Sports Sunday; DEW; Talking Point

It seems that not everyone enjoys the massive media coverage allocated to the rugby and football events.  Lifted from the comments, Sarah Carey writes:


I think sports should be on at the end of the news for a minute, and Saturday or Sunday afternoons for all-Irelands and perhaps the semi’s. Instead it has (through marketing – its an economics thing) come to dominate the media to the point where it’s not something men take an interest in after work, but a constant mainstream time and space occupying event. It used to be sufficient to shout for your county during Championship season and your country on the rare occasion we won anything (Ole!) but now it’s CONSTANT and even women ;-) are expected to be able to converse about a wide variety of sports AS IF IT MATTERED. And as if the nobility attached to PLAYING sports is earned simply by watching it, on a telly, on Tuesday nights and Wednesday nights, and all weekend, and all the golf opens, and horse racing (I mean, if you’re not betting on a horse at Cheltenham WHAT’S WRONG WITH YOU) and as for F1 PLEASE/ cars going around and around? and I’m sorry. Rugby is a good sport, but you know it’s not a widespread country sport. It’s a posh boy sport. And it’s getting very dangerous with them all going around built like tanks and no son of mine will play it.
Hockey, there’s a grand sport. Gentlemanly and understated and no fuss and grandiosity. And only the odd injury if you put your head in the wrong place.
As for cycling, with ye going around in packs on Sunday blocking up the roads in that ridiculous gear instead of lazing in bed. Or out golfing. What happened to golf? The men could do their bonding and blabbing in awful clothes out of sight of the rest of us.
And all of it, even GAA, which really is noble, all about the money money money.
I’m going to set up a radio station which guarantees NEVER to have sport on it.

Right, got that off my chest!

As for compelling viewing on Sunday afternoons, you really can’t beat Pride and Prejudice. Or a good Agatha Christie. Something soothing to the nerves.

Sarah will be recording the Talking Point show at the DEW on Friday: 1pm in the library room at the Hodson Bay and everyone welcome to pile in and watch. Colm McC, Karl and Lorcan Sirr on panel.

The DEW programme is available here.

44 replies on “Sports Sunday; DEW; Talking Point”

Mass spectator sport is the equivalent of Coronation Street or East Enders…..but for men.

Will he transfer? How is the relationship doing? Who’ll beat who? Will he prefer the hot new young thing to the established but aging hero?

Apart from the occasional event of some merit (and the RWC probably qualifies, though not as much as any good hurling match) the rest is dross. The Mitchell and Webb football sketch on Youtube says it all.

text from Blind Biddy:

@Sarah methinks you might benefit from a sunday afternoon stroll with Paddy Zhuzov!

Sarah has a point. Blanket coverage of bogball all Sat and Sun on the national radio broadcaster and its talk radio ape from pm on is incredibly dull even if it minimises operating cost.
What about the finer things in life on the Day of Rest? Something more spiritually uplifting than sweat mud and beers? Food, art, lovemaking, music, rhetoric, controversy? In fact, anything other than bogball would elevate the spirit

As with economic success, the hostility to sport among leftists in this country is growing in proportion to how well Ireland are doing. Were Ireland actually to win the RWC (very unlikely, I suppose) their fury would know no bounds. I’d expect a series of articles along the lines of ‘how can we possibly justify the expense of the RWC when the money could be better spent taking in Roma asylum seekers’.

Too much rugby talk and you might miss this interesting observation from Erkki Liikanen (Finnish rep at the Borg):

“”When we assessed the capital requirements (of banks) on the basis of risk-weighted assets, (we saw that) housing has very low risk-weights but small and SMEs have very high risk weights.”

“But if we look at our experience of the crisis, housing has been the biggest source of problems — so perhaps there is something wrong there. You should be able to diversify risks if you have many SMEs that you finance, but with housing you have to be careful, because bubbles are very heavy because they have a deep impact on a whole population,” he said….

…The review, Liikanen said, could have inadvertently made it harder for small and medium-sized enterprises – often seen as the backbone of the European economy — to access funding.

“It wasn’t our purpose to make funding of the SMEs more complicated and perhaps create a bubble in the housing market, it should be perhaps more balanced. I just feel that if there is a problem, as this has been identified, we must be able to look at it.”


