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 Axe Watch :suspect:

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PostSubject: Axe Watch :suspect:   Mon Sep 29, 2008 3:47 pm

This is a thread for any information about CUTS. We can use to see if government is throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

Quote :
29/09/2008 - 13:33:57
A number of farmers are holding a demonstration in Co Mayo this afternoon to protest against the closure of a Teagasc office in Crossmolina.
The closure of the advisory service, which serves almost 500 farmers across north Mayo, was confirmed by Teagasc headquarters a number of weeks ago.
Budget cuts have been blamed for the move, which means farmers in Crossmolina will have to use the authority’s offices in Belmullet and Ballina instead.
Today's protest will see a convoy of tractors being driven through Ballina to the local Teagasc office.

This seems like a service that is appreciated.

Fergus Finlay says that a pre-school learning programme is to be shut down. Didn't catch the details.

10% cuts in social housing in Dublin City (RTE news tonight).


Last edited by cactus flower on Mon Sep 29, 2008 8:34 pm; edited 3 times in total
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PostSubject: Re: Axe Watch :suspect:   Mon Sep 29, 2008 3:50 pm

cactus flower wrote:
This is a thread for any information about CUTS. We can use to see if government is throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

Somehow, I have a feeling that this thread might last quite a while....
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PostSubject: Re: Axe Watch :suspect:   Tue Sep 30, 2008 2:04 am

Serious Doubts raised over Government’s Commitment to Quality Early Childhood Education and Care.

Barnardos

Quote :
Fergus Finlay, Chief Executive of Barnardos, added, “For the sake of a
tiny dent in the exchequer’s budget, approximately half a million Euro
a year, we will lose an invaluable source of expertise, guidance and
support
not to mention the loss of seven committed experts in this
arena. This latest news raises fundamental questions about the
Government’s commitment to the area of quality early childhood
education and development and the educational system in general.”

But we still have voting machines . Sick. Evil or Very Mad
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PostSubject: Re: Axe Watch :suspect:   Wed Oct 01, 2008 10:45 pm

Since my father died, my mother has been entitled to 2 hours of home help a week. This has now, arbitrarily, been cut to 1 hour at the whim of the local manager of the Home Help service, who appears to be accountable to nobody. There is no chance that this decision will be reversed and no appeal is allowed. My mother is 78 and, as a result of a road traffic accident 10 years ago, cannot lift her right arm above her shoulder.
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PostSubject: Re: Axe Watch :suspect:   Wed Oct 01, 2008 10:53 pm

Slim Buddha wrote:
Since my father died, my mother has been entitled to 2 hours of home help a week. This has now, arbitrarily, been cut to 1 hour at the whim of the local manager of the Home Help service, who appears to be accountable to nobody. There is no chance that this decision will be reversed and no appeal is allowed. My mother is 78 and, as a result of a road traffic accident 10 years ago, cannot lift her right arm above her shoulder.

I am really sorry to hear this Slim Buddha. That is very upsetting.

The stories about cuts in home helps started at least six months ago. They are paid minimum wage, so far as I can recall, and are incredible value for money as they help people to live independently who might otherwise have to move from their homes. It is the meanest cut I can think of, unless they were going to switch off neonatal incubators. I suppose that will come next.
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PostSubject: Re: Axe Watch :suspect:   Thu Oct 02, 2008 12:15 am

Taking into consideration that Tony Gregory has given up his ability to go back to teaching wouldn't it be timely for those other teachers who have been in the Dáil for longer than one term to follow suit. I think Slim Buddha's story shows that that money could be better spent.
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PostSubject: Re: Axe Watch :suspect:   Thu Oct 02, 2008 10:19 am

cactus flower wrote:
Slim Buddha wrote:
Since my father died, my mother has been entitled to 2 hours of home help a week. This has now, arbitrarily, been cut to 1 hour at the whim of the local manager of the Home Help service, who appears to be accountable to nobody. There is no chance that this decision will be reversed and no appeal is allowed. My mother is 78 and, as a result of a road traffic accident 10 years ago, cannot lift her right arm above her shoulder.

