From his state o’ chassis address, Enda Kenny TD, leader of Fine Gael and Taoiseach na hÉireann:
“Two years ago, the Irish people gave Fine Gael and the Labour Party a clear mandate to take the necessary decisions to achieve economic recovery and get Ireland working again.
Our plan is working.
People’s hard work and sacrifices are beginning to pay dividends. Ireland is rebuilding its reputation, restoring its confidence, laying the foundation for a better, brighter, more prosperous future.”
So who exactly are the people who have worked and sacrificed? You and me perhaps, along with the vast majority of the Irish people. However what of those who have been deliberately cushioned from the grim reality of life in modern Ireland? Those whose pampered lifestyles have continued through boom or bust? Those for whom personal hard work and sacrifice are laughable concepts? From the Irish Examiner:
“Austerity is filling the coffers of the country’s richest 10% and creating poverty among an increasing number of the general population, an EU-wide study has found.
Instead of Ireland being the poster child for austerity, what is happening in reality should be a warning to all about the dangers of such policies, the report states.
The report states income inequality in Ireland is now four times the OECD average, long-term unemployment had quadrupled in the four years to 2012, with record poverty rates. It says one in ten working households in Europe is now living in poverty and predicted it will take up to 25 years to reduce poverty to pre-2008 levels if current policies are not changed.
The last Irish budget increased taxes by 1.3% on those earning €20,000 — seven times more than the 0.2% tax increase on those with €100,000 a year while those on €200,000 paid a mere 0.1% more.
Oxfam estimates that of the €14.3 trillion held by individuals in 52 tax havens around the globe, almost 5%, or €707bn, is sitting in Irish accounts.”