Tom McDonnell: It was good to see the Council of Europe's Human Rights Commissioner Thomas Hammerberg wade into the austerity debate (See Here).
He talks about his recent visit to Ireland and about Governmental decisions to erode funding and structures used to support human rights and protect the most vulnerable.
His last paragraphs are important:
"In a longer perspective there is no contradiction between measures to ensure economic growth and stability and to protect and care for the most vulnerable. Austerity measures which exacerbate inequalities will only postpone problems and in some fields make it even more costly to resolve them at a later stage.
At stake are essential values of basic justice and social cohesion. Those already disadvantaged have no belts to tighten and must not be asked to make sacrifices for a crisis which was not of their doing."
Tom McDonnell is senior economist at the NERI and is responsible for among other things, NERI's analysis of the Republic of Ireland economy including risks, trends and forecasts. He specialises in economic growth theory, the economics of innovation, the Irish and European economies, and fiscal policy. He previously worked as an economist at TASC and before that was a lecturer in economics at NUI Galway and at DCU. He has also taught at Maynooth University.
Tom obtained his PhD in economics from NUI Galway.