Lucky few will retain privileges while poor will carry the burden

The last few days have provided plenty of opportunities to reflect on the performance of this Government.

Enda Kenny entered the Dáil on a wave of reform and change. In the last week we have seen the debacle of the primary care sites and the accusations of stroke politics, the report of CAG and its details of waste, reminders of the monstrous awards to the inept former incumbents of the cabinet and this week the payment to unsecured AIB bond holders of €1bn.

The proposed constitutional convention is a damp squib with no significant reforms on the empowerment of local government and the elimination of parochial politics in the Dáil. The much-heralded health reforms have not materialised and the inefficient management culture in the public service remains.

It’s only real achievement has been to highlight to the ordinary citizen where they stand in this society. It’s approach to cutting the budget deficit lacks any imagination and panders to the neoliberal agenda of protecting the wealthy and its myth that the wealthy need to be encouraged to invest.

The reality is that the vast numbers of people on lower incomes spend mostly in the local economy, whereas the wealthy are busy protecting assets by moving capital abroad.

The Tax Justice Network recently reported that over €20 trillion has been squirrelled away in offshore tax havens by persons avoiding tax. This Government lacks the courage to confront this for fear of offending its illustrious friends, so instead targets the easy pickings of social provision.

This approach has repeatedly been criticised by noted economists such as Joseph Stiglitz.

Nothing has changed. The privileged few will retain the privileges, while the majority will pay for them. This Government is failing its citizens.

Barry Walsh



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