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EU Commissioner insults Ireland's poor and vulnerable people
EU Commissioner for Economic and Monitory Affairs, Mr Olli Rehn, has insulted Ireland’s poor and vulnerable people by refusing to meet the Community and Voluntary Pillar that represents these people in the social partnership process. By refusing to meet the C+V Pillar the Commissioner has confirmed that the European Commission supports the Government’s budgetary strategy which will damage the poor, the sick, the vulnerable and the unemployed. It is totally unacceptable that the European Commission supports an approach which will see Ireland’s weakest groups take the major part of the ‘hit’ for the reckless actions of greedy bankers, incompetent regulators and an inept government.
It is clear that Government has decided that those who are rich and/or strong will not be asked to make sacrifices while those who are weak and poor will bear the brunt of the Government’s budget adjustments. This can be seen clearly when Government ministers continue to assert that they must:
- Reduce welfare rates (which will hit the weakest and poorest as well as increasing poverty);
- Bring the working poor into the tax net which will deepen their poverty (more than a third of all households at risk of poverty are headed by a person WITH a job);
- Reducing the funding for programmes providing services to people who are ill, old, caring or have a disability (i.e. Ireland’s most vulnerable people).
Social Justice Ireland fully acknowledges the gravity of the present situation which has been caused by a variety of groups including bankers, regulators and government itself. Very difficult decisions must be made and made quickly if the present decline is to be reversed. It is in the interest of all Irish people that the correct decisions be made now.
However, those decisions must be fair and just. They must also be seen to be fair and just. It is very symbolic that the Community and Voluntary Pillar of social partners was excluded from the round of meetings conducted by Commissioner Rehn. It does not augur well for Ireland’s poor and vulnerable people.