Comment: Human cost of austerity

The St Vincent de Paul organisation has claimed that the Government and the Troika are not listening to groups advocating on behalf of vulnerable people in society.

The St Vincent de Paul organisation has claimed that the Government and the Troika are not listening to groups advocating on behalf of vulnerable people in society.

Speaking this week, the vice-president of the organisaiton, Tom MacSweeney said a reply written on behalf of European Central Bank president Mario Draghi to a letter from the charity “showed a sense of unreality” about the situation of poorer people in Ireland, as austerity continues apace.

Mr MacSweeney said the ECB indicated that it was not possible to exclude even the most vulnerable groups from “sharing the burden.” He also criticised the Government on the issue.

The comments were made in the run up to one of the hardest Budgets in recent times, in which cuts will be the order of the day.

The signs of poverty are all around us at the moment - go to any urban centre and the vista of people begging is all to apparent. It has become particularly acute in the cities and all relief agences are reporting an increased demand for their services.

Mr MacSweeney’s comments point up the chasm that exists between what we are told we have to do to get our economy back on track, and the effect this is having on much of the populace.

We are being lauded in Europe and around the world for the measures we are taken. Yet there is a very real human toll to all of this, and this has not received enough attention.