Noeleen Reilly - Impact of austerity on the ground
Noeleen Reilly McCabe/Quigley Cumann Ballymun, Baile Átha Cliath
While the well off and those who caused our economic crash have been sheltered from the worst effects of the government's Thatcherite austerity policies, the effects in areas like Ballymun & Finglas has been devastating.
Savage cuts in health, education and community employment have seen vital services like mental health, special needs teaching and even Meals-on-Wheels for the elderly being decimated.
This year alone, Ballymun Regeneration has been cut by a massive €40 million which has left the area in a state of disrepair and over 220 families stuck in the old high-rise blocks. Combined with the privatization of DCC waste collection, this has led to huge levels of rubbish dumping in the area.
In Finglas much of the main street area was sold off to a private developer with the encouragement of FF & FG cllrs. Now he has gone into NAMA leaving the shops semi derelict. If SF's pro-growth policies were adopted instead of the government's counter productive austerity, dozens of unemployed building workers could be employed in refurbishing Finglas village. This would be a win-win strategy as the workers & their families would be spending their wages in the local shops, so generating further employment.
The latest CSO SLIC report shows that the bottom 90% have suffered a significant reduction in their income but the top 10% have significantly INCREASED their income. Austerity is transferring the wealth in this country from hard working people to the richest 10% of the population.
Not only is this unjust, but it is economic madness; those on lower incomes spend most of their money on local goods & services, so causing a multiplier effect, while the very well off tend to save, spend on expensive imports or invest their money abroad. That is why, despite €20 billion in cuts, the deficit has not been reduced.
What is needed instead is to harness what wealth remains and invest it in useful projects such as repairing the Pyrite problem, which is rife in Dublin NW, and generating renewable energy.