Pensioners, medical card holders, working mothers, the young unemployed, savers and families with health insurance were all victims of the latest budget. The cuts implemented were deemed by many to be the unkindest and most insensitive of the entire bailout period and the elderly were galvanising themselves in protest as went to press.
Certainly some of the measures were extremely punitive on a section of society who should be enjoying life in their autumn years but others were to be expected. For example, much has been made by the opposition of the scrapping of the bereavement grant. Without doubt, assistance should be available to those who find themselves without the means of paying full tribute to their loved ones. But it makes no sense to arbitrarily tender a grant to all - irrespective of the estate, at times extremely substantial, which they in turn bequeath to their families. Likewise, the country cannot afford to offer free services and amenities to those who are in a very comfortable financial position and can more than well afford to pay for those facilities themselves. Availability of support, particularly at a time of severe hardship, must be reserved for those in greatest need. In that respect, rather than scrapping services upon which people have become so reliant perhaps it would have been more prudent and compassionate to assess the means of those in receipt of benefit and determine then whether such payments are justified.