Even before Greece’s economic crisis engulfed his own home, Dimitris Gasparinatos found it hard to provide for his six sons and four daughters. His wife, Christina, who was struggling to make ends meet with his salary of €960 (£800) a month and welfare aid of about €460 every two months, was unhappy and desperate.
Deep in debt, the couple owed money to the butcher, baker and grocer – the very people who had kept them going in the port of Patras, west of Athens. In their tiny flat, the family slipped increasingly into a life of squalor.
“Psychologically we were all in a bit of a mess,” said Gasparinatos. “We were sleeping on mattresses on the floor, the rent hadn’t been paid for months, something had to be done.”
And so, with Christmas approaching, the 42-year-old took the decision to put in an official request for three of his boys and one daughter to be taken into care.
I wonder if we’ll see the same thing here, when the inevitable hits?
If so, I do expect we’ll see the same excuses:
“People are going hungry, families are breaking up, instances are mounting of mothers and fathers no longer being able to bring up their own kids,” said Ilias Ilioupolis, general secretary of the civil servants’ union ADEDY. “Until now there has been a conspiracy of silence around the tragic effects of the austerity measures the IMF and EU are asking us to take.”
‘Austerity measures’ are never necessary if you live within your means. And if you have a large family that can only be supported by welfare payments, are you really ‘living within your means’?