Dec 10, 2009

Broken promises: Ireland’s 2010 Budget exploits the vulnerable

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“The worst is over,” said Minister of Finance Brian Lenihan on 9 December on the presentation of the 2010 Budget. It is actually truly astounding that the Irish Government believes that the worst of the recession is over. The number of people signing on the Live Register of the Unemployed is still increasing. The number of people living in poverty is rising. The number of people unable to pay their bills is rising. The Society of Saint Vincent de Paul has reported a fourfold increase in people applying for food assistance. The worst is certainly not over.

The rhetoric of “everyone sharing the pain” has popped up in every conversation about the financial state of the nation in the lead up to Budget 2010. Another very soundbite was “protecting the vulnerable in society,” and it was emphasized to the hilt. Everyone was in favour of protecting the vulnerable. There was a consensus. In forty minutes, Minister for Finance Brian Lenihan demonstrated that the Irish government does not care about people living in poverty, or the need for hospital beds or the sharing of pain, and most especially not protecting the vulnerable. Lenihan and the Irish Government are protecting the least vulnerable.

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