first_imgRELATED ARTICLESMORE FROM AUTHOR The Limerick Post is involving ordinary Limerick voters in our General Election coverage.Representatives of different areas of Limerick society will get the opportunity to question the first 16 declared candidates on their policies and promises.Working mother Catherine Fitzgerald asks the questions with reporter Andrew CareyCatherine feels the ‘squeezed middle’ have been unfairly treatedSign up for the weekly Limerick Post newsletter Sign Up A mother of four girls, Catherine works five days a week at her sales and administration job for an indigenous Limerick company. She’s a typical denizen of middle-income Ireland, and feels that people like her have been left with an unfair burden from the country’s financial meltdown.Although born in the city, for the past 20 years Catherine has been firmly rooted in the community life of rural Limerick where herself and her husband have raised their family.Two young adults, who live at home and are pursuing further studies, and two younger girls who are in primary and secondary school, complete the family line-up – so “the support costs are still there”, she explains.In fact, she feels that her family could serve as a model for what has been described as the “squeezed middle”.“We always wanted to try to do better for ourselves during the good times but nothing to the extent of massive property investments or the like, just enough to make life better.“That has been paired right back now because it’s just not possible to sustain on a single income, with the unfair level of charges and taxes that we seem to get hit with all the time.“That’s not just me cribbing about stuff, it is a reality and we are living it.Catherine has concerns on many aspects of the way the Government has handled issues and feels that it is essential that the next Government applies taxes in a fairer manner.She believes that educational reform at secondary school level and a revamp of the points system must be considered as well as a realistic approach to improving the student teacher ratio in primary schools.“It comes down to funding,” she said, “and we need to see more of it or better use of what is there”, she says. Email Shannondoc operating but only by appointment No vaccines in Limerick yet Proceedures and appointments cancelled again at UHL Limerick County candidatesWhat is your stance on the issue of abortion in Ireland?Seamus BrowneSinn Fein is not in favour of abortion except in cases of rape, incest or sexual abuse, or where a woman’s life and health is at risk or in grave danger, or where there is a fatal foetal abnormality we accept that the final decision must rest with the woman. We support the repeal of the 8th amendment.Richard O’DonoghueAs a father, I am pro-life. As an election candidate, I am against abortion in principle but I would be prepared to consider individual extenuating circumstances where the health and welfare of the mother and/or child is at risk.James HeffernanI am calling for a referendum to repeal the 8th Amendment within 18 months of the general election. During that time I also think a people’s convention should be held to make recommendations for draft legislation that would be introduced in the event that the 8th Amendment was abolished.Niall CollinsAs a modern society we need to update our constitution and legislation in this area. I supported a Bill to cater for Fatal Foetal Abnormalities during this Dail. I regard myself as Pro Life and I don’t support the deletion of the 8th Amendment until I consider a replacement wording. A structure consultation process is required here.Mark KeoghI fully support a Referendum to be carried out on the issue of the 8th amendment.Tom NevilleThe Taoiseach has said that during the term of the next Dáil a citizens’ convention will be held to deal with the 8th Amendment. This is a very sensitive and complex issue, and following the citizens’ forum, members of Government will be given a free vote on the issue.Emmett O’BrienThe existing constitutional provision, Article 40.3.3, endorses the concept of equality, between the mother and unborn child. While the present system may have some flaws, it offers the only sufficient protection to the unborn and I could not support the removal of Article 40.3.3 (more recently known as the 8th Amendment)Patrick O’DonnovanNo responseHow would you deal with the perceived high rate of suicide in Limerick?Seamus BrowneWe have a comprehensively researched costed plan for universal health care which includes mental health. We would increase the mental health budget in year one by €35 million, complete the roll-out of Suicide Crisis Assessment Nurses and the recruitment of mental health nurses to work with homelessness services and reverse the cuts to school guidance counsellor resources.Richard O’DonoghueThe issue of suicide is connected to mental health. the underlying causes must be examined and the setting up of an examining body to critically investigate the problem. Furthermore, there is a perceived sense of hopelessness among young people and this must be addressed.James HeffernanWe need urgent investment in community health services to tackle the suicide crisis. Great strides have been made in public awareness raising on this issue but now we need to