Working in the Community, Working for the Community

Press Statement :

Minister Burton – The New Thatcher

Minister for Social Protection, Deputy Joan Burton is the cause of the same widespread despair and hopelessness in this country as caused by Thatcher in Britain. Children are cold and hungry at school and more are living in poverty. The Minister’s attacks on children are equalled only by her attacks on the elderly. Just like Margaret Thatcher she is dismantling all the benefits that made life bearable for the elderly. The vulnerable, young and old are being targeted while bankers and bondholders get off scot free.

Ironically, as the government claimed to have a good deal done on the Promissory Notes, Labour Deputy Leader, Minister Joan Burton was cutting First Communion and Confirmation payment to needy families. Cuts to Home Help hours for the disabled, the old and infirm and “the gun to the head” highway robbery of the Home/Property Tax were still in place.

Department of Social Protection Circular 1/2013 gave instructions that payments to needy families for First Communion and Confirmation be axed.

The Circular said “ For 2012 a maximum grant of €110 was recommended for circumstances of religious ceremonies. Payment of an allowance in respect of Religious Ceremonies will cease in 2013”.

This is on top of huge cuts to Child Benefit and repeated Credit Union surveys that show that 1.8m families have less than €50 per month after bills are paid.

Irish citizens should never have been required to pay off international investors in privately owned Anglo-Irish Bank through the promissory notes. The Deal is like getting an extension of the period in which to pay off a mortgage but not on your own house but on another person’s house for which you have no liability.

However, the government claims to be saving billions on the deal. If true, this money should not be used to continue paying down debt on borrowings made to repay international investors in other failed private banks.

Cuts in Home help hours should be restored immediately. Such cuts are savage and inhuman. The top 10,000 income recipients have an average gross yearly income of 595,000 euro according to the Minister for Finance. It was cruel and shameful to leave these incomes untouched while home help hours were cut.

The recent implementation of the abolition of First Communion and Confirmation payments to needy families should also be reversed immediately.

People have already paid for Local authority services through general taxation. Yet, the government is forcing us to pay a second time through household and home (“property”) taxes.

These charges should now be withdrawn.

Seamus Healy T.D. Tel: 087 2802199



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