Thursday, 30 June 2011

Elitist Gaelscoil movement rejects educational reforms

Is the green carpet about to be pulled out from under the cosy feet of the Gaelscoil movement?

Its adherents loved telling us how popular the medium of Irish language education was, and how De Language was undergoing a "renaissance".   Even, it seemed, among parents who did not speak any Gaeilge, but were happy to send their little Oisins and Roisins to a school that taught through a medium they themselves did not understand.  Why? 

Factors behind the alleged "surge" in popularity:

1) Misguided types who saw Gaeilge as the badge of authentic Irishness (rather than the badge of our corrupt State and ruling political class who jumped onto the Gaelic League cultural nationalist bandwagon of  the late 19th century).

2) Those who saw the potential of bonus points for their progeny in Leaving Cert results (worth an extra 10% for answering  "As Gaeilge" in some subjects).  

3) Shinners (cultural nationalists, see "authentic Irishness" above).

4) Those who wanted to send their children to a school where they were less likely to share a classroom with "foreigners" (this cropped up a few years back in a Sunday Business Post article, but I have heard people express the same sentiments myself since).

5) The fact that it was very easy for a well-organised interest group to get a school set up..

To date, in order to establish a primary school all that was required was for 17 pupils to be "identified".  That is, a well-organised lobby group such as the Gaelscoil movement only had to collect some signatures, preferably with a few fadas, in order to establish a case for a school in a given area.

Now it seems that the DoE - if it acts on a report submitted from the Commission of School Accommodation - will require greater numbers of potential pupils, along with three class streams for each year.   In addition, before a new school is established in a given area, a thorough survey will be carried out in order to establish what type of school best reflects an area's needs.

Predictably, those in the Gaelscoil movement don't want this.  To quote a report from the Indo last May (Katherine Donnolly, May 3rd):

"Letters of objection from Gaelscoileanna Teo and An Foras Patrunachta have been published as appendices to the report.

An Foras Patrunachta chief executive Caoimhin O hEaghra claims the report "places an obstacle to the provision of all-Irish education to the children of the country".

He said it was likely that those looking for an all-Irish education would be in a minority at first, so a parental survey would not meet their needs.

Gaelscoileanna Teo acting chief executive Nora Ni Loinsigh agreed it would be difficult to establish an all-Irish school on the basis of a survey of parents."

Which would support what many of us on Gombeen Nation have believed for years. Some of those in the Gaelscoil movement have been pushing to establish themselves in areas where there is no real demand for - and can be no benefit from - their brand of schooling.  If not, what is the problem with an extensive area survey?

Let us hope the DoE belatedly sidelines this particular lobby group -  in the best interests of education, social cohesion, and the future.

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Tuesday, 28 June 2011

NI Life and Times survey - 52% of Catholics want to stay in UK

One of the central arguments for a united Ireland used to be demographics.  The idea was that the supposed higher fertility rate of Catholics, in comparison to Protestants, in Northern Ireland would lead inexorably to an eventual Catholic majority and, QED, a united Ireland.  Sounds terribly stereotypical, doesn't it?  

Crude breeding prejudices aside,  a Life and Times survey - carried out between October and December last year using a sample of 1,205 interviewees - found that only 33% of Catholics want a united Ireland, with 52% wanting to stay in the UK.   Nine out of 10 Protestants wanted to keep the union with Britain.  Overall, 73% of all those surveyed, irrespective of religion, wanted the status quo to remain.

In the same survey back in 1998, the year of the Belfast Agreement, only 19% of Catholics were in favour of staying in the UK, with 49% wanting a united Ireland.  That's some shift in only 13 years, and shows how much the peace dividend has paid off in that time... despite the best efforts of lumpens on both sides to turn the clock back to the days of the Troubles.  

It also makes you wonder if many of the respondents who would have considered themselves nationalist 13 years ago have been looking at the shenanigans taking place down here, during and after, the Celtic Cod years?

How many are now contemplating the economic hardship ordinary Irish citizens will have to endure for their entire lives - all thanks to stupidity, cronyism and bad government?  Maybe they have concluded that the 90-year independence experiment has been an abject failure? 

They are lucky.  It is hard to see things changing for the better any time soon down here - at  least those Northerners can be thankful they are not part of it.    

I think the demographic number crunchers might have some wait yet. 

Life and Times Survey, 2010

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Saturday, 25 June 2011

"Tax dodging" Bono and U2 Glastonbury protest

Sanctimonious hypocrite Bono (some say), and his smug U2 cohorts,  last night faced a Glastonbury protest centred on the band's record of tax-avoidance.  

