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Posts tagged ‘Poverty’

Focus Ireland update on Ireland’s homeless

Dear Machholz,

We wrote to you last year about the crazy situation where dozens of young people who have experienced homelessness are trapped in emergency homeless accommodation because their income is too low for them to afford to move on into independent living.

When the welfare rates to young people were halved in 2009, young people who had grown up in care were protected, recognising that they would need a full payment if they were to provide a home for themselves. However young people who become homeless after they reach 18, but were never in care, receive no such protection.

After a period in emergency accomodation, such young people are ready to move on with their lives, possibly with tenancy support services – but even if they can find a private flat and get rent supplement they cannot afford to take it up because after their rent contribution they would be left with only €70 to €100 a week to live on.

As a result they remain stuck in Emergency Accomm odation whose facilities they no longer need and which is more expensive than supporting them to find and maintain a home. . It is hard to get on with your life – take up education or apply for a job – when your address is an emergency homeless hostel. At present the only way out is to wait until they turn 25!Homeless1

Last year, Focus Ireland supporters sent over 2,000 e-mails to their TDs and Senators asking for action on this situation. This resulted in dozens of Dail questions and a very positive response by the Minister Joan Burton. But since then … nothing. There has been no change at all in the position of these young people.

305To help push this issue forward, Focus Ireland, in collaboration with other homeless organisations around the country, is holding a briefing session for TDs and Senators in the Dail on the 17th April. At thie briefing we will outline the problem and put forward a solution which will use the Youth Guarantee to assist these young people mo ve out of Emergency Homeless Accommodation and on into training, education, employment – and a sustainable home.

We are writing to you now to ask you to send a reminder to your local TD/Senators to attend the briefing and put their political weight behind finding a solution to this problem. There is an easy-to-use prepared letter here.

With thanks for your support.

Yours sincerely

Mike Allen Director of Advocacy Focus Ireland

Impoverishment of the Western World

By  Daily Bell

U.S. poverty totals hit a 50-year high Census Bureau’s grim statistics show recession’s lingering effects, as young adults move back home and 1 million more Americans go without health insurance … In a grim portrait of a nation in economic turmoil, the government reported that the number of people living in poverty last year surged to 46.2 million — the most in at least half a century — as 1 million more Americans went without health insurance and household incomes fell sharply.  – Los Angeles Times

Dominant Social Theme: These things happen. No reason. Depressions spontaneously occur. They are “market mistakes.”

Free-Market Analysis: We’ve spent considerable time in the past three years (the past decade, actually), analyzing how the powers-that-be have reorganized society, especially American society, in a way that relentlessly reduces prosperity. Figures released yesterday from the US Census provide a startling illustration of just how effective elites have been. (See excerpt above.)

Why would a handful of wealthy central banking families want to impoverish the US and render its citizens penniless? Our conclusion is simple: World  government is on the way and the American culture is still resistant to the kind of hyper-regulatory corporatism that is necessary to support this kind of governance.

full article at source: http://www.thedailybell.com/2927/Deliberate-Impoverishment-of-the-Western-World

OECD says unemployment payments should be reduced


OECD proposal on unemployment payments is preposterous and perverse Social Justice Ireland has strongly criticised a proposal from the OECD that unemployment payments should be reduced over time to encourage unemployed people to take up employment. The vast majority of unemployed people would take up any job that was available. Just a few years ago the long-term unemployment rate in Ireland was one of the lowest in the world at 1.3%. Many people became unemployed because of the collapse in the economy. The greatest devastation of this recession is being borne by those who have lost their jobs. There is no evidence to suggest these people would not take up a job if it were available. Blaming unemployed people for the failures in the economy and the inability to produce jobs is perverse in the extreme. Social Justice Ireland wishes to point out that: • Two thirds of a million people in Ireland are at risk of poverty. • At least 90,000 of those employed in Ireland are at risk of poverty. These are the ‘working poor’. • Social welfare payments for unemployed people are €34 a week below the poverty line for a single person and €56 a week for a couple over 25 years of age. • Social welfare payments for unemployed people below 25 years of age are up to €122 a week for a single person and €168 a week for a couple belo! w the poverty line. The proposal by the OECD that unemployment payments should be reduced further shows the OECD is totally out of touch with the reality of the lives of people who are unemployed and are ignoring the fact that they are unemployed because a sufficient number of jobs don’t exist in the economy. The claim that everybody should make a contribution to the adjustment required in Ireland at present has been repeated like a mantra in policy discussion and public commentary. Yet it is only half true. Yes, Social Justice Ireland agrees everyone should make a contribution insofar as they can. But we do not accept that some people should be driven into poverty because of the contribution that is demanded of them. To do this is to try to solve one problem by creating a deeper and more long-lasting one. “We reject any attempt to solve Ireland’s problems by increasing inequality or by forcing the most vulnerable members of the popu! lation into a situation where they do not have the resources to live life with dignity” according to Fr Healy. ‘Hits’ on poor people and the low-paid have far bigger negative impact than larger hits on the better off who have resources to absorb the hits. It is profoundly wrong for example that poor people carry a major burden while senior bond-holders, who carry a large part of the responsibility for Ireland’s implosion, make no contribution to sharing the burden.

