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Austerity ‘killing Europeans’

Mick Wallace (ind, Wexford) deplored the continued policy of austerity, for, he said, there was ‘a spectre haunting Europe, the spectre of mass unemployment’ (Dail Eireann, Debates, 22nd March 2012, 412, 421).  There were 24.3m people out of work in the European Union, of which there were 5.3m in Spain alone.  In Greece, one person in five was out of work and there had been a 40% rise in suicide.  ‘Austerity is literally killing Europeans’.   For Sandra McLellan (SF, Cork E), the fiscal treaty would ‘lead to ever-greater levels of austerity being imposed on families that are already over-burdened’, at a time when the government had awarded pay of €623,000 to the chief executive of the Bank of Ireland.  It was scandalous, she said, that the head of a bank that had received such huge injections of taxpayer’s money should be so rewarded while ordinary people were attacked by government.    The stark reality and brutal impact of the government’s austerity policies were being felt by every sector of society, especially low and middle-income earners.  We had seen the removal of Traveller support teachers, teachers of English as an acquired language, special needs assistants and home-school liaison.  


Asked about cuts in the health service, the Minister of State in the Department of Health, Kathleen Lynch told the Dail that the Health Service Executive 2012 service plan provided for a 3.7% reduction in specialist disability services, but 2% of this should not impact on services  (Dail Eireann, Debates, 15th March 2012, 732-3).  The HSE had begun, with the National Consultative Forum on Disability services, a process for identifying cost efficiencies.  Some reductions in services would be unavoidable even with efficiencies and would arise in day services, residential and respite services.  The HSE would minimize the effect of the 3.7% reduction on service users and their families,including the personal assistance services.  

> Balance of loses and gains by social group in 2012 budget in ESRI report: Dail Eireann, Debates, 21st March 2012, 123.

> Cut in youth services: Dail Eireann, Debates, 13th March 2012, 346.