The tax-shy, pint-sized popster  -  who likes to pontificate on how other people's tax money should be spent in order to save the world, maaan  -  had just taken to the stage when  protesters inflated a giant balloon saying "U pay tax 2". 

Security allegedly wrestled the "Art Uncut"  activists to the ground and deflated their balloon before "confiscating" it.   So much for Glastonbury's tradition of peaceful protest.  The band didn't intervene, of course.

Bono, who made it to the shortlist of New Internationalist's "Most Artful Tax Dodgers" in 2008, has a long record of tax avoidance - perfectly legal of course.   He once asked the media to lay off corrupt ex Irish prime minister, Charlie Haughey, who introduced Ireland's Artist's Exemption Tax.  Haughey was sick at the time, but the rest of us were sicker of him.

 U2 availed of this disgraceful tax shelter for years, meaning they did not pay a penny to the Irish Exchequer on any of their royalties.  When the legislation was capped at €250,000 in 2006 (that is, only earnings over that figure would be taxed), Bono and the boys upped sticks and moved their operation to the Netherlands.   A beautiful day to take it all away.

It is interesting that the tax protest took place in England (see above, prior to the gig).  The last time U2 played here in Dublin the only protesters were those complaining about noise.  And much as I hate the sight and sound of U2  -  a curious mix of pompous vocal and a few PIL chords  -   I hate their tax dodging more... especially coupled with Bono's egotistical posturing.

I don't think the band - which is up there with the US multinationals when it comes to channelling and maximising profits - has ever faced a tax protest from Ireland's bovinely uncritical natives.

Let's hope it catches on elsewhere, at least.

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Thursday, 23 June 2011

Allsop's Auction July - what will it tell us about two-tier Ireland?

Sometimes it seems those dastardly Brits know the Irish better than the Irish do themselves.   Take Allsop, the auctioneers who sold off “distressed” Irish properties at the Shelbourne last April, for instance. 

Allsop seem to know that if you put enough cash-rich Paddies in one room – or preferably overflowing from one room out onto the street – you will create, in microcosm, the speculative mania of the boom.... among those with a bit of mattress money to spare.

Mark Keenan, writing in last weekend’s Sunday Times, reckoned that only 2 of 82 of the properties sold at the last auction were not cash purchases.  But were they well-considered?  Brendan Dillon, a solicitor, interviewed in an article in the same paper, opined that "there were as many bargains as there were homes sold for market prices", at the same event.

Another property commentator, Carol Tallon, author of “The Irish Property Buyer’s Handbook”,  said in Metro Herald of June 16th that “reserves at the last auction were exceeded by 30 to 80 per cent”.    She thought that it was difficult to gauge real present-day property values as  “there has only been one major auction and it was conducted in a frenzy”.

And there you have it again - "frenzy".   At a time when the Government is cutting the wages of poorly paid workers in the retail and catering sectors, the very consituency who got the country into a mess through lemming-like property speculation are continuing as though nothing has happened.  At least they are not taking out  loans to do it this time though, so Nama and the banks will be delighted.

So much so, that native auctioneers and estate agents plan to get in on the act by going the auction route with properties they cannot sell by private treaty – even as young potential buyers remain priced-out of mortgages  because asking prices are still too high by accepted lending multiples criteria.   There is something badly wrong.  Read on:

Two properties for sale in Glasnevin:   One  6-bedroom, asking price €445,000, through  private treaty sale with Sherry Fitz.  The other, a 3-bedroom on the same road, with a minimum RESERVE price of €360,000 with Allsop.

Given that private treaty sales are going for under vendors' asking prices, and that lots are likely to sell over the minimum reserve price at Allsop's (If Tallon's 30-80% figures for the last outing are replicated) it will be interesting to see what is actually “achieved” on the day.  

Are we heading for a scenario where the bulk property sales will be made only to the cash-rich at auction?  In a bankrupt country (but for the bailouts) that is maintaining artificially high prices thanks to  Nama and is, at the same time, enforcing austerity measures on its working population - the people who would normally buy houses to live in?

Are young people to be priced out of the market again, even given our rotten republic's dire economic straits?  If so, they had better just book their flights out of here - safe in the knowledge that the country is going down the pan anyway.

There are better, less corrupt places... and those auction-frequenting investors might regret their purchases yet. 