I am really sorry to hear this Slim Buddha. That is very upsetting.

The stories about cuts in home helps started at least six months ago. They are paid minimum wage, so far as I can recall, and are incredible value for money as they help people to live independently who might otherwise have to move from their homes. It is the meanest cut I can think of, unless they were going to switch off neonatal incubators. I suppose that will come next.

Thank you for your sympathy, Cactus Flower. I did a bit of investigating of the Home Help service. It has its roots in a religious order service set up in the 1960s on a voluntary basis. Run by nuns, home helps were sent where they could do some service for people, mainly elderly and alone, for a voluntary contribution. The voluntary contribution element is important. Over time, this was incorporated into the health service, receiving a budget from the government. The budget is now controlled by the HSE. The service is now fully secular with little or no religious order input. Areas are divided along Stalinist lines meaning that a "customer" in one geographic area is captive to that areas Home Help agencies director. This has led to my mother being deprived of an hour a week at the arbitary whim of the director in her area but her friend living half a mile away had her hours increased despite not asking for an increase.

The voluntary contribution was justified in the early days of the service when the nuns ran it as they had no official budget from the Department of Health /Eastern Health Board. Now they have but the director of her area insists on having the voluntary contribution paid. I call it her "Gin & Tonic" account. It is almost impossible to ascertain how the Home Help service is contractually set up. I tried to get information on this and was effectively told that, apart from the standard terms and conditions for suppliers of goods and services to the HSE, there was no contract in place specifically detailing the contractual arrangements between the HSE and the Home Help service providers. So, no contract, no accountability, no controls over the budget, nothing. It is a dreadful situation and, as is usual in Ireland, nobody gives a monkeys. My mother will need 2 scheduled operations next year and I am ensuring that these will be done in Switzerland. (The E-111 covers Switzerland, even though it is not in the EU) I'll be damned if I will allow her be subjected to Harney's House of Horrors.
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PostSubject: Re: Axe Watch :suspect:   Tue Oct 07, 2008 3:16 pm

I suspect the Drug Payment Scheme limit will be changed from €90 to €100 per month.

http://www.citizensinformation.ie/categories/health/entitlement-to-health-services/drugs-payment-scheme

The scheme means that nobody should pay more than €90 per month for their prescriptions.
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PostSubject: Re: Axe Watch :suspect:   Tue Oct 07, 2008 3:21 pm

Slim Buddha wrote:
I tried to get information on this and was effectively told that, apart from the standard terms and conditions for suppliers of goods and services to the HSE, there was no contract in place specifically detailing the contractual arrangements between the HSE and the Home Help service providers. So, no contract, no accountability, no controls over the budget, nothing. It is a dreadful situation and, as is usual in Ireland, nobody gives a monkeys.
Shocking stuff, Buddha.
The people who use Home Help often rely on it totally.
It keeps people out of hospital, out of nursing homes, (sometimes) in work, and keeps the users sane and happier.
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PostSubject: Re: Axe Watch :suspect:   Fri Oct 10, 2008 11:37 am

Private sector but

Ryanair staff could be asked to take unpaid leave

40 jobs to go at Woodstock Hotel, Ennis

HP to axe 133 jobs
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PostSubject: Re: Axe Watch :suspect:   Sun Oct 12, 2008 8:15 pm

Tonight's RTE news shows cuts to the personal assistant time allowed to severely disabled people in Cork.
A place called Kazelain where men who've come off drink and drugs are living, in Sligo, is to be closed. The men interviewed there said that the alternative is the streets or back to prison.
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PostSubject: Re: Axe Watch :suspect:   Tue Oct 14, 2008 2:38 pm

Carers'allowances being cut by 50%.
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PostSubject: Re: Axe Watch :suspect:   Tue Oct 14, 2008 2:45 pm

anyone spot a trend here?

essential humane projects which will prevent problems in years time are being axed. short termism at its worst.

