We may have broken partially free from the shackles of outside austerity, but our political system is designed in a way that those at the bottom stay at the bottom, irrespective of political allegiance.
Backbench TDs are shackled by the party whip. They dare not protest and must walk the lobby on budget day to make up the numbers and impose austerity on the weakest section of society. Grassroots politics are chopped in the bud once they leave rural Ireland to head for the big smoke of Dáil Eireann.
Therefore, our vote for a TD or county councillor who cannot say ‘no’ to the party hierarchy is a vote that licenses a handful of top ministers and civil servants to do as they want.