Budgetary concerns are not limited to a single day
15 October 2013
According to legal rights organisation FLAC, the budget is an on-going, multifaceted process which started before October 15th and will continue to be felt by the Irish people long after that date. "FLAC fear that, having experienced weeks of rumoured cuts and budgetary innuendo, we have not reached the end of the Budget 2014 news cycle" said FLAC's Director General Noeline Blackwell.
Ms Blackwell referenced the recent increases to the cost of civil legal aid as a prime example of the drawn out nature of the budgetary process. Although not part of the Government's pronouncements on Budget Day, changes such as those recently made to the civil legal aid scheme can have profound effects on vulnerable Irish households.
However Budget Day itself also brought unwelcome news for many households with the removal of Mortgage Interest Supplement for new applicants and its winding down for many already availing of this critical support. This announcement came in Minister Burton's social protection briefing rather than in the set piece speeches.
FLAC did welcome the allocation of funds for the residents of Priory Hall.
FLAC has highlighted the lack of transparency surrounding the budgetary process in the past and has urged the government to use human rights based standards to ensure a basic level of dignity for all. FLAC's public interest law project PILA and the Equality Budgeting Campaign are co-sponsoring an innovative event for organisations on Thursday 17 October to promote the widespread use of human rights budgeting and equality budgeting.
"We hope that Budget 2014 is the final budget shrouded in secrecy and that future processes involve some of the suggestions that FLAC and other civil society groups have raised, such as social impact assessments, minimum income standards and regular consultation," commented FLAC Policy and Advocacy Officer, Yvonne O'Sullivan.
- FLAC (Free Legal Advice Centres) is a human rights organisation which exists to promote equal access to justice for all. As an NGO, FLAC relies on a combination of statutory funding, contributions from the legal professions and donations from individuals and grant-making foundations to support its work.
- We offer basic legal information through our telephone information line and free legal advice through a network of 80 volunteer evening advice centres. FLAC also campaigns on a range of issues including personal debt, fairness in social welfare law, public interest law and civil legal aid.
- More information on the PILA/Equality Budgeting event on 17 October is available on FLAC's website.
- Additional information on Budget 2014 is available online.
- FLAC's recent press release on the changes to civil legal aid is available online.
- You can read more about accessing the civil legal aid system, including the difference between civil and criminal legal aid, in FLAC's information sheet.