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Galway gears up for tough Budget

Tomorrow is likely to see the most draconian budget in the past 25 years and Galway expects to be hit hard by Minister Lenihan’s plans.

This week Galway First spoke to local business, political, and charity leaders to get a feel of what we should expect from tomorrow’s announcements.

We interviewed Labour TD Michael D Higgins, the CEO of Galway Chamber Michael Coyle, Jacquie Horan, CEO of local charity COPE, as well as businessman and founder of Libertas Declan Ganley and the consensus is: Prepare to be hit hard.

The common word is “tough” with Deputy Higgins’ statement of “the public are being softened up for a hard budget. Expect the Government to look after those who have been contributing to their speculation-driven policies” being echoed across the board.

Libertas boss and Galway businessman Declan Ganley added, “I expect it to be tough, but I hope it's tough with the right people. There are savings to be made if we tackle Government waste.”

Jacquie Horan of Cope added she expects the most vulnerable to be hit the hardest. “Given the tough economic times and all the commentary over the past number of weeks we are expecting this to be a very tough budget in contrast to the generous budgets of recent years. While we appreciate that the Minister has to take tough decisions we hope that any changes will be targeted at those with the greatest ability to pay.”

Ordinary people in Galway and throughout the country are also expected to be hit hardest by tomorrow’s budget.

When asked how the plan will affect the average citizen, Galway Chamber CEO Michael Coyle said, “ I hope the Minister will protect the more vulnerable in society including the lower paid workers and those on social welfare, however, I believe income taxes and taxes on ‘the old reliables’ will be increased.”

Deputy Higgins said the ordinary person will “most likely [be affected] through indirect taxes - stealth taxes - and cuts in essential public services with charges introduced or, indeed, increased for what should be universally available”, while Jacquie Horan of Cope predicted more and more people losing their homes after tomorrow’s announcements

“Making ends meet on a day to day basis will be difficult and near impossible for an increasing number of people as income levels stay the same or decrease while living costs increase. Unfortunately there will be an increase in the number of people in housing difficulty due to them defaulting on mortgage and rent payments with a resultant increase in homelessness.”

 

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