Bogus Self Employment Cheats Us All

at | 60 Replies

From top: Leo Varadkar’s welfare cheats campaign; Minister for Social ProtectionRegina Doherty

Writer and activist Martin McMahon has waged a lengthy campaign to end the situation where one in five self-employed workers in Ireland is not really self-employed.

Recently he got creative.

Martin writes:

I saw it happen. I was there. I contacted the Garda National Bureau of Fraud Investigation and attempted to report the crime.

I have no doubt that it is a crime I witnessed, it’s certainly an indictable offence under the relevant Social Welfare legislation. The Garda on the other end of the line in Harcourt Street didn’t want to know, saying:

“There’s noting to see unless the Minister for Social Welfare tells us there’s something to see”

I’ve contacted every Welfare Minister and at least two Justice Ministers since. Dermot Ahern didn’t want to know even though former Taoiseach John Bruton wrote to the Department and asked why nothing was being done.

Mary Coughlan, Seamus Brennan, Martin Cullen, Mary Hanifin and Éamon Ó Cuív all ignored it, Fianna Fail were a brick wall. I sat down with Dominic Hannigan and explained it to him.

Dominic got it straight away, in fairness anybody who has taken the time ‘gets it’. Dominic took it to Joan Burton as Social Welfare Minister, Joan replied that it was “Not currently an issue”.Since leaving office, Joan has a new found interest and pontificates regularly on why it is now an issue.

Last year I wrote to Justice Minister Fitzgerald and explained the crime I had witnessed and the implications. Minister Fitzgerald, against my wishes, forwarded it on to the then Social Welfare Minister Leo Varadkar.

Like all of his predecessors, Leo did nothing, didn’t even acknowledge that he had received it from Minister Fitzgerald.

Four weeks ago, I tweeted to the recently appointed Social Welfare Minister, Regina Doherty-​

I wasn’t surprised that the Minister replied. I’d met the Minister and her team at the last general election. They were all decent people, friendly and accommodating.

The Minister contacted me by private message and we arranged to meet in the Pillo Hotel in Ashbourne on the 29th of June. The meeting lasted about an hour.

It was clear from the outset that the Minister had taken the time to read the piece I’d tweeted to her and more importantly had watched the videos attached to the piece.

I explained to the Minister how in January I’d set a trap for the Department of Social Welfare and that they’d walked straight into it, I used those exact words.

That in springing the trap, the Department revealed that it was still knowingly making incorrect insurability of employment decisions based on the crime I had witnessed 16 years earlier.

The Crime

On the 22nd August 2000, a Social Welfare Inspector wrote and signed a ‘Report’. The report was an account of a meeting he had with 2 representatives of a well known company which took place on 17th August 2000.

The report was submitted by the Social Welfare Inspector as evidence in a then ongoing ‘Insurability of Employment’ determination by the SCOPE office of the Department of Social Welfare, for the purpose of making a legally binding decision.

​On March 1, 2001, the Social Welfare Inspector read aloud and submitted as evidence his report in an Appeal Hearing which took place in the quasi-judicial Social Welfare Appeals Office.

The Social Welfare Inspector’s report was (and is) accepted as the primary evidence in it’s overturning of the SCOPE Office decision. This event was witnessed by a Barrister, a Solicitor, A legal representative and the General Manager for the appellant company, a Senior Counsel and State Solicitor for the Social Welfare Mininster, a Barrister and Solicitor and 2 representatives for the Communications Workers Union, 2 representatives from the Scope Office, the Appeals Officer and me.

This event and the evidence contained in the Social Welfare Inspector’s report are reported and quoted in the Appeals Officers written account. The Manager named in the Inspector’s Report was not present in the Social Welfare Appeals Office when evidence attributed to him was accepted as evidence.

On December 6, 2001, in the Employment Appeals Tribunal, the Barrister representing the company (same Barrister as represented the company in the SWAO) objected to the use of the Social Welfare Inspector’s report.

