Alison O’Connor: How did we get to a place where spending up to €300 on a communion dress became an 'exceptional need'?
WHAT do First Holy Communion dresses and the tens of thousands earned by a Taoiseach's special adviser have in common? Well, in their own ways, both point to the extraordinary levels of financial entitlement that still exist in this bankrupt little nation of ours.
How utterly daft it is that, at a time when we haven't an arse left in our national trousers, the State has been paying out up to €300 in order to kit out little girls in First Holy Communion dresses. That special payment to welfare recipients is about to be significantly reduced, according to Social Protection Minister Joan Burton, and now only given in genuine cases of hardship.
But the situation regarding the amount of money paid to other people in Irish life -- those in the gilded sectors where a few hundred quid for a communion dress would still be regarded as peanuts -- looks set to continue, with that L'Oreal attitude of "because I'm worth it". No matter, it seems, if we are one step away from the knackers' yard when it comes to our economy.