Wealth and The Widening Poverty Gap

Sinn F

  • Keith M

    This typical begrudgery driven nonsense needs to be burried once and for all. For once Irish people can say “we never had it so good” and the facts support it. More Irish people are working than ever before. Those that work are taking home a greater percentage of the money they earn. Fewer Irish people are emigrating than ever before and those that do are not driven by economic needs. Instead this country has become a Mecca for people from all over the World look for careers and opportunities.

    Yes we have issues on education, and unfortunatly we have a “sacred cow” of free third level education for all (even those that are quite able to fund it themselves) while not enough money is going into our primary and secondary levels. This does need to be addrerssed and a more equitable system found. However let’s not forget that in areas like remedial teaching and adult literacy we are now putting expodentailly more money than we did in previous years and we are ahead of most of our EU neighbours. Such spending helps the worse off.

    The health service does need to be improved even further and a problem has been created with over committing and under performing. Waiting lists don’t disappear overnight, but they are now shorter than at any stage in living memory. A+E remains a shambles and unfortunatly as this is the main interface that many people have with our health service it tendss to cloud the perception of many to what is a generally fine service. There is an issue with recruitment of nurses and as we have under valued (and under paid) this essential service for decades this is simply a case of the chickens coming home to roost. Better pay (and conditions) will provide some help, but our perception of the status of the job done by nurses has to change.

    As for welfare, we have one of the highest rates of pensions in Europe. Add to that free fuel, telephones and travel and our pensioners can have little to complain about. There are jobs for the unemployed and given that we are importing poeople to fill them, there is a question if those that remain on the longterm unemployed register are serious about seeking employment.

    What McDonald is saying is that people who have seen their standards of living increase dramatically in the past ten years should instead of being grateful, should compare themselves with those that have done even better. Unfortunatly this kind of begrudgers charter gets support in the media rather than being ridiculed for the arrant nonsense that it is.

  • Davros

    Keith, I think she has a point.
    The Irish Independent carried a damning report yesterday on the state of Education.

  • peteb

    It’s all too easy to to produce a statement like the one Sinn F

  • abucs

    i wonder how many people of today are below the poverty line of 20 years ago ?
    Credit where credit is due. The Irish Republic has done well for itself over the last 2 decades and is in a much better position today to address any social problems.
    The challenge for Sinn Fein is that the policies that has got the Republic where it is today are much different to the policies that party has, and still do articulate.

  • Henry94

    KiethM

    I don’t see that you disagree that much with Mary Lou. You are right that the Health Service is a disgrace and that a lot more could be done on education.

    In fact the best route out of poverty for anyone is education. But inequality is the main feature of the education system. The parents who yu rightly point out could well afford to pay third level fees are using the money they save there to buy advantage at second level.

    Money also buys inequality in the Health service. Now I’m not put out if you earn more than I do and can afford a better house and car but when your money can get you a heart operation while I die on a waiting list then excuse me if I fail to see the funny side.

    Also when the money people make is creating a new landlord class driving property prices out of the reach of working people and working couples then I think its reasonable to expect the balance to be tackled. We know the PDs won’t do it because they think inequality is a good thing. But those who are on the wrong side of it need a voice and a party to promote alternative

  • Keith M

    Henry 94. I never said that the Health Service was a disgrace. That would be a completly false statement. One element (A&E) is poor and it is giving a generally good system a bad name. I have faith that in the hands of a innovative and commercially minded minister like Harney, things will improve. I don’t believe that equality would necessarily improve the health service. If people can pay for their health service why should they be stopped?

    We agree on education, but let’s not forget that it was a Labour Minister (Niamh Breannach) that created the current situation. Previous minister Noel Dempsey hinted that changes might be made and I hope that something happens very soon. You do realise the contradiction in your post regarding people’s ability to pay for education and health?

    I have always believed that opportunity should be given greater emphasis than equality, and that is the PD position. The countries that have put opportunity first have suceeded (USA, Australia etc). Those regimes that have put the emphasis on equality, like the socialist regimes in Eastern Europe are gradually being wiped off the political map.

  • Henry94

    KiethM

    You do realise the contradiction in your post regarding people’s ability to pay for education and health?

    No contradiction. In each case the state should pay for those who can’t afford it and the system should treat each client on the same basis.

    Those regimes that have put the emphasis on equality, like the socialist regimes in Eastern Europe are gradually being wiped off the political map.

    The socialist regimes did indeed fail but they should not be the benchmark for us. They had the major disadvantages of not having democracy or the rule of law, prerequsites for progress. I favour the social democratic model of Western Europe but without the inflexibilities.

    Ireland is doing well and that is great but that does no mean that tackling inequalities would hinder that progress. It is a question of priorities and willingness to take on the issues.

  • Liam

    Keith, you said:

    “I never said that the Health Service was a disgrace. That would be a completly false statement. One element (A&E) is poor and it is giving a generally good system a bad name.”

    One element? Are you forgetting about the massive bed shortages? The failures to provide Oncology care or regionalise Radiotherapy services? Underinvestment in acute psychiatric care? Serious underinvest,emt in Geriatric care? Longer waiting lists? Nursing shortages? Need I go on??

    I am a health care worker and can tell you that morale in the health services has never been as low. Why? Because of serious underinvestment and the two-tier private/public health system.

    The health system is NOT ‘generally good’ – it is in seriously bad shape.

    And all of this from the ‘fourth wealthiest economy in the world’!

    Give me socialism any day!!!