Francis Lawlor reading The Budget

The Budget

by Francis Lawlor

The problem with any budget is that everyone cannot be satisfied. Following the madness of the Celtic Tiger years, 1994 to 2008, and the collapse of the economy in September 2008, it follows that under the subversion of the bailout and the presence of the Troika every budget that followed since 2008 would mean that there would be more losers than winners, and Budget 2013 was no exception.

The people over sixty-five appear to be hit more this time [sound of people protesting]. The telephone allowance is gone. As regards medical cards the tariff on medicines has been increased sharply and medical cards are being taken off people more and more. Regarding the telephone allowance [sound of telephone ringing] being axed this is not good because the telephone landline is necessary to activate a personal alarm which many elderly people have, especially in rural areas. Despite the fact that cellular phones [sound of telephone ringing] are now so widely in use, older people cannot use them with ease in a lot of cases because the numbers on the phone are too small.

The people over sixty-five, up to now, have not felt the worst of the budget cuts years ago while all other sectors have. Five years ago, 25,000 elderly people demonstrated in Dublin against the then budget cuts and this time there was a demonstration of a similar type but only 12,000 took part.

It's very easy to be critical but sitting down as a group of government ministers with their advisors can be very daunting and making cuts and how to spread them fairly is a colossal task. Of course people will say we shouldn't be in this grave position in the first place but for the previous Government. Whether Fianna Fáil or the world economic order is to blame is in question, but the fact is we are where we are. It's a fact we have all these taxes now: Property, Second Home, Water, Medical Card, Medicine Tariff [sound of people protesting] and many other taxes are here for a while anyway. Governments during recession raise money by adding or introducing taxes and by cutting back on existing state benefits in order to have money to run the country.

Short of a revolution and the establishment of a new order and system of Government I cannot see any other way out of this country's dilemma.

 

Recorded at Kevin Street Library Creative Writing Group, facilitated by Orla Ní hAonigh.
Sound effects by David McKeever

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