The government’s decision to break spending rules to protect the most vulnerable is the right way forward

For a serious politician, the bad times are the good times to be in government.

If you want to make a difference, the moment you need to take the helm is in the storm.

As the Dáil returns, the headwinds of a perfect storm lash our shores.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin accepts that an “extraordinary government response” is needed in the budget to deal with the energy crisis.

But he quickly went to Brussels, noting that EU intervention would be crucial.

It is said that the best time to make friends is before you need them, so now is the moment to reach out. In our cycle of disasters, from Brexit to Covid-19 and now the cost-of-living crisis, the indelible ‘we’re all in this together’ cliché has become ubiquitous.

He called for a “whole-of-society response” to the crisis, emphasizing “sound things like public building guidelines that can be applied anywhere.” He insisted the government will help people “like we did last year”.

A recent poll by Alone, which found an overwhelming majority of retirees and seniors worried about paying their gas bills and putting food on the table this winter, should help focus your heart and mind.

In many countries it has already been referred to as the “heat or eat” dilemma.

Government should be aware that such stark decisions are not too far from the hall doors across the country either.

Some have even switched off their refrigerators and stopped using gas stoves as a result of rising bills, the Alone survey found.

Tomorrow the European Central Bank will raise interest rates by 0.75 percentage points.

The days of low inflation and low interest rates are finally over.

The government’s decision to break household spending rules to protect vulnerable households is the right way forward.

The Climate Change Advisory Council’s call for swift action to see people and communities through the cold winter months needs to be heeded.

Also, its attractiveness for introducing energy improvements in the home such as roof insulation and draft control, as well as other practical steps must be considered.

As its leader Marie Donnelly said, Ireland is facing one of the most challenging winters in a generation and it is imperative to protect the most vulnerable.

It has long been recognized in northern countries that winter is less a season and more an occupation.

But seldom has this been more true as people push harder and harder to figure out how best to make ends meet.

Albert Einstein said that adversity introduces a person to himself, but here we can do without such introductions when it comes to perseverance.

Lessons from the austerity years are still wise; but they could also be the stepping stones to get us through the inevitably difficult days ahead. The government’s decision to break spending rules to protect the most vulnerable is the right way forward

Fry Electronics Team

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