Category Archives: Thoughts

You’d never guess the stuff that crosses my mind now and again!

Ireland, Ratify the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

I would like to encourage all readers to sign this petition to motivate the Irish government to finally step up their game and ratify the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with disabilities (CRPD).

The matter is personally relevant to me and my wife. I am blind, and my wife is in full-time employment. My blindness support is fully means-tested on my wife’s income. In a nutshell:

The more my wife works to support us, the less support funding I get; and
the more my wife works, the more often I cannot avail of her as a driver or assistant, and, as a result, the higher my costs of living are.

This is MY blindness, not hers.

This degrading, demotivating and unfair system is hardly suitable in a 21st-century social state. There are other EU countries which, unlike the Republic of Ireland, have already ratified the UN convention on the rights of people with disabilities, countries where the “blind pension” is not a pension but rather a non-means-tested and non-taxable support payment to compensate higher living costs which blind people evidently have.

The present legislation does not merely deny the existence of blindness-related costs of living but also interferes with the spouses’ fundamental rights under the constitution of the Republic of Ireland.

The right to earn a livelihood

“As a citizen, you have a right to work and to earn a living, whether you are male or female.
The State is under a duty to protect your right to work and earn a livelihood from unjust attack.”

The means test of the spouse’s income is a prime example for an unjust attack on the spouse’s fundamental right to earn a livelihood. The working spouse should be allowed to spend their hard-earned salary whichever way they wish. They should not be held responsible to shoulder costs which are the responsibility of the social state which they already support as tax payers. It has been highlighted that there are other payments, for example, from the Health Service – also means-tested – and tax reliefs.

    I can claim a VAT refund on assistive technology such as screenreader software or my laptop with built-in accessibility features, to which I say: Well, yes! Whilst funding is being made available to make houses wheelchair-accessible, and recurring blindness-related costs are ignored, a one-off VAT refund is the least we can expect.
    My wife enjoys an income tax relief of €600 per year. This might sound decadent, but it amounts to less than €12 per week, which does not even pay for one return taxi ride per week when my wife is at work and unable to give me a lift.

Update:

I furnished ministers Leo Varadkar (Department for Social Protection) and Finian McGrath (Minister of State for Disability Issues) with my thoughts on the present legislation. Here is my follow-up post with some very telling statements.

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Combining #SkillsBuilding and #WorkLifeBalance with an Album Release

PhotoService cover.001
I released my first EP recently and am accordingly happy and proud. It has been an interesting, exciting journey and a major element in my self-development and a perfect outlet to readjust my focus for other projects which are in the process of completion. Hashtag #PhD. A perfect opportunity!

The EP is called Friend Of The Family; it is available on iTunes, Spotify, Google Play and other streaming and download services. You can listen to a short promo preview clip on Youtube, and if and when this has sparked your interest, you can find all streaming and download links, song lyrics and the opportunity to grab a free Friend Of The Family ringtone by clicking here.

Besides my musical development, this production has also been an invaluable experience to develop and put to practice a number of skills which come in handy in working environments, too.

Read here for more…

My humble opinion on #Twittiquette

Everybody has their own opinion, and this is mine. Everybody has their own way of using Twitter, and this is mine. This is not about the content that is shared on Twitter but, moreover, about the presentation, about Twittiquette.
I like Twitter and I am interested to read what people have to say. Nonetheless, there are two pet hates of mine which will drastically reduce my motivation to read a tweet or, in the long run, even to keep following someone:
Read on about my twitter pet hates.

#Germany89, #FallOfTheWall, and I was 10.

November 9, 2014: ask any German in their early thirties or older what they did this day, 25 years ago, and you will very likely get a pretty detailed summary of their evening. It was the day when two months of peaceful protest by the people of the GDR and hundreds of thousands of emigrants left the socialist party regime with no other option but to give in, when Günter Schabowski, the spokesman of the central committee of the socialist party announced in a press conference that GDR citizens were granted permission to emigrate and, more importantly, to travel freely across the border to Western Germany - immediately. It was the day when, after 10,316 days, after 28 years, two months and 28 days, the Iron Curtain that had ripped Germany and Europe apart, that had separated families and even ended lives of people who wanted nothing else but freedom finally collapsed under the wind of change. I was ten years old.

“Have you always been #blind?” – Follow-Up on my previous post

In my previous post I aimed to draw the readers’ attention to some phenomena in speech interaction, namely how to say one thing while meaning quite the opposite. The first example I chose, “I don’t mean to patronise you, but…” opened a door which lead the topic into a different direction. Is it patronising to offer somebody help?
Read more…-—>