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Frustration grows as severe Irish budget looms

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This sign has been erected along the main N5 road from Dublin to Westport

I can imagine was going through the mind of councilor Louise Minihan last Monday when she pelted red paint at our Health Minister Mary Harney.

I can identify with the 25,000 college students who marched on the streets of Dublin on Wednesday in opposition to an increase in tuition fees.

And I can surmise one of the main reasons that caused Fianna Fail's Jim McDaid to resign his Dail (Parliament) seat on Tuesday.

I can relate to these people because I find myself consumed by a similar emotion that I can only assume contributed to their actions.

Frustration.

Ireland is on the edge. Headline after headline, day after day reiterating our countries problems. Our mistakes, our weaknesses, where we went wrong and the bleak future that lays ahead.

As the government prepare for what could be their toughest budget yet the country braces itself for the continuation of cutbacks, the increase of taxes and the long bleak road to recovery that stretches out before us.

Over 25,000 students took to the streets in what was supposed to be a peaceful protest as increase of student tuition fees seems imminent. But yesterday the news emerged that the Department of Education is yet to spend over half of it's annual 2010 capital budget for school buildings. Over $470m (€331m) has still to be allocated.

Last night the Department of Finance announced that Decembers budget will seek $8bn (€6bn) in budget adjustments.

$6bn (€4.5bn) in the adjustments will be sought through spending cuts, while the remaining $2bn (€1.5bn) will be raised through new taxation, finance minister Brian Lenihan announced.

The government predict that the number of people living in Ireland will decline by 100,000 in the next four years. Mass immigration as people choose to leave Ireland over signing on the live register.

The question that concerns everyone is who is going to suffer? Students, sick children, small businesses, terminally ill patients, the unemployed, the uneducated. It's likely that all of the above and more will be affected in some shape or form by that upcoming December 7th bloodbath budget.

But here are some people who won't be suffering come December 7th, in financial terms to say the least.

After resigning this week Dr Jim McDaid will receive more than $355,000 (€250,000) from the public purse over the next 12 months and is entitled to a pension of $106,000 (€75,000) a year after that. This is on top of his wage as a doctor.

Our Chief Justice John L. Murray wont be suffering with his annual pay packet of $426,536 (€304,974). In comparison Chief Justice John Roberts of the United States Supreme Court is payed $217,400 annually.

Just two of Ireland's esteemed public service employees that wont fear the wolf coming to their doors in the budget aftermath.

When I was a child, budget day signified the rescheduling of your favorite TV program. “Home and Away” at 6.30pm was replaced with extended coverage. In the nineties It was the day the price of a packet of cigarettes went up and the cost of Guinness went down.

But for millions of Ireland's children, 2010 budget will have a much greater impact on their future, as their parents, neighbors and communities strive to keep going.

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