The man next door is not your enemy – a rant on the side of the people
The man next door is not your enemy. He may well be in receipt of many hundreds of welfare money and reliefs each week, but he is not your enemy. The young girl who has a baby to ‘get ’a house is not your enemy. Would you wish that lifestyle choice on your sister, daughter, or friend? The chap doing the nixers and claiming the dole is not your enemy. People make choices but often choices are forced on them. It could be accident of birth, education or geographical location. It could be as result of job loss, divorce or bereavement. It could be the school you went to, the kids you hung out with, or what your parents did. It could a desire to follow a dream, or conversely inertia and laziness. It could be because you fell in love in final year, broke up in final year, or could not find love in final year. It could be the books you read, the books you hoped to read, or more importantly the books you never read. It could be the songs sung to you in the cradle, the songs you hummed as a child, or the songs you […]Continue reading
I’ve hit Rock Bottom and I’m Really Happy
It’s official. In November I hit rock bottom. The bailiffs came to my office to seize my goods. Only they gave me a stay of execution for a week. I have to say it was the toughest week of my life: the toughest week in a run of five years of very tough weeks. I am glad to say that on that Friday in November the stay was extended and the threat removed. I am glad to say my eldest daughter does not need to leave school and get a job as a groom to support her broken mother. I am so very glad to see the back of that week. And I’m even better than glad, I’m actually really happy because I have hit rock bottom and as everyone knows, once you hit the bottom, the only way is up. Over the past five years I have hit so many lows, you’d have thought I was limbo dancer trying desperately to get under that bar. And each time, it moved a little lower. I’m pretty flexible and springy but there is a limit, and even elastic can snap. So, when I went into meltdown during that terrible week, my […]Continue reading
Debt Becomes Her
At the end of last year, as the debate over our national indebtedness continues, there was a horrific story that hit the headlines: A professional Irish man who had lost his job and was currently unemployed, was struggling to pay his mortgage. And in struggling to pay his mortgage, he was neglecting to feed his children. The story grew even more terrible as it transpired he found his daughter in her bedroom chewing on cardboard from a cereal packet to stave off the hunger. This story is frightening from so many perspectives that it is hard to know where to begin. One really scary point is that it is being told in modern Ireland. This was not, when I last looked, a Third World country with no infrastructure, no police force, and no welfare state. This is a country that recently entertained the Queen and the President of the United States of America. We spent millions on security, on entertainment, on promoting the visits but they went without hitch and even with a fair degree of pride. In terms of keeping up with the Joneses, we were right up there. Is feider linn we all repeated after the O’Bama from […]Continue reading
How do you find the middle?
Bang in the Middle! Jillian Godsil became divorced. Her ex husband became bankrupt and she was left with a million euro mortgage on a house worth half that. This is her story about being in the middle. How do you know when you are in the middle? Is it by age, experience or weight? As the Ardal O’Hanlon joke goes, everyone wants to know your weight at birth but no one wants to know at death. So how can we tell where we are? Age is equally arbitrary; genes and luck count in unequal amounts; some of the healthiest people I know have been struck down in car accidents, lives wrenched horribly short. Or do the gods wait for us to complete our own personal bucket list? And what if we are too conservative or wildly over-optimistic? Does that have any bearing on what we get to finish and can we keep on topping that list up every year if we are lucky enough to reach those ambitions? I am hoping I am only at the middle. It feels a bit like Peter Pan and Tinkerbell: she may have pleaded for everyone to believe in fairies; I […]Continue reading
Raheengraney House – an Historic Story from the Future (fiction)
It is the year of the Green Gods 3011 and I am named Seth. I am in my final year of Home Schooling: next year I will join my brothers on the Mars Satellite for a three year rotation. The rotations are getting longer as we run out of oxygen here on earth. The planting decrees came too late and only small bubbles of breathable gases are still found on earth, Ireland being one such bubble. As it our custom when we leave a planet, we must write a leave taking. My tutors have explained that each leave taking should be viewed as a final, standalone account. Just in case we have a final, final conflict, and yes the irony is not lost on me. People once wrote on parchment, then on paper and the printing press seemed to create a lasting legacy. But of course parchment can turn to dust and books can be burnt or lost in floods. Then people believed that what was written on the internet would live for ever, but this too turned out to be false. If you have no computers, there is no internet and data cannot remain suspended forever, and for many […]Continue reading
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