• Recent proposed cuts in social supports illustrate the inequity inherent in Irish society. Justifications for these cuts are based on a political narrative that Ireland is insolvent.
However, Ireland remains a very wealthy country. The issue, as before, remains one of unfair economic distribution.
Invocations of communal solidarity, ie, we are all equally sharing the economic pain, have been the mood music, despite the reality that these cuts disproportionately affect the most vulnerable.
Arguably, cuts in public expenditure are unsurprising, as they were well signalled prior to the 2011 general election. Fine Gael subsequently received a significant electoral mandate, allowing it to enter government with the support of the Labour Party.
So you could argue that these cuts are an outcome of collective decision-making, alongside the demands of the troika. This uncomfortable reality poses challenging, ethical questions.
Do we want an Ireland that gives our children and grandchildren a foundation for equality of opportunity or not?
In future elections, will we support a model of governance that allows access to public services, such as health and education, funded through a transparent taxation system?
Or will we support the neo-liberal myth of 'trickle down' economics, wherein the strong undoubtedly flourish while the weaker face an uncertain future?
Dr Margaret O'Keeffe
Mayfield, Co Cork