The Department of Finance is in the process of selecting members for a special subcommittee that will determine the rate of tax secondary school teachers will have to pay on bribes accepted for marking Leaving Certificate students favourably on predicted grades.
Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe said that he was reaching out to various groups that had vested interest in the area, giving the likes of parents, landlords and senior government officials delivering on election promises as examples of ideal members. Groups representing teachers, such as ASTI, were immediately disqualified from selection as it was deemed a conflict of interest.
According a Dublin-based landlord living in Co Galway, they believe that teachers should be forced to pay a high percentage of tax on bribes. “With a delayed college start, I’ve already lost an entire month’s rent on the empty house I have sitting up in Terenure. After having to cancel the family holiday to Port Aventura, haven’t I suffered enough? It’s someone else’s time to pay.”
Student teachers are calling on the government to be lenient and set a lower rate of tax during these extraordinary times. Emily Mawn, a recent graduate said how much she was relying on the income from marking exams. “Bribes are the only way I’m going to be able to pay my rent this summer. A few of my friends are sharing this house in Terenure and the landlady has threatened to kick us out as soon as the travel restrictions are lifted, because we were a couple of days late with the ESB bill last month, despite the fact that she had her daughter staying in the spare room who left the immersion on all day.”
Current Leaving Certificate students have also taken to social media to express their concerns over the emergency provisions that the government have set in place for this year’s examinations. Twitter user @ThatMadBloke9 tweeted: “If Mr.King marks me down and sticks me in GMIT for the year, I hope he doesn’t see a penny.” This tweet received one like and zero retweets.
The committee is set to present its recommendations to the government by the end of May, with Revenue being presented a full comprehensive breakdown of the tax scheme. Teachers will not be given these documents as guides, as “it would take all the fun out of working for Revenue, if people actually knew how much tax they owed.”