Fintan O’Toole: Budget must stop spread of inequality in Irish society

Covid pandemic is amplifying divisions inherent in having two different economies

“We don’t just have two economies – we also have two very different stories about Irish society.” File photograph: Getty

“We don’t just have two economies – we also have two very different stories about Irish society.” File photograph: Getty

The coronavirus has a mocking kind of hippy vibe. Even as it makes life more dreary and sadder, it daubs the structures of society in lurid dayglo colours. It makes luminous what had been dulled by familiarity. It has long been true that Ireland’s peculiar path to development has given us two economies that are socially distanced from each other, but now this is a truth universally acknowledged. Today’s budget must be a circuit-breaker to stop two economies from becoming two societies. 

The pandemic has told the tale of two Irelands in a melodramatic, over-the-top style. It is like those logos that theatres used to use, with a tragic mask and a comic mask side-by-side. 

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