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Budget fallout

•Listening to Public Expenditure Minister Brendan Howlin and Taoiseach Enda Kenny this week slaughtering the English language by turning the meaning of words such as "fair" and "just" upside down, Shakespeare came to mind: "I can suck melancholy out of a song, as a weasel sucks eggs."

And for someone who is taking a public salary exceeding €100,000 to condemn the most vulnerable to more "hungry days" and even greater fuel poverty is an act of breathtaking hypocrisy.

No amount of spin, no matter how costly, will alter that fact.

Jim O'Sullivan
Rathedmond, Co Sligo

•We are at war, an economic war, where the wounded, the most vulnerable in society, those on the front line, were blitzed with severe austerity cuts in the Budget.

We are on the outside looking in at our commanders eating and drinking in the warmth of big open fires while the walking wounded starve and freeze and the sick get sicker.

The disabled need bigger crutches to lean on but our hospitals, schools, and nursing homes will be forced to close their doors and turn away the wounded as they arrive injured after such a harsh Budget -- and all because of their commanders in the EU the IMF.

The ECB and Germany/ France gave their footsoldiers in Ireland the orders to save the bondholders and banks first, then put up the "Your Country Needs You" poster during the Budget to bail out those at the top who caused the economic war.

We must fight back because this war is set to continue for years to come and we will pay a heavy price.

Kathleen Ryan
Springfield, Tallaght, Co Dublin

•The Budget cut in the Lone Parent allowance must be one of the cruelest cuts of all.

Social Protection Minister Joan Burton says that she wants to encourage women to get back into the workplace, yet the facts don't add up.

In 2009, 90,484 people were in receipt of the one-parent family payment, according to the Central Statistics Office.

Of these, 56pc were claiming for one child. Ninety eight percent of recipients were women. Sixty percent were in employment. Of these, most women work part-time, while most male lone parents work full-time.

Lone parents often experience difficulty in finding work, education and training opportunities because of the lack of good quality, affordable childcare and after-school care.

The minister claims she wants women back in the workplace, yet there are more than 400,000 people unemployed.

Please, minister, explain the logic to this.

Paul Doran
Clondalkin, Dublin 22

•Sean Fleming (FF) described the Budget as "a triumph of spin over substance".

Congratulations for such an entertaining catchphrase. I'm sure it gladdened the heart of many a citizen in financial dire straits and made them forget about the terrible future they face as the direct result of Fianna Fail's tenure in government over the past decade.

Perhaps you will also come up with just as entertaining a catchphrase to describe Fianna Fail's utter incompetence, corruption, criminal irresponsibility and treacherous negligence of such magnitude that it is they who created this financial destruction and national bankruptcy.

As I see it, Mr Fleming should either come up with a funny catchphrase to describe his party's behaviour or apologise to the Irish people for its crass stupidity, ignorance and contempt for the Irish citizen.

Empty words from any member of the Fianna Fail party is an insult to every citizen of this nation.

Until the Fianna Fail Party is suitably punished for its role in Ireland's destruction, at least some lighthearted banter will alleviate pressing matters.

I eagerly await your creative reply.

Lou Gogan
Saula, Achill, Co Mayo

•The Budget cuts will not affect those who are comfortably off and in good health. Those who are not comfortably off and/or are in poor health will feel the effects.

A flawed euro and a bullying bailout strategy from our 'friends' in Europe and the American Treasury have placed unfair burdens on a small island, but there is no excuse to pass this burden to the most vulnerable among us.

The ECB has a case to answer -- its mandate is to control inflation.

Control of interest rates is in the hands of the ECB and so the normal mechanism to slow down our 'boom time' was out of our hands and there was unprecedented inflation in the construction and housing markets here in Ireland.

Centralisation of interest rate control led to toothless regulation, a toothless Irish Central Bank and a government devoid of the usual mechanism of control. The ECB failed to do its job.

Balance of payment rules alone will not prevent this happening again.

As long as interest rates are set to suit the bigger economies and the ECB is not taken to task for gross failure to live up to its mandate, we are on a merry-go-round and are vulnerable to repeated cycles of appalling debts in an unregulated eurozone banking system.

Caitriona McClean
Lucan, Co Dublin

•Those in power should remember that while most young people have the option of keeping themselves warm with a bit of brisk exercise -- increased fuel and food poverty will inevitably 'cull' many additional frail elderly people.

Beware of the Budget inadvertently becoming a butcher's block for the sick and vulnerable.

George MacDonald
Gorey, Co Wexford

•Taoiseach Enda Kenny's state-of-the-nation speech was memorable for its immemorability -- if there is such a word.

Yet I cast my mind back to former Taoiseach Charles Haughey's famous "we must tighten our belts" speech in January 1980.

Everybody of that generation remembers that speech and its deliverance, although it was given nearly 32 years ago.

Despite his history, the man certainly had the X factor. Enda, I liked the tie.

Aidan Hampson
Whitethorn Rise, Artane, Co Dublin

Irish Independent