Thursday, October 16, 2008

éirígí claim budget will deliver increased poverty, illness and death

éirígí have described the recent budget as a direct attack on low paid workers and those less well off and vulnerable in our society, specifically children and the elderly.

The new 1% income tax levy on all low paid workers, the cutbacks in child benefit and early childcare payments, the minimal social welfare increases, the withdrawal of medical cards for over-70's, increases in hospital fees and the increases in VAT and petrol prices are just some of the measures introduced by Minister Lenihan that will have a major negative impact on the low paid and the most vulnerable in our society.

Sligo éirígí activist Gerry Casey said: "As a direct consequence of this budget, poverty in this state is set to increase. Those most affected will be children and the elderly, while increasing numbers of people will die from preventable illnesses as a result of being unable to afford necessary GP and Hospital visits as well as medicines."

"Tens of thousands of Irish families already struggle to heat their homes as the reality of 'fuel poverty' takes hold in post 'celtic-tiger' Ireland. They have now been dealt a further hammer blow by the Fianna Fail led government. Almost 3,000 people die each year in Ireland due to preventable, cold-related illness, with that figure almost certainly set to rise due to these latest measures."

Casey concluded: "This was a deliberate attack on low-income workers and the most vulnerable in this state by an administration that has consistently shown their contempt for workers and the less well off in our society. While they have pandered to their cronies in the construction industry once again, it will be children and the elderly that will suffer the brunt of increasing poverty and illness as a result of this shameful budget."