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Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Ryanair, Declan Collier and the DAA (Dublin Airport Authority)

Bloody and unbowed after its recent courtroom scrap with Rosanna Davison and Daddy de Burgh on the "r-word" issue, it's hard to see Ryanair changing its publicity seeking ways.

There are lots of things I dislike about Ryanair - wanton rudeness and punitive baggage charges being two  - but I lived through a time when Aer Lingus was Ireland's only carrier, and it was bloody awful.  Crabby, snooty flight crew, with a huge unhealthy dollop of Official Ireland "dia duit" blarney thrown in.   And incredibly expensive with it.  Ryanair did make air travel affordable in Ireland, and cut out a lot of the... well... shite.  

The company's press releases are usually amusing too - and O'Leary is a natural performer who I find entertaining despite myself.  Sometimes I even feel like sending him a few bob for a new shirt.

Mince. Words.  Ryanair.   Never in the same sentence.  Here's an example from a recent press release (Thanks to Conor for sending this one in).  

You can't help feel they have a point here, albeit one they are making for their own reasons.

Ryanair Calls on DAA “Fat Cat” Boss Declan Collier to Resign From AIB Board

Ryanair, Ireland’s favourite airline [ "favourite"?   Are you sure? GM ] , called on ‘fat cat’ DAA boss Declan Collier to resign from his position as a Public Interest Director on the AIB Board following revelations that the previous CEO of AIB resigned with a €3m pay off.

Ryanair believes that fat cat semi state bosses like Declan Collier, are not appropriate or effective public interest representatives, when last year he was paid over €560,000 by the DAA, including a bonus of €51,000 in a year when the DAA reported losses of €13m, recorded a third straight year of traffic decline and hiked its airport fees by some 40% to pay for the €1.2bn T2 white elephant.

Ryanair believes that Mr Collier, who earns over €40,000 p.a. in fees and expenses as an AIB Director (in addition to his €560k from the DAA), is in no position to represent the public interest, or monitor bank Chief Executive pay and bonuses, when he is an overpaid, fat cat, semi state boss, running a loss making, traffic collapsing semi state company.

A Ryanair spokesman said:

“How can “Fat Cat” Declan Collier question any bank CEO pay or bonuses, when his own pay and bonuses are so completely out of line given that he runs a semi-state airport company, which is losing traffic and money and where the budget for T2 expanded more than fivefold from an original figure of between €170m to €200m, to a final bill of €1.2bn.

“Since he has presided over three years of traffic declines and has reported a loss in the DAA’s last published accounts, it is hard to understand what value Mr Collier brings to the Board of AIB for his €40,000 p.a. in payments or how he is qualified to represent the public interest. Ryanair fully endorses Shane Ross’s calls yesterday for Mr Collier and the other Public Interest Directors on the Board of AIB to resign.”

Beat around the bush, why don't you, Michael? 

But isn't it debatable too, what value one of the architects of Ireland's economic collapse, Charlie McCreevy (appointed 2010), brings to the board of Ryanair? 

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Sunday, 19 June 2011

Bride's "Och Aye, the poo!"

Oh Jaysus...  I'm here splitting my sides at this newspaper clipping sent in by a reader, about the wedding festivities of a certain Angus McClure and Sarah Grant in Scotland.

It's got nothing to do with our own little Gombeen Nation but it's so amusing I thought I would post it for your edification.   Let's hope kilt-wearing never catches on here....   

And all that was required was a pair of Jocks!

Big thanks to "F" for sending this in.

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Saturday, 18 June 2011

Fine Gael / Labour Housing Policy Statement - the bubble of aspiring home ownership burst?

An interesting little article appeared in the margins of the Irish Times last Thursday.  The amazing thing, as far as I can see, is that there has been very little coverage or comment on it.   Have a read:

THE GOVERNMENT is to remove a range of incentives to home ownership under a new housing policy to be announced today.

The Housing Policy Statement will change the previous government’s encouragement of home ownership, on the basis that in the recent past much of the property bubble was caused by encouraging those who could never afford a mortgage to sign up to one.

The new policy, to be announced by Minister for State for Housing Willie Penrose, will instead concentrate on “more equitable treatment of tenures”.

According to Mr Penrose, “the overall strategic objective will be to enable all households access good quality housing appropriate to household circumstances and in their particular community of choice”.

The new policy will:

* Abolish all existing affordable housing schemes;

* review part V of the Planning and Development Act which obliges developers to sell a number of units as affordable homes.

