio-diesel. This currently costs €710 to tax each year. Were it a year newer with the very same engine it would cost €280 for each year. He chose to live in a house within reasonable commuting distance to his place of work in order to cycle. It was also close to his parents family home. Houses on his terrace have recently sold for about €200,000, the revenue place a value on his of €300,000 - €350,000 commanding a tax of €585 per year. John is terrified to change the revenues valuation for fear of being penalised later. He pays hundreds each year for refuse removal.

He recently drove his car into a pot hole, causing a puncture and splitting the alloy wheel rim. The costs were €115 for a new tyre as the split rim had deformed the tyre such that it was not repairable, the rim cost €135.

John is tired, too tired to argue or to seek redress for the road condition having damaged his car despite having photographed the offending hole. He was more concerned that it's condition and location close to the edge of the road could force a cyclist to swerve. Deaths on the roads may only increase with the poorly maintained roads we suffer. John confesses too that he suffered his emergency spare for three weeks as he had no money for repairs. The combination of poor road maintenance and poor vehicle maintenance, both the result of inadequate funds, is making our roads dangerous.

He's changed his grocery supplier, shops for the cheapest and possibly consumes more horse than many. His children have moved school, he could no longer afford the luxury of an education paid for. The idea of college for his eldest son who is doing his leaving cert this year is a dream too far. His son wanted to become a doctor and to ultimately make a contribution. This, it appears will not be. John's wife, Louise works too, their combined income is only enough to live on. Their house in negative equity commands a mortgage repayment beyond their meagre income. Their income has reduced over the past four years while their expenses have increased.

Both John and Louise are terrified that their water will be cut off when the water charge commences. There is no more money. Beans, processed sausages , the cheapest bread are becoming tiring. They've maintained their home entertainment, one TV, no package. 'It's amazing', John says how much heat comes from a plasma screen, 'you don't notice when the house is heated'. Their dog was sent to a 'farm in the country'. €8 a week for food, insurance, vets fees all proved too much.

This is not sustainable, this couple with three children are in all reality insolvent. But to venture to this extreme will only command more restrictions it appears. Will they need to seek approval to repair a leaking roof?

What facilities are included in other countries property or council taxes? Refuse collection, water! What do other countries do with their road tax revenue? Road repairs and improvements!

It appears that as long as the Irish people continue to not accept but resign to the onslaught of financial burden for the benefit of hidden bond holders and international banks, that this onslaught will continue. Is it constitutional? Is it morally correct?

When will we say, enough?

author by Tpublication date Mon Mar 25, 2013 22:01author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The thing about this story is that it is widespread and unlike previous recessions there were relatively short. In the current situation we are actually still at the beginning stages of a world economic depression and so things are going to get worse and even more people are going to be affected.

What seems to be the case and I think has been widespread is that there has been an expectation that things were going to improve and much of this was built on people's own worldviews of the system and was a measure of their faith in it. It would seem that those who believed in the growth elevator of the economy are the ones who find it hardest to cope with it mentally and yet that is an important attribute because countless stories of survival show that can be key to long term survival. For example after the collapse of the Soviet Union the death rate went up strongly, life expectancy went down. Millions of extra people died and the population actually dropped by several million. Men suffered far more than women as the former didn't have the same support networks once the apparatus of the social services of the state fell away.

Thus it is imperative that people in situations like the above start forming their own networks to help themselves and each other because there will be less and less forthcoming from the state.

author by Gale Vogel - Birds Eye Viewpublication date Mon Mar 25, 2013 23:27author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Louise takes the dog for a walk. That the dog's last walk is history appears of little consequence. John raids the cupboard and eats. His health deteriorating, the flavour of cheap food is achieved through saturation and synthesis. Cholesterol levels rising, a slow insidious suicide by fat. They live together but are both utterly alone for they know the capacity of the other to escape this fate is fatefully limited. More bills today, those from yesterday remain to be paid. No luxury, no respite, only the memories of things once enjoyed and this is the fate planned for those insolvent. Mothers to leave work, less television, no social life. Never more walking the superfluous dog, that excess removed by a self imposed audit.

This is the legacy of excess, of greed gone wild but not for those few top earners employed to continue their old dreams. Being blind to the suffering of citizens is made possible by the silence of those dying, suicide by fat and only because the good is expensive and the debts need to be paid. The taxes to reimburse the gamblers and the promises made to cater to the whims of the wealthy must at all cost be honoured. What honour to die for something so mean?

The overheard today is like an echo, 'we must do something, write again to the politicians and papers.' Today, John Rohan took a legal hit, more expense to appeal perhaps the will of the workers that their jobs be maintained. Bewleys fate remains as that of John and Louise if an appeal is made, possibly equally so even if not.

