As the country emerges from the depths of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Irish people are hopeful that the 2022 budget will provide some relief.
From tackling the housing crisis to funding the country’s mental health services, we’ve talked to people about what they want to see included in the outcome document.
But with Taoiseach’s warning that the budget will not have something “for everyone in the public”, there is no doubt that some will be disappointed next Tuesday.
Liz Kyte lives in Cork and teaches part-time in the MA Women’s Studies at UCC.
She is also an independent Irish genre historian and mother of two.
“Mothering two children with very different additional needs in the midst of a pandemic where all supports have suddenly been taken away has been a complete nightmare,” she said.
Liz is the founding member of the “We Care Collective” – which advocates for and supports mothers and caregivers of children with additional needs.
She said many families have been left alone to cope over the past 18 months.
“We need a caring budget to heal this country,” said Liz, who wants more supports introduced for children with additional needs and their families.
“I want to be a mother to my amazing children, and exactly that, a mother.
“Not a special educational needs teacher, ANS or speech and language pathologist and occupational therapist – all now unpaid roles are currently being forced on women under the guise of the pandemic,” she said.
On Tuesday, Liz is hoping the government will announce increased social protection provisions for families – for things like home help and paid personal assistants for children and adults with additional needs.
She also wants universal child care to be introduced, including additional needs and increased spending on services for children with disabilities to eliminate long waiting lists for assessments.
Throughout the pandemic, Liz said she felt an “extreme” and “unsustainable” role of care was imposed on her, which had an impact on her mental health.
In terms of healthcare, she wants to see a significant investment in what she has described as Ireland’s “overwhelmed” mental health services.
“We shouldn’t languish on waiting lists for years,” she said.
In an ideal world, Liz would like to see an Ireland where we share care in a more fair and sustainable way.
“As much as I know the heartache of raising a child with additional needs, I also know the unspeakable joy when we are held, safe and supported,” she said.
Ross Boyd is 22 and lives in Clonsilla in West Dublin with his parents.
While Ross would love to be able to move into his own home, he said he couldn’t see this happening anytime soon.
“The cost of rent, not to mention buying a house, is astronomical,” he said.
In Budget 2022, Ross hopes to see the government make a significant investment in housing, to tackle what he calls Ireland’s “affordability crisis”.
As someone who commutes to work by bike, train or bus, Ross said he also wants to see more funding for public transport and active commuting.
“Our public transport is poor. After 8pm it is much more difficult to get home and it can sometimes seem dangerous, even with safety on board,” he said.
Although he has a clear wish list for the next budget, Ross is not optimistic that the government will measure up to young people – but he does think it will be a more “people-focused” budget than the previous years.
“The question is who will benefit? He asked.
Christy Treacy, 75, was born and raised on Caple Street in Dublin.
He left school at the age of 13 and worked until his retirement at 65.
His jobs ranged from doorman to machine operator, to bailiff at Dáil Éireann – where he was based for the last ten years of his professional life.
Christy is hoping the government will leave the retirement age at 65, and has described it as the “human” thing to do.
“People who have worked their entire lives should be allowed to draw their pension at 65.
“If you have to work later, I think you might miss other experiences,” he said.
When Christy bought his house in Dublin at the age of 35 he said he received great support from the government of the day and he hopes to see more measures introduced in the next budget to help people find housing .
“I wasn’t a big fan of Charlie Haughey, but in my day his government would encourage people to buy a house, they would give us money to help,” he said.
While Christy has said he believes Ireland has a strong healthcare system compared to other countries, he wants to see more money invested across the board.
“They have to keep improving it all the time,” he said.
He also wants more funds to be allocated to eldercare services, such as Alone, which he uses every week.
“I think it would be money well spent, because support is needed for people who live alone,” he said.
Christy said he believes the government has managed the country’s finances well throughout the pandemic and has great faith in the leaders in power today.
“I’ve seen a lot worse over the years,” he laughed.
Ann Marie Flanagan is a mental health professional in her mid-forties and the mother of her ten-year-old son.
She is a motorized wheelchair user with a personal assistant (PA) service.
“Systemic ableism leads to inequalities,” she said, “including a lack of reasonable accommodation, poverty and abuse.”
In the 2022 budget, Ann Marie wants personal assistant services to be available to all people with disabilities, regardless of their disability.
“The government must reorganize resources to help people with disabilities live supported, independent and productive lives in our chosen communities with the right to a family, equal to others,” she said.
But Ann Marie said she was not optimistic the government would make the changes necessary to enable all members of society to achieve their goals.
“The publication of the Disability Capacity Review demonstrates the state’s fixation on treating people with disabilities as a burden on the state,” she said.