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Morning Ireland

Budget 2010: Stories from our listeners

The views expressed below are personal to the writer and are not the views of RTÉ. For a full explanation of RTÉ's policy on user contributions, please click here http://www.rte.ie/about/organisation/terms.html

Does the Government care?

Why did FF have to be so hard on those on Social Welfare and those on long term disability? How are they supposed to survive or does the government care? Also when do the reductions in Disability Benefit come into effect? [Lisa replies: At time of writing, the Dáil hasn't yet voted on the social welfare cuts contained in the Budget but, if they are approved, they will come into effect on 1 Jan]

We don't have a plan

I'm down around 4,000 per year in salary before carbon tax, child benefit cuts etc. However, what makes it really galling for me is that we don't seem to have a plan to get the country back on its feet. There's no stimulus for employers and no real leadership. What is it with this country in that nobody ever takes ownership of any problem and nobody takes responsibility for their actions?

Low paid might as well go on welfare

A couple who are both low paid public servants would now be better off on social welfare. We are going down the same route of disincentivisation as in the 80s. The importance of not crushing those who try to raise a family through their own efforts in tough circumstances has been lost.

Budget widens public/private divide

The cost of living has not fallen in real terms but I have to take a pay cut of 15 percent, how just is this? This government has successfully divided public and private workers, which has been deepened with this budget. Public workers have taken the hit x 2, and all the media and private sector can say is it needed to happen as we do not have families and bills to pay. Do you all think that the cost of living for public sector workers is below that of others? We work unsocial hours, bank holidays and when the private sector workers are tucking into their Christmas dinner, will they remember that I will be away from my family providing vital services? Or perhaps the private sector believes that we can do without vital services??

Ministerial pay cuts not enough

Cuts of 20 percent and 15 percent for Taoiseach and Ministers still leaves them with outrageously disproportionate incomes. To assuage the rage of those lower down in the public sector they will have to show real leadership and do much better than that. They just don't seem to get it do they? Stupid or what?

Shame on Government

A total shame! No social justice, no fiscal stimulus to generate jobs, no political vision for this dysfunctional 'republic'. How can we expect the economic treasonists who caused this crisis to solve it? The same ultra-free marketeering ideology is at play here: where's the wealth tax, where's the windfall tax on speculators, where is the incentivised internships for unemployed professionals, where's the justice in hitting the social welfare recipients? Shame on FF and even more shame on the Greens, who have jettisoned any committment to social justice and the common good. As a local government professional, I abhor every aspect of the black propaganda espoused by this discredited government. My profession - landscape architecture - has been signficantly neglected at policy, legislative and human resource levels, by this and previous governments (eg no Government dept, State agency or many, many local councils employ landscape architects): so much for the bloated public service numbers! Time for a revolution in this country.

Won't pay prescription charge

I have three special needs boys and I am on the carer's allowance. I am also separated. So who and how am I going to pay for the 50c charge? My boys go through so much and the government is not freaking helping me, they're doing my freaking head in. Well, I guess no more meds for my boys as I am NOT paying any charges!!!!!! Why don't they go after the drug companies? Do you think they can cope on 350 a week?

PRE-BUDGET EMAILS

Cap drug costs

About the predicted increase in the drugs payment threshold - I am asking the government to put a cap on the total that any individual has to pay in any one year. I have a long term illness (Crohn's disease) that isn't covered by the long term illness scheme. Like many others with the same condition I am on medication for life and have huge other medical expenses in GP and consultant fees. The cost of drugs to the individual has gone from 1,080 euro per annum in 2008 to 1,200 euro in 2009 and will go up to 1,500 euro in 2010 (Mc Carthy). The tax relief went down from 40 percent to 20 percent in 2009 so the real out of pocket cost went from 648 euro in 2008 to 1,080 in 2009 and will go to 1,200 in 2010. That's a 100 percent increase! (Other medical expenses have gone up by 30 percent because of the tax relief reduction - taken together this is a massive increase in outlay). I understand that drugs cost a lot to the Exchequer. What I'm asking is that the government cap the total paid by any individual per annum to protect the long term ill from the increased threshold. They will still reap the benefit from those who are not long term ill while taking some measures to protect the vulnerable.