PDF doc here :Irish Society at a glance

The OECD has warned that that unemployment in Ireland is becoming an “intractable” problem.

In its economic outlook for 2012 published today the organisation however said it is cautiously optimistic about the country’s prospects for economic recovery.

“Ireland is continuing to undertake a comprehensive and vital adjustment programme to reduce its macroeconomic imbalances and restore its banking system to health,” the report said.

“Despite robust export growth, weak domestic demand and ongoing fiscal consolidation have prevented an economic recovery from unfolding so far.

“As domestic demand stabilises, a modest upturn of output is expected in the course of 2011, with some acceleration in 2012.

“The unemployment rate is likely to stay high, and core deflation to continue.”

The report’s authors said recovery this year will be gradual, and speed up in 2012.

The OECD said Ireland must adhere to the adjustment programme laid down by the EU and IMF and in particular lowering our budget deficit to below 3% of GDP by 2015.

“Improving competitiveness through wage restraint and structural reforms should remain a priority,” the report said.

Minister for Public Expenditure Brendan Howlin said jobs are the Government’s top priority.

However Social Justice Ireland has strongly criticised a proposal from the OECD that unemployment payments should be reduced over time to encourage unemployed people to take up employment.

“The vast majority of unemployed people would take up any job that was available” according to Fr Seán Healy, the organisations’ director.

“Blaming unemployed people for the failures in the economy and the inability to produce jobs is perverse in the extreme”..

Read more: http://www.breakingnews.ie/ireland/oecd-cautiously-optimistic-but-warns-on-unemployment-506381.html#ixzz1NNH1CQxs

Libya – 10 Apr 2011, Street Fighting in Misurata


There should be no doubt these are ordinary people fighting for the rights. Rights we take for granted every day here in the west .We have an obligation to help these poor people rid themselves of the dictatorship that is trying to stamp them out.

U2 and “Tax Havens”

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Dublin, Ireland. a protest outside the Department of Finance, nothing unusual there, only this time it was to do with Ireland’s most successful band. This protest saw members of the Debt and Development Coalition Ireland (DDCI) gathering Bono may campaign for a better deal for the world’s poor, but his band are taking advantage of the same tax avoidance schemes that rob impoverished countries of billions. outside the Merrion Street offices to voice their concern over U2’s tax avoidance. The coalition contains charitable organisations such as Trocaire and Oxfam (the world’s largest charity organisation) and they had clearly swallowed enough of Bono’s double standards. Nessa Ni Chasaide of Debt and Development Coalition Ireland said, “Bono may campaign for a better deal for the world’s poor, but his band are taking advantage of the same tax avoidance schemes that rob impoverished countries of billions.”

For more follow link to source: http://www.makebonopaytax.com/


Tax avoidance and tax havens like the IFSC are helping individuals and companies to avoid taxation through loopholes in the law or even employ illegal tax evasion methods :

Governments need tax revenues for investments in public goods and services like infrastructure, education, health care and a social safety net. These investments are of great important for national welfare, a good enabling environment for the private sector and for economic development in general. It is important that all individuals and firms, who are benefiting from these public services, contribute to this by paying a fair share in taxes. 

