New Events

National

no events posted in last week

Blog Feeds

Spirit of Contradiction

offsite link On The Decline and Fall of The American Empire and Socialism Sat Jan 26, 2019 01:52 | S. Duncan

offsite link What is Dogmatism and Why Does It Matter? Wed Mar 21, 2018 08:10 | Sylvia Smith

offsite link The Case of Comrade Dallas Mon Mar 19, 2018 19:44 | Sylvia Smith

offsite link Review: Do Religions Evolve? Mon Aug 14, 2017 19:54 | Dara McHugh

offsite link Fake News: The Epistemology of Media Wed Jun 07, 2017 11:52 | Gavin Mendel-Gleason

Spirit of Contradiction >>

Public Inquiry
Interested in maladministration. Estd. 2005

offsite link Alison O’Connor and professional deceit

offsite link Educating Marian Finucane Anthony

offsite link Denis O’Brien: Are the sharks closing in? Anthony

offsite link Kathy Sheridan: Afraid to speak truth to power? Anthony

offsite link Una Mullally: The youth of Ireland are on the march Anthony

Public Inquiry >>

The Saker
A bird's eye view of the vineyard

offsite link Moveable Feast Cafe 2019/02/24 ? Open Thread Sun Feb 24, 2019 01:30 | Herb Swanson
2019/02/24 01:30:01Welcome to the ‘Moveable Feast Cafe’. The ‘Moveable Feast’ is an open thread where readers can post wide ranging observations, articles, rants, off topic and have animate discussions of

offsite link Russian President warns West that deploying missile launchers in Europe could ignite ?tit for tat? r... Sat Feb 23, 2019 16:33 | The Saker
by Pepe Escobar (cross-posted with the Asia Times by special agreement with the author) President Putin?s state of the nation address to the Federal Assembly in Moscow this week was

offsite link Sticky open thread on Venezuela Fri Feb 22, 2019 19:45 | The Saker
The expectation is that tomorrow’s action in Venezuela will either spark a civil war, or a type of maidan, or a complete war to attempt to take-over and topple the

offsite link Iran Took Control Of Several US Drones Flying Over Syria, Iraq Fri Feb 22, 2019 17:27 | Scott
Syrian War Report ? Feb. 21-22, 2019: Iran Took Control Of Several US Drones Flying Over Syria, Iraq The Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and the National Defense Forces (NDF) have

offsite link Saudi/Bahraini FM?s dodge reporters after first-ever public meeting with Israeli PM ? English subs Fri Feb 22, 2019 16:49 | The Saker
The best way to stay up to date with MEO?s content is to subscribe to its website mailing list (see below), and/or to be following as many of its media

The Saker >>

Human Rights in Ireland
A Blog About Human Rights

offsite link Storms and Winter Damage To Homes Mon Dec 17, 2018 11:08 | Human Rights

offsite link Human Rights Body In Africa Must Set A Better Example Wed Nov 14, 2018 16:13 | Human Rights

offsite link 112 Pro-Biafra Imo Women Arrested Sat Aug 25, 2018 16:30 | Human Rights

offsite link Traveller Community in Galway Fri Aug 03, 2018 16:28 | Human Rights

offsite link US Withdraw From UN Human Rights Council Thu Jul 19, 2018 16:32 | Human Rights

Human Rights in Ireland >>

IRELAND: New Head Arrives - Same Old Reactionary Politics?

category national | rights, freedoms and repression | news report author Sunday June 04, 2017 17:46author by séamas carraher - globalrights.infoauthor email cultureofliberation at gmail dot com Report this post to the editors

As minister-for-poverty in one of the richest countries in the World (or at least one of the most indebted) Minister Varadkar achieved fame in the run up to the Leadership context with his April 2017 Campaign against welfare recipients and the unemployed: ‘Welfare cheats cheat us all“.

My systemic examination of social welfare processes for recovering overpayments is continuing in 2017...” — Irish Ombudsman Peter Tyndall

Ireland now inherits a new Taoiseach and the Fine Gael party a new head on boring-old-shoulders, existing Minister for Social Protection Leo Varadkar just securing his place in the leadership contest, despite his lack of support (a mere 35%) among rank-and file Fine Gaelers...

As minister-for-poverty in one of the richest countries in the World (or at least one of the most indebted) Minister Varadkar achieved fame in the run up to the Leadership context with his April 2017 Campaign against welfare recipients and the unemployed: 'Welfare cheats cheat us all".

"Nothing upsets people more than someone else cheating the system at their expense. That’s why we are launching a new campaign to encourage members of the public to report suspected or known cases of welfare fraud..." the Minister told us...coyly.

