Catholic bishops call for end to ‘devastating’ austerity policies
Special praise reserved for TDs who opposed abortion legislation
Irish Catholic bishops have called on the Government to end itspolicies of austerity at a meeting in Maynooth.Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons/The Irish Times
Irish Catholic bishops have called on the Government to end its “devastating and demoralising” policies of austerity ahead of the budget. The call was made at the end of a two-day general meeting of the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference in Saint Patrick’s College, Maynooth.
“Bishops wish to draw attention to the joint appeal to Government by seven Catholic social justice groups which are calling for an end to the devastating and demoralising austerity policies that have characterised annual budgets of recent years . Any further reduction in income – direct or indirect – will have serious consequences, threatening the wellbeing of the individuals and families concerned, and damaging social cohesion, which is an essential foundation for lasting and sustainable economic recovery.”
“With each successive budget since the beginning of the current crisis, many of those we work with have seen a steady erosion of the supports that should be available to protect them from poverty, and enable them to provide for themselves and their families.”
The bishops said the cumulative impact of these factors was “both widening and deepening social exclusion with a consequent rise in inequality”. They said decisions in social and economic policy in recent years have given rise to a “culture of blame”.
The bishops also expressed “deep gratitude” to those who “showed their concern in a respectful way” when challenging the passage of the Protection of Life during Pregnancy Bill. They reserved “particular” praise for national public representatives “that did so at great political risk to themselves”.