Leave middle- and high-income earners alone

1) I work in an international fund manager which employs 300 people in the IFSC (2) I pay tax at about 53 percent (I am losing count with levies, PRSI...) (3) I have an enormous mortgage and two children, childcare. There seems to be an impression that everyone over 100k is a soft and easy target. I have already lost 2k a month since last year's budget and have only been able to afford this due to mortage rate reductions, which will be going up again next year, with possibly property taxes as well. Enough is enough. Fifty percent in this country pay no tax, we have the highest welfare in Europe and middle and higher income earners are expected to take most of the pain. We have alreasy lost six managers this year to other countries. I have requested a transfer too, family arrangements permitting. In short, any more tax increases, my company will have to relocate as it cannot be run if managers cannot stay! Will any of our so called opposition politic parties wake up and tell this clueless government that high top rate taxes are crazy economics!

Stop spend on IT in classrooms

Immediately stop the spend of 150 million for IT in schools and sack the Minister of Education. Teachers are forced to spend 150 million on IT equipment that will gather dust! They must get a laptop and projector for every single classroom!! They don't want to get equipment for every classroom as they believe a lot of it will not be used. But they have to do this to get the IT grant. They have just received the sanction to spend and they have been asked to spend the money before Christmas if at all possible! Anything to do with preserving the Department's budget for next year??? The teachers consider what they have to do as madness. Has the country gone nuts??? Could you please check this lunacy out?

Don't tax the rich

I am working in a multinational IT based firm for 10 years in Ireland. I currently pay at the highest rate of tax and have lost almost 20 percent of my disposible income. My firm employs over 1000 people here - all high value well paid jobs. Many in my company are now seeking transfers to overseas offices and I am hearing similar stories in similar foreign firms. If this continues our operation in Ireland will become unsustainable and that could mean 1000 less Irish jobs. This government has to get real, it may be popular to shout 'tax the rich' which apparently means me. This policy will wreck the country which relies so much on so few who are more mobile than ever. Do not increase highest tax rates further - cutting costs deeply and quickly is the best way forward. It is nonsense having 12.5 percent company tax to pull in foreign employers if you are taxing the management and top talent with 52+ percent income taxes!!

Apply carbon tax fairly

I believe the Government have failed to address the proposed carbon tax issue correctly. By applying the tax to the fuel, they especially penalise all those citizens who live in rented accommodation and have no control on the efficiency or type of fuel they use. Perhaps this is not even a legally defensible action. This tax should have been placed at the door of all private property owners and those who rent out accommodation that is not energy efficient. The moment is not lost and a slightly more focussed carbon tax can generate jobs, income tax revenue, VAT receipts, incentivise better quality housing, and reduce our contribution to global pollution. Minister where are the initiatives from your government to get this country going again.

Share the pain

I would like to see FAIRNESS. I don't believe I will, as the government seems to have decided that taxation is a sacred cow that cannot be touched. So the rich will go on getting richer, and the poor and the middle income earners like me will go on getting poorer. I am a public servant - a teacher - and I chose to be a public servant instead of staying in England, where I emigrated to in the eighties, and earning a lot of money in business. And what is my reward, and the reward of hundreds of thousands of people like me? Our pockets are being emptied by people who earn double or treble what I can ever aspire to earn. I am SO ANGRY. Contrary to what people say, we public servants do realise that money has to be saved. What we are angry about is that we are being specifically targetted and others, who are far better off than us, are being ignored. I would take a twenty percent cut if I thought everyone was sharing the pain.

