Allergic to work but too broke for an antihistamine – A response to Michael Noonan’s Mirror attack

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Forced by a jammed button to listen to Ryan Tubirdy this morning, my day began with the realisation that Ireland is faced with an epidemic. A rare disease discovered in the famine but still contagious, an allergy to work. The soon to be unwashed masses have at last admitted that they are allergic to labor or physical activity of any kind. A disease one avoids by surrounding yourself with privilege, denial and the blind faith that there will always be someone lower down the pecking order. Well hopefully this will continue to protect the ever struggling middle classes because once this allergy sets in all ambition and drive become replaced with a slug like existence of Jeremy Kyle and smug depression. Oh yes there is nothing like sitting in your pyjamas all day to feel fulfilled and content. Who needs gore tex runners, just let the holes aerate your sockless feet.

Poverty the next frontier. A place with a welfare map written in chinese and a promise of never ending adventure. No work, no bills, no worries! Yes with no pride, no chance of change, no education, no travel and sometimes no food. I personally cannot wait to add no water. Then the class divide will be more apparent and dirty dancing will once again be a working class anthem.

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Public perception is being directly manipulated by the media pillar and while we are aware that moguls like Denis O’Brien own 6 papers and 30% of the radio stations are we truly and consciously aware of the effect that this manipulation is having on public perception. I say no. We rant about it but the media and consumerism are such constant bedfellows of this generation that I doubt we truly understand the effect. Today The Mirror printed a controversial piece by the daring Minister for Finance Michael Noonan. Controversial but, wink wink, at least he had the nerve to say it. This article did not provide a single counter argument just allowed him his say in full. In fact he gave his own counter argument. The great fella!! I’m getting rid of unemployment lads. In two years.

Fascinating, could you tell us how, when we are the throes of an austerity orgy with the EU, fraudulent corporations, IMF and next year Ttip? Who are you kicking out of bed minister and are they happy about it? This could have been an award winning article that could have saved the Irish people billions. A two year plan back from autersity proposed at a Kilkenny luncheon. Greater minds would have been humbled, his place in history secured. Yet the Irish media led with allergic to work. In other words hate the poor, turn on your fellow citizens do not examine too closely these loosely made promises. Just turn your worry and stress into hatred and launch it at something tangible, the people on the dole. They are weaker than you. You are better than them, lets’ hate them together and while our backs are turned the real corruption, Ireland as a tax haven for the international corporations of the world, can take place.

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It all seems so obvious but this slander of Ireland’s poor is not without effect. What if you do not know any people on social welfare? What if after work you are too tired to speak to your neighbours? What if the colour on your kitchen walls knows you better than your local shop keeper? Then where do you form your opinions? We are struggling and when we are bombarded with this daily tripe it does begin to seep in. We are creatures of perceptions and are by our very natures open to suggestion and change. Allergic to work is emotive. Economic jargon is not. Without our consent our perceptions are being raped and our world views moulded by people you probably would not have a pint with. Would you have dinner with Minister Noonan? Is he the kind of man you could respect? Yet his vile contempt for the vulnerable of Irish society was mainstream news. He is in our heads and he had his say.

This man, our Finance Minister the people’s leader, responsible for economic growth and decision making in Ireland believes he can create full employment by 2018. Two years to see 10% of Ireland’s unemployed working and why not invite our emigrants home as well. Everybody will be working in two years. If they want it! Yes lets bring back the 89,000 who have emigrated and (ermmmh will we count the stay at home parents and carers as people, and asylum seekers in those detention hotels) and give them all jobs. Jesus after Ttip lads we will be rolling in it. We were joking about austerity it is over, come home, come home. Two years lads, two years!!!

But minimum wage will not be increasing and yes we the Irish “government” will continue to privatise every Irish utility and natural resource. Those utilities will now be taken directly from your wages or welfare payment, so please do not worry about getting to the post office or setting up a pesky direct debt we are here to help. Technically you will probably have a lower standard of living than someone on the dole but you will be working and sure idle hands just make work for the devil says George Bush and sure he knows. Look how he managed the “War On Terror” lads he was mighty. Sure he turned it around and made a profit for the Americans. Now that’s a leader. Do you think we should think about a war on terror or something, austerity is getting a bit stale.Oh for a few strikes to take the pressure off or a couple of violent water protests. Christ I wish IMF would tell us what’s coming next, it’s awful having to wait around making up legislation and inflammatory articles to keep people distracted.

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Of course if you, according to Michael Noonan, just want to continue the dole party like you did during the celtic tiger go ahead. He will just discount you from statistics all together because he possesses the ability to tell which unemployed person wants to work and which unemployed person is a professional con man, from the calm serenity of his office. Yes he will use his economic training in psychic prediction provided by the European Commission and funded by IMF to predict and discount an entire group of Irish people. Feck it, throw in the asylum seekers as well, I don’t think they can vote and sure who cares if they can, it doesn’t work anyway.

Back to the Kilkenny luncheon “Ahh lads it’s good to be able to speak freely amongst my almost equals at this gorgeous Kilkenny Chamber of Commerce luncheon. Social Democracy is the real problem here lads. Don’t you just hate having to see taxpayers Euros used to help those lazy good-for-nothings who can’t get work. After all it’s all about motivation. Capitalism is a meritocracy. Those who want to get on do and the losers just watch TV and buy the products we make and convince them they want. It is a choice plain and simple.”

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Hilarious but not so funny when you sit with the reality that this is the primary belief system of the neo liberal ruling classes of Ireland portrayed here today with this arrogant and casual slander. A parody of leadership so cocooned in their own privilege that poverty is seen as a by product of choice. The luck of the draw, but is it really luck? If you attend Rockboro primary school with 8 pupils a class, at four thousand euros a year, will you learn to read quicker or slower than a class of 35 pupils. If you have access to contacts in banking or government, who have known you since you were a child, are you more or less likely to be given an unpaid internship (that you can afford to take) while you make contacts in the world of finance or Irelands carnival government. If it is really a choice, then lets start everyone out as equals Minister Noonan. Make your children go to public schools. Give everybody the same wage. Yes, lets pay Nurses(27,211) the same as Politicians(87,258, excluding allowances). We could call it a citizen wage! Is your work more important to society? If your answer is yes? Why do you think so? I do not.

Then when everyone is equal lets see who wins the race. If poverty is a choice Minister Noonan bet on your child because after all they are probably not allergic to work. You raised them, so they should definitely understand economics and hard work. Let us take bets Minister Noonan. Who would you win against; if the race was not rigged?

Rachael O’Sullivan

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