Some companies nonetheless use aggressive methods to avoid taxation through loopholes in the law or even employ illegal tax evasion. The scope of worldwide tax evasion is enormous. In the book “Capitalism’s Achilles Heel”, Richard Baker, one of the most renowned American experts on the field of tax evasion and money laundering, calculates that every year US$ 200 billion of corporate revenues depart from developing countries without proper taxes being paid.
It has been estimated that more than half of all world trade is going through tax havens to avoid taxation. Tax havens play an important role in the worldwide problem of tax avoidance and evasion. They undermine development in other countries, including developing countries, in four ways:

  • Secret bank accounts and offshore trusts in tax havens provide wealthy elites and companies with the means to escape their tax obligations. The big international banks and accountancy firms lend a hand by providing trust and tax planning services in tax havens;
  • Multinationals’ ability to substantially lower their tax burden by routing capital flows through mailbox companies in tax havens provides them with unfair competitive advantages vis-à-vis their – often smaller – competitors in developing countries;
  • Banking secrecy and offshore trusts offered by financial institutions in tax havens make it possible to launder the proceeds of political corruption, illicit arms deals, and other crimes;
  • Tax havens have contributed to the rising incidence of financial crisis that can destroy livelihoods in poor countries. Tax havens have contributed to the rising incidence of financial crisis that can destroy livelihoods in poor countries.

Tax avoidance is a worldwide problem that needs to be addressed. Both governments and multinationals should take action to counter this problem. There is also an important task for civil society organisations to stimulate public discussion around tax avoidance and tax havens.

Source   http://www.taxjustice.nl/?nid=63000

Public sector workers forced to look for welfare to survive

One third of households are now the ‘working poor’

Public servants are queuing up for social welfare in an effort to make ends meet. Clerical officers and staff officers are applying in their droves and qualifying for emergency social welfare assistance to meet mortgage repayments and household bills.

Ironically, while the Government is taking away with one hand in pay cuts and pension levies it’s having to fork out with the other as full time public sector workers are feeling the pinch and struggling to meet their financial commitments.

One well paid principal officer in the Department of Education told the Sunday Independent, “This is not at all unusual now, in fact it’s quite common, everyone in the civil service knows about it. Even staff officers with kids are getting hand outs from the social welfare. It’s amazing what’s going on and a bit strange that the Government are cutting wages and having to top them up with welfare payments. You would wonder sometimes, what’s the real saving.”

There is a raft of social welfare entitlements for which even people in work can qualify if they make a sufficiently strong case. The Department of Social Welfare, MABS the money advice bureau and citizen advice centres confirm that they are over run by families seeking assistance and applying for family income supplement (FIS) rent and mortgage allowances, school books and clothing subsidies and other emergency social welfare payments. Low paid public servants average about €450 a week.

The news comes as a further 70,000 SIPTU members joined the work-to-rule in the public sector last week, swelling the numbers from IMPACT, the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation, CPSU , Unite, the Public Service Executive Union and the three teacher unions already involved in the go-slow, to almost 250,000 public service employees.

One local authority official told the Sunday Independent that some people in the public sector are struggling and are no longer hiding it. “At one staff meeting this week a colleague announced, ‘I’m on family income supplement and I’m not afraid to say it. It’s nothing I’m ashamed of.’ These people have children, their partners are not working and they’re under the threshold to qualify for social welfare, there’s no question about it. But it’s a pretty crazy situation for people on a salary if they have to top it up with family income supplement, what’s the agenda? People are struggling, like lots of families are struggling, especially those who bought a house at the wrong time, they’re scared and at their wits end.”

This is borne out by the latest data from the Money and Budgeting Service (MABS) whose end of year report for 2009 showed the number of people seeking help with debt and mortgage repayments more than doubled last year to 24,800. The bulk of new clients were married, aged 26 to 40 with children and a mortgage.

“We are seeing more and more people seeking advice and support from low pay categories who are in difficulty with paying for utilities and other debts. We help people who are finding it hard to make ends meet whether they have a wage or not, we wouldn’t know where they work as we don’t collate that kind of information,” explained MABS spokesman Michael Culloty.

On Wednesday the Government confirmed that the unemployment figure for last month was 436,936, a rise of 13,000 since December and a jobless rate of 12.7%. Data from the Department of Social Welfare also revealed that unscheduled social welfare payments by the State in 2009 rose by €244 million to a total of €1,048m, an increase of 23%. €508m of this went on rent supplements and related payments.