John's stares out the window waiting for Louise to return, afraid to think. The car sits in the drive, grit packing against the wheels from no movement. It rests while the car tax reminder sits on the kitchen counter waiting to be refuted. The car is not being used.

'Shit! Why get upset, we should get angry.' He says to me, looking for the approval to walk to town and scream at our leaders to protect us all as is their duty. Why look for approval? That same approval to repair the leaking roof. We need to repair the seepage of our lives from this land and our constitution protects our right to so do. 'We need no permission to shout our rights, to group together and march,' and it is our small lonely voices that might change our lives again, this time for the better.

Each of us alone, when combined can be great.

author by janepublication date Tue Mar 26, 2013 15:50author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The property tax is an unfair charge.The county council used to get their money from PRSI taxes,and that money sourced , a large chunk would be given to county council workers.

PRSI taxes should decrease,as there is surplus money due to them getting their money now from householders, and nobody is questioning it,they are still sourcing money from PRSI,and now the PROPERTY TAX!!??

Where is the extra money going,why isn't anybody asking these questions.

We used to have our household charges amalgamated into one house hold charge,they were known as rates,this was back in the 1970's,this included rubbish,water and maintenance..

Why can't they do something like this instead now we have three seperate charges on our rubbish,water and now property tax.

Not to mention all the other bills coming in such as road tax,car tax,and tv license or internet.

I have recently dropped the tv license,and now only listen to the radio to find out whats on the news,i cannot even afford to buy a newspaper,as it is im just hanging in there,i would say im about one penny away from homelessness.

I used to work in a hostel for homeless and a lot of homeless now aren't just drug addicts they are people on the poverty line who got into trouble..

I believe its a sign of the times,and the worst is yet to come,we will be having our water charges rolled out in 2015.

author by Shelley - Social Justicepublication date Tue Mar 26, 2013 16:01author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I feel the pain but I do not know what to say or even do. Hopelessness pervades for some in times of economic crises and the dictates of this recession in Ireland are particularly definitive and harsh at present. The news is scare mongering but when people are entrenched in fear nothing other than these scare tactics are capable of penetrating that overcoat of denial that they must wear to survive. What we must do is be aware and realise that it is at the end of the day about people and the need for the equality that renders a society more favourable than those of say Iran, North Korea, Syria to name but a few. If we can focus on their plight, it enables us to adjust our own scales of Justice towards more equity and maybe this is what the real battle for survival is all about.

The Saturday night show: Shocked I sat and listened to a woman from Pieta House talk about suicide. Others from the acting profession and sports spoke of their experiences and the loss of one of their friends and the trauma. The woman detailed Pieta research findings and said that by 'this time next week 10 people will have committed suicide' and what we need to grasp is 'that eight of these will be men'. Warning signs and alert ought to be the action plan of each and every day and people need to connect with Pieta House, their programme MOM (MIND OUR MEN) and seriously address the social, economic, political, demographic factors that is cripping our little Island. We all have a responsibility for other people and being watchful, being empathetic, being concerned and showing compassion is what is important now.

What can we do? Unemployment in countries like Spain Greece and Portugal is far in excess of Ireland but then we are a small open economy with exposure to the US, UK and EU with the English language as a strong common denominator.

We need to create employment. We have done it before so if we feel enough economic pain as happened in the 1930's, the 1950's, the 1980's and now for the near six strangling years of bailout catastrophe, we can do it again. 4 people sat with Vincent Browne last night (TV programme) discussing the impact of Cyprus and the forfeiture of deposits as the Troika (German creditor mentality) over-stepped the mark yet again. Money is one issue but what was really grounding was a father who joined the panel towards the end. He spoke passionately about the circumstances of his 32 year old daughter with cerebral palsy who needs 24 hour care which has been provided by the man and his wife. He spoke of his total disillusionment with Labour politics and their ineptitude to the needs of the most vulnerable in our society. It is easy to take from these people their mobility grant. They have no voice. This is a great wrong perpetrated and let us not lose sight of it. There are many afflictions in life, there are the silent epidemics ie mental illness, acquired brain injury and then there are those so badly affected physically yet mentally so alert. The message surely is 'stop and think and let's all do what we can for each other'.

To those in negative equity, to those of you who paid so much in stamp duty on over inflated prices, to those who are in arrears, the drip feed from Government about the personal insolvency option must be painful. The scare tactics about creches costing more than mother's earn, meaning mother must give up work, the message to forego the car if there is public transport, one car per family, I would say - tread carefully and read the small print. It is not as drastic as it seems. Its aim is what it calls itself ie
'guidelines'. When you consider that its origins is the Department of Justice and Minister Alan Shatter, it may be of interest to you that an adversarial divorce covers similar adherence to guidelines. If you have nothing to hide, you salvage what you can from what the 'disaster' is and you continue to engage with life, with the experience and the option to start again.