Oi! I’m no leftie 🙂 and I’m very pleased Ireland is doing well. (Some would say it was another reason for Enda to go to the country with everyone buzzed up though personally I was appalled at the prospect of an election just because the media wanted one. All summer they’ve been claiming there’s an election when there isn’t)
It’s the constant, all pervasive nature of the coverage and the assumption that everyone is interested and the sacredness of the space allocated to men for the watching of sport, while the wimmin are at home minding children and cleaning.
I’m with Tony. In fact, I think I’ll bring back the poem on my show. And don’t tell Denis, but a play on Radio 4 is lovely company in the afternoon.


as soemone who played GAA for 25 years i can guarantee you its not all about the money, money, money. The begrudgers only focus on croke park and the fact that they charge prices for tickets and sell tv rights – what a nerve eh? 99% of GAA members give their time voluntarily – (this is probably also the case for many other sports I can’t speak to) – so its insulting to all those volunteers that given up their time for the benefit of others – and the enormous social benefit this brings (this is an economics website afterall) – to suggest, its all about “money, money, money”

But when you talk about commercial enterprise, which all TV/Radio is essentially – even state (taxpayer) sponsored broadcasting – everything is about the money, money, money. If TV/Radio stations are tuned in to what its customers derive satisfaction (utility) from, doesn’t that optimise social and economic benefit – delivering a good sought after by the public and earning a return on the provision of that good? When you derive benefit from Pride and Prejudice on Sunday afternoon, are you suggesting that is not about the money, money, money – or is it that some benevolent broadcaster out their has decided to invest in the production for the high browed from which they earn no return other than knowing they will be pleased you are pleased…..please!

having said all that i’m sure you are really just tongue and cheek in all this and looking to provoke the very type of response i just delivered


Why wouldn’t you like your son to play rugby ?

If he came home form school one day and said he’s off with his friend that evening to rugby training at the local club because he loves playing it at school and would like to play more. Would you rather keep him at home and ask him to practise his putting or let him develop it further ?

Imagine in time that he eventually became good enough to play for his country would you continue to tune into The Archers or let yourself go and God forbid, watch him on the telly ?

@Sarah Carey

Apologies. I certainly wasn’t referring to you. But, there is a certain element in this country (mostly leftists, but a few diehard Dublin 4 unionists as well) who long for Ireland to do badly at everything. They longed for the economy to crash and they long for Ireland to get thumped in sporting contests. These leftists are tweeting now about how the government are using the RWC to divert attention from the fact that millions of people in Ireland are starving, homeless and destitute.

I watched the Australia v Wales match in an Irish pub off 7th Avenue in New York on Saturday. The place was packed. But, not all for the rugby. There were 12 tv screens behind the bar, each showing a different sporting event. If the manager had switched them off and announced he was having a poetry recital instead, I think he’d have been lynched.

Its going to be incredibly tense next weekend. Not one for the faint-hearted. I will scarcely be ably to watch it. But, I’m confident Daniel O’Donnell will make it through to the next round.

To be fair now Lyric FM does offer a sports free Saturday afternoon.
Personally I have no problem with the live coverage of games but I believe the only thing that rivals the pre- and post-game blather for vacuity is the daily commentary on the stock market ups and downs (or should I say Random Walk?).


I’d forbid my son to play rugby. I’ve seen to much evidence of the brain damage it causes.