Treat single- and double-income earners the same

I would like to see the government treat all familes equally. Why does a household with 90k from a one income earner pay 150 euro a month more in tax than a household with the same income made up by two earners. My husband is a public servant on 90k in a one-income family (I am caring for our disabled child and my sick mother). It is galling that my household, already treated inequitably, is to be hit harder than the same household where it is made up of say two 45k incomes. Just because my husband is a 'high earner'. My household is no different to one with two moderate earners. The reason for this is inequality is individualisation. In social welfare we get no carer's allowance as it is means-tested based on household income and not individual income. What criteria of sustainabalility etc has the government factored into one-income households being hit harder by their tax policies or is it just yet another convenience to ignore these people?

Pay for water

Despite the recent downpours, we have been warned we will be short of water for domestic purposes in the next decade. There has even been talk of running a pipeline from the Shannon to Dublin to alleviate this pending Doomsday scenario. Economists speak of widening the tax base. Would it not make sense for the Government to extend the water metering scheme to private dwellings? That would have the dual advantage of providing a source of revenue and additional employment for installers and manufacturers of pipes and meters. Would that be too much to ask of the political pygmies whom the Irish people have voted in every time for the last twelve years.

Pensioner in post-grad education

I am an old-age pensioner, and a full time post-graduate student at UCC. I believe that the first thing that the government must do is to broaden the tax base. Everyone earning more than the most basic social security benefit, which will include pensioners for the most part, should pay at least some income tax. Higher earners should pay a higher rate. Care should be taken to ensure that, at the low end, a situation is not created where those on the dole take home more than those who earn. Child benefit should be taxable. The second thing is to seek increased efficiency in the public service, and at the same time, to look at reducing VAT, which hits poorer people harder and drives consumers North. Under the heading of public service efficiency comes the consolidation of allowances, as far as possible, for public servants. There will, of course be areas where this cannot be done, but there are many where it can. When these have been attended to, and not before, cuts in public service pay, especially in the higher echelons should be considered. Again, these should be proportioned to earnings, so that the most egregious cases (top politicaians and such as hospital consultants) are not flea-bitten while clerical assistants are bankrupted. As these things are judged today, I may be described as poorish, but I can afford to give a little, in these exceptional circumstances. So much for "first aid". Once the bleeding has stopped, get rid of this gombeen government, with its legacy of corruption, weakness and inefficiency. The next lot may be little better, but if the people of Ireland think before they vote, we may, in time, improve the country's governance. For God's sake, do not reduce the number of TDs; get some good ones, and reform the Seanad; do not abolish it. Governments need oversight by people who can look further ahead than the next poll.

10-point Budget

I think the following should happen: 1. A third rate of tax introduced for those who earn greater than 75,000 (they can well afford it) 2. This unpaid leave for the public sector is a joke, their pay should be cut according to what they earn: two percent for those on 30,000 and under, four percent for those earning up to 50,000, six percent for those earning up to 70,000, eight percent for those earning up to 90,000 and 10 percent for everyone else 3. There should be compulsory redundancies for over half of middle managment in the public sector and half of the administrative roles should be abolished, there are a lot of paper pushers in the HSE. 4. The Seanad should be abolished 5. TD's allowances should be halved 6. The President post should be abolished 7. Those who have a state and contributory pension valued over 30,000 should lose all the entitlements of medical card, TV, electricity, phone 8. Social welfare and OAP pension should be cut by 10 percent. All people who are on social welfare should have to do a minimum of 10 hours community work 9. Those under 25 should get half the welfare amount. This may encourage them to further their education 10. Children's allowance should be taxed.

