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ST VINNIES SNUBBED; Government blanks charity on cuts crisis.

Byline: PAT FLANAGAN pat.flanagan@irishmirror.ie

THE Government is refusing to meet with St Vincent de Paul to discuss cutbacks that could plunge poor families into even deeper poverty.

The charity's vice-president Tom McSweeney said they made a submission to Minister Joan Burton but she has turned them down.

Mr McSweeney also revealed the Troika has confirmed the most vulnerable sections of society must suffer to pay the country's debts.

He said: "We made a pre-Budget submission to the Government and the Minister for Social Protection hasn't even met us and has declined to meet us to discuss it.

"I wish people would listen when we say there are people now who haven't enough money, who can't have enough heat this winter, who haven't enough food on the table.

"And that is not just the social welfare classes, it is people who never had to contact us before."

Mr McSweeney said St Vincent de Paul wrote to the European Central Bank president who "showed a sense of unreality" about the plight of poorer people here.

He told RTE's Morning Ireland: "Our national president Geoff Meagher wrote to Mario Draghi on the issue and we're very disappointed with the reply which appears to show a sense of unreality as to what is happening on the ground to people.

"It said while they recognised that vulnerable groups in Irish society had to be protected, unfortunately, given the very large size of the adjustment, it is not possible to exclude even the most vulnerable groups who will have to share the burden."

Mr McSweeney said this could be the reason the Government is looking at ways to deduct the hated property tax from social welfare payments.

He added: "We would say we are tired of hearing the Government always saying we must get the money to pay the debts we have as a nation. What we're saying to them is where do you think the people who do not have enough money any more are going to get the money to pay you?" The Society of St Vincent de Paul is Ireland's largest voluntary charity body with 10,500 helpers across the country.

Yesterday the Department of Social Protection said it is in regular contact with St Vincent de Paul.

In response to a query the department sent documents detailing meetings but did not specifically address the complaint by Mr McSweeney that Minister Burton has not met up with St Vincent de Paul to discuss their pre-Budget submission.

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Minister Joan Burton
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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Nov 27, 2012
Words:421
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