The findings from our recent report on austerity are stark.
Austerity policies across Europe are benefiting the richest 10% of Europeans while forcing millions of ordinary people into poverty.
And if Ireland and the rest of Europe continue along the path of austerity policies, it will drag between 15 and 25 million more people into poverty in Europe by 2025.
We have already seen the terrible impact of the recession here in Ireland being reinforced by harsh austerity measures by the Government. Almost 14% of people are unemployed and this rises to 30.8% for young people under 25. The people who are paying the price did not cause this problem.
Above-top: Left to Right: Jim Clarken, Mary Murphy, Orla O’Connor and Nat O’Connor at the launch of the austerity report. Bottom-left: Jim Clarken and Mary Murphy. Bottom-right: Jim Clarken. Photos: Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland
Given the early budget in October, it is vital that our message is heard. The report clearly shows that if Ireland and Europe continue down the austerity route we are damning future generations to a life of poverty and lost opportunity. European and Irish governments must row back on austerity policies now and redirect efforts towards stimulus packages to kick-start the economy, create jobs and improve education and living standards.
There are alternatives to austerity. We’re calling on Irish and European governments to champion a new economic and social model that invests in people, strengthens democracy and pursues fair taxation. Governments could raise billions for public services, such as health and education by increasing tax on the wealthiest, and also cracking down on tax loopholes and avoidance schemes.
Read about our pragmatic and positive alternatives to austerity-only policies in our report “A Cautionary Tale; The true cost of austerity and inequality in Europe” launched in Dublin on the 12th September.
A big thank you to the experts in social and economic issues who joined me in a panel discussion on the day calling for an end to austerity policies; Orla O’Connor, Director of the National Women’s Council of Ireland; Nat O’Connor: Director of TASC; Robin Hanan: Director of European Anti-Poverty Network; and Mary Murphy: Lecturer in Irish Politics and Society at NUI Maynooth.
Our intention is to continue work with like-minded groups, to unleash the voices of people against poverty, wherever they may be.