Let us not lose hope.

There are some good things going on still.

We have been awarded UK Civic Trust's reference two housing schemes in Dublin.

McKee Court - a sheltered scheme for elderly people near McKee Barracks
& Sean Treacey House, again a social housing scheme near Buckingham Street.

Dublin City Council Architect's designed the McKee Court scheme and it was hailed as a "positive development in this part of Dublin, that is easy to use and allows the residents to live and function independently, in a communal setting'.

We need to create employment. FAS is no longer, it is supposedly Solus but where is the Light!


author by fredpublication date Tue Mar 26, 2013 17:29author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"the equality that renders a society more favourable than those of say iran, north korea, syria to name but a few. If we can focus on their plight, it enables us to adjust our own scales of justice towards more equity"

Stop pushing the same old "axis of evil" us propaganda stereotypes.

Homeless people die in the streets in the us because they can't afford healthcare insurance, food, heating.
It happens here in holy Ireland too:

Syria was a secular state until western / Saudi / Qatar interests sponsored nutjob jihadist terrorists with weapons and money to go in and wreck the place. Same in Libya. And remember Iraq / Afghanistan? (wmd wmd wmd)

why not mention Saudi Arabia / US as your examples of rampant inequity instead??

Inequity is huge between haves and have nots in the us. And it has the largest per capita prison population in the world. Democratic protesters get beaten, pepper sprayed and jail sentences. They run black torture prisons without trial and targetted assassinations of anyone they want, including their own citizens. They monitor everyone's emails and calls without warrant. They make aggressive war on other countries, the highest crime according to Nurenberg terms.

as for Saudi Arabia, it's the harshest regime in the world if you are a woman / gay etc. With it's severe brand of fundamentalist wahabbi islam for the people (meanwhile opulent decadence for the rich princes) the inequity between Saudi princes and the ordinary joe is huge, and the sharia punishments meted out for small crimes are abhorrent.

Iran / Syria / NK by comparison are pussycats. With notable exceptions, inequity in these countries is far less overt. Part of the reason life is hard and ordinary citizens suffer in these countries is the systematic pointless and spiteful western sanctions. We impose sanctions, starve the people, then point to the starving people as an excuse to villify them. Can't have it both ways!
Sharia exists in Iran too, but it's worse in Saudi Arabia and there's far more inequity there.

So please stop slipping this knee jerk propaganda into your posts. It sickens me every time i hear it.

author by john laganpublication date Wed May 15, 2013 23:18author address author phone Report this post to the editors

It is well known that pets, especially dogs, are extremely beneficial to their owners well being and mental health.

Western society is full of myths especially relating to veterinary and medical matters.

The biggest myth is that vaccinations are safe and effective and that they've saved the world from epidemics, the truth is not they are neither safe or effective and that they have never eradicated any infectious disease.

"The current dog cancer rate is 50 times that of humans due to the regime of vet-approved vaccines, antibiotics, worming drugs, flea sprays, etc."

Patrick Rattigan ND > >

The simple economic / health solution is to keep your dog away from vets at all costs except for genuine emergencies. Feed your dog what you and your family eat, no need to buy expensive dog food, dogs love cabbage and most vegetables, a daily finely chopped clove of garlic would be the best preventative medicine. Also, if you can, you should avoid drinking fluoridated tap water, applies to dog as well.

Stop wasting money on private medical cover, use the money saved for better quality food and maybe a short holiday, take control of your own health.

"Vaccines can be sold for high prices. They can be given to everyone. They can be given every year. They can be sold in developed countries. And they can be sold in developing countries. Governments can be persuaded to buy them in huge quantities - at top prices. Philanthropists will buy them by the planeload to distribute to doctors in countries where fresh water and enough food to eat are as rare as £1,000 designer handbags. Brilliant!"

"GPs are not entitled to speak on the safety and efficacy of vaccines as they are little more than drug industry agents in collaboration with the government, they receive substantial annual bonuses from vaccinations, of the order of £50,000 - £60,000 p.a. - no wonder so many BMWs and Mercedes can be seen parked outside GP practices."

Dr Vernon Coleman (British GP) >

The vaccination business alone is now worth in excess of $23 billion per year, the drug industry’s largest pot of gold – are they going to allow any dissent here? Anyone who answers yes is obviously crazier than me.

I wish you and your family (and your dog) all the best.

author by Tax masterpublication date Thu May 16, 2013 16:14author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Only two certainties.
Taxes and death.
Get over it.

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