Job at risk, mortgage a big burden

I am 57 and my job as an office administrator is at grave risk. The company has already laid off about 100 staff nationwide and it is not finished yet. I have been put on a three-day week. My chances of getting another job are slim. In 2005, I bought an apartment which was to be my pension. The rent I receive now covers only two-thirds of the mortgage and I have to pay 900 out of my 1800 per month salary to meet the repayments. It leaves me with about 800 per month to live on after management fees, insurance etc. I claim the dole for the two days I am laid off but this will stop in April. I don't know what I will do after that as keeping up the apartment (pension) will be unsustainable. I have young adult children and I want this government to stop shilly shallying and take whatever steps are necessary to get the country up and running. Get rid of the Senate - it's an expensive talk shop. Cut out all the ridiculous expense claims for politicians and public servants, we cannot afford them any more. Close all tax loopholes, we don't mind paying if it is fairly distributed. Bring in major assistance to companies to help them keep people employed. Tax children's allowance - those who can afford it should pay. Leave poor people alone, they are an example of money management and work miracles with what they have. If the government cannot do it in this Budget they should get off the bloody stage and let in someone who can get the job done.

Introduce a tax incentive for friends to invest in businesses

The government could introduce a scheme for new small businesses to get under way without going through all the usual hoops to get funding. This could be done by allowing any budding entrepreneur to get funding from friends up to a certain limit and that funding can be set against tax for a period. Each investor gets a slice of the new venture, eg business needs 50k so you get 10 friends to invest 5k each and they then own, say, five percent per investor of the business.

Get rid of VRT

I think this is the first time that the government could seriously think of removing VRT. Think what would happen. Car sales would shoot through the roof, no more UK imports, new garages opening with staff from all the closures. It would show leadership and a courage that is missing right now. Sure all present car owners will lose a value in their current car, however as most people do not intend to sell for cash, what difference would that make?

Cut allowances, cap salaries

Cut children's allowance/cap salaries @ 150k/10 percent pay cut over individual pay of 50k. I am a clerical officer in the Civil Service on 30k. In 2004, I got 65 per month for my youngest, it's practically three times that now, so room for a big cut. Vouching of all public servants' expenses and get rid of agency staff from Departments that cost a lot.

Curtail sick leave, holidays and TDs pensions

1) All sick leave should be treated as a self-employed person is - they do not get paid. Since many reports that the public sector have a very high absentee rate, the savings would be substantial. (2) Holiday entitlement should be based on the number of weeks worked, with a person that works for 46 weeks being entitled to 20 days paid leave. A universal rule that all would be treated equally. (3) TDs should only receive one payment while being a TD. Pension entitlements and pay from holding other offices should only apply when they reach 66. Their pension should only be based on the number of years they have served divided by 40, nor should there be annual increments as their increments should only come in the Old Age Pension. I have no expectations of any joy for our family in the budget as the politicians are highly unlikely to cut their pay. I must also take exception to the statement "The Taoiseach earns more than President Obama". In my opinion, it should be said THE MONEY HE IS PAID NOT EARNS. There are more people/families having incomes over 100K while folk like us have less than 30k in a good year. In my own case, I am 70 while my wife is 66. We both take work where we can, my wife as a demonstrator, while I act as a mentor and advisor. I worked for over 50 years and, when times were good, paid up to 30 percent of my gross to the state. I had also the bad times where I was hit by firm closures and 18 percent bank interest (not much difference).

No more salaries and pensions at the same time

I am a 47 year old man. I have worked since I was 14 years of age. I firstly trained as an electrician, then the 80s came and work dried up. I joined the army and was forced to take early retirement after 16 years service due to a spinal difficulty. Army wages at that time were not what they are today. I did not receive a pension. I then tried to work as an electrician but, due to degenerative arthritis in my spine, I was unable to make a living. I eventually ended up on invalidity pension. During this time, I went to college and I now have an honours degree in social science youth and community work. I am now working in a high support residential unit and hopefully will remain doing so for as long as I can. While all of this is going on, I see people working alongside me and in other areas of the health service who served in the defence forces and have full army pensions, some of them officers who have huge pensions, better than what I am earning. We have TDs and ministers, both serving and retired, working in other positions in the public service, all being paid and receiving large pensions. I feel that this is wrong. I feel that any able bodied person 65 years old or younger working in the public service should not receive a state pension until they are fully retired from the public service.