The Barrister informed the Appeals Tribunal that the Company’s Manager named specifically several times in the Inspector’s report had never met the Inspector and that he emphatically did not give that evidence. The Manager named in the report was present in the Appeals Tribunal.

The Chairperson of the Appeals Tribunal commented at the time that the Dept. had questions to answer but was not present.

On the 14th of October 2002 in the Circuit Court, I called the Social Welfare Inspector as a witness. I had sent a summons to the Inspector some weeks previously.

Prior to the hearing, the Social Welfare Inspector pleaded with me not to call him. I refused his request. In the court, I asked the Inspector to read his report (as he had done in the Appeals Office).

The Barrister (same Barrister as previously) objected because the Manager named in the report, who was present in the court, denied that he had ever met or spoken to the Inspector. The Inspector conceded to the Judge that he had never met or spoken to the Manager.

This was a civil case, the Inspector was not on trial, the Judge ruled that the report was inadmissible as evidence. The Judge then addressed the Appeals Officer who was watching the proceedings from the body of the court.

The Judge informed the Appeals Officer that “This matter will need another day in court”. At the conclusion of the hearing, the Appeals Officer shook my hand and congratulated me with a “Well Done”.

The Department of Social Welfare has never sought another day in court about the Inspector’s Report and indeed continues to actively cover up the crime to this day. The Inspector’s false report remains the key evidence in a test case which continues to misclassify thousands of workers as self-employed.

The Inspector’s Report cannot be and is not accepted as credible evidence in any judicial or quasi-judicial proceedings except for the Social Welfare Appeals Office.

The Conspirators

In July 2000, I wrote to the SCOPE Office of the Department of Social Welfare. SCOPE is the office charged with deciding whether a person is employed or self-employed. I requested an insurability of employment decision.

I had been working for a number of years in an industry where all workers are labeled as self-employed under an agreement between Employer Representatives and the Revenue Commissioners.

My application for a decision prompted a secret meeting between high level representatives from IBEC, ICTU, Enterprise Trade & Employment, Finance, Revenue and Social Welfare.

This meeting was labeled “The Employment Status Group” and met within days of my application whilst the decision was sub judice. The application I had made was specifically discussed. Revenue, IBEC and Finance instructed that the worker (me) was to be forced to the High Court to overturn the self-employed label.

​The Revenue representative at this secret meeting was also the person who had agreed this deal with employers in secret, in the Burlington Hotel on the 3rd of April 1997. The Social Welfare Representative at this secret meeting held a senior position in the Social Welfare Appeals Office until 2009.

The SCOPE Deciding Officer refused to bow to such political pressure in his legal deliberations and ruled that I was not self-employed and was, in fact and in law, an employee.

The Social Welfare Inspector was instructed to issue a ‘Demand Notice’ to the employer Company for arrears of unpaid employer PRSI.

The deal agreed between Revenue and Employers was exposed as creating and facilitating widespread bogus self-employment. The Scope Decision was immediately appealed to the Social Welfare Appeals Office by the Company.

Although not directly involved in the Appeal, the Department’s Representative at the Employment Status Group (also Senior Official in the SWAO) secretly submitted altered evidence and was present in the SWAO as the Appeal was being heard.

He met privately with several parties including a meeting he asked me to step into in a room in the SWAO during a break in proceedings. He told me everybody was ‘happy’ with the secret deal, I asked him how could he know when he hadn’t spoken to those being forced into bogus self-employment. I witnessed him, with my own eyes talking to his subordinate, the Appeals Officer who was hearing the Appeal, whilst it was under appeal!

This was the Appeal where the Social Welfare Inspector read aloud from his report and where it was submitted and accepted as evidence. The SWAO Appeals Officer overturned the Scope Office Decision based upon the Inspectors false report and the Revenue’s secret deal with Employers was safe.

T​he Trap

Late last year I got a call from a bricklayer on his way into a hearing in the Social Welfare Appeals Office. He was one of ten workers automatically labeled as self-employed by the Electronic Relevant Contracts Tax system agreed and operated between Revenue and employers in the construction industry.

