For our final piece for #13days13stories, Martin Naughton has written an open letter to An Taoiseach
Dear An Taoiseach
It is public knowledge that you have been keeping a score card on how your Ministers have been doing in their jobs. Well, I have been keeping similar on you for the last five years.
You went into Government with attitude, with ideas on getting a better deal from Europe, of burning bond holders, of making disability your number one social justice priority. Well, I’m afraid that you have fallen a long way short – you have got an F!
I will however concede that you got a C for Europe, with the deal that you made with the Troika, however you drop serious points for telling the European Union that all Irish people are crazy. It wasn’t the people that got us into the mess we were in – it was the bankers who partied, and who forced loans on people that they could not afford – we are only mere mortals.
As Oscar Wilde said “I can resist anything but temptation.” And the majority of the people did resist that temptation, and yet will suffer forever with negative equity, mortgages they cannot afford. They are not just broke, they will probably never trust andother Government again. Do we have a lot to answer for as a society?
An Taoiseach, instead of rebuilding trust and confidence, and paying attention to society, you only showed interest to those who could become ‘economic units’. It didn’t pay dividends in the 1930’s, nor will it now.
We first have to have a society based on decency, on equality, on shared values, on fairness and without fear. Out of this you will grow a very powerful economy because what grows an economy is what the world needs of us.
An Taoiseach, in your time in Government, you have taken away a lot from people with disabilities:
- Freezing of mobility allowance to all new applicants
- Withdrawal of the motorised transport grant
- Cutting Disability Allowance, Blind Pension, Invalidity Pension, and Carers Allowance
- Introduction of prescription charges
- Withdrawal of discretionary medical cards as a cost cutting measure
- Reduction in the budget for disability services
- 21% budget cut for NCSE in 2011
- Exclusion of people with disabilities from a number of mainstream employment programmes
- Funding for the Housing Adaptation Grant Scheme has been cut by 56% from 2010 to 2014
- Cuts to personal assistants
- 19% cut in the respite care grant
In a time when the numbers of people with disabilities have been getting bigger as a result of living longer and better medical interventions, with more people acquiring disabilities due to our lifestyles, you would think that we would be a priority for Government. Together, we are one of the largest groups of voters in Ireland, and yet we do not seem to feature on the political radar.
Despite all of these cutbacks, could you not have at least got a good luck €1bn from the bondholders?