Howlin, the Minister for Misery

Poor and vulnerable treated as "collateral damage" by government

Workers Party President Michael Finnegan has dubbed Minister Brendan Howlin as “the Minister for Misery” after today’s (Monday) welfare cuts budget.

Mr. Finnegan said that the Minister was trying to put a human face on a ferocious budget which was singling out some of the most vulnerable in society.  He said that the decision to announce the budget over two days instead of one, and with two ministers delivering the content was designed to bury the detail behind a fog of newspeak.

"Health and social welfare payments have been cut by approximately €1 billion and no amount of Orwellian double-speak can wipe away that reality," said Mr Finnegan.

“If this is the first course of the budget, then people can only expect that the main course, to be delivered tomorrow, will be equally indigestible.  Meanwhile the desserts, as usual,  will be for the people at the top.   This is a budget of inequality and it seems like Labour are happy to prescribe the medicine as long as their ministers can sit at the top table".

"Families, and particularly larger families, have been viciously attacked in this budget. In particular the cuts in the back-to-school allowance, in the child allowance for 3rd and subsequent children and cuts in the health allowances attack families. Statistically large families are more prone to poverty than small families and this budget increases the pressure on those families. Cuts to fuel allowances, effectively by 20 %, is a particularly underhand attack on the elderly. The closure of even more HSE-run nursing homes again increases the fear factor for elderly citizens and their families".

 The Workers Party President said that there was not a single redeeming feature about Mr. Howlin’s speech. “Whatever this budget is about, it is certainly not about social protection, fairness or honesty".

Issued 5th December 2011

Peace, Work, Democracy & Class Politics