Last year, The Curious Case of the Fuel Allowance gave this blog its one moment of glory. The glory was short lived - in fact it wasn't lived at all. But it did brighten up some cold sitting rooms as Mother Nature threatened the elderly and those in poverty with death.
Today Brendan Howlin took the said fuel allowance from people for an extra six weeks of the year - turning last years single act of kindness into profit for that most awful of words... unkindness.
It was just one in a series of measures which take from the living standards of every individual in this country. Unless you are established - of course.
Fairness and equality are firmly out the window as Ireland drives her citizens away in search of a better life once more. With budgets like this, it's safe to say your elected representative is not working for you. That is if you sided with Fine Gael and Labour at the election. Will you be contacting contact.ie to deliver your verdict to the one who represents you? Probably not. Most will just take it - on the chin - like Booker.
Here's the main highlights. (for more see elsewhere)
- Reduction in maintenance grants and increase in third-level fees. (protests)
- Reduction in capital grants to schools by 2 per cent. (poorer education)
- Rent supplement changes will save €55 million. (Homeless)
- Changes to one parent payments. (discriminatory)
- A standard rate of child benefit for all children will save €43million.
- Fuel season reduced from 32 to 26 weeks. (unkindness)
On the upbeat side -
- There will be a new labour market fund which will target long term unemployment. (I'm here)
- €50 to fund implementation of the Programme for Government commitments on mental health and access to GP care.
Many will say it is required medicine. They are the self serving among us. Tied to what's established in this country. Those that budgets have little impact on.
It's a royal heist. The casino where you never lose. Admittance reserved.
The opposition said little of any consequence in response. Just the same old, same old. Sounds bad coming from the mouth the Michael Martin as he attempts to lead his party back from the abyss. Will be the masterstroke of all time if they do it with Martin at the helm. But with little or no opposition when it comes to organizational power and Sinn Féin perhaps not making a significant impact with Gerry Adams at the helm, who's to say The Failers won't be back at the helm within a decade... or even sooner.
Lots of talk and talk of anger. But the conversation is one-dimensional. Those up top protect what they got - us down here... I guess we get what we deserve at this stage.
Let's not forget either that although this is the fourth one in a row there is 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015 to come as well. By then oil should be twice what it cost now. Not that half the country will care.
You can't burn oil in tents. Aye, a fine day for ducks indeed.