The Editor’s Corner – Feb/Mar 2024

By Eoin Meegan

According to a leading mental health support group anxiety was the most commonly reported issue that arose for people living in Dublin in 2023. There are many contributing factors to this; our health, the levels of violence on our streets, continuing wars in Ukraine and Gaza, global warming and climate change to name but a few. But undoubtedly a leading cause is money. This can hold a particular terror for elderly people who make up just under 807,000 or 15.5 percent of the population.

Active Retirement Ireland, the country’s largest membership organisation for older people, recently described the €12 per week increase to the state pension that came into effect on 2nd January, as a brace to slow down the hemorrhaging of people’s actual spending power, rather than an increase in income, and called on the government to deliver a benchmarked state pension indexed to wage growth, putting an extra €40 a week in people’s pockets, which it says would allow older people to live with greater dignity and income security. With no sign of the price of basic foodstuffs coming down, many of our aged population are having to decide whether to turn on the heating or cook themselves a substantial meal. This is simply not fair, to a generation who have sacrificed so much to give us the high standard of living we take for granted now.

Considering that the government brought in a record €88.1 billion in tax receipts last year, six percent higher than the previous year, driven primarily with growth in income, VAT, and corporation tax, lack of resources is no longer an excuse. More resources need to be freed up for our elderly, and those most vulnerable, and to tackle mental health issues in a constructive and meaningful way. 

A woman who made it her life’s work to help bring people out of poverty through the means of education and self empowerment was the late Betty Watson. You can read her story on page 24.  Elsewhere we bring you what is likely the world’s smallest art gallery, located inside a telephone kiosk (if you’re under 12 ask your grandma what they were!) right here in Ringsend. You’ll have to read the article (pg. 12) to find out what that’s all about. And on the subject of art and finances, if you’re eager to sample a delicious serving of free art here in Dublin then go to page 15. Or perhaps you may care to take a gander at the prestigious work that was on display at the recent 2024 Young Scientists Expo (pgs. 26-7). The installation of new cycle racks on the Great South Wall (pg. 11) is a progressive initiative by Dublin Port. Sounds like a winner to me. And speaking of winners, we are all keeping our fingers crossed on March 10th for our own Cillian Murphy in tinseltown (the whole extravaganza is covered on pages 18-9. Enjoy along with our regular features.

Which only leaves me to wish you all a very Happy St Brigid’s day, and St Patrick’s day from all of us at NewsFour, oh, and happy Easter too – (yes it will be Easter before our next issue is out!) Look after each other.