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Meath families to lose €6.4million in child support as a result of budget cuts

12 December, 2012

Speaking in the Dáil this evening during his party’s private members’ debate on a motion of no confidence in the government Sinn Féin’s Peadar Tóibín gave a breakdown of how the budget will affect the people of Meath.

Deputy Tóibín also read into the record of the Dáil a very moving letter from a constituent outlining the effects of the budget on her life.

Full text of Deputy Tóibín’s speech follows:

The impact of this budget for people in Meath is that 36,475 families with children in our county lose in excess of €6.4 million in child support. The impact on the 62,000 homes across Meath will be €19.5 million in tax. All of which will be applied despite levels of income.

Tonight I want to relay a sample of the communications that I have received. This is an extract of a letter from a woman called Pauline from Oldcastle, Co Meath who addressed a letter to Fine Gael TD Damien English on the subject of the severe budget cuts. She copied the letter to me.

‘In case the message has not gotten through I would to share a few points.

‘I would like you to know that I, for one, am grateful to your party.

‘Grateful for the chance you have given me to learn to value every penny I haven’t got in my battered old purse.

‘I am grateful to be unemployed, as it has given me the opportunity to rear my own children and I rejoice in their brilliance. I am so grateful for you, as you are showing our young people what not to do it when they gain power.

‘I am grateful that we have no oil to heat our bedrooms as it draws our family around the open fire and improves communication among us.

‘I am grateful for the day that we ran out of bread, and had no money to buy any, because it gave me an opportunity to learn to bake my own.

‘I am grateful that the children’s allowance is cut by €30 for my family every month as it will motivate me to find more teaching work at night to keep the roof over my head.

‘And, hey, let’s not forget to be grateful for the property tax, because it reminds me that I am so, so lucky to have had the opportunity to earn a living for the past 35 years and be in a position to buy a house, a house which will give my son, who has a disability a roof over his head long after I’m gone, so he won’t be a burden on the state.

‘I am also grateful for what’s left of the respite grant, as it will pay for the property tax, not like last year, when it paid for a break for us all.

‘I am grateful for my car, as it helps me get my son to all his hospital appointments and for the hundred euros that I conjure out of thin air every week, as that is what it now costs me to keep my car on the road. I am delighted that, despite my lack of employment, I am able to contribute to the economy by paying the government 57 cent for every Euro I put in my petrol tank, and grateful for the retailers for bringing that to my attention, as I now feel I am more than paying my way.

‘I am grateful that I had enough petrol in my tank on Monday night to drive my son an hour’s drive to casualty when he fell for the seventh time that day, and for the lovely nurse and doctor who, despite their long shift, and awful working conditions, were able to staple him back together.

‘I am also grateful, our local mechanic, who, luckily, fixed my car only that morning and is letting me pay in instalments.

‘I am grateful that my home support hours, which were sanctioned again and again as necessary by every social worker that assessed us are now all gone, because if I was angry about it, it would blacken my heart and make me bitter and sometimes you have to accept the things that nobody is willing to help you with.

‘I am grateful for my good mental health, because most carers in our situation would have been institutionalised by now but I'm still standing.

‘I am grateful for my clear conscience as it means I can hold my head up high in my community despite my lack of employment etc.

‘I am grateful to my parents who are very proud to have reared an honest girl, and I can look them in the eye, knowing I am true to my word and haven’t lied to get to where I am today.

‘I am glad that I gave your party a vote, through you, at the last election, as now I am very clear on who not to vote for at the next one, and clarity can only be a good thing.

‘Finally, it would be helpful if you could take a minute to think about how the cuts your party has designed are going to impact on the vulnerable people of our society, because I can't guarantee that I will not be standing next year if something isn’t reversed and how much do you think the collapse of all the carers in Ireland will cost the state?’

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