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O’Brien in bitter attack on Burton

Denis O’Brien says Joan Burton rebuke of his NYSE appearance is ‘vindictive’

businessman Denis O’Brien has berated Social Protection Minister Joan Burton for questioning his appearance in public with government figures.

In a stinging letter, the billionaire who was criticised by the Moriarty tribunal accused Ms Burton of “vindictiveness” and of making a “startling” personal attack on him.

Mr O’Brien also criticised her Labour Party colleague, Public Expenditure and Reform Minister Brendan Howlin, for endorsing her comments, accusing him of “political opportunism”.

Ms Burton is the second government minister to have received a letter of complaint from Mr O’Brien in the aftermath of his appearance on the New York Stock Exchange alongside Taoiseach Enda Kenny last March. Mr O’Brien also wrote to Lucinda Creighton — but the tone of his letter to Ms Burton — disclosed for the first time today — is harsher.

“I recognise that your political persuasion naturally leaves you unsympathetic towards someone in my position, but I remain concerned at the level of vindictiveness underpinning your remarks,” he wrote.

“That your comments would be endorsed in quick time by your party colleague, Minister Brendan Howlin TD, was an unsurprising display of political opportunism.

“I, clearly, am undeserving of any semblance of fair or balanced treatment. Political expediency demands outright condemnation. It is the easy option.”

via O’Brien in bitter attack on Burton – National News –

via O’Brien in bitter attack on Burton – National News –

Ministers clash over cutbacks for pensioners in budget –

TENSIONS BETWEEN Fine Gael and Labour over the approach to December’s budget have flared after two prominent Ministers clashed publicly on whether wealthier pensioners should be subject to cutbacks or new taxes.

Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton last night admonished Minister for State at the Department of Finance Brian Hayes for suggesting that she examine the need to target “well-off” pensioners.

There were strong hints last night that Ms Burton will resist any moves to target pensioners. “Ms Burton will make her views known to her colleagues in Cabinet in the lead-in to the budget. She greatly values the services her department provides to pensioners,” said a spokeswoman.

via Ministers clash over cutbacks for pensioners in budget – The Irish Times – Mon, Sep 17, 2012.

via Ministers clash over cutbacks for pensioners in budget – The Irish Times – Mon, Sep 17, 2012.

Concern over possible cuts to free travel scheme – McConalogue

Donegal North East Fianna Fáil TD Charlie McConalogue has said it is deeply disappointing that the Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton has failed to rule out any cuts or changes to the free travel scheme.

Deputy McConalogue made the comments as concern grows in Donegal about the future of the scheme.

He said:

“The Government has engaged a major review of the free travel pass, a scheme which has enormous value to older people in Donegal and across the country.

via Concern over possible cuts to free travel scheme – McConalogue – Local – Donegal Democrat.

via Concern over possible cuts to free travel scheme – McConalogue – Local – Donegal Democrat.

‘They’re being treated appallingly’ | Kerry’s Eye

Man goes on hunger strike over social welfare claim

A Killarney councillor has slammed the government over what he described as the “appalling treatment” of a local family who are seeking social welfare assistance. Cllr Donal Grady warned this week that Jan De Neubourg, who has begun a hunger strike to draw attention to his situation, could be dead within two weeks unless something is done.

Me De Neubourg (56) and his wife Claire, who live in Barraduff, have been waiting four months to see if the state will provide financial support to them.

The Belgian nationals, who have been living in the Killarney area for fifteen years, have been in serious financial circumstances since Jan’s pension from Belgium was stopped.

He says he has written to “everyone” on the issue of whether he is entitled to financial assistance in Ireland.

He has vowed to continue his hunger strike until he gets a response from the Department of Social Protection over whether he is entitled to any help from the state. He said has not eaten or drank anything since last Sunday.

The Belgian Embassy in Dublin confirmed this week that they are aware of the situation regarding Mr De Neubourg.

Killarney Town Councillor Cllr Donal Grady said that Jan is being treated appallingly by the state.

“He is an EU citizen, and they have been giving him the run-around since May. Minister Joan Burton has treated him terribly,” Cllr Grady said.

“He has done nothing wrong. They should have given him an answer by now.

“Since this government came into power I have been fighting for people every week for people to get entitlements. This was not the case previously.”

This week the Belgian native said that he will continue not to eat or drink until the government give him an answer.

“All we want is a decision on whether we can get financial assistance,” he said.

“We have written to everyone, including Minister Joan Burton, local politicians and various agencies but nothing.

“It has been four months and we don’t know what is going on.

“We have been promised every day that we will get an answer, but we don’t.

“The Department is playing games, the way they are treating people is not human.”

Mr De Neubourg, who suffers from depression and other health problems, is currently appealing against the cessation of his Belgian pension.

In the meantime the family’s only income is a small pension his wife receives.

“There is a little money coming in and friends have been very good to us, but we want the state to do what they supposed to do,” he said.

“Overnight they can decide to give billions to the bank, but they can’t make a decision on whether we are entitled to anything.”

via ‘They’re being treated appallingly’ | Kerry’s Eye.

via ‘They’re being treated appallingly’ | Kerry’s Eye.

Free advice service on mortgages criticised


THE NEW free financial advice service for mortgage holders in financial distress, unveiled yesterday by Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton has been widely criticised as being too little, too vague and tokenistic.

The new Mortgage Arrears Information and Advice Service offers mortgage holders in serious difficulty advice from an accountant, for which their lender will pay.

The borrower must have already been through a process with their bank and have reached the point where the bank is making long-term proposals about how they may continue with the mortgage.

via Free advice service on mortgages criticised – The Irish Times – Fri, Sep 07, 2012.

via Free advice service on mortgages criticised – The Irish Times – Fri, Sep 07, 2012.

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