Time for operation 'Spartacus'


Sir, – When our Government introduced the Universal Social Charge (USC) this was the point where it crossed the line of human decency. The latest tax increases and plethora of new taxes and cuts in social welfare (especially children’s allowance) are simply cruel.

Diesel/petrol, heating oil, bread, milk, potatoes and butter, the basics for all households have all gone up dramatically in the last few years. I have now run out of ways of to save money and cut back. I have not used an electric clothes dryer in two years despite having six young children only to have our electricity rates increased (sanctioned by energy regulators). I have not bought heating oil for more than 2 years only to have our government put a carbon tax on solid fuel (the only financially viable way to heat our home). It would appear that the more I try to save the more the government make me pay; this is futile.

I have spent the last week of each month this year trying to scrape enough money together to keep food on the table, put fuel in the car and if one of our kids fall ill and require medication I would have to find 50 cent to pay for the prescription. The government also raised this prescription charge by 200 per cent (or by €1) to €1.50 per item prescribed. Our family unit has kept up the repayments on our mortgage and all of our loans to date, however, following Budget 2013 I cannot foresee whether we will be able to maintain this situation in the coming year.

As a family we remain positive and we want to do something positive to demonstrate our exasperation with this endless austerity.

It has certainly come to the point where a protest needs to be made on behalf of struggling families. I propose that every family that find themselves in a similar situation to ourselves should write a letter to the bank to inquire about possible mortgage repayment arrangements available, given the financial uncertainty brought about by Budget 2013.

This could include inquiring in writing about possible payment holidays, interest on payments or reductions in repayments for a set period. I propose that these letters be put in the letterbox of people’s local bank branch on February 9th, 2013 to coincide with the announced ICTU demonstration day.

Families are not represented by unions but can use this date to join the general demonstration regarding the austerity being imposed on us. This demonstration of solidarity among mortgage customers would illustrate the level of financial uncertainty which has been inflicted on working families (or other mortgaged householders) in recent times. This demonstration would show the Government and the banks the extent of the mortgage crisis which this country faces should the current policies be maintained.

It surely is time for victims of austerity in Ireland to unite. There is strength in numbers. I haven’t given a name to this demonstration, however “Spartacus” might be apt since we have all been made slaves to the banks and only the privileged few have been spared. – Yours, etc,




Co Westmeath.