So the Government needs to make more cuts to keep the Troika singing a happy tune. And indeed the IMF have previously noted that the area of child benefit should be looked at in relation to the next series of such cuts.
Today Enda Kenny and Eamon Gilmore (amongst others) have packed their lunches and headed off on a school trip to see the real headmasters over in Brussels. I'm sure that Ireland's progress will be under the microscope while they are attending lectures, and they will probably come home with red biro and 'could do better' marked on their copy.
I for one do believe that there are savings to be made within the area of child benefit. I'm also quite sure that the current system, like all benefit payments, is being exploited by a select few of our society. Means testing seems to be a word that not many people like to hear included in the same sentence as child benefit. But why not?
I've no problem stating that I hate the sight of Michael O'Leary! Even hearing his voice just paints pictures in my head of poor unfortunate air passengers ramming a 15kg block into a 7kg hole (supposedly 10kg!). But tight as he may be in relation to air travel benefits, O'Leary speaks wisely in relation to child benefit. He acknowledged that although he receives the payment and is legally entitled to it, he would have no problem forfeiting it, because he would be classed as a 'high earner' of sorts!
Ok, before I get lynched for marking out Mr O'Leary and his family as an example of a typical Irish family. I am well aware that there is a vast difference between him, those like him and the poorest of the poor within our country. Yes I understand that there are families in Ireland that could not carry on putting food on the table and clothes on their children's backs if this benefit was cut in any way.
But i'm not saying cut the damn thing at this level! I just think we need to be realistic and recognise that for all those in actual poverty and dependent on a payment like this, there are also probably as many in contrast that CAN easily afford to forfeit this 'bonus' top up to their comfortable lives and the lives of their children.
I'm talking about a top-down approach to cuts, based on some version of means testing (don't shoot me!) of a combined family income. Perhaps we could look at first of all offering an amnesty of sorts to big business people AND politicians (Government & those in opposition) to surrender payments of this benefit. Skip to around the 15 minute mark in the video below to see how child benefit gets O'Leary hot under the collar. On the right panel are the current rates for child benefit payments in Ireland from the citizens information website.
My Purple Chair
The My Purple Chair title was born from my favourite place to sit and think about what's happening in the world. It's old but comfortable. So i suppose it's a bit like myself!