EDITOR – Self-employed people and people working in the private sector are looking on with bemusement as State employees who sat at home from day one of the pandemic now loudly proclaim their own ‘sacrifices’ and jostle for their place in the ever-lengthening queue for the State sector Covid bonus payment.
While no-one doubted the efforts made by frontline medical staff and the harm’s way that those people put themselves in, it was somewhat curious and galling to see other groups of State employees who had worked through Zoom – effectively, from their kitchen table – now stridently putting themselves forward for a bonus to be paid out of revenues raised in part through taxation on the private and self-employed sectors, who had either worked away as normal every day of the pandemic, or actually lost their jobs altogether.
It is difficult sometimes to convince oneself that Ireland’s workforce was ‘all in this together’ when one part of the workforce was, not alone insulated from any economic fallout from the pandemic, but seemed to think it merited a reward for this privilege.
Second only to the frontline medical workers, the most important people in Ireland for those 18-odd months were the people – including but not limited to farmers – who had worked in the food supply chain ensuring the availability of superb quality fresh food every hour of every day.
It was both curious and telling that this work was not deemed as risky or important as conducting routine administration by remote computer from your own home.
There is a depressing complacency around food security and supply, it seems.
Farmers have long suspected a growing level of misunderstanding and delusion around the question, but the antics and posturing around the so-called ‘Covid Bonus’ have now justified that anxiety.
Minister’s mockery of welfare strategy
EDITOR – In the introduction to the government’s Animal Welfare Strategy for Ireland 2021 – 2025, there is a very interesting declaration: ‘Our starting point in developing this strategy is that animals are sentient beings who can perceive their environment and experience sensations such as pain and suffering or pleasure and comfort, and can give expression to these sensations – sometimes in ways that are easy for people to perceive and understand, and at other times not.
‘Veterinary professionals and other experts now acknowledge that in addition to their fundamental behavioural needs, animals’ feelings are also important, while a third perspective is that animals’ well-being is best assured if they can live according to their nature.
‘A further view is that welfare must be seen from the animals’ perspective – their own perception of their physiological and psychological state. In reality, all of these viewpoints are relevant and inter-linked.’
This is a remarkable paragraph. It would sit easily beside an animal rights charter.
But this is not an animal rights charter, this is a welfare charter for the next five years.
On September 18th, Minister McConalogue posts this tweet on his Twitter account: ‘Great to be able to announce further progress in gaining access for our sheepmeat and live pigs to China. The announcement is a show of confidence in the skill and commitment of our farmers who produce a world class product.’
Why is this same minister, who signed off on a strategy that accepts that animals are sentient, applauding the sending of live pigs to China? Either he doesn’t believe his own welfare strategy, or he is dishonest and hypocritical.
Sending live pigs to China is not and can never be good animal welfare. It does not honour a pig’s sentience, and it makes a mockery of the Animal Welfare Strategy.
The Minister has put his political clout behind the producers and has turned his back on his eight-month-old animal welfare strategy. Once again – as is always the case – the profit motive has pushed the welfare needs of the animals to one side, or in this case, all the way to China.
Homeowners deserve compensation
EDITOR – Property owners whose homes have mica problems deserve compensation.
There were many involved in the planning, design, provision of materials when those properties were built. Therefore surely many of those should be held responsible/accountable for the ‘problem’.
Yet the government seems to have chosen to hold the taxpayer to account, (once again) as with the banks, when the bank officials avoided responsibility and bond holders were reimbursed by the Irish taxpayer.
Again, leaving us to believe the wealthy and powerful are deemed exempt from the full scrutiny of the law.
How long will the taxpayer continue to accept to be held responsible/accountable for actions of the rich and privileged who, it seems, remain unaccountable?
Michael A Moriarty,