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Bye bye, Maria...thank you for playing!

 

 

Well it all kicked off at the Royal Marine Hotel in Dun Laoghaire, the place where – ironically – my great hero Michael Collins used to hide out (in room 210 allegedly) with Kitty Kiernan; yet last week, this historic hotel could provide no hiding place for Fine Gael ‘swing-gate’ TD Maria Bailey! The (some will say disgraced), TD’s efforts to sue the Dean Hotel in Dublin after she fell off a swing at their premises had sparked the urgent review of her place on Fine Gael’s party election ticket. I must mention that Ms. Bailey later dropped this case.

  However, the resulting controversy could spell the end of her political career, and while I believe we all make mistakes, in my opinion anyone who submits an inflated claim regarding an incident where personal responsibility is probably a clear-cut issue, yet isn’t big enough to admit they were wrong, er, kinda deserves what they get! Too harsh?  Well, if it all goes pear-shaped, Maria could always take up acting as a career. I mean that aftermath Oscar-winning, blame-shifting ‘please pity me’ performance she gave on Today with Sean O’Rourke was so breathtaking, I’d go so far as to say it could have rivalled the screen antics of drama queen Bette Davis herself! 

  In a time where businesses are closing down due to rising  premiums and where insurance providers are insisting their escalating costs are due to unethical claims, it’s totally understandable that a prominent TD’s puffed-up claim would enrage the taxpayers. I know it certainly angered me! Mind you, as the local Fine Gael members’ recommendation regarding a review will now go to the party hierarchy with respect to Ms. Bailey’s political future, (a decision on which I believe won’t be reached until next week), it’s my opinion there could still be a few twists to this sorry saga! You see, it’s likely that it won’t be an easy task to remove what is a democratically selected sitting TD; therefore this whole scandal has plunged Fine Gael into uncharted territory. But hey, as they’re consistently throwing taxpayers like you and me under the bus, it goes without saying that it serves them right. 

  As for Ms. Bailey, well, while I don’t think her actions warrant the reconvening of the Nuremberg Trials, as she did drop a major clanger, I’ll admit it’s really hard for me to garner any sympathy for her. Indeed, as she awaits her fate, I’d imagine the embattled TD is possibly feeling sad, lonely, jobless, party-less, friendless…in fact, the poor thing’s probably only seconds away from recording a country album (only joking, love).

  But allow me to be empathetic here and say to Maria that if part of her overall argument is that we, (the poor taxpayers) don’t know all of the pertinent facts, then my response to her would be…outline them for us! If this TD has any information that can save her seat, she shouldn’t be holding back, she should be revealing it…otherwise, if she doesn’t, well, it’s gonna be a case of bye bye Maria, thank you for playing!

 

We should punish all sex abusers, whether male or female

 

Last week, following her guilty plea to two counts of ‘defilement of a child,’ a 25-year-old female secondary school teacher was jailed for having sex with her then fifth-year 16-year-old male student. Now while some of my kind-hearted readers have stopped me to say they “felt sorry for the young woman”, let me state that as far as I’m concerned, she did the crime, and she should do the time.

  I understand this woman’s defence has argued that she was, at the time of the offence, a 23-year-old ‘young and inexperienced teacher,’ but I’m glad she was punished by our courts’ system. Indeed, I personally find it insulting that we, as parents, are expected to believe on any level that an individual could fully qualify as a teacher, nay, a shaper of young minds, and not know that it is illegal, and it is wrong, to have a sexual relationship with a minor. Let me be balanced here and say that there are many instances whereby a consenting younger male (who has reached the age of majority) can engage and enjoy a physical relationship with a consenting older female, however we should never, ever underestimate the fact that some women can, and do, control. And some women can, and do, abuse. Indeed, as this particular case, and its implications regarding a serious breach of trust between teacher and student, and teacher and parent, has clearly highlighted for us.

  Now it goes without saying readers, that if the tables were turned and a male teacher had engaged in sex with an underage female student, I’m certain the perpetrator would not have been afforded the sympathetic ‘mitigating circumstances’ defence made available to this predatory woman. Nay, there’d have been an outcry, and rightly so. And, while I’m no specialist, just a concerned citizen, I’d like to ask the ‘child abuse expert’ whose court report stated that this abusive woman ‘was not a paedophile,’ but was basically, bless her, just a naïve and immature soul, to explain how they reached such a conclusion. While this expert is obviously a highly respected professional, the thing is, based on the high standards around integrity and sound judgement set out for being involved in the teaching profession, it’s evident a criminal act was committed. In view of that, perhaps this ‘expert’ might now like to take a long hard look at their own forms of rational reasoning. Just a suggestion.

  Seriously readers, it’s about time we prosecuted and punished all sex abusers, be they male or female, because the seriousness of such heinous crimes should never, ever be left to hang primarily on the gender of the one who commits these vile acts.

 

Pension auto-enrolment is a key policy tool…apparently!

 

Apparently readers, under criteria announced last week, those of us working in the private sector who’re between the ages of 23 and 60 years, earning over €20 grand a year will, (if we don’t have a private pension), soon find ourselves auto-enrolled into a government scheme! So, I hear you ask…what’s this gonna cost me?

  Well, as far as I understand, workers will make a contribution of 1.5 per cent of our wages. This will rise to 6 per cent over ten years. So, a significant enough amount…I hear you say!  But hey, our employers will match this on earnings up to €75 grand! As for the government…what’ll they pay into it? Ah well, at the time of writing, the suits hadn’t yet bothered to reveal what their financial input will be. You could say that on one hand this may be a nice top-up to our State pension, but, on the other, as a defined contribution scheme, the whole situation could prove highly unpredictable, and you, me and other suckers, sorry workers, will probably, as usual, bear the entire risk! Apparently this will happen on a phased basis from 2022!

 

 

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