There is an awful lot spoken about this but what it actually contains is a lot harder to find.
I have just read in the Irish Times that the following measures were introduced last night:
Retirement age increased from 65 to 67 from January 1st
Pensioners and public servants to lose bonus of two extra monthly payments at Christmas, Easter, summer
Public utility employee pay slashed by 30-35%
Cut of 5-15% on pensions above €1,000
Special salaries paid to army, police, judiciary, professors, bishops and state doctors cut by 2-30%
Cap on severance pay and reduction of workplace notice
Minimum monthly wage of €580 (€511 for under 25s) frozen until 2016
Deregulation of taxi, haulier and other closed professions
Disability, child and unemployment benefit linked to family income
With the exception of the third item on that list is the budget really that draconian? The way it has been reported is that this is the third in a line of harsh budgets. One would have thought that by this stage the "low hanging fruit" would have been dealt with and that the measures to be introduced would be exceptionally harsh. Certainly as a Minister for Finance I think I would already have stopped "bonus" social welfare payments in the first budget, not the third, and means testing unemployment and child benefits is already done elsewhere. Just what did the other 2 budgets actually do if its only now they are getting around to deal with these items?