Austerity is simply not working and will have to be changed, a widespread view and one accepted by many including the Irish Congress of Trade Unions, ICTU, and Social Justice Ireland, Independent Tipperary Deputy Seamus Healy told the Dáil.
Jack O’Connor, president of SIPTU, the Services, Industrial, Professional and Technical Union, had accused the troika of sabotaging Ireland’s chances of recovering from the economic crisis by insisting on sticking to a strategy which had failed spectacularly in Ireland and across Europe, piling misery on working people and their families, he said.
“Even the International Monetary Fund, IMF, has now accepted its cuts are deeply damaging to the Irish economy,” he added. “It initially suggested that every euro taken out the economy would take another 50 cent out but now accepts it could be as high as €1.50. The European Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion, László Andor, has said that too much austerity is being prescribed in the current crisis and a better way must be found to ensure growth. Not just nationally but across Europe, it is accepted austerity is simply not working and will have to be changed.”
“What has this austerity done to families here?” he asked. “There are very many people going hungry. Caroline Carney, the General Council of the Bar of England and Wales, and Bertrand Maitre, the Economic and Social Research Institute, have shown that more than 10% of families experienced food poverty in 2012.”
The austerity visited on the country since the Government came into power had surely added to the impact of existing austerity measures, he said. There had been various other reports, including one from the Irish League of Credit Unions. Another from the Central Statistics Office stated more than 200,000 children in the country were living in poverty, some 500 children were homeless and 35% of lone parent families were living in relative or consistent poverty.