Oh I wouldn’t refuse him but i’d try to change his mind, which wouldn’t work because he’s even more stubborn than me. But I think even experts acknowledge that rugby has turned into a collision sport rather than a catching and running sport. The teenagers I know who play it have bulked up and are all into the gym and protein drinks and have small head syndrome because their chests are so bizarrely developed. That’s why concussion is such a big issue now. It’s dangerous!
Interesting tho’ my eldest son is a November baby and loves sports, especially soccer but has been turned off both soccer and GAA because the codes are run really strictly. He HAS to play with 2003 born kids, even tho most of his friends are 2004 and he’d like to play with them. Also they insist on leagues miles away (an hour’s drive often.) I’d love them to concentrate more on skills than competition or at least have local friendlies. My husband, a soccer nut, says on the continent the focus is all on skills and they don’t play competitively until they are teenagers.
Meanwhile my second son comes home cheerfully from GAA and soccer matches and when I ask how he got on swears he nearly scored a goal! Then I find out they were beaten 16-0. (I am not joking.) But he and his little band of pals don’t seem to care. But they are stuck in some ridiculous league out of their depth and there’s no way out for them. I can’t see them sticking it out.
So the hockey is lovely. Focus on skills and then a friendly blitz once a month. And when they started off and wanted to play with their cousins who were a bit younger, the club said fine, and it got their confidence up and now they’re playing in the right age group. In other words, the more relaxed attitude kept them in. I wish the GAA and FAI would follow suit rather than treating kids leagues like it’s the county championship.

Totally agree on GAA!! Our local club are in the Meath County Final next Sunday and there is huge excitement. As you say, all volunteer. But guess what? The date is only provisional because there’s talk of postponing it because people will want to watch the Ireland-Argentina match! I think that’s mad. There were 18 county finals played yesterday (and my cousin trained the Westmeath winners). Why postpone it for rugby? I bought my flag to put up today as the neighbour is playing. You see, I’m not a curmudgeon, just resent the marketing/mainstreaming/prioritisation.

also, when I asked one of the players why Meath was doing so poorly nationally he said it’s because county level has become so professionalised. The lads can’t realistically hold down proper jobs and do the training that’s expected, which is sad. And who gets all that money? My cousin plays for Roscommon and his Dad told me a training session can cost thousands by the time they pay for everyone to get home, facilities, equipment, coaches, food etc. How did it get out of control? I think it started when counties started going outside for managers. It should be natives doing the managing…


Yes I call them Failed State Columnists. They are determined to believe Ireland has failed at everything despite the fact that we have soldiered on. Every single facet of life has to be examined for failure rather than success. Fintan is of course the Supreme Leader. His column a few weeks ago observing that we are a terrible country because BEFORE taxes and welfare we are the most unequal was a classic. How about acknowledging that yes, that’s BEFORE the government uses its tax and welfare powers to redistribute wealth and make it a more equal country. That’s what we want? Right? Progressive policies that rectify the inequities of the free market?
Anyway, I shouldn’t have used my free article count on it.

@ Peter

Lyric is lovely. I’ve no problem with live coverage of *some* games but every week is another crucial game of something from some other sport.

But I am glad Ireland won. I saw the team train in Carton during the summer and a fine bunch of lads they looked to me 😉

Surely Crossmaglen Rangers’ 19th victory in 20 years in the Armagh championship can be used to illustrate the principle of comparative advantage?


I guess you missed Fintan O’Toole’s point that the bottom decile pays as much in tax as the top decile, thanks to 23% VAT rates. In fact the entire society is skewed to make sure that, even in times of crisis, the comfortable classes are not unduly discommoded while the poor and middle classes take it on the chin.

Those comfortable classes are the only ones benefitting from growth in Ireland’s GDP.

@ SC

A more equal country? I linked to the three articles above to demonstrate that this is far from being the case and that we are currently in the “bread and circuses” phase of the political cycle, especially when it comes to rugby. Benefits may be distributed to keep the multitude happy, and politicians in their jobs, but there is no equality of opportunity in terms of access to basic rights such as education, training, employment, health and retirement. FOT is right on this score although his argument is often muddled.

The “milleniums”” have it sussed. They have either left or intend doing so. The split in Irish society is between those in guaranteed, pensionable (defined benefit) employment and the rest. The reason the situation is frozen is because the establishment, defined in terms of those in a position to influence events, which goes right across the political spectrum, are beneficiaries of it. (Ireland is not unique in this respect. The French PM recently questioned the sustainability of the “statut” of the six million “fonctionnaires” – yes, six million! – in such employment in France. The reaction was such that one would think the sky was going to fall in).