These men had been in a high profile dispute with one of Ireland’s largest construction companies. As a part of that dispute, the men had individually applied to the Scope Office for insurability of employment decisions. The Scope Office decided that the 10 men were not self-employed and were, if fact and in law, employees.

eRCT is a massive system, many thousands of workers are automatically classified as self-employed under this system. Once again Revenue was facing the prospect of being exposed for operating and facilitating systems which create widespread bogus self employment.

These lads were looking for help when they rang me. I’d been following their dispute closely and wrote about it They had no legal or union representation. The Appeals Officer was pressuring them to have all the cases heard at once in some sort of ‘test case’ for the construction sector.

I hadn’t seen any of the evidence. I advised the lads that once they got in there, they’d be faced with an extensive legal team from the Appellant Company. I advised that they inform the Appeals Officer that they were unaware that they would be facing legal representatives and that they needed an adjournment to consider seeking legal advice. The adjournment was granted.

I instructed each of the men to request from Scope & SWAO all available data under the data protection acts which they did. I read through all the evidence and met with the men a number of times.

These 10 cases expose bogus self employment perfectly. I agreed to help the men. I warned them from the outset that the Scope Office decisions would be overturned. I explained that the SWAO was making decisions based on a political edict and not on legal precedent. I wrote about the cases which caused some consternation at high levels in the department –

The ten men had commenced work on site between April 2014 and August 2014. Two were ‘Labourers’, unskilled manual workers, and 8 were bricklayers paid per block laid. All were labeled as self-employed by the principle contractor using the eRCT system.

There is no directory of labourers or bricklayers and positions are generally filled by word of mouth as “Getting a start” on a particular site.

Some of these men had been telephoned by a person who the Company claims was the subcontractor but social welfare records show that the man was not a subcontractor and was indeed in receipt of a social welfare payment at that time.

It is the Department’s evidence that he played little or no part in this issue. The men worked for several weeks without getting paid. Two of the bricklayers were approached by management of the Company. They were informed that the only way they could get paid for the work they were doing, was to set up a company which the principle contractor would pay their wages into.

The managers had the paperwork ready and all it required was the two men’s signatures. Due to the lack of wages, these men were under severe financial pressure. They signed the paperwork and took it to an accountant as they were told to do by the principle contractor.

There was no profit margin in this arrangement, it was a straight forward funneling of the men’s wages through a third party company. The men were not required to provide their own liability insurance and the company agreed that the 10 men would operate under the principal contractor’s insurance.

The arrangement quickly fell apart on advice from the accountant that the company the men had been told to set up to get their wages was operating illegally. Scope had made the only legal decisions they could if the face of such overwhelming evidence, these men were employees of the principal contractor in every fact and practice of their labour.

In January, the appeal of these ten Scope Office decisions by the appellant Company was heard in the Social Welfare Appeals Office. Representatives for the Company stated that it considered these 10 men to be self-employed because they consider every worker below the level of site foreman to be self-employed.

No new evidence was presented at this Appeal and the Scope Office Deciding Officer stated at the end of the hearing that he had heard nothing which would change his original decisions.

Springing The Trap

I had two things to prove by setting the trap, the first, that the Social Welfare Appeals Office was making insurability of employment decisions based on a political edict of the Employment Status Group and not based on legal precedent, and the second, that the Appeals Office was deliberately and demonstrably misinterpreting the evidence to accommodate the political edict from the Employment Status Group.

On the 25th of May this year, the Appeals Officer issued his decisions in all ten cases. He upheld the Appellant Company’s Appeals in all cases.

The proof that the Social Welfare Appeals Office is making decisions based on the political edict of the Employment Status Group and not legal precedent comes in the first point of the Appeals Officers comments/conclusions section of the decisions in which he states –

“Comments/Conclusions: The Oireachtas appointed expert group to determine self-employment status provided a definition of a likely self-employed person”

The Oireachtas appointed expert group the Appeals Officer refers to in his decisions is the Employment Status Group which has no legal standing whatsoever.

Determinations of the Employment Status Group are political decisions and cannot be and are not accepted as legal ruling or precedent by the Scope Office, the office charged with making insurability of employment decisions.