Father Sean Healy of Social Justice Ireland Father Sean Healy of Social Justice Ireland

In a policy statement this week Father Sean Healy of Social Justice Ireland called on the Government to recognise the problem of the “working poor” which accounts for 39.6% of all households, a total of 116,000, where the head of the family has a job.

Family Income Supplement (FIS) is a weekly tax-free payment available to married and unmarried employees with children. It is designed to give extra financial support to people on low pay and the income threshold varies according to family size. If you are getting FIS you may also be entitled to the fuel allowance and the back to school clothing and footwear allowance


Focus Ireland

Dear Machholz,
Many thanks for taking the time to e-mail Minister for the Environment John Gormley calling on him to honour his commitment to protect the budget for homeless services.
This was our most successful on-line campaign to date with 773 people e-mailing Minister Gormley over four weeks.
As you all know by now Budget 2011 was the harshest in decades. Widespread cuts were made across all Departments and spending programmes.
While it is regrettable that the Department of Environment budget for homeless services was cut by 4.6%, it is clear that homeless services were spared the level of cuts experienced by many other spending programmes.
We have no doubt that this was influenced by your e-mail directly to the Minister, highlighting the high level of public support for providing vital services for people experiencing homelessness and for a strategy to end homelessness.
Th e exact impact of these cuts on homeless services and on people experiencing homelessness will not be clear until next year.
Focus Ireland will be do everything in our power to minimise the impact of these funding cuts, and of the cuts in welfare and other services, on people who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.
We will also continue to advocate on behalf of people who do not have a place to call home, and will be relying on your support again in the new year.
Many thanks for your support, have a merry Christmas and a happy New Year.
Mike Allen
Director of Advocacy

‘The Poor Can’t Pay’ Banner

Dear Machholz,
Come and march behind ‘The Poor Can’t Pay’ Banner

The Government’s Four Year Plan will make hit the poorest hardest. One way to show that you believe there is a better way to deal with our economic crisis is to join the ‘The Poor Can’t Pay’ banner at tomorrow’s demonstration!

The Poor Can’t Pay will be supporting the Demonstration tomorrow to highlight opposition to the proposed €1/hour cut in the minimum wage and the planned slashing of social welfare payments.

The Poor Can’t Pay has warned that cutting the minimum wage could lead to massive welfare cuts . This analysis has been supported by Poor Can’t Pay campaign member Social Justice Ireland.

A number of ‘The Poor Can’t Pay’ supporters are not trade union members and do not feel comfortable marching behind a union banner – but The Poor Can’t Pay banner on the march allows people to express their opposition to these proposals in their own terms. So try to be at Woodquay before the 12 noon start on Saturday 27th, and look out for our banner.
If you can’t get to the demonstation, or don’t feel this is the way to show your opposition to these changes we will be posting new campaign activities next week. But one thing is certain, that if this is the way that Ireland decides to tackle its economic crisis we will emerge a much more divided country with a much larger proportion of our people living in grinding poverty.
Now is the time to raise your voice if you opposes this approach.
Mike Allen

Focus Ireland launched Pre-Budget Submission

Dear Machholz,
On November 1st Focus Ireland launched our Pre-Budget Submission calling on the Government to maintain funding for homeless services at current levels.
On June 2nd 2010 Minister for the Environment John Gormley said:
‘During the economic downturn, I have made it a priority that vulnerable groups are protected. Therefore, I make it a priority during the three budgets that have taken place in the last 30 months that homelessness funding has been ring fenced against the cuts… Protecting the homelessness budget will continue to be a priority for me.’
Focus Ireland has consistently acknowledged Minister Gormley’s ongoing work in ending homelessness in our society and his commitment to protect funding for homeless services.
As Budget 2011 approaches Focus Ireland are calling on Minister Gormley to honour his commitment to protect the budget for homeless services. As many org anisations will be lobbying Government at the present time it is important that those if us who want to see homeless funding maintained have our voices heard.
Maintaining funding for homeless services is vital if the Government’s own homeless strategy it to be successful.
Focus Ireland are asking you to e-mail Minister Gormley asking him to honour his commitment. To mail Minister Gormley click here .
To read our pre budget submission click here .

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