by Anne Heffernan
You might have heard me on Liveline on Wednesday speaking with Joe Duffy about my book, Our Boomtime Rats –Who do they think they are? in the aftermath of Budget 2015.
The gist of the show was ‘be happy’ and ‘pay-back time’ as the austerity budgets of the last number of years have been consigned to history.
As a Ms Jo Bloggs I cannot say the budget made me happy. It didn’t do it for the other participants on the show either, and Joe Duffy referred to all the media outlets having independently given a positive spin to the budget announcements and asked us were we not happy with a €5.00 pay back through children’s allowance.
I feel a bit patronised by such comments. What will €5.00 get you? How will this make a difference to anyone’s life?
I feel the government and the national (well-paid) media personalities offer nothing only talk, about issues they have no idea about in real life. When did anyone of them try to live on less than €200 a week? How many of them had to sell their homes? How many of them are bordering on being homeless? How many of them haven’t enough to eat? How many of them have panic attacks on a daily basis as a result of financial worries?Not too many I would guess. The government thinks it’s doing a great job in building up the economy and getting the country out of the recession – with talks of us ‘all being in this together’. The Joe Bloggs’ of Ireland are the people who have taken the pain that has brought about any gain. We’ve all been in it together and undergone extreme hardship to do so. The ministers themselves and the media personalities that interview them regularly have taken very little pain. How can any of them speak for the ordinary people of the country?
The ordinary people need to be listened to and heard and given a voice; those who are feeling at their wits end, suicidal, stressed and worn out. €5.00 will do nothing for anyone of us. So please ministers and media personalities on high salaries please don’t patronise us suggesting we ‘be happy’. To be quite frank such suggestions smack a little too much of Queen Marie Antoinette’s quip ‘let them eat cake’.