The Employment Status Group was not established to determine self-employment status, it was established to prevent punitive employees from exposing that the Revenue Commissioners are knowingly misclassifying employees as self-employed.

Although there are many points in the Appeals Officer’s decisions which expose that the Appeals Office is deliberately and demonstrably misinterpreting the evidence to accommodate the political edict from the Employment Status Group, I draw your attention to a specifically significant point on liability insurance.

As was said previously in this piece, the men all of whom were labeled independent contractors, carried no liability insurance. I raised this point with the Appeals Officer who raised it with the appellant Company.

The company conceded that it had agreed that the men could operate under their liability insurance but stated that the men could lose financially by having to bear the cost of making good faulty or substandard work.

That position was accepted by the Appeals Officer and is quoted in his decision as being one of the factors determined by the Employment Status Group as a likely indicator of a Self-Employed person.

The issue of ‘Financial Risk’ and liability insurance in the context of self employment status was previously considered at length by the Employment Appeals Tribunal which ruled –

“In relation to the risk and profit factors, the Tribunal finds that the claimant carried little or no risk. In particular he was not required to have insurance”

In the construction sector the question of liability for faulty or substandard work is a well publicised hot potato issue in projects such as Priory Hall. Under self-certification of building standards, sub-contractors are responsible for signing off on work they have completed.

Yet these subcontractors were not required to have public liability insurance. If in 1, 5 or 10 years the walls these men built collapse, there is no public liability insurance to insure the public.

For the Appeals Office to accept that the men bore some vague concept of losing “financially by having to bear the cost of making good faulty or substandard work” in lieu of a legal requirement to have liability insurance as an indicator of self-employment, the Appeal Office exposes that it is deliberately and demonstrably misinterpreting the evidence to accommodate the political edict from the Employment Status Group and in the process of doing so, is leaving the public exposed to extensive financial and physical risk.

Bearing the cost of making good faulty or substantial work is a common practice for all workers and is not specific to the self-employed. Liability insurance to cover the cost of faulty or substandard work is not common to all workers and is specific only to independent contractors.

This deliberate misinterpretation by the Social Welfare Appeals Office is at the very heart of why insurability of employment decisions are so vital to the safety of the general public. ​

The Only Way Forward

Throughout this briefing, Minister Doherty asked intelligent and pertinent questions. The Minister explained to me that this was how she liked to do things.

The Minister acknowledged that the figures provided by ICTU on the cost of bogus self employment far exceeded the figures used to justify Leo Varadkar’s campaign against social welfare cheats.

The Minister accepted that the Social Welfare Inspector’s ‘Report’ could not be relied upon as evidence by the Social Welfare Appeals Office. The Minister committed to arranging a meeting with the same Senior Counsel who had represented the Minister for Social Welfare in the 2001 Social Welfare Appeals Office hearing with a view to me meeting with him also.

​I explained to the Minister the only legitimate way forward was under the provisions of social welfare legislation.

Under Section 263 of the Social Welfare Consolidation Act 1993, the Chief Appeals Officer can set aside any Appeals Office decision the Chief Appeals Officer believes erred in law or fact. It is a fact that the Social Welfare Inspectors Report cannot be accepted as evidence in any proceedings and that this decision must be set aside pending judicial review.

It is also a fact that the 10 decisions of the construction workers erred in fact and in law with the SWAO’s acceptance that independent contractors can operate under a principle contractors liability insurance and that a political determination by the Employment Status Group in relation to liability insurance superseded the legal precedents and case law handed down over the years from the higher courts. In light of these facts, the Chief Appeals Officer has no choice but to set aside the 10 Appeals Office decisions pending judicial review.

There is no other legally prescribed route for the minister to determine which of the two offices (Scope & SWAO) under her control is erring in law and fact and one of them demonstrably is.

On what way to proceed in relation to the Social Welfare Inspector’s Report, I left that entirely to the Minister’s discretion. As far as I’m concerned, I’ve reported to the highest authority available evidence of a crime which has led to substantial financial losses for the Department of Social Welfare.