* The review is likely to result in a greater emphasis in achieving social or “council” houses from part V. It seeks:

* the development of a vibrant, viable private rented sector through enforcement of higher minimum standards and increased security of tenure;

* An increasingly prominent role for the voluntary and co-operative housing sector, and

* Transfer of the rental supplement scheme to local authorities.

Mr Penrose said he hoped that “we will soon be in a position to announce the first social dividend project using Nama stock and involving one of the larger approved housing bodies”.

He added: “The Government’s new housing policy framework provides an ambitious programme for all who work in the housing sector.”


What it means, I think, is that anyone who bought into a new estate recently, which contains many still unsold "units", can expect those units to be taken over by the local authority.   The so-called "obligation" for developers to provide "social and affordable housing" in all their developments is therefore removed at a stroke - not that there is much affordable housing on Shrewsbury, Torquay or Ailesbury Road during the "boom", as the developers wangled out of it. 

The move should, in short, continue the policy of social ghettoisation, as most of the new - still unsold estates - are in the nasty 'burbs of west Dublin and the like.  I know of a few such developments not that far from here, and I pity the poor buggers who stuck their necks out to get mortgages for the privilege of living in them.  

Another notable point is that if "a vibrant private rented sector" is to be achieved, Irish landlords will at last have to face up to responsibilities they have largely dodged to date.  Also, such a departure could possibly be the harbinger of Continental-style security of tenure - something that does not exist in Ireland at the moment.  If this new regime is to apply to housing associations, then surely it must apply to private landlords?  And about time too.

But what about the statement:

"The Housing Policy Statement will change the previous government’s encouragement of home ownership, on the basis that in the recent past much of the property bubble was caused by encouraging those who could never afford a mortgage to sign up to one."

Is that what now officially caused the bubble?  Surely the problem is that those who took out mortgages for houses - scared by the media that they could never afford one if they didn't -  were simply paying too much because of all the investor activity in the market?  Encouraged by Government tax incentives - and the silence of the Oppostion.

It isn't that they "could never afford a mortgage", it is because asking prices were too high relative to income.    They still are, by any established earnings/price ratio formulas.

As I say, an interesting one.   Just surprised there has been so little comment.  Maybe the Sundays will have something to say about it?

Friday, 17 June 2011

Labour supports increasing pension age to 68

It didn’t take Labour TDs very long to revert to their traditional role of lackies in government, did it?

So far we have had only muted protest in response to Richard Bruton’s attempts to lower the pay of badly paid, precariously employed private sector workers, while Labour pussyfoots around the Croke Park Agreement. 

Now we have them proposing, along with Fine Gael, to increase the retirement age to 68... something they opposed while in opposition.  The new retirement age will apply to anyone aged 49 or under today.  Do not be surprised if they raise it upwards again in the near future.

Apparently, it is all down to demographics.  Strange, but I can hardly stroll down the street or mosey around the shopping centre without tripping over a buggy of some sort. The Irish are still popping them out like we are on the verge of extinction which, unfortunately despite it all, we are not.   I accept, however, we are talking Europe-wide here. This is the future, it seems - even in France, with its retirement age of 58. The Germans recently upped  theirs from 65 to 67.

Joan Burton is quoted in yesterday’s Times as “emphasising” the “fundamental principle that people need to participate in the workforce for longer and they need to contribute more towards their pension if they are to achieve the income they expect or would like to have in retirement”.  


How cynical is that?   We all know - and I’m sure Joan Burton does too - that anyone outside Labour's world of the public sector who suddenly finds themselves unemployed has scant chance of getting back to full-time work for quite some time.   If they are over 40 they can forget about it.    

Additionally, these are the people most likely to be targeted for redundancy in times like these.   So for Burton to say that they should “participate in the workforce for longer” is the most condescending of insults - particularly galling as it comes from a Labour minister.

Labour / Fine Gael’s proposals also mean that someone taking early retirement at, say 58, will have to wait another 10 years before they can get the pensions they have being paying into all their lives.   It also means if they have a partner who is still working – assuming they are not on the wages Richard Bruton would like to enforce on us all – they will not even be entitled to income support.

Meanwhile, we have seen how ex-TDs and senators benefit from generous State pensions as soon as they jack in their jobs.   In 2008 alone, this cost the taxpayer €8 million (Sunday Tribune, Jan 30th, 2011).   

Will Joan Burton, Richard Bruton et al have to wait until they are 68 to pick up their TDs' state pensions, I wonder? 

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Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Daisy the Cow escapes from pen - RTE slaughters Orwell

Gratuitously lazy, pageload-grabbing post follows...

