As a broad based network that consists of social workers, social care workers, academics, service users, carers, trade unionists and advocacy workers (to name a few), the Social Work Action Network Ireland considers it an ethical imperative to stand in solidarity with any and all groups in society who find themselves further marginalised and oppressed by the ongoing attacks on essential services. The cutting of resource hours for children with special needs is the latest in a sustained and calculated move on the part of the government to dismantle the welfare state piece by piece.
Ideology is playing a very important part in this too. We have a Taoiseach who is the third best paid “leader” in the EU (1). We have a government who are explicitly condoning housing a tax haven in the IFSC (2). We have a country where the incomes of the richest are increasing while the incomes of the poorest are decreasing (3).
At the same time we have a country where child poverty has increased exponentially (4), where youth unemployment is among the highest in Europe (if we included the mass emigration which has occurred the figure would be even higher) (5) where racism is on the increase (6) and where draconian programmes like “Jobsbridge” and the changes to the social benefits for jobseekers and lone parents, ensure that people who come into contact with the social welfare system are dehumanised and made to feel guilty from availing of a system that should be there to provide a safety net for anyone in our society who might find themselves in need of it at some point in their lives.
So, if you are in Dublin, Limerick, Cork, Galway, Athlone, Roscommon, Dongeal, Clare or Leitrim (7) on Wednesday, then get out and join us in calling for an end to austerity (i.e. an end to the sustained attack on essential services) and an end to an ideology that puts the concerns of an minority elite ahead of the good of the many.
Link to original blog post here: http://socialworkactionnetworkireland.wordpress.com/2013/06/23/social-workers-and-service-users-unite/