Sour times

I have been so angry for three years. My husband and I have worked hard all our lives. We’re both nearing fifty.

We did all the ‘right’ things. Built our home, raised four kids, paid our taxes, sorted out our pensions, never ran up too much debt, paid our bills.

My husband has not worked since 2008. I am a nurse. I am the sole wage earner in a house of six people, five of whom are over 18 years of age. Two are attending college with no grants or support save from us. Our savings have dwindled away over the last three years; spent on necessities.

We live frugally but are reaching a point where basic necessities are now becoming a problem.

My 12-year old daughter had a toothache this week. I had to make her wait for five days to go to the dentist because I had no money. God forbid if we need a doctor or medicine any time soon - we will go without food that week.

We are surviving but I am tired of making sacrifices for no reward. My wages would be adequate if 55% wasn't gone in taxes.

My older kids will emigrate. I am trying to give them the best start I can. But it is a travesty that my husband and I have to consider the same thing at our age, just to have a decent standard of living.

I don't like to complain. I pay my mortgage. I pay all my bills. I am not ‘in poverty’. Well, not yet. But it kills me to see my 19-year old son sitting at home on a Saturday night because he has no money and I can’t afford to give him any; to see my husband struggling through each day feeling worthless; to tell my daughter doing her Leaving Cert that her college choice has to be local, ending her ambitions of studying at university; and it kills me to know that any unscheduled expense means no coal, no college bus fare or fewer groceries.

And our kids look at us. We worked hard to give them the best we could. We tried to instill in them the importance of honesty, integrity, prudence and diligence at work. They look at us now and say: ‘Why bother??’

I am acutely aware there are those whose situation is far worse than ours.

I am also acutely aware of those whom this crisis has not touched, and will not touch.

The ordinary workers of this country continue to suffer the pain for the sins of the (elite) few.

My 12-year old asked me for ‘just a CD - nothing else’ for Christmas. It broke my heart.

My family does not deserve this.