The Gov­ern­ment needs to work for the peo­ple as a new year be­gins

Bray People - - OPINION -

ONCE again this Christ­mas, the coun­try’s news­pa­pers, TV screens and so­cial me­dia sites were lit up with great footage of emo­tional re­unions at our air­ports, as Ir­ish em­i­grants made their way home from around the world to cel­e­brate the fes­tive sea­son with their loved ones. Hav­ing been forced to leave Ire­land to find work, th­ese young peo­ple were vis­i­bly ec­static as they re­united with their par­ents, sib­lings and friends, de­lighted to be home – al­beit for a short time.

While the pic­tures and video footage were heart-warm­ing to watch, you can’t help but won­der how ter­ri­ble the scenes will be this week as those same peo­ple bid an emo­tional farewell to their heartbroken fam­i­lies, prob­a­bly un­til next Christ­mas.

How many cam­eras will be at our air­ports over the com­ing days, film­ing the tears and heartache as another gen­er­a­tion of work­ers are forced to say goodbye to their fam­i­lies and set off for their other life abroad? Alas those pic­tures go un­no­ticed.

It is, how­ever, yet another ex­am­ple of how our gov­ern­ment, with its never-end­ing cut­backs and un­af­ford­able taxes, has made it im­pos­si­ble for some peo­ple to get by here – some­thing that will stick in the throats of many a heartbroken par­ent for many years to come.

If 2014 is re­mem­bered for any­thing, it will be the pub­lic’s de­ter­mi­na­tion to tell our elected mem­bers what they re­ally think. The year that the peo­ple of Ire­land stood up for them­selves and fi­nally said ‘enough is enough’.

Take the gov­ern­ment’s plans to in­tro­duce wa­ter charges, for ex­am­ple. It was, for many, the straw that broke the prover­bial camel’s back and peo­ple came out in force to tell our legislators that they were not tak­ing any more.

Hun­dreds of thou­sands of peo­ple from all walks of life took to the streets of the coun­try’s towns and vil­lages to let the gov­ern­ment know that they sim­ply couldn’t han­dle any­more. They were stretched to their limit and were at break­ing point.

And while Pres­i­dent Hig­gins may have signed the Wa­ter Ser­vices Bill into law at the week­end – much to the dis­ap­point­ment and anger of many – peo­ple should take some con­so­la­tion in the fact that sev­eral amend­ments were made and legislators did back track some­what un­der the mount­ing pres­sure from the pub­lic.

As we look ahead to the New Year and make our list of res­o­lu­tions, per­haps the first one should be to keep fight­ing the good fight.

More im­por­tantly, though, our gov­ern­ment min­is­ters need to make their own res­o­lu­tions, the first one be­ing to lis­ten to the peo­ple of Ire­land.

Fam­i­lies are heartbroken as loved ones fly off across the world in search of work. Peo­ple are crip­pling un­der the pres­sure of mount­ing taxes and charges – so much so that the St Vincent de Paul has never been busier and the courts are full of fam­i­lies desperately try­ing to save their home.

This sit­u­a­tion can­not con­tinue. Peo­ple put their trust in this gov­ern­ment but have been let down at ev­ery turn, so now it’s time for those in power to turn the tide as a new year be­gins.

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