Suspend stamp duty for 18 months

I am no an economist but I believe the solution to the current crisis is somewhat simpler than everyone is speaking about. If stamp duty on property was removed in its entirety for 18 months ONLY. Surely this would spark the sale of properties again. Create employment for builders and all those relying on that trade. Remove people from the live register. Therefore, bringing money into the country. Also bring VAT rate down to 15 percent for 18 months to spark buying in our shops and stop the cross boarder shoppers.

Cut public sector pay

I would like the government to have the courage to cut public service salaries. If the public service can afford to give every employee 12 days of unpaid leave, it demonstrates how overstaffed they are!

Don't touch social welfare

I would like social welfare left untouched. I lost my job over seven months ago, I am a married man with two teenage children, I get 391 per week (two adults and two dependant children). By the time I pay my mortgage, buy food for the week, and put money aside for electricity, home heating oil and telephone, we have nothing left. Clothing/footwear, school, petrol for the car, house and car insurance etc all come out of savings which we had, but all savings are now gone. Our eldest child, who will sit the Leaving Cert in June 2010, is now 18 and does not qualify for child allowance from Jan 2010 because the goverment reduced the children's allowance age to 17 in last December's budget. I worked all my life as a PAYE (I am now aged 48). I have paid my PRSI. I should not in my time of need have to decide between heating my house (three-bed semi-detatched) and the food I put on the table, but with all the cuts being made in social welfare, it looks like my wife and I will have to go without meals so that our children will not. I do have a medical card and if we get sick it will be useful but I cannot buy food or heat my house with it. I do not want to be umemployed. I spend around three hours a day looking for jobs on the internet/papers and doing out CV's. Up-skilling through FÁS is a joke and any worthwhile courses are in Dublin which I cannot access because I live 80 miles away. The goverment is not doing anything to stimulate the creation of jobs and if they keep cutting those of us with nothing then the black market will grow because people like me who want to work will get desperate and do whatever we have to so that we can provide for our families.

Unpaid leave is a cop-out

I listened to what the unions and the government have come up with as regards savings to be made for next week's budget. I think that they have made a grave mistake in not going ahead with taxing the public service. The unpaid leave is only a cop-out, they won't get the money they expect. With taxation, they are assured of collecting it. I am sure that Brian Lenihan will not be happy with this arrangement that Brian Cowen has come up with. I hope he has enough savvy not to run with it or else the country is totally up the Swanee.

Force banks to reduce property loans

As a temporary teacher, married with two children and having bought our family home in in 2006 my concerns for Budget 2010 are two fold: 1. That there are no cuts in education. 2. That the Minister of Finance acknowledge the Government's role in creating the property bubble. That the Government acting on behalf of the taxpayer uses its privilege as the major shareholder of AIB and BOI to get the banks to reduce customers original loans on their primary residence by 40 percent, a decrease which reflects the drop in property values since 2006.

Budget must be fair

I would like to see fairness in this budget. I was employed as an Office Manager for 20 years and was made redundant last December. My company never recognised the partnership agreements and as a result from year 2000 to 2007 my salary increases were 17 percent, cost of living was 37 percent. During this time the Public Sector got much larger increases and also this benchmarking exercise was a complete joke and should never have been allowed. There was no transparency in this exercise. I should also add that I got statutory redundancy and a very small pension. It saddens me to see that the social welfare are being targetted. The government were elected to govern - why don't they do so. The simple fact of the matter is that they do not have the bottle to cut the public sector wage bill. This business of giving people 12 days off is not a fair way of doing it. Cut the salaries of the high earners in the Public Sector. All I want is fairness - let those who benefited in the good times pay the price now.

The wealthy must pay

Introduce an emergency tax rate of 50 percent for earners of 100,000+ and a 60 percent tax rate for 150,000+ and that would include the vast wealth that the Church has!