on the other hand there are millions of stupid spending (ppars, evoting machines, metro north, extra ministers of state, hundreds of useless quangos etc) that'll probably survive the axe. Crying or Very sad
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PostSubject: Re: Axe Watch :suspect:   Wed Oct 22, 2008 10:39 am

zakalwe wrote:
anyone spot a trend here?

essential humane projects which will prevent problems in years time are being axed. short termism at its worst.

on the other hand there are millions of stupid spending (ppars, evoting machines, metro north, extra ministers of state, hundreds of useless quangos etc) that'll probably survive the axe. Crying or Very sad


The DPP James Hamilton was on Morning Ireland this morning saying that if certain cuts were implemented in his department next year then cases couldn't be prosecuted. I copied the article below in full from the Irish Times in order to read it - their ads were revving up my pc, time to get one with 2GB of RAM.

Quote :
OPINION: Cut public jobs with a scalpel, not a chainsaw

IF THE Government is determined to even achieve its short-term public sector efficiency targets by way of redundancies it must lay-off 11,000 people almost immediately, writes Tony O'Brien

However, in reality, the State should be looking at savings well in excess of the three per cent outlined by the Department of Finance. This target aims to balance the budget for the next year and does not take account of the real potential for efficiency gains.

If tackled correctly we could be aiming for efficiencies of 10 per cent, which is equivalent to just over 36,000 positions.

This might appear to be a very large number but the same number of people from the private sector are likely to lose their jobs between now and February.

The past two weeks demonstrates the difference in approach between the two employment sectors. In one fell swoop Aer Arann completely changed its business model by laying off one quarter of its workforce, as Aer Lingus faces protracted and painful negotiations to try and achieve its very-necessary efficiency goals.

Similarly, this week RTÉ announced that it was targeting €25 million in savings but insisted there would be no forced redundancies among its 2,300 permanent staff. Meanwhile TV3 has been cutting staff for some time in reaction to the massive fall in advertising on television.

In reality, RTÉ is saying that it will only look at staff efficiencies as a last resort. This doesn't mean large numbers of jobs will not be lost as a result of RTÉ's savings.

Independent television production companies are already bearing the brunt of the advertising downturn. Some of these producers have already laid off more than half of their full-time workforce and their situation is likely to get worse.

RTÉ will, effectively, simply transfer redundancies from the public sector to the private sector.

Improved efficiency in the public sector has been like a holy grail, but the search comes more to the fore in times of economic difficulty such as now.

In Ireland, we seem to approach problems with a combination of very general interpretations on the one hand and a series of blunt instruments for cutting costs on the other, such as targeting the entire public sector with a 3 per cent reduction in staff costs or a 50 per cent reduction in contracted services.

While such approaches may appear decisive, in practice the use of blunt instruments often means that it is the efficient organisations that suffer.

The public sector employs over 363,900 people, or 16 per cent of the national workforce. Of these, only 38,400 are civil servants, and by far the largest group of public service employees - 112,800 or 31 per cent of all public service employees - work in the health area.

Public service staff numbers have grown by almost 30 per cent since 1995, but this has been primarily in health and education.

Employee numbers in health have grown by 73 per cent, while education numbers are up 42 per cent on 1995 levels. When these are excluded, there has been just a 5 per cent increase in public sector employees in all other areas. This is very small compared to the national labour force, which saw a 45 per cent increase from 1995 to 2006.

So a blunt target of 3 per cent may hurt the efficient, and not provide better overall efficiency.

If we want to achieve efficiency in the public sector, then it's essential that we do four things.

Firstly, we should first look at the role, functions and outputs of every part of the public service.

The search for efficiency can be diverted too easily when organisations start talking about the outcomes they generate and not outputs. Outputs can be clearly defined, such as public sector houses; whereas outcomes can be achievements such as improved social integration. Anything can be justified if we focus on outcomes; true efficiency starts with deciding what outputs we need to generate those outcomes.

The second task is to ask how outputs could be provided most efficiently. This could be by the public sector; the private sector; the private sector acting as sub-contractor to the public sector or, in particular areas in the social sector, by voluntary bodies.

