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Voluntary retirement age increased to 70

A big change is afoot. On Thursday new legislation was agreed on by the Government that will allow all public servants to work until 70 if they want. Until now, public servants that were recruited before 2004 had a mandatory retirement age of 65 years of age. With our life expectancy continually going up and since active life should not be forced to end at the arbitrary age of 65, this change makes a lot of sense.

People that want to retire at 65 can still do that, but the people that want to work longer are now allowed to.

Public servants are all employees in the Civil Service (in government- and state-related roles), in Education, in the Health sector, in Justice and in Local Authorities. (The Defence Sector is also part of this group, but they have different retirement rules.)

Yes, there is a downside to that as well. Unsuitable employees could now stick around for 5 years longer. But they were probably already unsuitable before they were 65 and then it is not the fault of this upcoming law change.

Here are some more details about this change.

International Women’s Day! Progress Made? Maybe not….

Wednesday was this year’s International Women’s Day and in my daily post on the Dublin Event Guide Facebook Page I wrote

“The focus of the day is in some regions a celebration of respect, appreciation and love towards women for their economic, political and social achievements and in other regions there is a strong political and human rights focus.
We are lucky that the position of women in our society is a lot better than in other countries. But “better” is not the same as “good”! The onus is on us (men and women!) to demand (and provide) fairness and equal opportunities.”

So we have to question/check how far we really came, because it is easy to convince yourself that WE don’t have any problems only others have problems.

Well, a former Dublin Event Guide reader who now lives in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) wrote on Facebook that all women in her job got a voucher equivalent to EUR 100 for some treatment. She would have liked to get a massage, but it turned out that only invasive beauty treatments (fillers, botox, etc) would be covered. Shocking! So the assumption must have been by the person/organisation giving the gift that all women want/need some invasive beauty treatment.

“Well, it is UAE, what do you expect!” some might think, but then on Friday Newstalk posted on Facebook that Sean Moncrieff was very unhappy with what the newspaper wrote about Amal Clooney. Amal Clooney is a human rights solicitor who addressed the United Nations (UN) last week about some serious issues regarding Iraq and ISIS. Not something most of us do regularly and she must have worked (and probably fought) hard to get to that position. Amal Clooney also happens to be George Clooney’s wife and it seems that she is pregnant. So what do the UK newspapers like The Sun,The Express, Daily Mail, The Mirror and Vogue write about? They commented on nothing else but her “baby bump” and her “chic dress”. Watch that shocking video clip here: www.facebook.com/newstalkfm/videos/10155966083037907/ So, we THINK we came far in our Western civilised world!? We are not much ahead of the countries we look down to! :-(

Spring does NOT start in February!

Badly educated event organisers and media outlets will tell you about the “Start of Spring” this week, but don’t fall for that! Together with your primary school teachers they are just badly educated. ;-) Met Eireann points out year after year that Spring starts in Ireland on 01 March and NOT on 01 February. But the misinformation is is persistent. Met Eireann is using the meteorological start of spring and that is definitely not in February but in March as you can read here.

In the rest of Europe, Spring starts – based on the astronomical calendar – even later, on 21 March. Only Ireland is different in whole Europe and how did that happen? Well, the “mistake” in Ireland goes back to the ancient celts, who ignored meteorology and astronomy and had a completely different way of looking at things. The year for example started on 01 November and the day started and ended at sunset. So they were not really wrong, but they used different definitions.

If your day still starts at sunset and your year starts on 01 November, then it’s perfectly fine to start Spring on 01 February in your world. But if you have modernised your views and start your year on 01 January and start the day at midnight, then it is time to update your view of the seasons as well! ;-)

Marriage Equality Referendum – I changed my opinion!

Just a few more days and I’d say both sides are by now happy when the whole process is over. But it ain’t over yet and I am not allowed to vote on it so I will blatantly use this platform to tell you what my opinion is about this whole issue. And it might surprise you to hear that I changed my opinion some months back!

I grew up in a village in Germany and all people around where I grew up were white, so I never experienced “tolerance” or “equality” in that respect. I had no clue what g ay people are, but there was one thing in my village that I was very aware of. That elephant in the room was RELIGION! There were Catholic people and Protestant people in our village. And there was a catholic choir and a protestant choir and catholic farmers would sell land only to other catholic farmers and the same on the protestant side. There was no discrimination in the form of bad behaviour towards each other, but people had their preferences and lived by them, so the boundaries were clearly defined. Odd you think? And I thought so too!

The separation NEVER made sense to me despite the fact that my catholic parents also clearly lived by these unwritten rules. My mother separated from a boyfriend because in their opinion there was no chance that they could get married because he was Protestant!! Imagine! And that wasn’t in the stone ages, that was in the early 60s.

Now where am I going with that? There are a number of aspects to it. First of all, to most of us this religion based separation sounds totally crazy to us nowadays because we have moved on and the second aspect: From early on I realised that arbitrary boundaries don’t make sense. But I also learned why people are soooo much against tolerance and equality: They are afraid!! Afraid that there world would be turned upside down, that they might be told do do something they don’t want to do. That they might have to change.

Interestingly and importantly though, this referendum does not require anybody to change!! No straight man (or woman) will ever be forced to marry another straight man or woman! So people relax! No need to start panicking when you think about two women or two men loving and caring about each other!

And in my opinion that is what this referendum is about: Allowing two people who feel strongly for each other to be there for each other in ALL aspects.

This referendum will NOT change how people might or might not behave in their bedroom (or elsewhere), it will not force anybody to do anything against their will AND it will have no impact on adoptions or surrogacy. So forget that straight away.

Vote YES and allow these two people to love each other if they want or just care for each other into high age and in all aspects.

In the intro I said that I changed my opinion, so what is that all about?

I was never against Marriage Equality, but I have to admit that I don’t like the term “marriage” for a civil union of two people and initially I was of the opinion that the Civil Partnership was already there, so why do we need a Marriage Equality Referendum?! But then I found here www.marriagequality.ie/getinformed/mythbusters.html that currently there are 160 differences between the rights of two people who are married vs the rights of two people in a civil partnership. That was the decider. Either you have full rights or you don’t.

I still would prefer if we changed some significant aspects of the marriage procedures, but that’s not really relevant for this referendum: All marriages should take place in a registry office and then afterwards people can opt to get married in a church if they want. The church should not be allowed to stand in for the state, instead the two procedures should bee totally separated. But as I said, that is not really relevant in this referendum. Mind you, I hope the catholic church will refuse to do the civil marriage part after the referendum!

So, if I was allowed to vote, I would vote YES! If you are allowed to vote, please vote for me!!!

Minimum Wage reversal?

Enda Kenny has announced today that the government would reverse the reduction of the minimum wage and would bring it back up to EUR 8.56 by the summer.
I am surprised about that! Sure, 1 Euro per hour amounts to EUR 40 per week or EUR 160 per month and if someone is on minimum wage then this is a fairly significant amount, but there have been reductions in a number of other prices and cost, so I guess the minimum wage wouldn’t HAVE to go up the full amount!?

Restaurants are now saying that they can only accept the reversal if other workplace agreements will change, but aren’t rent and rates the biggest problem for restaurants? It can’t be that the 1 Euro per hour will kill the business!

 
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