The boot is on the other foot in the successful economies in Europe, especially in Germany, in that the public sector tail (defined in terms of expenditure) does not wag the entire economic dog. I hasten to add that this is not an ideological but practical observation i.e. there is a general acceptance that the cost of the public sector must be related to the capacity of an economy to sustain it. The countries where this is the accepted conventional wisdom have the highest levels of trade union participation. But the dominant ones are in the traded and not the non-traded ones as is the case in Ireland.

I have made these points before but they bear repeating. There seems to be a category in the Irish debate best described as what everybody knows but no one is willing to admit. Something for everyone in the audience continues to be the order of the day.

@Ernie Ball:

The F O’Toole bit on the high indirect taxes allegedly paid by the lowest decile has already been discussed on this site.

It’s based on data which show that for the lower deciles expenditure exceeds income. OK, if the excess is small. But when the expenditure of the lowest decile exceeds income by 86%, then there are big problems with the data. Either income is massively understated or expenditure overstated or the poor have virtually no credit constraints or have loads of assets they can use to finance excess expenditure. If you believe anything based on such data you will believe anything.

@Sarah Carey

“no son of mine will…”

That your cherished hopes may never be disappointed!

Somewhere there’s someone who can summarize the message in a t-shirt ready format – to break the idea that men should all be talking about TV sport all the time. Something along the lines of “Real men don’t spectate, they participate”. But pithier.

I know some people who played rugby at a good level and watch it with real interest and appreciation, but most don’t. They just want to be part of the crowd. And the mania for Irish people obsessing over soccer clubs from towns in England that they’ve barely ever been to is puzzling – especially since very few of them ever actually played soccer. If you watch a sport that you participate(d) in and a team that you have a real connection to then fine.

But hey – it’s a free country. And if that’s what people want to spend their time doing then that’s their choice. Watching football (of whichever code) is at least more environmentally friendly than a lot of other things people could do. And since people do want to watch football, then watching football does add to welfare and societal utility.

Meantime, the program for DEW is full of very interesting topics. I’m jealous. Have fun all!

and ironically, I’m avoiding budget hysterics by listening to the cricket on R4 LW. Haven’t the foggiest what’s going on but the commentary is always very gentle and soothing and informative. The commentators are fascinated by the number of helicopters in Dubai or Abu Dabi and can’t believe the heat.

Ernie – it was the column before that to which I was referring. I didn’t bother reading the following one as I know that argument and know its flawed and wasn’t going to make the mistake of wasting an article count on it when geniuses like Frank McNally and Ross O’Carroll-Kelly must be read first.


“I’d forbid my son to play rugby. I’ve seen to much evidence of the brain damage it causes”

I don’t know the numbers precisely but I’d safely suggest that the numbers of rugby payers who develop brain damage from playing the game is infinitely smaller than the impact of playing loud music into ones ears from the overuse of headphones.

I mean if the game was as bad for the head as you claim it to be then I’d love to see the evidence and have it banned for good in the same vein as cigarettes (Joke). Its highly unlikely to be the case but quite clearly proper concussion management is key to ensuring problems are not allowed to develop and additional risks brought to bear.

I’d suggest the biggest issue here is organising underage rugby on an age basis rather than on a weight basis. It makes good health sense to ensure the early developers are kept away from those of similar age without necessarily the same bulk in the same way than boxing is divided up by weight divisions. I don’t see any particular problem implementing a similar rule in rugby up to aged 17.

@John Sheehan

Let me simplify it for you: a 23% sales tax is wildly regressive. That the imposition of a 23% sales tax was among the very first reflexes of the FG/Lab government while Ireland still has nothing that looks like a meaningful wealth tax speaks volumes about who they represent: those who actually benefit from GDP growth (i.e., not most PAYE workers).

@Ernie Ball
Surely the fall in the unemployment rate from over 15% to 9.4% has helped some of the less comfortable classes too?


Yes it has “helped” them but it remains a fact that PAYE workers are not seeing much of anything from increases in GDP while they (particularly those in the public sector) bore the brunt of the cuts (and the unemployment) during the crisis.

