Protesters take position as Dáil resumes
Protesters lined up outside the Dáil this afternoon as it resumed for a new term after the summer recess.
Today is the first day of what will undoubtedly be a very stressful several months for the Government, which must find €3.5 billion in savings for this year’s budget.
Given the Croke Park agreement and commitments not to alter income tax or social welfare rates, the cuts still to come will be difficult, although the politicians are unlikely to find much sympathy among those gathered outside the gate.
“The Government is using every conceivable excuse possible and they’re blaming it on the debt,” said Paul Doran, a member of the Repudiate the Debt Campaign. “The solution is quite simple. Get rid of the debt.”
The campaign believes that people must refuse to accept the growing national debt as it stands, along with their responsibility for its repayment, rather than allow further cuts to already stretched schools, hospitals, public services or pensions.
“The debt shouldn’t be paid. It’s got nothing to do with us,” he said. “If I take out a debt on my house, I have to pay it. I didn’t take out any of this debt. You didn’t take it out. None of us took it out.”
Without the debt as a drain, Mr Doran said he hopes more money could go to creating jobs for this generation and the next, something young adults like Hazel Pender (22) desperately need. She and a friend made the trip to Dublin from West Clare to voice their concerns, as a rent allowance cut could mean leaving her home and her country.
“The way it’s looking, I’m trying to leave the country, and I don’t want to leave,” Ms Pender said. “But they’re forcing us out. There’ll be nothing left in this country. No one will want to be here at all. They’ll all leave.”
With only two buses available to get her to the nearest town, Ms Pender, along with her friends and family, is struggling to get education and employment.
“The money we pay taxes on, it doesn’t go into where we live,” she said. “Nothing changes there. They don’t make anything better; we just don’t see the return of why we’re paying these taxes.”