Every budget time in Ireland there is a cap tiping reference to paying back our forefathers who made this country what it is. Now, I have no general objection to taking care of our older people and especially those who have fallen on hard times or find themselves unable to take care of themselves. However, the suggestion that each and every one of them had slogged all their lives to provide for the overall wellbeing of the nation as if they were all engaged in some national struggle just doesn't hold water.
It is the sort of wishy-washy nonsence that makes most people under 40 in Ireland wonder if the past really happened at all. We're forever hearing about how much easier and relaxed life used to be in days gone by. If that were the case then they can't have worked as hard as people have done in the last 10 years.
Oddly enough you never hear about paying back our forefathers for the appalling mistakes they made, instead that is all the past, water under the bridge. If you turned 65 last year in 2005, you would lived through the 60s when educational opportunities expanded widely, then in 1977 more than half the population voted for the FF manifesto that abolished rates, car tax, and did they worry where the money was going to come from? They've made out like gangbusters in the property market in large part because of planning screw up they were directly responsible for.
I know plenty of people nearing retirement or who have retired who worked damn hard in Ireland and they will be the first to tell ya about the wasters in their areas who never worked a hard day in their lives. They are disgusted to find that their contribution is lumped in with those others who didn't pull their weight when times were tough.
For help our older people, but do it because they require the assistance and not because of some smokescreen of how it is something that each and every one of them earned.