Meanwhile, you have an entire class of D6 parasites at the top who weren’t affected by the crisis, actually made money from it, and haven’t been discommoded by anything that resembles a wealth tax. This while single carer’s allowance is slashed, school classes are at 30 students per and people are receiving chemotherapy on trolleys in hospital. But of course these things don’t have any impact on FG’s natural constituency in the 1% who don’t rely on public services and will be cared for in the Blackrock Clinic and the Mater Private…

What Labour thinks they are doing in all this is anyone’s guess. But the delay until spring won’t be enough to save them.


Would you count the Great British Bake off, Strictly Come Dancing, X-Factor etc. as sport? These appear to be the female riposte to Football, Rugby, Horse racing etc.

@Ernie Ball:

“a 23 % sales tax is wildly regressive”. Only to the extent that poorer people spend a higher proportion of their income than richer people. (Otherwise it would be proportional). Also, as VAT is not levied on food, this tends to mitigate regressivity.

My problem is partly with your use of the word “wildly”. This brings me back to my earlier point, which you seem not to have understood. The data used in the Nevin Institute (HBI for, I think, 2010) shows huge and inherently implausible excesses of income over expenditure for some of the lower income groups. For the lowest decile reported expenditure exceeds income by 86% so of course expenditure based taxes appear to be a very high proportion of income, giving the impression of being “wildly” regressive.

There are other problems with data from around 2010. This was at the depth of a very severe recession, with huge increases in unemployment, and incomes of the lowest decile were probably heavily influenced by recent loss of a job. The regressive/progressive nature of taxes more of a structural issue and 2010 data may (fortunately) not be representative.


I object to the PAYE qualification regarding tax payers. I’m self-employed and yet again this year I will pay more income tax on my income than anyone on the same income in PAYE because the allowances are lower for self-employed. I see the budget has attempted to rectify the inequality a little this year, but there are many in the same boat as me. There’s a myth that the self-employed can conjure up expenses to reduce income but that’s only of value in particular fields. e.g my husband was working in London last year and his flights, buses, accommodation etc none of that can be used as expenses when calculating income tax.

This issue has been discussed on this blog before and the real question that needs to be addressed continues to evade attention i.e. what is the balance between what is paid in in tax and the benefits received in return? Very little research seems to be taking place in respect of it. In the UK, which has a somewhat similar tax system, it is calculated that only the top 40% of taxpayers pay more in than they get out.

Given the many universal benefits being paid, notably child benefit, I would guess that the percentage in Ireland is even lower.

What is clear is that there is a widespread ignorance of the link between the two. And the politicians evidently intend to keep it that way. And voters, in general, seem in no hurry to find out. Or maybe not!

Re Tax in Budget:
The Minister announced a €700mn tax package, €600mn of which went on cutting USC rates. Yet the net cost of the package was actually only €85mn , as the tax bands and credits were not indexed ( €300mn to the exchequer), €230mn will come from tax buoyancy and another €75mn from ‘Compliance measures”. Finance forecast a 2.4% rise in average pay next year, which will increase the numbers paying the top rate of tax by some 40k to 474k or 20% of income earners , from 18% last year. Some may think that a good thing, others not.
Finance also show that the Irish income tax system is the most progressive in the EU and second in the OECD.
I don’t know anyone leaving the country protesting that taxes are too low or not progressive enough.

” … because the allowances are lower for self-employed.”

Sarah: this is quite a vexed question – in fact there should be nil allowances allowed against all personal incomes. That is, treat all citizens (taxpayers and non-taxpayers alike) – equally unfairly.

Citizens (waged or otherwise) should pay taxes (national and local) based on their gross incomes – on some sort of a progressive sliding scale. Farmers and some other self-interested groups would probably ‘rend their garments’ at this proposal. But put it into the Constitution: “No citizen (or groups of citizens) shall be advantaged or disadvantaged (in matters of personal tax) with respect to any other citizen (or groups of citizens).”

” … what is the balance between what is paid in in tax and the benefits received in return?

That’s a class of a dopey sort of question. It pre-supposes something (balance) that may not even exist. Well, it may do in theory. But in practice? And remember, benefits of any sort or size are easily and rapidly assimilated. Whereas, the removal or loss of even a small benefit will be stoutly resisted.

“What is clear is that there is a widespread ignorance of the link between the two.”


“And the politicians evidently intend to keep it that way.”

