‘The people who get up for work every morning get nothing’: Readers on Budget 2021

The Irish Times asked you for your reaction to the budget. Here’s what you had to say

K. James Donahue: ‘I’ve had to stop teaching a Tai Chi class at a day centre for older people, as well as teaching a music class at a school.’

K. James Donahue: ‘I’ve had to stop teaching a Tai Chi class at a day centre for older people, as well as teaching a music class at a school.’


Following the announcement of Budget 2021 on Tuesday, The Irish Times asked readers for their reaction - what was in it for them, if anything? Here is a selection of the responses we received.

‘I am better off unemployed’

I am appalled by Budget 2021. I am an airline employee with two children, a single mother who has worked all of her life. My hours have been reduced drastically. I am normally on a 26-hour contract, which was reduced to 20 hours because of Covid-19. My contract gets renewed every year and has cut by half, so I now am only employed 10 hours a week. My total take home pay is now €363 a week. If I was completely unemployed I would be receiving €350 a week, a double payment at Christmas and fuel allowance. I am better off unemployed, it’s shocking to say. I am actively looking for a second job because I had bills and loans based on my previous normal salary. I cannot survive on this, and Christmas is looking impossible. - Fiona Sheehan, Co Cork

‘Many older citizens still work as a financial necessity’

When the Covid-19 payments came into practice last spring, those of us over 66 who lost their jobs were not entitled to any help or payment. Many of us who have only the State contributory pension find it necessary to supplement that weekly payment with part-time work. I’ve had to stop teaching a Tai Chi class at a day centre for older people, as well as teaching a music class at a school. If you have to pay rent (even with the help of the housing assistance payment) and even with the help of fuel allowance, it barely adds up if you are living just on the State pension. I am 70 years old, and thankfully in good health. But I think it should be understood that many of us older citizens still work - not as a hobby, but as a financial necessity. The current budget continues to fail to take our circumstances into consideration. - K. James Donahue, Dundalk

‘I will be financially crippled this winter’

This is second year in a row that people on invalidity pensions have not had an increase. I, at the age of 65, do not qualify for the heating scheme as my daughter, who is unemployed, and granddaughter live with me. I have severe arthritis, shortness of breath and an underactive thyroid, which affects my body temperature. I am still paying off my heating from last winter, at €102 per month. I will be financially crippled this winter. - Maryna Kriel, Co Dublin

‘The people who get up for work every morning get nothing’

Absolutely disappointed and angry with this budget, yet again those who contribute the least to the country get the most while the people who get up for work every morning get nothing but more expensive bills. - John Ryan, Limerick

‘Childcare workers are undervalued, underpaid and obviously forgettable’

The Early Childhood Sector are the frontline workers who reopened their services to reopen the trade and economy of this country during a pandemic. Consistent governments continue to undermine our profession. We are undervalued, underpaid and obviously forgettable. This budget added insult to injury with a big fat zero to our sector. Millions for a prison in Limerick, while research has proven that investing in the early years will keep people out of prison, they are more likely to be working, paying taxes, in stable relationships etc. €1 invested saves €7 in the future. What part do the Government not get? - Mag Coogan

‘Tax-paying renters are completely ignored’

I am a working, income tax paying renter in the millennial generation. Like most of us, I had been hoping for some income tax and/or USC respite since 2011 when promised by Fine Gael. In addition, rents have been growing every year for the last eight years and it feels like I’m getting less for my working efforts. It is again dismaying that income tax-paying renters are completely ignored. There was absolutely nothing for us in this budget. I’m not a Sinn Féin voter but it feels like it’s worth the gamble when we next go to the ballot boxes at this rate. - Conor Boden, Co Dublin

‘I thought I would have to wait for my pension’

This budget has been good for me. I am 65 and thought I would have to wait for my old age pension until I was 67, but I believe I will now get it next year when I’m 66. Happy days. - Mary Molloy, Co Kildare

‘Family carers will be worse off’

I work with Family Carers Ireland, the charity supporting Ireland’s 355,000 family carers who care for children, adults with disabilities and older people requiring care in their own homes. Unfortunately family carers will be worse off as a result of this budget, as the new carbon tax will wipe out the increase of €150 per year to the carers support grant. Despite saving the state €10 billion each year, carers have yet again been let down. There was no increase to the income disregard for carers allowance, despite the fact that this has not increased in 13 years. It was a missed opportunity for government to show they recognise the value of our family carers and the work they do in propping up our health services. - Catherine Cox, Co Carlow

‘I will benefit from the new schemes for working from home’

I will potentially benefit a little from this budget. I am working from home, and will benefit from the new schemes for this. However, I will also lose a little from increased carbon taxes on petrol, but this won’t impact me for some time. I am a tenant in the market for buying my own home, so the retention of the substantial grant for first-time buyers would be a game-changer for me - if the Government can manage to get properties built within my price range. - Laura Farrell

‘This budget has nothing for ordinary people’

It’s hard to see how there is anything in the budget for workers. Keep in mind, Fine Gael in particular got their vote in the last general election with a pledge to reform income taxes, especially for the squeezed middle. There seems to have been a plethora of gifts handed to everyone, apart from the people who will ultimately have to pay for all this largess. We’ve got additional fuel taxes - and been told its going to cost even more to heat our homes this winter - but have nothing to show for it. That hardly seems very fair. The only bright light at the end of the tunnel for workers is the pension age not being further increased. But for many people, there is precious little chance that we’ll ever get to retire anyway. This budget has absolutely nothing for ordinary people who are doing their best, and panders to a bewildering array of special interest groups. I’m not happy. - Suzanne McCarrick, Co Donegal

‘A balanced and reasonable budget’

There was nothing in the budget for the salaried class. However, I think it is a balanced and reasonable budget given the current situation due to Covid-19 and Brexit uncertainty. - Syed Haque, Co Dublin

‘There is continuing discrimination against Ireland’s elderly’

After all they’ve suffered (and are suffering) through Covid, there is continuing, shameful and typical discrimination against Ireland’s elderly. They are denied even the usual paltry increase in the old age pension. However, child benefit is increased by €5 per week. And so continues the skewed Government attitude to old people. Old lives matter! - Edward Boland

Christmas bonus

Great to hear the Christmas bonus is going to be paid to all entitled to it. That will be a relief for a lot of people. - Helen Mullane

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