I live in Galway, my children attend a local school, a school that they are very happy in. I am a full time student in NUIG.
I have just received a letter from the Department of Social Protection informing me that the rent limits for people who receive rent allowance are to be reduced, and the letter suggests either persuading my landlord to reduce the rent, or move home. We have been given until June 30 to move, the day after our children finish school for the summer. Six weeks and one day from receipt of the letter.
On receipt of the letter from the Department, I asked my landlord to reduce the rent, but he said he would not pay the Government debts. He pointed out that if he grants a reduction this year, he will be asked to reduce it again next year. He also told me not to bother asking if I could pay the difference in the rent (this I had not done).
After this I started looking on the internet and the Galway Advertiser for alternative accommodation. There are no houses for rent that would suit us and, within the new limits, anywhere near this area. Faced with this we have few options: 1 - We could stay in our home where we are happy, have nice neighbours and have access to both the children’s school and NUIG (unfortunately without rent allowance we would starve); 2 - We could move away from this area, uproot our children from school, and I could quit college. This is the outcome of leaving the area because I walk to and from college and it would not be feasible to make that journey if it were longer.
In Irish history there was a time when families were uprooted from their homes. This Government is not so crude as dragging families out of their homes and burning the houses to ensure the families cannot re-enter. No, this Government sends a nice letter giving families six weeks to move or watch their children starve. This Government gives choices but, just like days of old, this Government is willing to ghettoise people. This Government is willing to turf families out of their homes, their schools, their communities. Like governments and invading countries of old, this Government does not care about the people. I understand clearly that the country is in debt. I also understand that most of the people in the country have to tighten their belts, but is forcing families into not only the poverty they have found themselves in, but out of their homes, their communities the answer? It destroyed families many years ago and it will do the same again.
I voted in the last election for change I have found myself in the worst crisis I can imagine.
Name and address with editor.