Definitely they would – if’n they knew enough about the issue; I would guess they are just as ignorant as the taxpayers.

“And voters, in general, seem in no hurry to find out.”

To paraphrase Sinclair Upton: their level of ignorance may be in direct proportion to the level of their ‘benefit’.

ps: Why does the SpellChecker not work with Win 8.* OS, but does with Win 7 OS or VISTA? Curious. And, if’n you have not yet upgaded to Win 10 OS – do not! There be a bad place. Looks nice, but likely to crash your HP printers. Curiouser.

Edit my last post above: it should of course read excesses of expenditure over income, not the other way around. Sorry.


R4 cricket is a hype-free zone in which it is not forbidden to acknowledge the existence of the outside world. You haven’t got to the point of posting over cakes yet have you?

@ Dan

Ah yes, the Budget.

I suspect that interest (watching on TV, attending matches) in Irish rugby has more economic benefit to Ireland than an interest in English Premiership soccer. Irish people who follow English soccer teams will buy replica jerseys and other merchandise and occasionally attend matches all of which is an outflow from Ireland. I grew up in an Ireland where every schoolboy had to have an English soccer team to support and the big topic of conversation first thing on a Monday morning was how each guy’s team got on over the weekend. I have boys in a large secondary school now and they are hardly even aware that the English premiership exists. I think social media, the internet and the fact that all the best TV comes out of the US now has changed all of that. On the other hand, supporting Leinster Rugby or Connacht Rugby keeps money in Ireland. I do agree that rugby is dangerous. I love watching it but I wouldn’t let my children near a rugby club in a million years. It is simply not natural the ‘hits’ that players are taking in the sport and, apart from possible head trauma, there is the wear and tear on bones and joints. I’m all in favour of sports where if you set aside one hour for the activity you will be fully involved for that hour, they can be played all year round, and they don’t require you to ‘bulk up’ or risk serious injury. Sports such as tennis, pitch and putt/golf, and badminton (to name just a few) all meet those criteria. I suppose you could say they are an economically efficient use of time compared to the situation of a kid put in as corner forward on a GAA team and not getting a kick of the ball for the full 60 minutes.

Sarah Carey complains about the ubiquity of sport and how it doesn’t really matter. I would say the same about talk radio. I mean, I got the details of the Budget on the RTE website and ten minutes was enough for me. Think of the hundreds of hours of talk radio that has or will be devoted to the Budget this week that I will gladly avoid. What purpose will all this talk serve? I’ve done a mental calculation of how much better off I will be come January and that’s enough for me. I won’t listen to or read any further articles on the Budget until October 2016.


on budget radio: snap 🙂 hence cricket!
But of course exception to talk radio is the wonderfully explorative and considered Talking Point! 😉

Leaving aside the spat between the government and the head of IFAC, which is par for the course for such relationships, this ESRI commentary tackles the question that most interests people i.e. who pays and who benefits?

What is becoming increasingly obvious is that what is needed is a statutorily independent Budget Office, in addition to IFAC, which would provide the data in respect of which there could be little or no dispute or misunderstanding. However, like the budget itself, matters could be a lot worse.

The failure to fix principles from which there can be no departure (e.g. if GP care is to be free, it should, by definition be free to all) is the besetting sin of the approach in Ireland since independence. The unpicking of the USC is another example of the failure to fix another principle i.e. that all able-bodied adults not in full-time education must be expected to contribute to the economy that underpins the services which they are accessing. The decades of clientilism have created a widespread perception that is not the case.

Maybe the budget reveals, probably unintentionally, that there is a change in sentiment taking place?

What have we learned from the TV/Radio coverage of Budget from our eminent journalistic core.

1. Denis O’Brien is evil incarnate and is the benchmark for everything that is wrong in this country (notwithstanding his non-residency status)

2. Anyone earning over €70k per year is almost on a par with DOB in terms of both wealth and their capacity for evil.

We truly have become a welfare state of mammoth proportions when you consider that FG are probably a long way left of Labour under Blair and FG represents the most right wing party on offer here.