RTE tonight featured a moooving tale of indigenous Irish enterprise - albeit from north of the border, so some might say it's cheating - in its "and finally" section of the News.

It seems that Daisy, described as a "bovine Einstein", overcame impossible steaks to lead a breakout from her pen on an Armagh farm.

Beefore you say pull the udder one, see for yourself as the RTE narrator slaughters Glenroe, Orwell and The Great Escape in turn.

Talk about milking it.

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Tuesday, 14 June 2011

House with car for sale

What about this then?   You'll remember a while back when developers were throwing in fridges, cars and everything else in a bid to sell apartments and houses?

Now it seems that even private vendors are at it.  A seller on MyHome is throwing in a 2005 Hyundai Accent with 56k on the clock as an enticement for a house in Dublin 15.   A first for the private second-hand market?    See below:  

"A sale with a difference, to include a 2005 Hyundai Accent car with 56k miles on the clock, photo attached. Sherry FitzGerald are delighted to present this beautiful, recently upgraded 3 bedroom family home in Castleknock, Dublin 15. Located on an idyllic tree-lined street, 10 Warren Crescent boasts a magnificent new kitchen plus an infinite array of stylish fixtures and internal fittings. If the new buyer is interested, the vendors are willing to include their beautiful furniture in the sale. A sunny west-facing rear garden complete with expansive decking adds to the appeal."

Now, if they were to throw in a nice 911 Turbo...

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Sunday, 12 June 2011

The signs are bad in Ireland

Spotted on the stretch of road between the Ongar Road roundabout and the Clonsilla Road /Diswellstown Road roundabout.    The speed limit sign on the left says "60" and the one on the right says "50".

Nice to see the local authorities, who absorb so much of our hard-earned, are doing their jobs so well.

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Friday, 10 June 2011

Brian Lenihan dies of cancer, aged 52

Ex-Finance Minister, Brian Lenihan, died this morning of pancreatic cancer - a disease he was diagnosed with in December 2009. 

Readers will know that the blog was no great fan of Lenihan, who ushered in the bank guarantee, Nama, and the minimum wage cut on behalf of his party, Fianna Fail;  so it's unlikely that any of his family, friends or supporters will be readers.  Know it or not, however, they have its sincere condolences.

I used to see Brian Lenihan regularly enough on the train before he became Minister for Justice in 2007.  I even met him when I was playing bass at a pub gig in Tyrellstown years back.  But don't worry, I'm not going to get all maudlin - or falling into the very Irish trap of canonising the dead.

I did, however, think it was a disgrace that Fianna Fail left Lenihan in place as Finance Minister when his illness was revealed.  I saw it then as a cynical move by the party, and contended that he was re-elected in Dublin West partly out of sympathy.  He was the only Fianna Failler that was re-elected in the capital.

Cancer is a terrible disease, we all know someone who passed away from it. Sufferers should do everything they can to avoid stress.   And It is difficult to imagine a more stressful situation than being Minister for Finance as your country goes down the pan. 

The Soliders of Destiny should have insisted he step down, whether he wanted to or not - it might not have made a difference in the long run, but it might have given him more time with his family and friends, along with a less stressful life.

Fianna Fail should be ashamed of themselves... again. 

On a purely human level, RIP.

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So lonely

"Now no-one's knocked upon my door, for a thousand years or more..."

Bloody hell.  I don't know what's going on in my own personal experience of the Blogosphere... but it's become awfully quiet.  All blogged up and nowhere to go.

I've noticed there has been a fall-off in the visitor figures over the past month or so.  Now, usually there is a fall-off when it comes to the end of May/start of June, and it picks up a couple of months later, but this is nearly like back to last year.  I assume it has something to do with people going on holidays, or students not having free computer access (mental note: do not slag off students again).

Anyway, whatever it is, it has been quiet lately.  Even a coveted link on the old Slugger a week or so back didn't see an increase in traffic to any reasonable extent... but what can you do? 

Anyway, I have long accepted that Gombeen Nation is never going to be the most popular blog in Ireland, but the great thing is that it comes up in searches pretty well.   Tap in any subject close to our hearts - or that of our adversaries - and there it is.  That gives it a certain voice.

And a voice is important.  Throughout so many other parts of the Third World, progressive blogging is a counter-culture phenomenon.  In Ireland though, that does not seem to be the case.  Many could just as easily be  party political blogcasts - with a bit more orthodoxy thrown in.  The difference is...

Don't worry, however.  Domestically popular or not, Gombeen Nation is here to stay.   