put our money where our mouth is and invest in front-line community based and in-patient support services for those at risk of suicide.Niall CollinsWe are committed to an all-out effort to reduce the number of cases which end up in self-harm and suicide. Since we established the Road Safety Authority it has helped halve deaths on our roads. We believe we can do the same mental health. That’s why we will set up a National Mental Health Authority to promote positive mental health and reduce self-harm and suicide.Mark KeoghThe high rate of suicide is a direct result of a total breakdown in services available to those who need them. The aggressive policies of the current government with tax after tax are placing people into a position where they feel that they have no hope for the futureTom NevilleMy father, Dan Neville, is co-founder of the Irish Association of Suicidology and led the campaign to decriminalise suicide in Ireland. This Government was the first to commit ring-fenced funding to increase the number of mental health posts in the community and I am committed to continuing this work.Emmett O’BrienMore investment in education, psychiatric and voluntary services. None of us remain untouched by a loved one passing away by suicide and voluntary community crisis response teams have a huge role to play in assisting people who have suicidal ideations.Patrick O’DonnovanNo ResponseHow would you relieve the financial burden on the “squeezed middle”, those who have been paying for the financial mismanagement of others?Seamus BrowneWe would first scrap water charges and property tax which would immediately put money back in people’s pockets. We would also take 277,000 people out of the USC bracket. We have also published a childcare plan which would would set a maximum childcare fee at €180 a week reducing to €150 incrementally.Richard O’DonoghueThe banks should be held to task. They should be made to provide financial assistance to those middle income people who are struggling miserably to cope with mortgages, food, GP payments, childcare, school, fuel costs, energy bills, Despite the so-called upturn in the economy, the squeezed middle are getting little in return.James HeffernanThe most sustainable approach to cutting this burden is to cut the cost of living. Putting money back in people’s pockets is a major priority and we can achieve this through meaningful reform and investment in public services like an NHS style healthcare system and truly free primary and secondary schoolingNiall CollinsIn the next budget we would abolish the 1 per cent USC rate that applies to income up to €12,012. We will also halve the 3 per cent rate which applies on the next €6,600 of income. We will also increase personal tax credits by €150 for a single person (€300 for a couple) and the PAYE credit by a similar amount. A single worker on €35,000 would be better off to the tune of €1,518.Mark KeoghUSC, Property Tax and Water charges should be abolished and there must be a fair and sustainable solution sought as regards people who are under financial strain due to the banks’ aggressive approach against mortgage holders.Tom NevilleBudget 2016 introduced a second reduction of USC and Fine Gael has committed to abolishing the USC during the term of the next Government. A second pre-school year has been introduced and the plan is to subsidise childcare between nine months and three years which would cut annual costs by €2,000.​Emmett O’BrienI would start by ensuring the criminal prosecutions of those charged with various offences arising from the economic collapse under the Fianna Fail/Green government actually go to Court. Charges such as the USC, which is a penal tax, is crippling the squeezed middle. Ability to pay should be a factor in determining these charges and threshold must be raised.Patrick O’DonnovanNo Response Advertisement WhatsApp Linkedin TAGSfeatured center_img Print Previous articleCarl Doran – artist of the month at Limerick’s Hunt MuseumNext articleNeville hits out at high cost of car insurance Staff Reporter Surgeries and clinic cancellations extended Facebook Walk in Covid testing available in Limerick from Saturday 10th April Limerick city candidatesWhat is your stance on the issue of abortion in Ireland?James GaffneyI support the repeal of the eighth amendment. I also believe more provision must be made for women who choose to continue their pregnancies, including expanded maternity and parental leave, expanded post-natal care, and choice of maternity care, including home births.Sarah Jane HennellyWe need to start an open and honest conversation about this, especially in politics. Politics is avoiding it at the cost of lives like that of Savita Halappanavar. That’s the reality. I’m in favour of repeal of the 8th amendment and people’s right to vote on this.Michael NoonanNo responseWillie O’DeaI am pro-life and not in favour of abortion on demand in Ireland.Kieran O’DonnellI am Pro-Life. I do not believe that the life of the mother should be put at risk. However, I believe in the equal right to life of the child.Jan O’SullivanI believe that we have to repeal the 8th amendment and introduce legislation that ensures women can access all medical treatment in Ireland. That legislation should include availability of