Help indigenous businesses

My wife and I are retailers in Carndonagh, Co Donegal. We have been in business for this past ten years and have five dependant children. For this past year and a half we have been working for NO pay. That is, we have taken NO drawings out of our business. Our business is a good business as we have run it properly and we are good at what we do. The one thing that has killed our business is the one thing that we have no control over and that is the euro/sterling value. Businesses are hard to start and we have put a lot of investment into establishing ourselves. If we go, we won't be back. I would like to see Brian Lenihan give help to small indigenous businesses who are making no money at present in order to keep them going. Is it not better to keep us working with the prospect that we will become contributers again than have us have to close and become a permanent burden on the taxpayer.

Cut spending, cut taxes

In the next Budget, our Government must do two essential and fundamental things: 1. There must be a deep and profound reduction in absolute Government spending in this Budget. Annual current-account Government spending in Ireland must come down radically across all areas. In absolute terms, not simply in terms of relative percentages, Ireland's Government will have to spend a massive amount less (in real terms) than previous years. The reason for this is now known to anybody with half an intellect: Ireland's Government is currently spending 25 billion euro a year more than it can take in. In truth, we need to be cutting 25 billion off our annual state expenditure this year alone. A mere 4 billion saving in the next budget is not reflective of the public finance crisis that we face. Like any indebted household, the State must reduce its expenditure or else become insolvent. I love my country, I do not want her to become insolvent. 2. The Irish Government must cut taxes on businesses and on incomes. In particular, we must slash the higher/marginal rate of income tax. This is the most consequential tax for employment, wealth creation and for rewarding/encouraging effort and work. This is the very best and only real way, through fiscal policy, that the Irish Government can help employment in this country. I would recommend that the government remove the higher income levy, and then reduce the marginal rate of income tax from the current 41% down to 30%. If this were achieved in Budget 2010, it would stimulate world leading growth in Ireland. I guarantee it.

Reduce VAT on food

I would like to see a radical reduction in the salaries of senior public servants, to bring them in line with those of mainland European average. I would also like to see a reduction on VAT on food costs to correspond with N. Ireland VAT.

Increase taxes, scrap cars

Tax increases; those who earn more should pay more. A car scrappage scheme to the sum of 5000, to be taken from VRT earned on each car sold, thereby returning people to work. Could also be linked to "green" car sales. A programme for long-term unemployed to earn their dole by community service projects.

Take Michael O'Leary's advice

With great reluctance I agree with Micheal O'Leary to cut all government salaries, payments and benefits significantly immediately and get rid of the deficit now. If we do this, as we plan, over four years, we will be up to our neck in debt. Most of my income comes from a service I provide to the HSE but I want us to get back to reality instead of staying on cloud nine for a few more years. Cutting the defecit now will make us competitive and will help to create jobs after a sharp initial shock. Our present plan is like removing a quarter of a cancer every year instead of removing it all now.The operation will be bigger and initially more painful but a recovery is far more likely.

Tax cigarettes and booze

They should tax cigarettes by at least five euro per pack and give this revenue to the hospitals to help them cope with not having enough beds. All pub sales of beer and spirits should go up by one euro per item. Too many people are standing outside pubs smoking and drinking in a time when people are struggling to buy a decent piece of meat every week. Or fund keeping their car on the road.

Tax breaks for green energy

I would like to see tax breaks to invest in "green technology" firms (alternative energy and recycling), similar to the tax breaks that fueled the property boom. It would provide investment in a growing sector and hopefully provide a benefit in cleaner energy and also hopefully make Ireland a leader in this area. I would also like to see a change to the system of expenses for Oireachtas members, so that it is fully vouched and open to public scrutiny without having to file a freedom of information request. I understand that there are legitimate expenses but I would like to have a better overview of what exactly is spent. I would like to see ministerial pensions withdrawn for all holders of state office until they reach retirement age or leave office-- it is obscene that representatives are receiving a pension while holding other positions in the government.

Single mum in full-time education

I'm a single mum and a full-time student. I have to drive 80km a day for college. I'm going to be in dire straits in January. My council house rent is going up, petrol is going up and all my income is going to go down. I'd tell Brian Lenihan to get rid of the tax relief for people with second homes and investors, get rid of the unnessary Government bodies, make the public sector more productive, stop paying child benefit to those who don't need it, have it means tested. Target the rich who are tax exempt like artists.