With less frivolous posts to come.  Promise.

Sure what else have I to do?  

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Wednesday, 8 June 2011

"Insolvency" painting sold for record price at Irish Auction

€1 million was spent in just two hours at an Irish art auction last week, according to a report in the Irish Times.  One work, "Insolvency", had sold for €7,297 at an English auction last March, but "made" €36,000 at the Dublin bidfest. 

Think about that one for a minute.  A record bid for a painting called "Insolvency" in an insolvent country.

We can draw some conclusions here:

1) Richard Bruton is picking the wrong targets for his "austerity" drive in selecting the hard-working poor in the catering and retail sectors.   It is unlikely they were strongly represented at this event.

2) In contrast, one of the bidders - interviewed on assurances of anonomity by the Times - was a "medical professional", eager to salt his cash into art rather than deposit accounts. 

3) There must still be a sizeable portion of people in this country with hot money, in sectors those in Revenue don't bother their lazy arses to investigate.

4) What a country we live in.

I've a suggestion for  Richard Bruton and Irish art investors alike, for the next auction around.

Something by Andy Warhol.

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Monday, 6 June 2011

VRT - the Irish Kafkaesque nightmare Part Two

The previous post described the bureaucratic nightmare suffered by someone attempting to import a particular car into this country.  I got an email from the person concerned giving an update on his plight, and how he has been pushed from pillar to post by Revenue.  It's well worth a read and is a further illustration of the unfair, nontransparent nature of Vehicle Registration Tax.


Just seen your post on your site about the Ford Cosworth VRT issue, thanks for posting it up.  I’m the person the article is about and I thought you might like an update to this. The more people that realise what nonsense and daylight robbery that still goes on to date in this country the better.

Here is what I have now been told from Revenue:

After Mr. Paddy Comyn from the Irish Times contacted the VRT/Revenue office on my behalf I received a phone call from Mr. Kieran Dillon in Revenue (Head of VRT). Firstly he apologised for the whole mess and the near month worth of calls to and from every department imaginable, still waiting on the written letter of apology from him I was promised.

He went on to tell me that above mentioned information with regards to bringing in a shell was incorrect and that the bringing in of a shell was stopped in 1993. In 1993 a new VRT rule was brought in were all cars now to have VRT paid on them have to be mechanically propelled, meaning you cannot VRT just a shell or a full build car that is not mechanically propelled. And yet with this all said, and this rule in place I was still told back in September 2010 by the VRT office I could indeed bring in the car shell and would be looking at paying a VRT rate of up to €5,900 on it.

With regards to the calculation of VRT which is done on the Irish OMSP (open market selling price) valuations, Mr. Dillon gave me two current valuations for a Ford Escort Cosworth, one at £22,000 sterling in Scotland and the other at £27,000 sterling in the Isle of White. So based on those figures you’re looking at a VRT rate of €9000 - €11,000 but when my car is complete I could be looking at paying up to €15,000 or more as my car would fall under the category of a concourse car giving it a value of up to €40,000 or more.

As you can imagine I asked why he was using “UK sterling” open market values as VRT rates can only be worked out using the Irish OMSP, not only this, going by the two mentioned figures Revenue are currently using they must be looking for dearest cars they can find.

To add to this, over the past year people I know and others that have been in contact with myself about this VRT issue since it was printed in the newspaper, were they have bought this same car and imported it into Ireland have paid from €2750 - €5700 VRT. So why am I looking at paying €15,000?

With regards to the highest rate of VRT I could be looking at paying, as previously said my car would fall under the category of a concourse car. Where the ridiculous figure I’ve been told has come from I don't know, you just have to look at two cars for sale here in Ireland that condition wise I would class at the high end of the scale/concourse:

€17,995 -

€17,500 -

And here is one that would be a very good condition standard:

€11,950 -

Also the reason for the high value I was given for mine is that, and this coming from the person in Revenue that values these types of car, and I quote; "cars are the new investment scheme here in Ireland, that's the reason for the high valuation".

Now I have rang a few Ford dealerships here looking the for OMSP and the valuations I have gotten from them is that you can buy a very good condition to concours standard Cosworth for €10,000 - €18,000. When I told them what sort of nonsense I've been told you can image the response I got from them.

