Unlock the Benefits of Your Fully Approved State Pension: Embrace and Appreciate

From the outset, I knew this day would come. To prepare, I strategically planned for a defined benefit, defined contribution, and state contribution pensions. Now that they have all reached maturity, I want to share the tone of the correspondence I received from each pension source.

Mercer: In a congratulatory message, they expressed their well wishes for a long and happy retirement.

Irish Life: As a fund that was subject to a government levy from 2011 to 2016, Irish Life expressed gratitude for my selection of their pension plan. They were delighted to have me onboard.

State Pension Contributory (Department of Social Protection): After examining my entitlement to the State Pension Contributory, the department determined that I am eligible for this pension.

Interestingly, the Department of Social Protection did not express their thanks or send any good wishes despite my 46 years of contributions. Perhaps they could take a cue from private pension providers.

(Name and address withheld)

Liam Hinphey: A Hurling Legend

I am an avid reader of the Sunday Independent, which never fails to brighten my day and provide me with interesting topics to discuss. However, the column by Joe Brolly last Sunday left me feeling somber and teary-eyed. Through his writing, I learned about the passing of Liam Hinphey, a great friend of mine.

Liam and I shared a deep passion for hurling. He hailed from Kilkenny, while I proudly represented Galway. Our paths crossed in the late 1960s, and I was honored to have befriended such a remarkable man. Liam was a giant in hurling, comparable to the legendary Setanta. His presence in my life was truly something special.

Liam settled in Dungiven, Co Derry, and he always had a smile on his face. He had a profound understanding of the power of a smile, once saying, “It’s only a smile, little it costs in giving, but it scatters the night like moving light and makes the day worth living.” I have no doubt that Liam Hinphey is now smiling down from above.

Jarlath McDonagh, Turloughmore, Co Galway (formerly Tubbercurry, Co Sligo)

Liam Hinphey: A Tribute by Joe Brolly

Joe Brolly’s musings may not be everyone’s cup of tea, as they often traverse into the realm of righteous contemplation. However, his poignant tribute to Liam Hinphey last week was a masterpiece of sports writing, reminiscent of the great Hemingway.

Tom Finn, Ballinasloe, Co Galway

Negligent Car Companies and Road Safety

If lawnmowers were causing hundreds of deaths, thousands of injuries, and millions in damages each year, would we simply urge people to be more careful, mow slower, and wear helmets when passing by? This scenario may seem absurd, but it mirrors the approach we take with cars.

After years of slick advertising and relentless lobbying, cars have achieved an untouchable status in our society. When catastrophic accidents occur on the road, blame is placed on the driver, passengers, road conditions, or pedestrians. Rarely is the car itself implicated in the design flaws.

Motor vehicle manufacturers have successfully shifted the blame away from themselves. There have been technological advancements that could prevent dangerous driving, but implementing them would potentially reduce the allure of cars and cut into profits. It seems that the car companies only care about their shareholders, while disregarding the safety of individuals. One can’t help but wonder if tobacco companies are amazed at how the car industry has evaded accountability for so long.

Leo Dillon, Ballyclough, Co Limerick

Reducing Speed Limits for Safer Roads

Almost every day, we hear about road accidents resulting in tragic deaths of pedestrians, cyclists, and drivers. Each loss of life is a heart-wrenching tragedy that affects families, friends, and communities.

In my neighborhood of Malahide, traffic consistently speeds through at 50km/h, even on designated 30km/h routes. That’s why I support the proposed reduction of speed limits. Geraldine Herbert’s Auto Advice column (Life, October 1) provided valuable information on this issue.

Across Europe, it is estimated that a 1km/h reduction in average speed on all roads could save 2,100 lives annually. These reductions have the potential to make a significant impact on road safety.

Joan Reidy, Malahide, Co Dublin

Fighting for Free Hospital Parking for Cancer Patients

Reports have recently highlighted the ongoing imposition of parking charges on cancer patients at certain Dublin hospitals while they undergo life-saving treatment. These vulnerable individuals are burdened with hefty monthly charges of up to €300.

Though some hospitals offer parking concessions for cancer patients, nearly 40% of public hospitals continue to charge full fees. The Irish Cancer Society has rightly called for the abolition of these charges and urged the government to fulfill their promise of reducing car parking fees for cancer patients, as stated in the Programme for Government.

A cancer diagnosis affects patients physically, psychologically, and financially. Many are forced to give up work, sell their businesses, or take time off. During this trying time, patients should be focusing on their recovery, not dealing with the added stress of exorbitant parking costs.

Tom Towey, Cloonacool, Co Sligo

VAR in Football: Learning from Errors

The incorrect decision made during the Tottenham v Liverpool match last weekend, disallowing Luis Diaz’s goal for offside, was a glaring example of “significant human error” on the part of VAR officials in their communication with the referee.

While we understand that referees and VAR officials are fallible and can make mistakes, it is crucial that we learn from these errors. In aviation, such errors are extremely rare because pilots are required to repeat every instruction given to them by air traffic control. Could football authorities not enforce a similar practice?

Paul Kennedy, Dublin 5

Richard Boyd Barrett’s Perspective on Reality

My late mother used to wonder where people who spend beyond their means get all their money from. Reading Richard Boyd Barrett’s article in last week’s Sunday Independent reminded me of her sentiment. Perhaps he should venture into the real world, where realism and a sense of entitlement are not the order of the day.

Pat Killalea, Ballinteer Road, Dublin 16

Government Must Heed Tax Warnings

Given the recent somber news from the ESRI about a decline in corporate tax receipts, we need to turn our attention back to risk management. There is no doubt that a global downturn is underway, and we are at risk due to our heavy reliance on the tech and pharmaceutical sectors.

The tech industry has already experienced significant job losses this year, and more may follow. The boost the pharmaceutical sector received during the Covid-19 era was temporary, and we could see job losses in that field as well. Our narrow business model is one of the reasons why our country goes into panic mode during recessions.

The government cannot afford to be complacent and take no action. It’s imperative to take economic warnings seriously, engage in risk management, and prioritize business continuity.

Maurice Fitzgerald, Shanbally, Co Cork

Improving Quality in Nursing Homes

Hiqa, as the regulatory body for nursing homes, has limitations in its ability to enhance service quality through inspections alone. Therefore, I propose that providers of nursing homes should be required to sign a three-year service level agreement (SLA) with the HSE and establish suitable corporate and clinical governance structures.

The current registration process for nursing homes is inadequate, as the criteria for setting up and operating them are weak. To rectify this, it should be obligatory for nursing homes to sign an SLA with the HSE to continue operating. This agreement would clearly outline the expectations and requirements for the facility.

(Name and address withheld)


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