Collective Ireland

Collective Ireland:

The Long Road to Irish Water

(a reminder to remember)

In September 2008 the Irish government guaranteed all debts and deposits of Ireland’s six main banks, making without permission from the electorate, a mistake that in November 2010 saw the government, again without permission from the people, obtain an 85 billion euro loan from the ECB/IMF. This loan was granted on the understanding that the people of Ireland would repay it. Since then, and following six austerity budgets the numbers tell us how your government is repaying a loan taken out in your name, without your permission for a crisis that you did not cause.

The rate of unemployment is hovering at 12% with nearly 400,000 people on the live register. This does not take into account the fact that over 3000 people a month are being left with no option but to abandon their homes and communities for a chance to start over again elsewhere. Nor does it account for the fact that there are nearly 100,000 less jobs available today than there was 3 years ago.

At 22.5% there was a 10% increase from 2008 to 2010 alone in the number of Irish people suffering serious material deprivation. That’s very nearly a quarter of the population. The rate of suicide in the country has increased to the extent that there are over two suicides per day.

This is a direct result of a loan taken out in your name.

Successive governments have broken promises and lied to the electorate, all the time squeezing harder to extract maximum restitution from the public for the 85 billion euro loan that you are being held responsible for.

This is how efficient they have been in doing this.

In 2008 there was a 1-2% levy introduced on all incomes. Taxes were raised as expected. In 2009 social welfare payments were cut by 4%, child benefit was cut by 16 euro per month and public sector pay was cut by 5-10%. The universal social charge was introduced. In 2010 child benefit was cut by a further 10 euro and social welfare payments, disability allowance and jobseekers allowance were all cut by 8 euro. Student fees were raised by 500 euro. In 2011 new indirect taxation secured 1 billion euro for the government. The household charge was introduced while across the country funding to community and voluntary groups was cut by an average of 45%. The cuts to child benefit in 2012 worked out at 696 euro per year to a family with four children. The back to school allowance was cut by 33% per child and maternity benefit was made taxable. Cancer patients were made to pay 75 euro per day to access chemotherapy treatment, the prescription charge trebled, the cap on medication costs was raised by 24 euro a month and a 19% cut was made to the annual respite care allowance. Student fees were raised by 250 euro a year for at least the next three years and access to dole and PRSI payments was reduced from twelve months to nine months.

In 2013 the property tax was introduced with a measure that allows the revenue service to forcibly remove money from the bank accounts of those unable or unwilling to pay; it also allowed local authorities, from 2015, to vary property tax by up to 15% of the original rate. There were no changes to tax rates, tax credits or tax bands, but the reduced rate of universal social charge applied to citizens over 70 ceased to apply on an income over 16,016 euros; the PRSI exemption of 127 euros was abolished at a cost of 5 euros a week to a worker. The annual minimum PRSI contribution for self-employed workers almost doubled in 2013 to a total of 500 euros per year – a 247 euro increase. Maternity benefits were made taxable and child benefit payments faced a reduction of 10 euros per child per month. Cigarettes and alcohol both saw an increase in excise rates and medical card prescription charges increased by 1 euro to 1.50 euros. There was no increase in excise rates on diesel or petrol, but VRT and motor taxes increased.

This year alone, through increased and changes such as those made regarding the eligibility for medical cards will yield an estimated 349,000,000 euros for the government. The discontinuation of the telephone allowance will save an estimated 44 million; the standardisation of maternity and adoptive benefit are expected to save the state 30 million euro. The unfair and regressive change to the jobseekers allowance should net the government 32 million and changing the number of waiting days for entitlement to illness benefit from 3 to 6 days is expected to save 22 million euros. The creation of 34,000 jobs was stated as the Number 1 Priority of that budget yet with unemployment rates hovering, (deceptively due to the enforced flow of citizens out of the country), at between 11 and 12% Ireland is still responsible for one of the highest rates of unemployment in the western world. Every year, the people of Ireland have to produce 8 billion euros to service the interest alone on that debt you have been unfairly burdened with. The average German paid 491 euros to bail out the bankers. Citizens of the U.K. have each paid172 euros. Across the E.U. the average each individual paid was 192 euros. The average cost of the bailout to each and every citizen of Ireland is 8,981 euros making Ireland responsible for 42% of the cost of saving Europe’s banks.

…and now they want you to pay twice for your water.

Do the maths.

The government that is answerable to you the people is systematically targeting the most vulnerable individuals under its protection and they are doing it in your name. These regressive attacks must be seen to widen the divisions that prevent us from acting in unison to oust this government and introduce a system of the people to ensure the fair progression of the ordinary workers, the underprivileged, the marginalised and the disenfranchised of this nation.

Remember that as you wait to see what next week brings…

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