As far as I’m concerned the Minister has no choice but to request a full investigation by An Garda Siochana regardless of whether the Chief Appeals Officer sets aside the decisions or not.

The meeting ended with the Minister committing to meet me again in the near future. Later that evening the minister thanked me on twitter for bringing it to her attention and for trusting her with it.

On Saturday last the Minister contacted meand told me that she was ‘up to speed’. She asked was I available to meet last Friday. I confirmed that I was.

On Friday the Minister contacted me by twitter and at first confirmed that we would meet later that afternoon but later cancelled the meeting and asked for my phone number to have a telephone conversation and to rearrange our meeting for sometime after the holidays.

I have never doubted the Minister’s sincerity on this issue and I still firmly believe that the Minister is committed to tackling all social welfare fraud including bogus self-employment.

I am not disappointed that the Minister has not yet telephoned nor that our meeting was cancelled. I completely understand that the Minister has a heavy brief. I don’t need to be informed immediately that the Minister is taking action on foot of our meeting.

I do ask, in the current economic climate. if the Minister can afford to wait over a situation which is accepted to be costing the Department of Social Welfare at least 2 million euro every week ….. and the real cost is likely to be far higher.

Martin blogs at RamshornRepublic

Previously: Self Employment Is Not Working

60 thoughts on “Bogus Self Employment Cheats Us All

  1. Biddy

    Top class investigative work. I expect there’ll be a huge outcry from government about 2 million a week down the drain in social welfare fraud.

    Reply
    1. Sheik Yahbouti

      Biddy, sadly, I think you have it aright. These ‘suckers on the public teat’ have no shame – nor have they a shred of empathy. Dishonesty and inaction, that is the Hallmark of FF/FG/Labour

      Reply
    2. Biddy

      In the construction sector, where subcontractors are required to self-certify, liability insurance is the minimum requirement to even be considered self-employed, without liability insurance, you are not, can not, even be considered as self-employed.

      Reply
      1. Biddy

        The Revenue Commissioners are, in effect, giving illegal state aid to principal contractors by condoning and engaging in deliberate misclassification of employees as self-employed.

        Reply
      2. Donegal plastering

        My liability will be over 2500 I’m self employed and I will keep going without it till there’s a job that I have to get it for

        Reply
    1. ahjayzis

      +1

      Written in the same vein as clickbait “one neat trick” articles. You don’t write a post about a crime without explaining the crime in the first twenty seven paragraphs >_<

      Reply
  2. Sheik Yahbouti

    PS lads, does everybody suffer from ADHD? I can comfortably read something that consists of several paragraphs – it does not distress or discomfit me – are we now so shallow that actually reading something constitutes an unacceptable burden? Jaysus Christ

    Reply
    1. ahjayzis

      It’s not about length, I devour BS’s Tribunal reports.

      It’s knowing you’re being clumsily manipulated – he’s buried the important parts in the middle of the piece and you know as you read it you’re being kept in the dark. It’s hamfisted and turns people off.

      Reply
    2. Cian

      it’s not the length of it that causes me issues, its the waffle.
      There are a number of headings: “The Crime”, “The Conspirators”, “The Trap”… each followed by blocks of text that seem to be unrelated to the heading that proceeded them.
      Maybe I have ADHD, or bad reading comprehension

      Lets look at the first one: “The Crime”
      I can’t see what “the crime” is. There are 15 paragraphs that describe a report and an appeal and some handshaking. But I can’t for the life of me see what the crime was.

      Reply
      1. Biddy

        Indictable Offences – SW Consolidation Act 1993

        2. DEPARTMENT’S POLICY

        2.1

        The prosecution of offenders is a key element of the Department’s control of fraud and abuse strategy. It is the policy of the Department that all cases of fraud and abuse will be considered for prosecution.

        4. TYPE OF OFFENCES MOST LIKELY TO BE PROSECUTED

        False statements, declarations or representations

        It’s not that difficult to understand Cian, presenting false evidence in the SWAO is an indictable offence, don’t play stupid.

