The Other Side Of Parasite


-3Seanán Kerr (above) is an unemployed Broadsheet reader and social welfare recipient.

He’s been called a lot of things lately.

“Sponger,” “waster” and “parasite with a buzz cut” to name just three.

And that’s just in our comments section.

Last night Seanán responded to one critic;

Where on Earth do people like you come from??!!! What TV shows did you watch growing up? The ones where Superman wiped out shanty towns? Where Batman invented the AIDS virus? Where Spiderman threw children into burning orphanages? Did the not-so-subtle subtle lesson to have a bit of compassion and thought for others, just go “whoosh” right over your head? Is your brain devoid of mirror neurons???

Nobody in their right mind chooses to be on social welfare (and I mean literally).  When there was full employment in this country the rate was around 3%, of that 3% long-term was around 30% of that, so 1% of the total workforce you’re using as stick to beat the rest. A 1% of people who if you were to take a minute to think are perhaps in that situation for conditions beyond their control, like depression, dyslexia, the fact that they were more than likely born into poverty. What do you think that one percent looks like and why do you think they are as they are? Do you think they all just got up one day and said “f*** this working sh*** let’s do nothing with our lives!” Even if they did (which they almost certainly did not), giving money to these people, well it solves problems like the cost of housing people in prison and hospitals in a civil society, the sums paid out are usually recycled within the economy at a rate much faster than money paid out to public sector employees or through government contracts, so it keeps the economy, especially in less well off areas ticking over. You certainly won’t get them into work if you make their dole less, if they can’t find work in a boom how they hell do you expect it in a depression when competition for work is higher?

The whole notion of “the sponger” is a poisonous myth that serves nobody but the powerful: work a job or be the scum of the earth, that’s your life, that’s your choice, all the while they destroy the economy by destroying the ability of society to create actual jobs (either through bailout massive failed industries like the banks, selling off natural resources for profit, exporting jobs…).

But yeah blame the poor f*** who has nothing beyond their horizon but their weekly few quid and the life of middling daytime TV more a kind of rotting than living, the person who if they ever had a chance to be something they aren’t never even had the wits to seize it, yeah blame them.

If the dole is so great, then by all means, go on it, congratulate the people in receipt of it for their canniness to avoid the 9-5 grind. If it’s a “lifestyle choice” then why not choose it? People like yourselves and Joan Burton make it sound so lovely, it’s most puzzling why you don’t simply avail of it.

It’s not just the fact that it’s life of misery, penny-pinching bill paranoia, that eats away at you, because of course you obviously have no clue what it’s actually like.That sense of self-righteousness “proving yourself through work”, (as though “work” itself was the holiest of activities), that desire not to be “one of them”.

Well in order to want to “not be one of them” you have to first “not be one of them” it’s how human identity works, it’s why feral children don’t have a proper sense of self, you see “them” and you only think “thieves, scum, and parasites” funnily enough people have a habit of turning into what their treated as being, it’s almost as funny as the trait people have of using their deepest fears and paranoia about themselves as the insults they most readily throw about.


306 thoughts on “The Other Side Of Parasite

    1. anvil

      I feel your pain ,Seanán.
      Do you know how difficult it is to get high quality claret at affordable prices these days ?
      This country has gone to the dogs I say.

        1. Salmon of Nollaig

          Don’t see anything on that thread other than a guy who loves his art and has the guts to comment under his own name. Try to find something worth sneering about the next time.

          1. McNinja

            Seanán writes, “Perhaps I am an idiot, it’s a possibility, I’m 31 years of age, on the dole, with a broken left hand because I punched a door after loosing my temper two weeks ago*, these aren’t the traits of a future nobel prize winner.” The * notes something about how he could have made up some story about breaking his hand but didn’t. So from this I’m going to infer that he is honest, passionate but maybe has some anger management issues. Obviously should be read in context if anyone wants to take anything from this.

