Boston Irishman in Irelandby Larry Donnelly
- Ireland and abortion - A divided country, an depressing and ongoing debate
- The Boston marathon bombing - absorbing the horror in my home city from 3,000 miles away
- Why I hope Irish American Steve Lynch is the next US Senator from Massachusetts
- Why Irish Americans should save thousands and go to college in Ireland - World class education at a fraction of the cost
- Republican effort to block Chuck Hagel’s confirmation as US Secretary of Defence is a disgrace
In full knowledge of the emotional roller coaster we were about to board, my wife Eileen and I sat down to watch a television program, “MND: The Inside Track,” earlier this week on RTÉ (Raidió Teilifís Éireann, Ireland’s national broadcaster). Advertisements for the program revealed that it would chronicle the struggle of legendary sports broadcaster and horse racing expert, Colm Murray, against motor neuron disease, commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease in the United States. Because I know Colm, I regret to say that this is the second time I have had the misfortune of coming into indirect contact with this incurable and fatal illness. It is a monster.
The first time was nearly twenty years ago when a good friend, Anne O’Shea (nee Flynn), broke the news that her father, a highly regarded and well-liked sergeant detective with the Boston Police Department, had been diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease. Daniel Flynn fought the disease with everything he had and valiantly continued his case work as a detective, but ultimately succumbed in late 1994 at age 48.
Colm Murray came into my life in a most unexpected, yet forever appreciated, way when he toasted me and Eileen, his friend and colleague at RTÉ, at our wedding in 2009. Pressed into service at the last minute by other colleagues at the wedding, who had heard him give toasts before and knew of his magical way with words, Colm quickly undertook to learn everything he didn’t already know about my wife, and whatever he could learn about me.
“As a State, we are living so far beyond our means that the Government borrows €1.3 billion a month for public pay, pensions and vital services. The only way this money can be raised is through the IMF-EU bailout agreement. A condition of the agreement requires the introduction of a property charge, something that has been known for three years.”
So began a recent Irish Times editorial on the origins of the new property tax that Ireland’s 1.7 million households are now responsible for. In 2012, the first year of the new tax, all households, regardless of size or geographic location, must pay a flat fee of €100. While a flat fee is arguably a regressive tax, those living in local authority (i.e., public) housing and those on low incomes will be exempted from having to pay it.