        Reply
        1. Cian

          Thanks Biddy. I’m not playing stupid. Perhaps I am stupid. My point is that this is badly written. I’m not alone in finding this had to read. If the author wants people to care about this crime he needs to make it clearer what the crime was.

          He alludes to a crime, but never actually states what the crime was.

          You summarised it below when you said “it is a criminal offence for an ordinary person to present false documentation to Social Welfare”. Had this been included in the first 10 paragraphs it would have made it clearer.

          Reply
          1. Cian

            I’m even confused on re-reading this article. He states:
            “I saw it happen. I was there. I contacted the Garda National Bureau of Fraud Investigation and attempted to report the crime.

            I have no doubt that it is a crime I witnessed, it’s certainly an indictable offence under the relevant Social Welfare legislation.”

            But if the crime is “presenting false documentation to Social Welfare” then he (probably) didn’t witness that. The report was submitted before he was involved in the case.

            So one more. What was the crime? the crime that he witnessed?

          2. Biddy

            No Cian, it’s not difficult, you spend ur time on here putting down any1 who dares speak up, the world and his wife and all his children know false evidence is illegal, you don’t need it spelled out for you.

          3. Cian

            I need it spelled out.
            So now your saying that “false evidence is illegal”.
            So is the crime the submission of the report to Social Welfare? or using the report as Evidence?
            As I said at the start, it is badly written, and I still don’t know what the crime was.

            Perhaps there were multiple crimes?

    3. Harry Molloy

      just a work /time thing for me, especially when you don’t see a point being made in the first few paragraphs.

      but I am interested so will read this evening

      Reply
    4. LW

      I think there’d be a lot to be gained from including a summary by way introduction, I’ve been reading for 10 ten minutes and I’ve no idea what’s happening yet. I came to the comments hoping for a shorter version. If you have something to say, presenting it in digestible fashion is a good plan

      Reply
      1. Biddy

        The writer is on twitter Cian @williamhboney1, he says he did witness it, as is explained in his piece. He even identified every other person in the room. It’s all in the piece, you may read but ur comprehension leaves a lot to be desired.

        Reply
        1. Cian

          Biddy,

          Frist off: I’m not trying to argue that there isn’t a problem with the way some of these employees are being identified as self-employed.

          My point is that I think this piece is badly written. It’s over 3,500 words long. I’m not the only person that had trouble understanding this piece. If you read through the comments you’ll see everyone else (bar Murtles and yourself) saying the same thing.

          Murtles’ comments below (and your follow-up) summarise it clearly in about 200 words.

          Reply
          1. Biddy

            you would rubbish those 200 words as hearsay if the detail wasn’t included. That’s ur game Cian, you lack the integrity and intellect to objectively analyse and comment. U have an agenda, you pursue it with all the finesse of a 6 year old.

          2. Cian

            Sigh. If you’re not going to engage with what I’m writing, and just insult me, I’m going to respond in kind.

            Ahem. At least I know how to write “you” and “your”. Like an adult.

  3. Sheik Yahbouti

    I don’t necessarily disagree with the posters above – I merely object to the tl:dr crew. Nonetheless, there is matter for argument here, which I will address, time permitting – I’m a mere wage slave.

    Reply
  4. Eamonn Clancy

    Does he seriously believe that anyone will get beyond the first few sentences of this without falling asleep?

    Reply
    1. Richard O'Callaghan

      I did.

      This is something that many people have been warning about for years. In the same way that offshore accounts and the failure of banking regulation were not a problem until suddenly they were, this will not be a problem for people until it suddenly is. Then there will be a day of reckoning.

      As an accountant I always warn people who are thinking of doing it that the day is coming when the social problems that this practice is storing up, and the amount of unpaid payroll taxes and USC/PRSI will be so high that they cannot ignore it. On that day there will be a huge announcement about a crackdown, and everybody will be scrambling to sort the matter out.