          2. Salmon of Nollaig

            Show me a guy who hasn’t had ‘anger management issues’ at some stage in his adult life, and I’ll show you a liar.

            On the other hand, not that many people are honest.

          3. McNinja

            Jesus, maybe it’s just the circles I move in but the vast majority of people I know don’t resort to physical violence when they get angry. Even self inflicted violence.

          4. Salmon of Nollaig

            What’s worse, if you feel angry? Punching a door, or leaving snidey comments on the internet. I’d go for the former. At least you’re only hurting yourself.

            Everyone does stupid things from time to time. We all say things other find irritating. Easy to judge others, behind a veil of anonymnity.

            Guy’s honest, and hasn’t hurt anyone but himself. Give him a break.

          1. Iorek

            “Let’s let all young graduates off the leash for four years and do what we trained them to do”

            Help us young fine art graduates, you’re our only hope!

            Delusional entitled nonsense (DEN).

          2. SOMK

            “Let’s let all young graduates off the leash for four years and do what we trained them to do”

            Help us young fine art graduates, you’re our only hope!”

            I used myself as an illustrative example, not a sympathetic one, there’s a difference. I didn’t at any point suggest fine art graduates are going to save anything (nor would I even think that, Jesus Christ the thought alone is terrifying), the point was that if you’re going to train people in a specific field and then upon completion of that training send them out try and to get (scarce) jobs in cafés is wasteful. Exporting your graduates is extremely wasteful, you loose brain power, talent, earning potential and youth, a system where people were encouraged to do what they can, rather than “proove your sincerely looking for work” would to my mind make a lot more sense, keep young people in this country and gee, maybe help us grow some industry of our own rather than having to tart ourselves around looking for FDI with our low taxation and light touch regulation.

            It’s a good point, one I still stand by though my delivery it appears put people off what I was saying. It’s like in Ireland if anyone puts themselves across as being in any way different, it’s like that woman who got her face ripped off by her chimp because she changed her hair, the chimp thought “LOOK SOMETHING DIFFERENT! ATTACK ATTACK ATTACK!” and pulled her face off.

            Now I’m not saying people slagging me off on the internet is equivalent to having one’s face pulled off, but under the hood if you put them in a MRI scanner, I’m pretty sure you’d see similar areas lighting up.

          3. Iorek

            How exactly do you propose to keep skilled graduates here when there are no jobs for them to do? If they don’t get experience quickly after graduating their degree almost becomes null. It’s thanks to these graduates having the balls to leave that our economy isn’t crippled even further. They could stay and sign on indefinitely, wasting their degree or leave gain experience and maybe some day come back to help the economy. You say ‘exports’ like its the governments decision to send them away. These young are making the decision themselves to pursue a better life gain experience.

            Skilled science/engineering graduates aren’t like arts graduates where you can sign on to the ‘other’ arts council, twoddle around for a few years developing your portfolio, pursuing interests, writing a book and still be ok when your ‘break’ comes along. The ‘four years’ after graduating are crucially important for skilled graduates to get into a job on the back of their degree and gain experience. Mega money is involved in example engineering/medical research projects that would give graduates even basic experience. In even the vaguest terms how do you propose the government to encourage to stay, ‘do what they can’ and essentially waste their college degrees?

            If you can’t answer this question realistically this is why I refer to you as delusional.

          4. SOMK

            @ lorek

            “How exactly do you propose to keep skilled graduates here when there are no jobs for them to do?”

            Well simply put, do what you can.

            We have the dole. We have a lot of empty houses, we have graduates. You combine these three. my main point of reference would be Dan Pink’s book “Drive” which outlines how self-determinism is a massive motivator, especially for tasks that involve a degree of thought out process, more so than money.

            mark Zukerberg with the help of some coding grinds as a teenager and being in the environment of Harvard created Facebook. There’s a fantastic blog written after when the film “The Social Network” came out where a chap who was a college tutor for Sean Parker wrote how theyc ket thing that the film missed out on is that for the first time someone like Zukerberg could build something like Facebook without having to ask anyone permission.

