Category Archives: Social Policy

Fighting Ageism in Ireland

This is the first in a short series of posts recognizing the contribution of  The Atlantic Philanthropies to the improvement of lives of older people in Ireland.

Charles ( Chuck) Feeney is an Irish American businessman who in 1982 set up  the Atlantic Philanthropies.  This is one of the largest philanthropic organizations in the world.  It supports various social justice causes across the globe, including here in Ireland, where the beneficiaries range from the child focussed  Barnardos to the Older & Bolder umbrella organization for social justice for seniors. In 2009 The Atlantic Philanthropies spent US$ 46.1 million in the Republic of Ireland.

The name Chuck Feeney may be familiar to Irish readers as he famously endows third level educational institutions in Ireland, most notably the University of Limerick with many millions of dollars.  Less well know is the  fact that The Atlantic Philanthropies is actively engaged in fighting ageism and has as core beliefs that older people have a right to a good quality of life, health and economic security.  It funds ageing programmes in the United States of America as well in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland that challenge the limitations on full social participation by older people.

The Ageing Programme concentrates on matters of concern to older adults, such as poverty, gender, beliefs, health issues, geographic isolation.  It aims to strengthen the voice of older people and the organizations that represent them so that they may have a positive impact on social policy.

Older & Bolder  has a vision of Ireland that affirms the rights of all older people to live and die in dignity and with the respect of the community at large.  The Atlantic Philanthropies continues through its generous donations to influence this agenda in Ireland.

Read more about The Atlantic Philanthropies on Wikipedia here.

Read more about The Atlantic Philanthropies on their own site here.

Older & Bolder website can be accessed here.

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Filed under Ageism, Healthy Living, Irish_American, Loneliness, Older & Bolder, Older Generation, Older workers, Retirement Age, Seniors, Social Change, Social Justice, Social Policy, Working Poor

Those who can pay most, will pay most?

Everybody pays, and those who can pay most will pay most.

This is a direct quote from the Budget speech on December 7th 2010, of Ireland’s Minister for Finance, Brian Lenihan.

Since then Irish workers have braced themselves for the impact on pay packets of the new ‘Universal Social Charge’ and changes to tax bands.  The effect will be harsh, but everyone is in this together and ‘those who can pay most, will pay most.’

Newspapers and websites published calculators to help people work out the effect of the budget on their personal take home pay.  There were significant differences between various sites and it became clear that the effects of the Universal Social Charge and alterations in tax bands were so complex that it was almost impossible to calculate the impact.  For example, one site suggested that the impact of the budget on a widow over 60 on an annual income of €45,000 would be in the order of €83 per month, another calculated the reduction in pay at €65 per month.

Reality has arrived in pay packets since the end of the first week in January. The effects of the budget on ‘ordinary’ workers of all ages and many circumstances have been quite shocking.  Many were openly stunned;  – not least the widow in the example above who found that the reduction in pay was €216 per month.  A medical card holder was equally badly hit by the abolition of the reduced PRSI rate and finds that they are paying an extra €180 per month.

‘Everybody pays, and those who can pay most will pay most‘ These are the exact words from a transcript of the Budget speech.  It was in fact a lie.

The impact of the Universal Social Charge on a single worker with an annual salary of €150,000 will result in an INCREASE in take home pay of about €120 per month.  And it has been calculated that a person with an income of €1million per annum will be some €23,000 better off as a result of this budget.

‘Those who can pay most, will pay most?’

For more see the Irish Independent.

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Filed under Budget 2011, Older Generation, Seniors, Social Policy, Widows in Ireland, Working Poor