      It may not be today, it may be 10 years from now, but this day of reckoning is coming for employers who undertake this sharp practice – and at a minimum they will have to pay PAYE, Employers and Employees PRSI + interest and penalties. At that point the employees affected will also be seeking a refund of all of the tax that they have paid over their years of “self-employment”, and will probably look for compensation from the State for the states collusion in the matter.

      This is also not unique to the construction industry. Ryanair are being looked at for similar practices in Germany at the moment. My understanding is that many (if not all of) of the pilots they have are “self-employed”. Dutch tax authorities have already ruled that Ryanair pilots are not self-employed.

      Interestingly, a good few years ago, a large budget airline was using the Irish work permits to employ pilots who were never based in Ireland. The Work Permits tried to refuse the applications, but the airline always appealed through the Minister and the Minister instructed their approval.

      Reply
      1. Tabloid Rag

        Can you explain that to Cian there Richard, but one thing, can you please only use words containing one syllable? Thanks

        Reply
        1. Cian

          Yes, if you thing that something is very important and needs to be understood by lots of people -you need to write it clearly and succinctly.

          Richard O’Callaghan, above, wrote clearly. Martin McMahon, on the other hand, didn’t.

          Reply
      2. Kenneth o connor

        Hi Richard, Excellent account of the bogus self employment saga. As a construction worker, I have been looking into this problem for the last 7-8 years and escalated the issue to various high profile politicians without any success. I have requested various politicians to raise parliamentary questions in the Dail and the replies received were startling to say the least. Some examples are, Minister Michael Noonan stated circa 23rd November 2016 that there were 34,000 workers on RCT contracts when there were in fact 75,000 workers employed on this basis. I also asked how much tax revenue was received from self employed construction workers between the years 2008 and 2014. The reply
        I received was minus 90 million euros!!! How can tax revenue be minus an. I don’t wish to labour over particular details as I believe this should be enough to inspire action and can’t comprehend how/why this huge elephant in the room is being ignore. I would appreciate your observations/comments on this small piece of information.

        Reply
        1. Richard O'Callaghan

          Hi Kenneth

          Unfortunately this is the Irish way. People who should know better pretend that some secret magical formula has been found to beat the system. They keep saying how they don’t want to do it, but if they don’t do it they will be undercut. Then they will cry like babies when it finally goes wrong.

          This self-employment scam is not good for business and it is not good for society. It is a way for employers to save on employers PRSI, holiday pay etc. The disgrace of it is that it is ultimately unsustainable. The Government will have to tackle it at some point, there is little doubt that this is a way to get around workers rights by redefining them as contractors.

          Really the trade unions should be all over this.

          Specifically on the -€90,000,000 it is very difficult to see in reality what he is taking into account in that figure. In theory an unbalanced VAT situation could cause something like this to happen if the years all worked out funny, but it is very difficult to see how it could happen over a sustained time period.

          It could also be caused by a timing issue with the payment of Preliminary Tax. 2007 things are great, everyone pays loads of Preliminary Tax, come 2008 they ask for it all back as the industry is gone to hell in a hand basket.

          The thing about both of the above possibilities is that they are not really negative tax, they are claiming back something that you have already paid but some or all of it was not due.

          Reply
  5. Riz

    The subject matter is interesting and extremely important, at least I think i is. The writing style is a complete turd. I have absolutely no way to put this into context – I’m not reading it again to try. It’s put together in a very daft way. May I suggest it’s rewritten to encapsulate an overview at the top and some info about the author. All this “The Crime”, “The Conspirators”, “The Trap” psudo-chapter nonsense is extremely off-putting.

    Reply
  6. Murtles

    TLDR? Summary as I’ve read :

    * Revenue are cosying up to various Employer representatives to label some workers as self-employed instead of being employees of the company, thus getting the company out of tons of employers obligations to said workers.

    * Dept Social Protection SCOPE Section, who decide who’s self-employed or an employee, said these workers are employees.

    * Dodge employers are shocked and appeal the decision to the Social Welfare Appeals Office (SWAO) who are supposed to be independent but as fishy as f**k in this particular hearing.

