ItemBarnardos Briefing: Report of the Special Group on Public Service Numbers and Expenditure Programmes(Barnardos, 2009) BarnardosBarnardos acknowledges the serious nature of the economic situation facing Ireland at present and the difficult decisions facing Government as they try to bring current expenditure closer in line with the diminishing revenue available and has long called for efficiencies in public services that could have been implemented with service users in mind when resources were more readily available. However, we are seriously concerned that the majority of savings contained in the Special Group on Public Service Numbers and Expenditure Programmes (McCarthy) Report target the least well-off in society and have particularly negative implications for children and young people who already live in considerable disadvantage and poverty. While we understand the pressures facing Government and the need for savings to be made in order to keep the State afloat, we believe that the McCarthy report ideologically slants towards cuts in state supports and services as a short-term solution to the immediate problem. Barnardos believes that while reasonable efficiencies and savings can be made, they must be done so with due consideration to the very real impact they will have on the lives of those affected and in particular to the futures of the children concerned. As a society, we did not do enough to put in place adequate public services to ensure the best interests of children, particularly the most vulnerable children, are protected and their needs met when we had the resources to do it. To now roll back on the social welfare, educational and health/ social supports for children indicates that child welfare, rights and protection are not a priority in Ireland. If children are the first to suffer the worst impacts of the recession, we cannot maintain that as a society we have their best interests at heart or have truly taken children’s rights seriously. ItemBarnardos Analysis of the Programme for Government(Barnardos, 2011) BarnardosThe Programme for Government presented by Fine Gael and Labour aims to build a new Ireland built on fairness and equal citizenship where the vulnerable are protected and the burden sharing will be done on an equitable basis. Overall, Barnardos welcomes many of the proposals in the Programme for Government. Like all policy proposals, their merit is only seen when implemented, so Barnardos urges this new Government to live up to the old adage that ‘actions speak louder than words’, as they lead Ireland out of recession.