Local groups hit out at budget cuts

first_imgWHILE there is an acceptance in Limerick that Minister Michael Noonan’s budget was not as tough as had been predicted, proposals to cut payments to the handicapped were met with anger by the Limerick Down Syndrome Associaton.And there are fears that hikes to the Drugs Payments scheme threshold could have serious consequences.The ministers decision not to increase personal tax bands was seen as a plus factor.Roger Kingston, chairman of the Limerick Down Syndrome Association, described as “outrageous,”  cuts of up to 46 per cent in payment to the handicapped.“We’ll march in the streets – this country is morally bankrupt if we allow this to happen”.However, it has emerged that the Government,  following nationwide outcry on the issue, have agreed to push the ‘pause’ button.Sign up for the weekly Limerick Post newsletter Sign Up St Vincent de Paul welcomed the fact that welfare payments were not cut but are concerned about the cumulative effect of other measures.Regional president, Michael Murphy, says: “Cutting the fuel allowance is a nasty one. There are houses in this city where the only source of heat is still a fire in the front room”. Increased petrol costs, car-tax and VAT are all burdens which could push struggling earners over the brink, he added. “There are many families seeking our help already even though there is a working parent – people on lower wages are being very badly hit”.Padraig Malone, Limerick Resource Centre for the Unemployed, said that much is being made of not cutting the basic welfare rate.“But they are paying it for five days now instead of six and they have cut so many important supports that unemployed people are going to be worse off,” he said.Maire McConn, pharmacist at Hogan’s in Upper  William Street, says the increase in the Drugs Payment Scheme threshold from €120 to €132 a month will prompt people with long-term conditions to stop taking medication.“The preventative inhalers are very expensive and while the relievers for Asthma cost just a few euro, people will  buy the cheaper versiond”.And warning that this could have tragic consequences, Jean Houlihan of the Asthma Society of Ireland, said:  “Relievers are cheaper but they are not treating the condition. We have more people in Ireland suffering from Asthma than there are people signing on the Live Register”. Jim Prior, manager of the Southill Family Resource, centre warned that changes in payments to lone parents will cause huge difficulties. “Here in Southill we have the highest rate of lone parents in the city. Now, when the youngest child turns seven, they revert to jobseekers allowance but the real problem will be affordable childcare for a seven- year- old if the parent takes up a course or gets work “. Previous articleRestorative Justice Project focuses on needs of victims and offendersNext articleIncreased spending crucial to economy admin Linkedin Facebook Advertisement WhatsAppcenter_img Email NewsLocal NewsLocal groups hit out at budget cutsBy admin – December 8, 2011 622 Print Twitterlast_img

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