Thirdly, we should look at how public sector bodies organise themselves, particularly in those cases where there is a contact with the customer. Why is it that in many customer service areas of the public sector the more experienced an employee becomes the further away from the customer he or she tends to be? What could be achieved if customers could access the right people that can make decisions? While experienced senior people may have higher salaries, very often they need far less time to deal with a situation, and can be far more cost-effective.

The public service is used to benchmarking - for salaries. Benchmarking key operations such as finance or capital project management would be a very useful - and for the taxpayer - a very rewarding exercise.

Finally, we need to have sufficient flexibility to allow the public service to reduce staff where and when it is necessary. Real long-term efficiencies are best generated by focusing on the areas where savings are most likely to be achieved and being able to do what is necessary to achieve them.

Tony O'Brien is head of business consulting for accountancy firm Grant Thornton. He is speaking in a conference on efficiency in the public sector today at Dublin's Conrad Hotel, hosted by Public Affairs Ireland. Other speakers include Minister of State Martin Mansergh, secretary-general of the Taoiseach's department Dermot McCarthy, Edwin Lau of the OECD, TCD economist Sean Barrett, and Comptroller and Auditor General John Buckley.

© 2008 The Irish Times
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PostSubject: Re: Axe Watch :suspect:   Wed Oct 22, 2008 5:12 pm

zakalwe wrote:
anyone spot a trend here?

essential humane projects which will prevent problems in years time are being axed. short termism at its worst.

on the other hand there are millions of stupid spending (ppars, evoting machines, metro north, extra ministers of state, hundreds of useless quangos etc) that'll probably survive the axe. Crying or Very sad

That and the lack of any sign of a medium and long term development strategy, would be exactly how I see it too.
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PostSubject: Re: Axe Watch :suspect:   Fri Oct 24, 2008 1:26 pm

The age for Disability Allowance has been raised from 16 to 18.


Last edited by cactus flower on Fri Oct 24, 2008 1:42 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: Axe Watch :suspect:   Fri Oct 24, 2008 1:31 pm

cactus flower wrote:
The age for Disability Allowance has been lowered from 18 to 16.

Where'd you see that CF?
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PostSubject: Re: Axe Watch :suspect:   Fri Oct 24, 2008 1:43 pm

Aragon wrote:
cactus flower wrote:
The age for Disability Allowance has been lowered from 18 to 16.

Where'd you see that CF?

I'm really very sorry Aragon, that was a typo, I was just going to change it - it is the other way around - it has been raised from 16-18 years.

Have you had any more information on your situation?
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PostSubject: Re: Axe Watch :suspect:   Fri Oct 24, 2008 3:16 pm

There was a guy on TV the day after the budget whose disabled daughter was due to turn 16 soon. The family were holding out and looking forward to this extra cash. They now have to wait 2 more years. He was not pleased ...
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PostSubject: Re: Axe Watch :suspect:   Sat Nov 01, 2008 2:49 am

Another chicken factory in trouble. Anyone any ideas why? Oil costs?
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PostSubject: Re: Axe Watch :suspect:   Sat Nov 01, 2008 2:51 am

cactus flower wrote:
Another chicken factory in trouble. Anyone any ideas why? Oil costs?

It was hardly related to energy prices, oil has fallen by about 50% since Summer.
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PostSubject: Re: Axe Watch :suspect:   Sat Nov 01, 2008 3:06 am

Ard-Taoiseach wrote:
cactus flower wrote:
Another chicken factory in trouble. Anyone any ideas why? Oil costs?

It was hardly related to energy prices, oil has fallen by about 50% since Summer.

Are chickens getting cheaper, do you think?
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PostSubject: Re: Axe Watch :suspect:   Sat Nov 01, 2008 3:18 am

cactus flower wrote:
Ard-Taoiseach wrote:
cactus flower wrote:
Another chicken factory in trouble. Anyone any ideas why? Oil costs?

It was hardly related to energy prices, oil has fallen by about 50% since Summer.

Are chickens getting cheaper, do you think?

Not that I know, I prefer veggies!
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