I was in Cork yesterday for an apt. at the hospital. Came accross this protest against the austerity measures that are causing so much hardship here at the moment. The Protest was outside the constinuency office of one of the Government Party's elected representatives.
Here are some facts about just how bad thing's are here at the moment:
There are over 90,000 people in mortgage arrears of 3 months or more.
The banks have indicated that they intend to persue thousands of reposessessions this year.
Unemployment is riding high at 14.2 per cent with 430,000 people on the live register. Youth unemployment is almost double that rate at 27.7 per cent.
Third level education fees have gone from zero in 2009 to €3000 in 2012 and are due to increase by a further €3000 this year.
There have been pay cuts of over 25 per cent to all civil service pay grades, cuts to there pension entitlements and at the moment nagotiations are taking place between the unions and the government who say they need to slash a further 40 billion from the civil service, drastic industrial action by teachers, nurses, police, fire brigade, council workers is being threatened, which will bring the country completely to it's knees.
There have been massive cuts to welfare payments, down by a net 14 per cent in the last two years, with further cuts expected thais year. Child benifit has been cut, home help hours reduced by 50 per cent, respite care grants have been slashed. The disabled have been targeted with the scrapping of the mobility allowance scheme and the motorised transport grant scheme.
87,000 people emigrated last year, it's currently running at 8,000 a month for this year (it will be 8001 in April when I leave!).
All these figures in a country with a population of only 4 million.