    * Some evidence given to Appeals Hearing is found to be totally made up but taken as fact

    * To date nothing has changed with employees still getting shafted by Regina (Minister for Social Protection) has said that her holidays are more important and when she has finished sunning herself, she’ll have a look at it.

    Reply
    1. Biddy

      Good summary, also take into account that it is a criminal offence for an ordinary person to present false documentation to Social Welfare, and for not so ordinary persons like social welfare inspectors, a point that seems lost on the usual FG trolls above.

      Reply
    2. Barry the Hatchet

      Thanks Murtles, this is a good summary!

      I read the article to the end, but have to say I agree with the posters above. It’s not too long, it’s just badly constructed and could do with editing. The most obvious problem is that the “crime” is not defined in the first couple of paragraphs. Makes the whole thing very difficult to read.

      Reply
    3. Amorphous Kerry Blob

      Thank you Murtles. Pity the article wasn’t as straight to the point.
      Any chance of a rewrite BS?

      Reply
    4. I'm "alright" Jack. Mad Jack is on annual leave.

      Yea quite
      To hear some folks on here you’d swear this was Bhagavad Gita they’re being asked to translate
      I only half glanced at it and it was clear as day to me what it was on about but yeah sure it needs an editor like most things in this life get over it ye bunch of ponces

      Reply
  7. Henry Woods

    She looks like one of those plastic wimmin on those reality housewives tv shows.
    How can a smile be so evil looking?
    She’s only cheating herself.

    Reply
  8. curmudgeon

    The pensions timebomb is a very real thing and employers aided by revenue not paying PRSI is downright scary. This is quite the scandal.

    Reply
    1. Biddy

      I also see he has been featured previously in Business & Finance Joe, oh and the Herald, Indo etc, poor attempt at throwing shade on a non-politically aligned activist.

      Reply
        1. Biddy

          I’m caught in the bogus self employment trap like all of those I work with. No maternity pay, no sick pay, no holiday pay, no pension, no future, no hope. Of course I take it personally when I’m being robbed so that my employer can steal an extra 30% profit on labour costs.

          Reply
  9. Butthurt

    I read the whole thing but it required some effort to put the story together in my head.

    I’m no wordsmith but when writing a story, I was always taught in school;

    Tell them what you’re going to tell them.

    Tell them.

    Tell them what you’ve told them.

    Respect to the author all the same for highlighting a serious issue. Hopefully won’t be the last we read about it.

    Reply
    1. Nigel

      As a basic tool for presenting information or opinion the bog-standard Leaving Cert essay structure is way under-rated.

      Reply
  10. Termagant

    Generally speaking people aren’t going to read something that spends 1500 words before even starting to think about considering maybe planning to possibly get to the point. Activism is about getting people interested and involved, if people were naturally inclined towards the kind of byzantine rambling above we’d all be solicitors.

    Reply
  11. Alan O'Brien

    A poem by Christy Brown, son of a bricklayer. About workingmen.

    Men At Work

    They loomed out of grey nowhere
    monkey-jacketed against the wind and sly rain
    leaning on their trusty shovels chewing philosophies
    cupping gutted cigarettes in knuckly fists
    no doubt weighing things of high import
    between their leather boots and the hanging skies
    making the highways safe for cosseted citizens like us
    passing by cocooned in cushiony warmth
    while they the warrior workers
    opening up the country for commerce.

    At our approach they became workmen once more
    making heroic stabs at the wet unyielding tarmac
    digging diligently into the hard business of the day
    making ingenious little little holes in the road
    fussy as old maids at pastry
    watching us out of hooded wary eyes
    as we sped on through the mud
    leaving them in the mist
    to their butt-ends and craggy ponderings.

    We thought it no small deed in our honour
    that they had enterprise enough
    to at least fake industry
    stirred by flurries of decent guilt
    while in paper-barricaded citadels across the land
    the sleeping masters of the stately ship
    stretched dishonourable limbs
    and whistled in their subsidised slumbers
    waking up between snore and avaricious fantasies
    to exhort the populace anew
    to greater frenzies of sacrifice
    and national fervour.

    Reply

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