Public vs Private

I'm a public sector worker earning 48K. Between levies, tax, PRSI, pension, mortgage and bills, I'm not left with much given that we are a single income family and have two children. I know there need to be cuts but I'm being pushed and pushed to a point where I can no longer afford my life insurance and health insurance policies. Apart from groceries, I have withdrawn from all other spending. How is this helping the economy? One last point, I really resent a government who has skillfully orchestrated a battle between the public and private sectors.

Don't touch the intellectual disability sector

There is a real concern that people with an intellectual disability will have their allowances cut in the upcoming budget. This cannot be allowed to happen. This section of the community never benefited from the so-called "Celtic Tiger" and I believe their allowances and services must be ring-fenced and protected going into the future. While there are very real worries for the wider community, and these are been aired in the media every day, I cannot recall any discussion in relation to the upcoming cuts and how it may effect people with I.D. Hopefully they won't.

Protect the vulnerable

The most vulnerable in our community ie unemployed, people with disabilities, lone parents, should not have their payments cut. I am a lone parent myself and find it almost impossible to survive as it is. To cut child benefit or social welfare payments will have a devastating effect on families and individuals.

Suspend local council rates

As a small business, and takings down minimum 50 percent, we must get some help as shops close every single day here. A start would be to suspend rates from the local council for at least one year.

Large family with single income

I am a mother of seven school-going children (nine year age gap between first and last). We have one house with a mortgage. My husband is a middle income earner. The only allowance this government makes for large families like ours is child benefit. If this is taxed or means tested, they have to recognise in some way the fact that my husband has to support nine people from one income. Is it fair that he is treated less favourably tax-wise to a dual income couple who have two children? I was so worried at the prospect of college fees returning. We could have 3/4 children simultaneously in college for a consecutive seven-year period.

Widow on state pension

I am a 71 year old widow surviving on widow's pension. Before I take the pain forecast, I would like to see the following announcements made on budget day by the minister: 1. Dail deputies salaries capped at 100,000 euro 2. Seanad salaries and expenses reduced. 3. All ministerial advisers removed - civil servants always fulfilled that function up to a number of years ago 4. No new state cars purchased. 5. All overseas trips for government and county councillors monitored by independent body. 6. An announcement that Anglo Irish and all zombie banks are being disbanded 7. An up-to-date report on the progress of investigations into the corrupt bankers. We have yet to see one of them punished. Take a leaf out of America's book - jail them. Until such time as all these are addressed I, for one, will take to the streets again as I did last year when they tried to take my medical card.

Tax lottery winners

This government is unbelievable. It is apparently unable to make savings and initiate new forms of tax that does not affect the population in general. A tax of 17 percent on the National Lottery winnings would generate 500,000 euro per three million euro won to the Exchequer. Could also be applied to Irish winnings on Euro Millions. This would affect no one, as what the winners never had they would never miss. A share in Bank Of Ireland costs two euro, a share in Paddy Power costs 24. There is a lesson to be learned here and that is: a tax on gambling is long overdue. Also a tax on stud fees and any other fees that are untaxed should be applied.

Protect disabled people

I would like to see disability issues high on the political and media agenda. It is our moral duty to care for and speak for those who are least able in our society. We will be judged by how we treat our children. The banks were very well protected, we must protect our children more.

Treat single and double earners equally

I would like to see any tax increases/levies being applied equally to households with single or double earners ie they should be applied to household income as standard and stop talking of targeting "rich" individuals as earners over 100k. I am the sole earner for this household (married with four children) and have been hit with all of the levies etc at the high end of the scale as my salary is over 100k, while a household with two earners each getting 50k has not been hit to the same extent. I fully understand that everyone needs to contribute to the solution and I am happy to do my part but I am fearful that single income households like mine will pay the highest penalty. We are a family that does not claim any state benefits, I am working in the private sector with a defined contribution pension that has lost 40 percent in value in the past year, my company has had to lay off people and there will be no question of salary increases in the coming year - people will be happy just to keep their jobs.

