The Irish National Teachers Organisation’s Roscommon-Galway District CEC Representative, Tommy Greally, has strongly criticised plans by the Revenue Commissioners to remove the teacher's tax relief on expenses.
Speaking at an INTO District 6 meeting this week Greally explained: “INTO is engaging with revenue in regard to the teachers’ flat rate expenses allowance. The INTO was asked, and has provided, a detailed submission on the relevance and use of this allowance. INTO expects Revenue to fully consider that submission, prepared in good faith that it might receive a fair assessment, before proceeding to change policy.
“This allowance has been revisited many times by Revenue in the past. In all those assessments, the allowance was found to have an ongoing relevance and there is no reason to believe that this has changed. The ongoing cuts to school funding, still 5% lower than OECD levels, makes such allowances all the more critical for teachers.”
“I firmly believe that these out of pocket expenses compensate individual teachers for the many out of pocket expenses which they typically incur and for which they do not receive a reimbursement.”
In conclusion, he stated “I know that ending the allowance will wipe out any gain from the recent Budget. This latest move comes despite Fine Gael promising more tax cuts for workers.”
Children: Fionnbarr (26), Ryan (24), Ailisha (22), Neala (20), and Siofra (18).
Q & A
Question: Why have you selected Fianna Fáil as the political party that you would like to join?
Response: Options are fairly limited. You either start one or join one. I think that if you polled 100 people in Dawson Street, probably 1% could tell you the real difference. I would call myself a compassionate capitalist. I totally believe in helping those who need to be helped, BUT you have to encourage a culture of Pride and self-achievement.
Question: Or are you just pulling their leg, as you don't really take them seriously?
Response: I think they could retain their former mantle of the party for the people.
Question: Would you like to possibly be An Taoiseach some day?
Question: Given some of the reaction from Fianna Fáil members in the Oireachtas, who have basically said that you would not be welcome in their party, what other political party would you consider approaching?
Question: Would you consider venturing into forming a New Political Party in Ireland?
Question: Have you had any conversations or meetings with any members of The Oireachtas, either Senators or TDs?
Question: With regard to the open letter published in a recent issue of the Sunday Independent, penned by Mary "Mammy" O'Rourke, to you, telling you to leave party politics alone, and in particular Fianna Fáil, and telling you to go ahead and run as an Independent. What, if any, response do you have to her?
Response: Amazing lady who I respect greatly. I was seated beside her on a TV show discussing millennials and it was like sitting beside my late mother. I wonder what advice she would give Micheal?
“As the non-effects, of the non-measure, that was Budget 2019 ‘sink in’, it is surely time for us to draw certain conclusions about where farm families and the wider agri-food sector stands in the Government’s list of priorities,” Pat McCormack, President ICMSA
An analysis of where farmers stand on the Government's list of priorities is greatly aided by a cool and rational examination of what the Government did, or rather did not do, for farmers in the most recent budget. Pat McCormack, President of the ICMSA explained: “It is shockingly obvious that the current Government simply does not understand the scale of the challenges being faced by farm families. Neither in terms of the 50% fall in income predicted for this current year, or the transformational challenges that could follow Brexit next March,” he added: “There haven’t been any signs of appreciation about the scale of the problems that are not just looming on some distant horizon, but are in the here and now, and are already biting into our unique family farm system.”
The ICMSA President claims, that in the absence of any kind of coherent response from Government to the crisis developing, farm families can only conclude that the Government has decided that it doesn’t want to support them. The farm organisation concludes that the agenda now seems to be about enhancing the position of big businesses over family farms.
Mr Mccormack expressed his concern further, stating: “I am genuinely reluctant to come to this conclusion, but it is the only logical one to arrive at, based on Budget 2019, as set out by the Minister for Finance. Introducing new minor schemes; with more conditions and more inspections, along with tweaks to existing schemes, won’t solve the massive underlying problems. And it is simply ‘throwing shapes’ rather than providing real solutions for the farming community. A perfect example of what I mean is exampled by the litany of inaction in dealing with the ‘Gorilla in The Room’ that is farm income volatility.”
It is claimed by the ICMSA that the single biggest issue facing family farms today is income volatility. They explained that this volatility in income has farming families trapped in an utterly destructive ‘boom and bust cycle’, that can see their annual incomes go from relatively sustainable to absolute unsustainable in the space of a single year.
2018 has already put farm families to the test, with Teagasc already predicting that average farm incomes will fall by 50% this year.
“One would now have to question, at this stage, the level of priority that agriculture is getting around the Cabinet table, and this should be a matter of concern for everyone in rural Ireland,” explained McCormack.
As the economy in general improves, and incomes rise across the board, farmers are set to face a phenomenal income collapse. Farmers are subjected to the massive market and income volatility that is, often, caused by margin manipulation by more powerful links in the food supply chain. Imagine any scenario where any other group in Ireland was facing a 50% drop in income. Would that financial disaster be completely ignored by Government? That is precisely the situation in which farm families in Roscommon, Longford, Leitrim, and all over Ireland find themselves in this year. The result of same is that co-operatives, vets, agricultural suppliers, mechanics, local shops, and the like are left with bills going unpaid. The fodder crisis which shocked the agricultural community last year has meant many bills have already carried over and will continue to do so for the next number of years unless the Government provide drastic support for farmers and their families.