Johnny Fallon: Why Budget 2013 could be the last straw for many
We are not a nation of protesters. We have very good reasons for this, starting with the weather. There are also several others, the most important of which is that we rarely see much benefit from it. Protesting against a very specific cut or single measure can be easily understood, things like the cut to the medical card for the over 70s or the recent cut in services for the disabled. Such protests are designed to simply get a minister to pull back and reassess what he or she is cutting.
Large scale protests against things bigger than one single Minister or aimed at an entire strategy are far less effective. Irish people don’t believe that such a protest can or will lead to any change. They look at the Greeks, they had plenty of protests and even riots, and did it save the country from austerity? Did it stop the cuts? No.
The Irish electorate prefers to voice opposition through its elections and therein lies a warning that the state of political flux in Ireland may be far from over. The Greeks have always been one step further down the crisis road than Ireland and they have recently entered a debt reduction deal because it’s obvious that even with all the cuts and reforms they cannot meet the bill. Ireland will follow. I have always said it’s not a case of ‘if’ we get a deal on debt it’s a matter of ‘when’. The problem for the government is that it is allowing the EU far too much time before facing that reality.