Now as he tries his new crown on for size he will probably be able to ignore the recent report from the Irish Ombudsman, who deals with complaints from frustrated Irish citizens "about how they have been treated by public bodies in Ireland. The Ombudsman can examine decisions, refusals to take action and administrative procedures of public bodies."

With no axes-to-grind on behalf of a government - apparently horrified at the thought of a few dole recipients doing "nixers" and possibly claiming a paltry 42 million euros (possibly - ? - or is it €500 million?) in benefits while fighting an extended battle to return €13 billion in tax to the-not-strapped-for-cash Apple Corporation (only this May, Margrethe Vestager, the EU’s Competition Commissioner, pointed out that Ireland was taking too long to recover the €13 billion in back-taxes owed by Apple!) - the Ombudsman’s findings add a new dimension to the campaign to isolate the cheating citizens currently being stalked by the Department of Social Protection ('Helping You Build A Better Life'):

"During 2015 and 2016, I noticed an increase in the number of complaints to my Office from people who had been, or who were currently, in receipt of social welfare payments and who had received notice from the Department of Social Protection that they had been overpaid. The Department was demanding repayment from them.
The periods during which the overpayments accrued ranged from relatively recently to over 20 years ago. The amounts also ranged from €1,000 to over €100,000.
An examination of these complaints raised significant concerns so I decided to initiate a systemic examination of the Department’s processes in raising and collecting overpayment debts from claimants.
My Office examined local overpayment files held in two Dublin Intreo Offices. In October 2016, I sent a report of our findings to the Department for its consideration and response.
During 2016, my Office examined other individual complaints received from overpaid social welfare claimants. A total of 55 overpayment complaints have been examined. 25 have been finalised and closed. Of those closed, I upheld 15 (60%) and the overpayments were written off by the Department." Ombudsman Peter Tyndall

One significant case study by the Ombudsman showed how one woman, who was told she owed the Department of Social Protection €19,900.00 ended up receiving a €700 refund from the department:
"A woman complained to the Ombudsman after she wrote to the local office of the Department of Social Protection and failed to receive a response. The woman had received correspondence from her local office saying that an overpayment of €19,900 had been made to her. The woman was unaware of how this debt arose and had written to the Department for an explanation.
The Ombudsman contacted the Department’s local office and asked it to respond to the woman’s correspondence. While responding to the Ombudsman the Department also reviewed the woman’s social welfare payments. It discovered that her application had not been processed correctly. The woman’s income had been recalculated a number of times resulting in different outcomes, while in considering her husband’s income the Department had failed to take account of an illness that reduced his income.
Following the review, Department discovered that not only had there been no overpayment but that the woman was entitled to a refund of approximately €700."

Of course the heavy hand and the incompetence of a tight-fisted Government's bureaucracy is surely not a concern for the new Leadership of this probably-almost-worn-out-party and this newly resurgent nation. Like witches rubbing their hands around a pot of boiling toads it appears that those in power are now rubbing their hands together at the soon-to be realised profits from the upcoming housing explosion or the next bankers' revolution or some other waiting-in-the-wings Ponzi get-rich-fast scheme...

Ombudsman Peter Tyndall:
"The Department of Social Protection has strong powers of recovery in the case of overpayments made to social welfare claimants. In my discussions with the Department, among other things, I placed an emphasis on:
• ‘Poverty proofing’ – to ensure that the rate of overpayment recovery does not cause undue hardship for claimants
• Minimum standard of documentation – all documentation pertinent to the identification and raising of an overpayment debt must be maintained
• Right of appeal – claimants should have the right to challenge every aspect of the debt recovery process through the appeals framework."

Lao-Tzu (6th century BCE, possibly) in his Tao Te Ching made a comment on rulers that the new regime may do well to reflect on, though as citizens in this age-of-the-end-of-politics we know not to be too hopeful:

"The supreme rulers are hardly known by their subjects.
The lesser are loved and praised.
The even lesser are feared.
The least are despised.

Those who show no trust will not be trusted.
Those who are quiet value the words.
When their task is completed, people will say:
We did it ourselves
."

[Tao Te Ching chapter 17]

Related Link: http://www.globalrights.info/2017/06/ireland-new-head-arrives-same-old-reactionary-politics/
© 2001-2019 Independent Media Centre Ireland. Unless otherwise stated by the author, all content is free for non-commercial reuse, reprint, and rebroadcast, on the net and elsewhere. Opinions are those of the contributors and are not necessarily endorsed by Independent Media Centre Ireland. Disclaimer | Privacy