jeudi 7 décembre 2006

Ireland, stronger but not fairer

Budget 2007 for Ireland has been revealed: more money for social welfare, health, and 1% tax cut bringing total income tax to a nice 41%...

This all good news as the Minister for Finance announces he wants a stronger and fairer Ireland. But there still lacks money and initiative in Childcare (some schools are in such apalling state that parents who can't always afford it have to pay for works to be done, creche are left to private initiative with no satisfactory state control on health and security), Health (hospitals... no comments!), transport (chaotic urban planning, new roads obsolete before they're finished not adapted to heavy traffic, a real road safety issue), and little action to meet environment protection national, european and international requirements, like promoting non-polluting energies for cars and houses through tax cuts, pretending Ireland is a small polluting country and can buy polluting credits from other even less polluting countries... (thanks Kyoto anyway...).

In terms of helping those fighting against drug addiction, domestic violence, lonelyness or the homeless, the Prime Minister already promised charities, whose role is essential, that they will have their share of the unexpected and surprising excess money (2 billions € over budget !), coming essentially from frantic economy and consumption. That's good. But isn't national action really necessary too ? The state has a responsibility in making sure no one stays out of the economic success. In fact, only the State can do this ! Charities can only try to repair what the government didn't do properly. Surely where there's money.... but, true you also need a will.

In the health area, to take only one example, I think this extra money should be spent in hospitals to provide them with basic equipment they still don't have, not even talking about new... Also, Ireland is traditionnally quite a rural society, which is not bad considering quality of life, and the state should provide the community with smaller, more local caring and treatment units. Today, somebody suffering from cancer in Waterford still have to travel to Dublin or Cork, a tiring 2 to 3 hours long journey to receive their weekly treatment... This is not acceptable. A state shouldn't wait on private initiative to give people what they need when, clearly, action is not being tacken to tackle real problems and needs, and just remain aware of it.

Well, ireland is getting stronger admittedly, wealthier certainly, fairer... I don't think so. Come on Minister, can do better... much better !

Focus: Budget 2007 on

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