Guest Post: The Human Cost of Austerity

Suicide is now the most common cause of death among 15 to 24-year-olds in Ireland.

A disturbing feature is the level of male suicide, which accounts for 80 per cent of all deaths in that age group. Ireland has the fourth-highest rate of youth suicide among EU countries.

Research dating from the 1890s demonstrates that the incidence of suicide and of mental illness increases at times of recession, and that suicide is linked with financial difficulties. It should not come as a surprise, therefore, to learn that we are continuing to see higher stress, suicide and mental illness levels in the present economic climate.

The potential psychological impact of the economic recession on public health is severe. People who are unemployed are three times more likely to take their own life than those in employment. The high rate is partly due to the fact that people with a psychiatric illness are at greater risk of losing their job. There is a close association between unemployment and suicide. However, even among those with no record of serious illness, unemployment is associated with a 70 per greater greater risk of suicide.

And yet the EU-IMF austerity measures imposed on this country, and so enthusiastically embraced by our new Government, will increase unemployment, eliminate even more hospital beds, and curtail the availability of counselling services for those at risk. This is but one of the results of the harsh terms of the bail-out.

The bank guarantee foisted on us by the FF-Green coalition and the bail-out from the EU and IMF are huge crimes perpetrated against the people of this country in order to save the euro and to secure the German and French banks that irresponsibly doled out money to the banking system in this country. And while Jean-Claude Trichet and the European Central Bank correctly point to the lack of governance in Ireland, the ECB itself was aware of what was happening and did not take measures to cool the situation. They have to take some responsibility.

The new Government, which is now making a virtue of having spared the bond-holders, owes a clear explanation to the people of this country about how events unfolded that led up to the crisis and about the role of the euro, the EU and Continental banks in its creation.

And with Portugal now joining the ranks of the “bailed out,” an opportunity exists to forge a coalition of peripheral countries that could act collectively. Now is the time to begin planning for a default instead of – as increasing numbers of economists predict – drifting into default in a couple of years” time. Contagion is on the march, and our negotiating position is improving. The big question is whether the FG-Labour coalition has the courage to do so.

People’s Movement · 25 Shanowen Crescent · Dublin 9 ·
087 2308330 ·  post  @ people . ie
This entry was posted in Accountability, Bankers' Bailout, Budget, ECB/IMF, Economy, EU, ireland and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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