Ireland’s 4.5 million people are heading into tough economic times. Social welfare payments, health, education and public sector jobs are set to face the axe.
In Ireland’s parliament the Irish Finance Minister, Michael Noonan has been outlining his plans to raise around 1.6 billion euros in taxes in a budget aimed at saving 3.8 billion euros. For the first time in a quarter of a century the prime minister addressed the nation on the severity of the situation.
“I wish I could tell you that the budget won’t impact on every citizen in need but I can’t. Difficult choices are never easy but we will invest in crucial projects like the National Children’s Hospital, school buildings and health centres,” said Irish Prime Minister, Enda Kenny.
The stringent measures come with Ireland half-way through an eight year cycle of cuts to reduce its budget deficit as part of an EU-IMF bailout after its famed Celtic Tiger economy went from boom to bust.
“The austerity measures have hit very hard its been very dramatic and very drastic. We have moved from a position of having the boom years, maybe 15 years of a very buoyant,very thriving economy and then very suddenly we have moved into complete economic collapse,” explained one Irish woman.
As they come to terms with these latest austerity measures, harsher budgets could lie ahead for the Irish if the eurozone goes into recession as the financial crisis drags on.