Irish Republican News · December 7, 2012
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
Carers’ nightmare after cruel coalition budget

The inequity and sheer viciousness of the Dublin government’s Budget for 2013 has come as a shock to the Irish public.

Despite a prolonged media campaign over the past two weeks to prepare the ground for new taxes and cutbacks, the cumulative effects of five annual Austerity Budgets have devastated Ireland’s middle and working classes.

The Budget announcement was made in a tandem speech in the Dail on Wednesday by Fine Gael Finance Minister Michael Noonan and Labour’s Minister for Public Expenditure Brendan Howlin.

The most essential and humane services in the State bore the brunt of savage cutbacks. There was no strategy or direction evident in the measures, which the Ministers admitted were geared to produce the necessary 3.5 billion euro adjustment demanded by the IMF and EU.

Cuts such as those to respite care workers, home helps, child benefits, medicines, pensioner allowances, fuel allowances and scores of others have not yet been fully analysed. But they stand in sharp contrast to the increased salaries and pensions which have been granted by the government to themselves, to state bankers and to senior public servants.

About 250 carers and their families protested quietly outside the Dublin parliament today. Many of those in attendance said sadly that they had been affected by a cut of 325 euro to the annual respite care grant announced in Wednesday’s Budget. The grim effect of the cut will be to reduce or remove care from those who are terminally ill or dying.

Mandy Palmer from Palmerstown in Dublin cares full time for her mother and father, who are in their 70s. Her mother suffered a massive stroke about three years ago and her father also suffers medical problems.

“She can’t walk and she couldn’t make a cup of tea for herself.”

Ms Palmer said she used the respite grant to bring her parents for a night to a hotel. “I’ve done it for the last two years since I got the respite money. It means I can have some kind of memory with them that’s not just all horrific. Then I have a couple of nights to myself where I get somebody in to mind them. It makes a big difference to me knowing that I can go away somewhere for two nights and not have to worry.”

Others who protested said the trebling in prescription charges for those on medical cards would affect them severely.

“We never abuse the system. We are always very careful with the amount of prescriptions we get,” said the mother of a woman with Spina Bifida.

Jean Kilgannon from County Kildare said she would prefer to get inside the building to speak to the politicians face to face.

“Don’t ask me what I’d say to them because it couldn’t be repeated. They feather their own nests.”

Author and campaigner Paddy Doyle said he came to the protest because he had heard a politician on the radio this morning “waffling” about the Budget and how it “wasn’t that bad”.

“There’s no question or doubt about it that any vulnerable group, be they elderly, be they carers – the few I’ve met here are exhausted. You can see it in their faces that they’re just worn out. They’re saving the State a fortune,” he added.

A number of members of the Dublin parliament were present, including Sinn Féin TDs Mary Lou McDonald, Aengus Ó Snodaigh and Seán Crowe, Independent TDs Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan, Mattie McGrath and Catherine Murphy and Independent Senator David Norris.

We have a favour to ask

We want to keep our publication as available as we can, so we need to ask for your help. Irish Republican News takes time, money and hard work to produce. But we do it because we believe it makes a difference. If everyone who reads our website helps fund it, our future would be much more secure.

For as little as £1, you can support Irish Republican News – and it only takes a minute. Thank you.

© 2012 Irish Republican News