I start this thread on the planned shrine to Mary Robinson, in anger. It will be subsidised by Mayo rate /property tax payers (1.5 million from Mayo Co Co), and the tax payer (2m from the Dept of the Taoiseach). This contemptuous Marie Antoinette 'let them have cake' project is for a county that is among the top five most economically deprived in the country, a county with very little new social housing being built, whose co council manager has made the case with Minister Noonan for a 2 million tax write off for the Robinson family for Mary's donating of the archive of her papers.
Honestly, we as a nation have lost the plot if this nonsense is allowed, and Mayo in particular, my own county, and its people, will be fully deserving of the 'Mayo God help us' tag.
Dermot Ferriter has got it spot on in the Irish Times today, as did the Phoenix magazine a few months ago.
Something is truly rotten in Mayo CC, the Department of the Taoiseach and the Department of Finance when they support this shennigans.
Why could she not hand over her papers to the State, or a National Archive of Museum, free, as other presidents have done, if she wanted to give something back to the people!It seems even the 'thundering disgrace' man did that?
As far as I know, only one co councillor, Jarleth Munnelly FG, has questioned this, perhaps others have too, such as Gerry Ginty, though I imagine if they are Ballina based, they would be reluctant to do so least they fear they will be seen as knocking one of their town's famous daughters.
In effect Mary wanting to 'give back to the people' could result in:
1)The Robinson family getting a 2 million tax break.
2) Robbo's pension of over 120,000 becoming tax free for a decade and a half, many years?
3) A civic building or monument to Mary Robinson funded by Mayo rate payers, Mayo household charge payers, and national tax payers, to the tune of 2 million or more.
4) The existing Bourke family home, which houses her brother's legal practise, (Mary Robinson, nee Burke), being purchased at a generous price, well above real market rates. I can tell you that up to a year ago, that property, if local market conditions were to be followed, would be lucky to get 300,000, and I doubt if the market has recovered much since then. Ballina property prices are not as in Dublin, Galway or Cork.
As another poster, Finbar 10 put it, 'The Mary Robinson story itself seems to be well worth a thread. Only came across it in the first page of my most recent Phoenix magazine. Herself and her family seem to be entitled to tax relief on 80% of the market value of her presidential archive. She has had Mealy's Auctioneers value this at €2.5 million, which would entitle them to €2 million in tax relief. The Department of Arts and Mayo County Council also seem to be donating €2.175m and €1.5m, respectively, for a building to house this. Part of the deal seems to be the purchase of a property with price tag of €665,000 from Mary's brother, Adrian Bourke. However, it appears that Revenue may not have accepted the €2.5 million valuation, and have come up with their own number, which has been circulated to those concerned (though not mentioned in the article). The difference between Mary's €2.5m valuation and the Revenue's number seems to be causing delay in the project (a bit of a spanner in the works)'.
My thanks To Finbar 10 for the quote below from Phoenix magazine which I read a few months ago, ( I don't have that copy to hand).. ''A very, very expensive precedent has been set by the government in accepting Mary Robinson's presidential archive to qualify as acceptable under Section 1003 of the Taxes Consolidation Act ... Whatever about the real value of Robbo's archive, the government decision in this case means Mary McAleese, Michael D Higgins -- and why not Enda Kenny? -- and all their successors can claim the same treatment and tax relief for their families in the future''.
Finbar 10 also suggested on another thread, where this incidentally came into the discussion, that it might be worth a thread of its own so this is as much his thread as mine. If the mods can add his name to it, I would appreciate same.