“The good times are over and we all have to lower our expectations in the interest of the common good.” That’s according to South Kilkenny Fianna Fáil TD Bobby Aylward, who this week issued a wake-up call to his constituents and the wider electorate.

“We have to get it home to everyone that we are actually in a recession. We are all finding it difficult to accept that the soft times are gone and we have to live within our means. The same logic applies to the Government. Because tax revenues have fallen drastically, the spending priorities have to be altered”, Deputy Aylward said.

Addressing a meeting of party members, he stressed: “The Government has a mandate to manage the public finances and now is the time for every politician to show some moral fibre and leadership. This is not a time to be populist or to play politics with the economy. We all need a strong dose of reality and we just have to recognise that some unpalatable medicine will have to be swallowed sooner rather than later.”

The Hugginstown/Ballyhale man added: “People have to recognise that it is not possible to give in to every sectional interest. The situation demands tough action and we have to take the corrective measures now. The fact is we have less money in the public purse so there is less money to go around on everyone. At the same time, we have to ensure that the overall long-term interests of the economy are safeguarded”.

The Government backbencher said: “Increased public spending and more hand-outs mean more tax and more borrowing. More taxation would depress the economy further by destroying the incentive to work and creating poverty traps; increased borrowing is really deferred taxation.

“I think the Government should now be allowed to do the job it is charged to do. It has to govern and it must not be deflected from its course. It has to strike the right balance in its Budget strategy over the next couple of years and it must ensure that we don’t enter a period of stagnation when we emerge from this recession.

The farmer and father-of-three asserted: “We all have to show some patience and restraint. We cannot afford to be unreasonable in our pleas for special treatment when we know that resources are scarce and there are competing demands. The truth is that everyone wants to eat at the Government’s table so we should all be prepared to help with the washing-up!”

“The Government must be efficient when it comes to spending taxpayer’s money. At the same time, it has to provide benefits and services to those who need them most and it has to promote enough activity in the economy to maintain our standard of living”, Deputy Aylward concluded.