I was incredulous of the amount of ordinary people interviewed that have this enormous sense of entitlement to state funded (taxpayer) entitlements. “what good is an extra €5″….”I’m a single mother waiting for a house for 6 months, its a disgrace…”. Not a single commentator on any of the free to air channels or radio challenges these people to say – okay, I appreciate that you are having a difficult time but do you acknowledge the reason you have any entitlements in the first place is that other people are paying for this i.e. they are going out working jobs every week and pay a portion of their income to give your unemployment allowance, to give you free accommodation, to give you lots of things for free….do you understand that? Because the reality is that they do not appear to understand that. Perhaps presented to them as such the penny might start to drop.

I even heard some absurd argument from the Shinners that someone on 30k a year getting a 1% tax reduction only sees €300 benefit while someone on 70k see a €700 reduction and that is unfair. This is an extraordinary mindset that pretty much goes unchallenged by journalists and politicians. No one tries to make sense of why someone is on 70k, that it is likely correlated to hard work, several years spent in college, talent etc….no premium should be attached to these things. If you happen to enjoy a talent premium, an education premium, a good work ethic premium, these premiums must be netted off and redistributed to those that don’t enjoy them.

The huge irony of course being that many of the entitlement seekers have no objection to Wayne Rooney getting 400k per week as they cheer him on in the local with their entitlement earnings….The 70k plusers….and of course…Denis OBrien are the true enemies of the ordinary man. Time to hit the reset button in this country.

What the MOF had to say in his 2009 budget statement, especially in relation to the taxation of income and the “adjustments” in social welfare!

One conundrum that a Budget Office might clarify, with the help of the Revenue Commissioners, is that identified by John Sheehan above. (Anyone living in a rural or small town environment would have a few ready explanations, the most obvious one lying in the area of the black economy).

Tax cuts and spending rises are easy when there is a recovery. Ireland like its former colonial ruler has had banjaxed house planning policies for decades.

Nama is to build 20,000 ‘starter’ social housing units — again that’s easier to mandate than address planning/land issues.

Irish agricultural land prices are among the most expensive in the world (CAP welfare keeps land turnover very low). So with the windfall tax on rezoned land at 33%, owning land near a big urban area remains a low risk route to riches.

German research shows that in a sample of 14 economies up to to 80% of the increase in house prices between 1950 and 2012 can be attributed to land price appreciation alone.

Savills data show that in the UK the cost of development land was relatively stable in 1985-1995. Then prices quintupled in the period to 2007 and are now back at 2007 levels.

There is still great faith in tax incentives based on hunches.

Both Canada and Ireland have R&D tax credits that do not work in either country and Noonan gave in to the demand of the business lobbies to cut the capital gains tax rate. They will be back again next year claiming that the UK has a better deal. It’s to promote entrepreneurship — a joke indeed.

There is no lobby group on providing occupational pension coverage for the majority of the private sector that has none — wonder why? The folks with a grip on the public megaphone are well catered for.

Half Ireland’s population, including farmers, paid public income supports in 2014

@ MH

Your data do not, it seems to me, allow one to draw any particular conclusion. It is not the level of the transfers but their justification and effectiveness that matter. (An example of Ireland’s policy failure on both counts would be someone over seventy who can now visit his GP for free but who has to have a maximum level of private insurance to cover a particular health situation. There are innumerable other examples).

As to your fixed view on Irish farmers, the same view would have to be applied to all EU farmers or at least those producing meat, cereals and dairy products which covers the bulk of the spending. It may be that the CAP needs reform but that is another matter.

@ All

An interesting link, especially the embedded link on the news from Greece that civil servants will have capital controls applied to them in a manner which, at first sight, would appear to be discriminatory but suggest that Syriza is attempting to get the grips with the black economy.


Issues of note:

1) the jump in the number of pensioners since 2005;

2) the state of agriculture and the related importance of the food sector for indigenous trading firms: a) a very high level of public dependency while agric. land prices are among the world’s highest b) a few months ago, Prof Alan Matthews advised Irish beef farmers to get out of the sector and grow trees as they could not survive without subsidies.

3) In 2012 the social protection budget (including health spending) as a ratio of GNP at almost 40% was the highest in Europe — growth and related falling unemployment will bring the ratio down while demographic factors will have a lesser upward impact.

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