I was more than happy to originally pay €5,900 on the shell, even though when you look at it you really can’t be applying VRT on a shell as it is just a car part. And going by the rules in place for VRT and what they have said themselves;

“To be registered, a vehicle must satisfy the definition of ‘mechanically propelled vehicle’. One of the prerequisites of that definition is that it is capable of achieving vehicle propulsion at the time of registration to the satisfaction of the Revenue Commissioners’. Therefore, the Cosworth shell was not a “mechanically-propelled vehicle” and couldn’t be registered, and the NCTS would, correctly, refuse to register it”.

So in other words they themselves are saying it is just a shell and not a car.

Where I stand to date now is that Revenue want me to build this car in order to VRT it and expect me to pay anything from €10,000 - €15,000+ VRT on a car that's being built by me here in Ireland using parts sourced here, be they new parts that I have already paid tax on or second hand parts that cannot have tax applied to them, even though I might be able to appeal the VRT rate with the Revenue, if I win the appeal I would only get back 10% - 20% of the VRT rate.

If I’m totally honest with you I think what is been asked of me is an absolute disgrace and it's clear to me that the figures I'm getting back from VRT are been "pulled out of the air" so to speak as they are not even valuing the car on an Irish OMSP.

As I have previously stated, I’m more than willing to pay VRT, I'm not looking for a way out of it but I refuse to pay that in my opinion is an extortionate rate of €10,000 - €15,000+, when others in the same situation as myself have not and also due to the fact that I can buy a excellent condition fully running Cosworth for the VRT amount been asked as you can see from examples I’ve included and the OMSP valuations obtained from Ford dealerships.

And here is another good laugh, another factor that determines the VRT sum that you will have to pay, and this is coming from VRT/Revenue;

"Condition of the vehicle, a badly-restored vehicle will have a lower OMSP than a well-restored one and will have a lower VRT charge".

So basically if I wanted, I could present my car to the NCT centre for VRT as a "bucket of rust" and more than likely an unsafe car for the road too and they will pass it and let me bring in it as long as it is “mechanically-propelled" that is all that matters.

You have to wonder, with stunts like this going on how the hell is the country broke?

Also I think it’s worth mentioning that I have been near over a month now with phone calls to VRT/Revenue about this, no one seems to know their job nor are the majority of whom I and my brother have spoken to willing to help.

Here is just one example of calls made in one day that my brother made on my behalf as I was working and had not got the time to ring myself:

Just under 4 hours my brother got absolutely nowhere. Here is the outlay of them 4 hours:

- Started off with his local VRT office
- Then onto the tax office.
- Back onto the VRT office.
- Then told to ring the NCT office in Dublin, nothing to do with them.
- Ring back the VRT office.
- Told to ring Rosslare.
- Back to the local VRT office.
- Then back onto Rosslare and spoke to another unhelpful person.
- Told to ring NCT, so ring them back.

At this stage I'm fed up completely with this so I rang the Europa EU help desk to find out who exactly is responsible for dealing with this. Outlined the numerous calls already made that day to them, person I spoke to there couldn't believe what was going on so suggested I ring the Ombudsman here so I did that:

- Rang the Ombudsman, nothing to do with them and they couldn't help, told to ring Revenue in Rosslare

- Ring Rosslare to be told to ring the NCT, told them that the NCT had nothing to do with it so they told me to get back onto his local VRT office.

- So I do that, back to square one again, nothing to do with them that it is Rosslare I need to speak to.

- Back onto Rosslare only to be told to ring Dublin Chamber of Commerce.

- So I ring them not that it has anything to do with them and got speaking to a lovely lady there who wanted to know why I was told to ring them. I explained to her the situation, she couldn't believe it and was so shocked that she went out of her way to try and help by getting contact numbers of places that might be able to help.

So there you have it, the people employed to do the job that is needed when it comes to VRT/Revenue, the very ones that moan if their wages or pension are to be cut, not one of them had a clue or were bothered to help, and the most helpful person of the day was a very helpful women whose job role had nothing to do with the matter at hand.

To date I have sent emails to both the Minister for Transport and the Minister for Finance, the Minister for Transports office has forwarded it onto the Chairman of the Revenue Commission. I’ve also sent numerous emails to the EU head of taxation and to date I’m basically getting the run around there also.

With Regards,


Friday, 3 June 2011

VRT - the Irish Kafkaesque nightmare

I received an email from a reader by the name of Shannon a while back, calling attention to the following query in The Irish Times "Helpdesk" column.  

As you will see, it illustrates nicely the Kafkaesque workings of Vehicle Registration Tax (VRT) in Ireland, a tax cooked up to overcome the free-trade laws of the Treaty of Rome, which supposedly provided for the free trade of goods and services between EU states.  

