independent

Thursday 18 September 2014

Something for everyone: more pain

THIS LATEST AUSTERITY BUDGET IS JUST A STEP TOO FAR FOR MOST PEOPLE

SIMON BROUDER

Published 12/12/2012 | 12:20

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BUDGET 2013 had something for everyone, more pain that is. While the last few austerity budgets have been greeted with a resigned acceptance in Tralee the mood in the the county capital in wake of last week's slash and burn budget was animated, informed and most of all very angry.

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Aside from economists on the radio probably the best place to gauge the mood of the public on budget day is at a bar counter.

In Tralee last Wednesday evening there was little else being discussed in the town's recession-hit pubs and bars. And it was far more than the 10 cent hike on booze and fags that was exercising the pub punters' minds.

With the wealthy again escaping largely unscathed from the latest austerity budget it was, once again, the poor and middle classes that took the brunt and this was reflected in the chatter around Tralee's watering holes.

While the cost of fags and drink was brought up it was mainly by the barstool wags. Most others were debating the impact on their household budgets of the hidden hike in PRSI; the surge in college fees; the jump in motor tax rates, and, of course, the property tax.

Many of those The Kerryman discussed the budget with said they had, until relatively recently, supported what the government was trying to do, without necessarily supporting the government parties.

This, though, had changed for many over the last month, beginning with the shambolic handling of the fallout from the death of Savita Halappanavar and ending with what was described last week by one Tralee man as "an austerity budget too far".

Though there was a resigned acceptance for the last few slashand-burn budgets, which were seen by many as tough, but necessary, it was inevitable that the level of anger aimed at Enda Kenny's would rise eventually.

It seems last Wednesday's budget was the straw that final broke the camel's back.

The people may not yet have taken to the streets in any great numbers, as could be seen by the minuscule turnout at the two anti- budget protests staged in the county capital on Saturday, but a quiet, seething anger is, once again, obvious among the public.

What will be most worrying for the government is the fact that this anger, previously aimed at the Ahern and Cowen administrations, is now focussed firmly on Fine Gael and Labour over their joint failure to deliver the change that they promised before being elected.

No doubt this will be a difficult Christmas for our government TDs who won't be relishing the prospect of returning home and facing their constituents' deep anger.

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