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28/09/2021

MEEHAN'S MUSES: Frightening figures and worrying times

Homeless figures in Louth reach new record high

Listening to an Irish radio station last Monday morning the announcer gave us the BIG news, “during the past year the world wide number of billionaires doubled”.
I just wonder why we should know this fact. Is it relevant to us on a wet miserable January morning? Are there many of these billionaires Irish?
I also wonder what are the current statistics for the number of homeless on the streets and in the shelters of Ireland.
I wonder what were the true homeless figures for Christmas 2019 compared to the shamed figures of Christmas 2017, where the following January Dail debate heard that 1,463 families and 3,194 children were in emergency accommodation on Christmas Eve 2017.
According to recent figures there were 10,500 homeless people in this land of ours living in emergency accommodation as we all sat down to our 2019 Christmas dinners.
What about those figureless forgotten, sleeping rough and dying in all weather conditions? What was their Christmas 2019 like?
Figures for this Christmas were the worst ever. They show that there were 4,000 children homeless.
I recently came across an article dated December 2017 where a Wicklow hotel in a rural area accommodated families sent by Dublin local authorities because they had no temporary homes available.
“These families arrived late afternoon and early evening after picking up their children from their Dublin primary schools.”
A full hour driving from their home city. The mother and father arrived tired and embarrassed, not as tourists, but economic refugees.
The next morning this family had no choice but to rise very early in the morning since the parents must get their children ready for school in Dublin.
Each day the same process was undergone, the same humiliation and struggle. This sad daily struggle makes us ashamed of the Ireland in which we live.

Dail Tempers Frayed and ‘Lapgate’ On Camera
During a day and night of high drama on February 6, 2013, Finance Minister Michael Noonan brought emergency legislation to the Dáil to liquidate IBRC, the former Anglo Irish Bank. Amid scenes of confusion and farce, TDs attended a packed Dáil, sitting into the early hours to pass the emergency laws for the bank’s liquidation which was linked to the deal being hammered out in the European Central Bank.
Tempers were frayed and there was a lot of shouting in the chamber as opposing sides wrangled over Dáil procedure.
The government was adamant that the legislation had to be passed overnight to protect the assets of IBRC. The Finance Minister explained he had no choice but to rush the bill through.
The bill passed the final stage in the Seanad soon after 6am and was dispatched to Áras an Uachtaráin to be signed by the President.
During the same year, there was another rowdy late-night session in the Dáil to debate an abortion bill, when a Fine Gael TD was shown on camera pulling a female TD on to his lap. The incident became known as “lapgate”.

Dreams of a Generation Destroyed
The year was 2009, jobs were destroyed, wages cut, levies galore introduced including the crude and expensive Universal Social Charge. New taxes like property and briefly water charges were imposed. Not all of these but some to save our “noble banks” and much of it to fund the €64 billion bailout of the lenders.
The ordinary Irish citizen who busted their backs to save for their retirement, built their houses or businesses, were all saddled with the bailout of certain greedy people. Not one but several generations now finds themselves overburdened by debts.
With seriously diminished incomes and little or no provision for retirement, awhole generation is being gouged and disenfranchised by the bad boys of banking.
And still to this day nobody is taking the blame for the Anglo Irish Bank and other shambles.

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