When the Treaty of Rome came into effect, the Irish Government simply stopped calling their tax on vehicles "excise duty" and renamed it "VRT"  -  a tax to register your car in Ireland and have a little IRL badge in one corner and the name of your county along the top in a language most of us don't speak.   Bargain, huh? 

VRT means that some cars cost over 40% more here than they do in many other EU countries.  It also operates on the basis of a term invented by Revenue called the Open Market Selling Price (OMSP).   The OMSP is effectively the Paddy Price (PP): a price above and beyond what our nearest neighbours in the UK, for instance, pay for their cars. 

As the OMSP is just a dreamt-up figure which takes as its yardstick the inflated prices already forked out for existing cars registered in Ireland (after VAT and VRT are applied), it makes it really tricky if you want to import something a bit out-of-the-ordinary into our rotten little land.   

 I am quite sure that there is not another comparable 1992 Ford Escort Cosworth in Ireland, as you will see in the text below, which illustrates the nonsense of the OMSP concept.  There IS no comparable "open market" selling price in this instance.  

 But don't worry, Revenue will find a way to screw you anyway, as evidenced by the following:

How much VRT on an imported shell?

From DS: I rang Monaghan’s VRT office back in September 2010 to find out how to go about registering a 1992 Ford Escort Cosworth shell as it was from the UK. At the time they gave me a VRT figure of €5,900 but said it may be less as they were valuing the VRT on a complete, running 1992 RS Cosworth. I was happy with that and was told I could continue with the rebuild and this would all be worked out when the car was completed.

I was later told by another VRT office that what I was told in September 2010 was wrong – I would have to go an NCT centre for them to assess it and calculate the VRT price.

But the NCT centre can’t work out the VRT for it as they say it is not a fully complete, running car. After a lot of calls to various departments, I then get told that because the “car”, is in the country more than seven days I would be fined as I’m breaking the law.

Finally, someone in Revenue told me that it has to be fully rebuilt for it to be VRT’d at an NCT centre, as they will only VRT it when it is a fully complete, running car. I explain the whole shell saga to him to be told that the last good condition Cosworth he looked at for VRT he valued at €25,000 giving a VRT rate of €9,000. I’m then told that as mine is being rebuilt to such a high standard and will be better than its original intended build form, and that it is a one-off, it will be valued at the highest rate as a concourse car of €40,000-plus, meaning the VRT on it would be anything from €15,000.

Do you have any idea if the information I’ve received so far is correct?

Answer: We contacted Revenue on your behalf and they came back to us first with an apology for you, which we believe you’ve received for the confusion, but also with the following information.

“To be registered, a vehicle must satisfy the definition of ‘mechanically propelled vehicle’. One of the prerequisites of that definition is that it is capable of achieving vehicle propulsion at the time of registration to the satisfaction of the Revenue Commissioners’. Therefore, the Cosworth shell was not a “mechanically-propelled vehicle” and couldn’t be registered, and the NCTS would, correctly, refuse to register it.

“We no longer provide a speculative valuation service to those intending to register vehicle, ie, someone can’t value a vehicle accurately based on a phone call or cursory information relating to the vehicle.

“Instead, where we do not have a valuation on our website, we have published on our website the methodology used by Revenue. Additionally, in order to help an individual who may have an esoteric vehicle for registration, we have provided a form to guide them in the self-estimate.

“The main things that determine the valuation of a vehicle are: its open market selling price (OMSP), and that depends very much on the characteristics of the vehicle, make, model, version and variant and what it might fetch on sale in the State; the level of CO2 emissions; its condition, and in this, a badly-restored vehicle, it will have a lower OMSP than a well-restored one and will have a lower VRT charge; and finally its mileage.

“The engine size does not impact on the VRT charge unless it has lower emissions (and we determine the VRT on the emissions at the time of manufacture, not the later modification of the vehicle) and it is likely, in this particular case – unless we have satisfactory documentary evidence of the CO2 of the vehicle at manufacture – it will be charged at 36 per cent of the OMSP.

“When the vehicle is completed or when it satisfies the definition of a ‘mechanically-propelled vehicle’ and is presented for registration, Revenue valuation officers will have to determine the value.

“Because of this, the vehicle won’t be registered on the first visit and it will necessitate a second visit to the NCTS to pay the VRT charge that will be determined after the vehicle has been valued by Revenue’s valuation officers. Your reader will then be able to complete the registration of the vehicle.”


How do they continue to get away with this?  

See also:

Commission on Taxation says scrap VRT

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