Research by Dr Michael Collins of the Nevin Economic Research Institute finds the poorest 10% pay just over 30% of their income in taxes.This is mostly in the form of indirect taxes levied on the things they spend money on. Meanwhile, the top 10% spend 29.5% of their income on tax – mostly in the form of direct income tax. The combined tax burden produces a u-shaped graph, with the bottom and top of the income distribution paying most, and those on lower middle incomes paying least.
A culinary movement to find great produce sourced within a 12 mile radius of your front door?
What freshly-produced madness is this?
Kevin from Sage Restaurant writes:
The lush farmland and dedicated farmers of Midleton [Co Cork] and its hinterland enables us to source all our meat from within this radius. All our poultry is reared by “12 Mile” farmers and is free-range. Our fish is trawled and line-caught by East Cork fleets in Irish waters.
My First Book of Irish Animals’ is a picture-book for young children to introduce them to the wonderful wild animals we have in this country. The book is illustrated by the hugely talented Aoife Quinn, from County Wicklow.
The motivation for this book came from reading to my own young children. I would have loved to have been able to show them a book like this with big drawings and information about our Irish wildlife but unfortunately could fine one. In book shops today, there are lots of picture books available about sharks and bears, big cats and spiders from all over the world, but there are none that focus specifically on the Irish fauna.
Supporters who back this journey will in effect be pre-ordering a copy or copies of the book which can be posted to them or to friends or family as gifts.
‘Anti-homeless’ spikes from Wexford company, Kent Stainless
“One afternoon in early July, Corinna Gardner, a curator at the Victoria and Albert Museum, in London, accepted delivery of a small cardboard box. It was a shipment from Kent Stainless, Ireland’s leading manufacturer of stainless-steel drainage. More recently, the company has got into street furniture: benches, bollards, bike stands, trash cans. Inside the package were several specimens of the Kent Spike Stud, a three-inch-high, bullet-shaped protuberance that, according to the firm’s catalogue, “is used to deter people from unwanted sitting areas such as window sills and wall tops.” Colloquially, they are known as “anti-homeless spikes.”
“In the previous weeks, the presence of a set outside the doorway of a luxury apartment building had been the subject of thousands of outraged tweets and a Change.org petition, by means of which 132,560 people successfully demanded their removal. Gardner opened the box with a pair of scissors and dug through plastic peanuts. The spikes, when they emerged, were heavy, like ripe fruit. The next day, after they were mounted on a slab of acrylic and installed in a glass case, they would become the latest objects to enter the V. & A.’s permanent collection: Spike Stud, 2014, Stainless Steel. “As one of my colleagues says, sinister objects demand our attention just as much as beautiful ones,” Gardner said.”
Delzer, from the People’s Republic of Cork website, asks:
Many people, possibly even most, Irish people, do not know all the words to the national anthem. People want to move on as soon as possible from the silent awkwardness of not knowing it so you’ll hear roars of “C’mon [insert county]!” well before the end of the song. The GAA do almost nothing to promote the Irish language or the national anthem. Almost all the interior signage in Pairc Úi Chaoimh and Croke Park is exclusively in English for example.
A small campaign to encourage supporters to sing it could be easily implemented at little or no cost. Instructing teams not to break away before the band finishes playing would help generate more respect for the anthem too.
In fairness, the lads at [GAA] HQ are busy though. There are pay walls to erect and big country music concerts to sort out.
A table (above) showing comparative generic drug prices between Ireland and Britain, from yesterday’s Sunday Business Post
Susan Mitchell, the health correspondent with the Sunday Business Post, spoke to Rachel English on Morning Ireland this morning in relation to the price of generic medicines in Ireland.
Rachel English: “Tell us about some of the price differences between here and the UK because there are some quite staggering differences.”
Susan Mitchell: “Some of them are absolutely colossal, you’re right. We have one which is called, the generic name of this drug is Olanzapine and the original brand would be called Zyprexa which is what a lot of patients would know it as. The British price is €2.65, the Irish price is €71.97, so it’s just absolutely massive.”
English: “It’s €2.65 versus €71.97, that’s just extraordinary…”
Mitchell: “It is extraordinary. Now, to be fair, that was the biggest variation we’ve seen but many of the others were also, were also huge. There was another psychiatric drug called [Anti-depressant] Seroquel, the brand name I’m not even going to attempt to pronounce it but the Irish price is €34.80, in other words what the HSE is paying. The NHS is paying €2.90. And there were many, many other examples for a variety of different medicines, medicines to treat breast cancer, statins, which are used by hundreds of thousands of patients, so these are adding up to an enormous amount of money for the State and the taxpayer.”
English: “For years, we were told that the wider use of generic drugs would be key to bringing down health costs, so why are the prices of these drugs so high?”
Mitchell: “I really cannot answer that. The HSE has brought down the prices. They have. The reference price which they’ve now set for all of these medicines and they’ve set prices for about 20 medicines over the past year is certainly lower than what it was. But the differentials between here and the UK remain absolutely colossal. I don’t know why that is. The HSE says they have to be cognisant of things like security and supply, we’re a smaller market. There is, I know that some people would, you know, theorise that we have to keep big pharma in the country happy because they employ so many people. A lot of other people dispute that because they say that nobody in pharma would expect variations of this magnitude, it’s more to do with incompetence more than anything else. I really can’t explain why the variations are so huge.”
English: “So, what’s being done to tackle this problem?”
Mitchell: “Well reference pricing was suppose to tackle this problem and that’s what’s so disappointing about this – certainly from taxpayers’ perspectives and, indeed, patient groups. Because reference pricing was supposed to bring our prices down and bring us into line with the rest of Europe. And that was what former health minister James Reilly actually said. He said that, under reference pricing, you know the time, or the variations between here and the UK would end. Unfortunately they haven’t.”
English: “Have the pharmaceutical companies had anything to say about this?”
Mitchell: Very little, they’ve said very little. Other than the fact that prices have come down, and indeed they have. They also would say that we’re a much smaller market. And, another important point and I think that is a valid point is that we have had a very, very small number or the competition for generic market here in Ireland has been quite small in the past. So there aren’t as many companies competing for businesses. So that possibly is a factor but as people suggested to me, why don’t we bypass all the generic companies here and go straight to the UK and buy our medicines from them?”
English: “And at the moment, how is the price decided? Who does the deal for the State?”
Mitchell: “The HSE does this. So effectively what happens is the Irish Medicines Board groups a bunch of medicines in the same bracket. So these would all be off-patent and generic medicines. So if you take something like Atorvastatin, the original brand was Lipitor. When that comes off patent, the Irish Medicines Board bunches all of the various different Atorvastatins in a particular group. And the HSE then goes in and sets what is called a reference price. And this reference price is the amount that the HSE will reimburse pharmacists for that medicine. If someone with a medical card wants the original branded product, or a more expensive variation, they must pay the difference themselves, but this is what the HSE is paying.”
English: “You’ve been writing about this for several years now. Do you see that any attempt is being made to try and address the problems?”
Mitchell: “There is an attempt being made but I feel it’s inadequate. I don’t think that anybody can even try to justify variations of this magnitude. I think there’s something seriously wrong. And if the HSE is finding that pharma companies aren’t playing ball, well then it should come out and say this, and say this publicly and arguably maybe look to bypass some of these smaller companies in this market and go direct to the UK and purchase our medicines there.”