Don't hit the unemployed

I would like the Government to show a bit of humanity towards the huge number of people who have been made redundant and now live on 204 euro per week. This is not much money and let's not compare ourselves to other countries in terms of social welfare payments. (If we compare ourselves to the UK then we would have universal free GP visits and our head of Government would make less than the British Prime Minister.) Those of us who are new to unemployment have possibly lost our mortgage tax relief too so while we talk about decreasing costs in bills, let's remember that Ireland continues to have a very high cost of living and a cut to 204 euro per week and a cut to child benefit will hit people very hard.

Don't hit disability services

No cuts in frontline services to people with intellectual disabilities. Individualisation of welfare payments to people with intellectual disabilities (direct payments). The commencement of independent inspection of all residential services for adults with disabilities.

Young family in negative equity

We are a young couple with one baby and one on the way. We bought a tiny two-bed apartment at an extortionate price in 2006 and now find ourselves approximately 200k in negative equity. With a second child on the way, we need to move to a house, but clearly cannot sell our apartment so are considering renting out our apartment and moving to a rented house. However, if we do this we will be classed as property investors or landlords. In the last budget, the Government restricted interest relief for landlords to 75 percent. If the government phases out interest relief completely for investors, as is suggested in the Commission on Taxation, I estimate this will cost us an extra 8,500 euro in income tax a year. This is over and above all the additional proposed cuts to child benefit, introduction of the PRSI ceiling etc. This would constitute an additional 700 euro a month to our diminishing incomes. Contrast this impact with the much smaller budget impacts in other areas. I do not think people fully realise the impact of what is being proposed. We are trying to save money to reduce our negative equity, but with childcare costs for two children of 1700 euro a month, this is impossible. Future ECB rate rises will break us. The government introduced mortgage relief to encourage property investment years ago. It helped to drive up the prices of property by forcing home owners to compete with investors. Now, with a housing market crash, the government's kneejerk reaction in this area will finish us. My message to Brian Lenihan is this: If you need to phase out interest relief, so be it, but do it over a time frame that allows valuations to recover (say 10 years) so that people can sell. Either that, or find a way for people in our situation who need to rent out our negative equity properties out of necessity to be exempt from this situation. A move such as is proposed has no impact on large landlords who own a lot of properties, but have no borrowings. It will however push people like ourselves over the edge.

Pensioners living alone

Consideration for pensioners, not all pensioners are on the full contributary pension as they reached retirment without the full quota of stamps. Also living alone increases food bills, and the present living alone allowance of seven euro is not significant.

Tax texts

A tax on texting - it appears to be a fair and equitable way to raise monies. Estimates of what it would raise range from E1.4bn to E81m.

All prices should come down

I am on a pension, having worked for 40 years, and would have no problem taking a cut of five euro per week if prices generally came down ie fees for doctors, dentists, solicitors etc and also if the cuts were to start at the top, with all politicians taking a 20 percent cut. Many people in my circumstances feel the same way.

Low-paid public sector worker

As a public sector worker (actually, a cleaner in the council) my wages are 24,000 a year. Cutting my wages by even five per cent will entitle me to family income supplement and a GP visit card. Surely it is false economy to cut the lower paid. How many people will it entitle to these and other benefits, and at what cost to the state?

Young non-Irish family

It's very frightening for me to wait for the day the budget will come. I am a student, have a child with a disability and another primary school child. My husband has a disability and his part-time job is coming to the end in a few months. Our fears are even higher as we are foreigners. We live in Ireland for five years and consider it as our home place for us and children.

Reduce PRSI for private health insurance

I would like a PRSI reduction for people who have private Health insurance. I think it is very unfair to have to pay the same PRSI whether you have health insurance or not. People with medical cards are on very reduced PRSI, so benefit twice?