termination in cases of fatal foetal abnormality.Cian PrendivilleAAA-PBP are the only truly pro-choice party. The ban on abortion is unenforceable and barbaric, resulting in tragedies such as the death of Savita Halappanvar, and forces thousands to England. I’m part of the movement to repeal the 8th amendment and for the provision free, safe and legal abortion services in Ireland.Maurice QuinlivanThe last time the people had the opportunity to voice their position on this matter was a generation ago in 1983. We in Sinn Féin believe that the 8th Amendment should be repealed. The present situation is unsustainable. We will support a referendum campaign for a repeal of this legislation.How would you deal with the perceived high rate of suicide in Limerick?James GaffneyMental health is a particular issue for my generation. We need to shift from emergency treatment to preventative measures, with multi-disciplinary Community Mental Health teams focusing on psychotherapy, counselling and social care services. We also need a ‘whole school’ approach to mental well-being in education.Sarah Jane HennellyThis winter I ran an event to begin shaping a common mental healthy policy for Limerick, bringing all voices together. This also shaped our party’s mental health policy. However ongoing cooperation between local stakeholders, from service users to healthcare experts, is vital in tackling this. It’s a top priority for me.Michael NoonanNo ResponseWillie O’DeaFianna Fáil has published proposals aimed at reforming the delivery of mental health services. The ‘Improving Mental Health’ policy document will bring about a community approach to the delivery of mental health services and would go a long way towards dealing with the issue of suicide in Limerick.Kieran O’DonnellThe loss of life through suicide is an unimaginable tragedy for all concerned. We need to continue to work with people in the suicide prevention area to improve the available services here and to ensure easy access for those in need. Incredible work is done by volunteers in Limerick, and we also need to recognise and support this.Jan O’SullivanWorking with voluntary organisations is crucial in tackling this vital issue. I was very glad to see funding for Limerick Youth Services and the recent expansion of the ‘Jigsaw’ programme to Limerick City. ‘Jigsaw’ recognises the mental health pressures on young people in particular and provides support and guidance.Cian PrendivilleMy generation faces a more unstable future in terms of jobs and housing, leading many to emigrate and others into depression. We stand for investment in free counselling services including in schools and colleges, but also for a society built for people’s needs, not at the mercy of the bankers.Maurice QuinlivanIn 2013, the highest rates for both men and women were in Limerick City, where both rates were more than twice the national rate. Our Better4Health policy has a commitment to prioritise mental health care. We would increase the mental health budget by €35 million in year one.How would you relieve the financial burden on the “squeezed middle” ?James GaffneyRather than focus on any one section of society, I believe we can collectively work towards a better society that promotes equality, better services and improved quality of life. Equal access to quality childcare is an issue I am particularly passionate about to achieve this.Sarah Jane HennellyOur election manifesto is focussing on reducing the cost of living for everyone in this country- investing in public services such as affordable childcare, health and primary education, removing costs such as prescription and water charges and reducing motor insurance costs will help families to breathe and live with dignity.Michael NoonanNo responseWillie O’DeaOne of the main ways would be through a substantial reduction in the amount of USC an individual or family on a middle income would pay. We are also determined to help parents with the cost of childcare. We are introducing an easy to understand tax credit for working parents to cover 20 to 40 per cent of childcare costs.Kieran O’DonnellAs our financial situation improves, we need to continue to reduce the tax burden on the “squeezed middle”. Fine Gael is committed to the abolition of USC by 2020.Jan O’SullivanLabour’s message is clear – we want to see more take home pay for low and middle income earners. We’ll reduce USC for those earning up to €72,000. Our childcare plan will also cap the cost of childcare at €2 per hour, with a focus on affordability and quality.Cian PrendivilleLift the burden off the backs of ordinary workers by scrapping the other austerity taxes, and make the super-rich who caused the crash pay their taxes. For instance a ‘Robin Hood Tax’ on speculators would bring in enough to scrap the water charges, and invest in public services.Maurice QuinlivanFianna Fáil, Fine Gael and Labour chose to place the banking debt burden on the shoulders of ordinary workers and families. Sinn Féin will ease that burden on the average family. Our first priority in Government would be to scrap water charges, property tax and take 277,000 people out of USC First Irish death from Coronavirus Twitter News#GE16 – You ask the questions – part 2By Staff Reporter – February 23, 2016 697 last_img