Compassion a priority

THE INDEX numbers published by the CSO summarise price rises quite well, but for a measure of austerity, convert them into real money.

From January 2009 to September 2011, petrol prices increased by 56% and the price of home heating fuel went up by 66%. Only 21 months ago, it cost €45 for a full tank of petrol. Now it costs €70. A full tank of home heating fuel used to cost €480. A refill now costs €795.

I reckon that if you had an annual income of €40,000 in 2010, it has been slashed by €2,160 for 2011. In effect, our Government has devalued the Irish euro by 5.4% in the last year. The annual bill for road tax has not gone up since January 2009, but it is still a shock when it arrives.

The bleak winter of discontent steadily slouches towards another hungry, cold, dark Christmas. Many poor people will again be driven into the clutches of moneylenders. The cost of living severely affects our quality of life.

Austerity measures in the next budget must be tempered with compassion and humanity.

Michael Mernagh



Co Cork

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