Business

Irish austerity plan: Limerick residents react

People in the Irish Republic have been taking in news of four more years of austerity measures.

Job losses, tax rises and welfare cuts have all added to their disappointment and frustration with the economic situation.

The public sector worker

Marian Lovett, acting director of Limerick City Gallery, has already been made redundant once owing to funding cuts.

Now she says looming job cuts are making many people in the public sector fearful of whether the axe will fall on their roles.

"We do not know how much worse it is going to get and how much longer it is going to last for," she said.

Despite having two young children, she and her husband are considering job opportunities overseas.

"I am at a stage in my life when I thought I would be set up and settled," she said.

The property professionals

Water metering and a new property tax of up to 200 euros per household will affect those trying to encourage homeowners to upgrade, or first-time buyers to get on the property ladder.

Estate agent P&W McMahon O'Brien has already suffered from the collapse in the property bubble which precipitated the financial crisis.

With more jobs at risk, potential buyers would now have even more difficulty finding lenders willing to offer a mortgage.

"There are plenty of customers out there but the criteria [set by banks] are so severe. First-time buyers have to tick every single box," said Paul O'Brien.

"They also have to have permanent jobs."

He was hoping for stamp duty to be abolished in the upcoming Budget to give some help to buyers and stimulate the housing market.

The shoppers

Planned rises in VAT will make big-ticket items more expensive in the coming years.

The tax will rise from 21% to 22% in 2013, then to 23% in 2014.

These extra costs are hitting those who least deserve them, according to young parents Sean and Sheila O'Brien.

"The politicians should set a precedent themselves," said the couple, both aged in their 30s, shopping in Limerick town centre.

There will also be changes to income tax bands that will raise almost 2bn euros.

"As we are both working we cannot help but pay for their mistakes."

 

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