Republican News · Thursday 07 December 2000

[An Phoblacht]

Smug McCreevy's double standard

If Charlie McCreevy wanted to get the workers, tax payers and social welfare recipients of the 26 Counties hunched over their calculators figuring out the benefits flowing to them from this week's budget, he succeeded. There is, perhaps, nothing more diverting than self interest.

McCreevy's budget was one that pandered to our self interest, leaving most workers better off. But surely we as a people aspire to more than just a few more punts in our wallets, especially if some have more punts than others.

Charlie McCreevy told us our living standards are approaching the EU average and could within years be one of the highest in the EU. What a great place the 26 Counties is.

The reality, we all know, is somewhat different. If you are never going to be sick, are lucky enough to have a third level education in any of the new technologies, live within walking distance of your workplace, have inherited your home and never plan to have children, then congratulations. You probably have a great standard of living.

If you are one of the vast majority of people who don't have this illusive lifestyle, you know there are many fleas in the tiger economy's pelt. Yes the tide is lifting but there are many social and economic problems afflicting 26-County society and this budget addressed none of them adequately.

After four budgets it is amazing that McCreevy still believes his own propaganda. He gave more money to combat homelessness without acknowledging that the numbers of homeless have doubled over the past four years. He trumpeted the extra money for social housing while ignoring that since 1996, waiting lists for local authority housing have almost doubled.

Similar assertions can be made for hospital waiting lists, child care costs, the real purchasing power of social welfare payments and pensions. McCreevy needs to be told that of course we all want to do a bit better but not all of us want to live with the thought that our interests were addressed at the expense of thousands of others.

No thanks, Charlie.

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