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Covid-19 Fines – Have they lost it?

Covid-19 Fines – Have they lost it?

For the speedy resolution of wars, insurgency and other conflicts, the concept of “Winning Hearts and Minds” is used in modern times. It means that one side is trying to win the conflict not by the use of superior force, but by making emotional or intellectual appeals to convince supporters of the other side.

The idea behind it is that if you convince the other side of the sense of your actions, then you need to fight less and you will ultimately be MUCH more effective, efficient AND there will be less victims.

Our (previous) government made a weak attempt in using this strategy in early days. We were told that laws can’t be enacted to prevent people from breaking the lockdown and Simon Harris kept telling us that we should just hold together for one more push before things would get better.

The current  government is clearly taking a different route. Laws are suddenly possible and they are in place and are used a LOT. This week the RTE News reported that the crazy amount of 4500 people have been fined for breaching Covid-19 regulations.

The total amount of serious crimes that lead to a charge or summons in 2019 was just measly 550 and out of more than 16,000 burglaries that happened, it seems that just 13 were punished appropriately, based on Central Statistics Office details.

I really hope that I am misinterpreting the numbers and that someone can tell me that I made a big mistake, but if not, then this means that breaking the (random) 5km movement restriction is pursued with significantly more vigor than burglaries. :-O
I think we can clearly say that the government has lost the support from the people. Maybe a serious “Winning Hears and Minds” approach would have us in a different place?

Sugar Tax Postponed

Sugar Tax Postponed

The (totally nonsensical!) Sugar Tax on sparkling drinks with added sugar was planned to kick in on 06 April and maybe you had already planned to buy LOTS of bottles before that day? ;-)

Since a 2 litre bottle will experience a price increase of 60 cent, you can indeed save some money if if you fill the spare room with bottles in the run up to the tax introduction. Only problem is that all these drinks have a best before date and they really change their taste and the level of fizziness after that date. If you have ever tasted expired Coca Cola, you know what I am talking about.

The good news is that you can postpone “The Big Bottle Buy” for a little. The tax will now get introduced on 01 May instead of 06 April. The Department of Finance has decided to check if the tax doesn’t break EU rules and that will take another bit of time.

[You might wonder why I am saying it is “totally nonsensical”? And if you care, here are some of the reasons, but there are too many reasons to go in detail for all of them, so just a list: 1) Unless all sweets are taxed (and maybe fast food as well?) it doesn’t make sense to single out ONE food type. 2) It is very unlikely that a 60cent increase will dramatically change buying behaviour. We have the most expensive price for cigarettes in the whole EU and there are still PLENTY of smokers buying cigarettes completely independent from their financial means. 3) Adding a tax is NEVER a good way to get people to understand what the problem is and to be interested in changing it. Education is the RIGHT way. 4) If you try to “educate” through a price increase, you have to make sure that that increase is felt by the customers. Manufacturers, however, decrease the bottle size to 1.75 or 1.25 litres at the moment so that the consumer THINKS that the price has not increased. The sugar tax increase should have come with an obligation to keep the bottle size at 2 litres as before. 5) Did you know that a sparkling drink with added sugar will NOT experience a tax increase if it is an alcoholic drink? It clearly shows how serious the government is to keep people healthy. Sugar is cool when in alcohol, but sugar in a non-alcoholic drink makes you obese. Dohhh! 6) The final argument for me is that someone who eats an otherwise reasonably balanced diet but occasionally likes a sugary sparkling drink should not be punished by any state for this. Nanny-state is the term that is often used in this context. And if you think the Irish state really cares, then check out the quality of the drinking water in Ireland. ALL countries in Europe accept now that Fluoride in the drinking water is a BAD decision and in some countries a Fluoride-addition is totally forbidden. In Ireland the State still claims that it is healthy. Not true!
Totally nonsensical tax!!]

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