            There’s a whole history of people, outsiders who have been given the indulgance of universities to work on engineering/science/mathmatical processes and with that time have come up with some truly revolutionairy stuff. One example would be the Dynamic Systems Collective who did a huge amount of work towards developing Chaos mathmatics (I read abou this in James Gleik’s excellent book “Chaos”). Back then they needed computer time to do their calculating, it would have been very difficult to do what they did outside of a university. Today it’s different, like the man above said, you don’t need to ask permission anymore, you can just do it.

            There’s a lot of money out there looking for good ideas to invest in. You don’t need a job persé to learn in, an environment where you have people engaging in this kind of activity, a fertile soil.

            When Niklas Zennström spoke at the Dublin web Summit he mentioned that one of the big advantages to silocon valley was that there was an ecosystem there, if you screwed up your own company there was always another company who would want your skills that you could get on board with.

            Now obviously no one leaves college fully formed and able to work to their highest capacity, you learn on the job but you can learn a hell of a lot by just plowing into it on your own (I might not be the best example of that so far, though I have learned a hell of a lot over the last two years).

            So my point was, you forget asking graduates to look for work, you still give them the same amount, you set them up in some of the empty houses and see what they can come up with, build their own communities organically. You keep talent in the country and let talent do what talent does, which is solve problems.

            I don’t see why such a scheme wouldn’t work for engineer or science graduates. mark Pauline from San Francisco would be an example of this, a man who builds better robots than MIT from scrap.

            Whether arts or science, you need to discover stuff for yourself, you need the famous 10,000 hours to acieve mastery. In a Europe where there is a dramtic demographic shift towards old age we have a huge strategic advantage in our youth and p***ing away the smartest of them to me is as foolish as taking on 370bn euro in contingent bank liability.

            I don’t see what’s so delusional about that.

          5. Iorek

            You’re all over the place.

            So your idea is to give handouts to graduates, put them up in unfinished houses often without electricity or water, and give them the freedom to innovate?

            What is stopping people becoming entrepreneurs whilst working and not receiving free money from the government and crippling the economy??

            You have this delusional concept that everybody can make it big with come ingenious startup and that will rejuvenate the economy. Well it doesnt work like that… for any idea to succeed you have to have 100’s of failed entrepeneurs around that. Successful entrepeneurial startups will only generate less jobs than people who were unsuccessful.

            How does a civil engineer start a multi-million startup company whilst on the dole? How could they possibly get someone to invest in them without experience?

            You’ve an infuriatingly naive view of the world.

      1. SOMK


        Okay well first point, there’s a difference between using a sympathetic example and an illustrative example. I’m not talking about myself, what I’m criticising is the myth of the sponger, like the myth of “political correctness” or in Britain of the EU demanding stall sellers measure grapes in in Kilograms. My personal situation and failure, including my inability to acquire a quality claret is entirely my own and utterly besides the point.

        1. Tommy

          But its not a myth. I know some “spongers”. I know all about their situation. They make the entirely rational decision to not bother with work as they are relatively happy with their lives. They have food and shelter. They have the time and enough money to undertake their hobbies. They avoid the workplace as they will feel a loss of status for little financial gain and a lot of lost leisure time. Some of them would view a minimum wage employeee in a servile industry to be beneath them in status. That would be an admission of failure to them.

          1. D4N

            How many? The myth is that the majority, or a large portion, of those on social welfare or “benefits” are scroungers and parasites. That’s total bull.

        1. anvil

          You’re welcome,old bean.
          However I’m deadly serious – the French are sending us all their muck and the shops are charging top dollar for very average claret.
          It’s almost as if they think Irish oenopholists don’t have a very sophisticated palate.
          As if.

    2. SOMK

      Rented accommodation, it’s when one person pays a weekly/monthly/yearly sum to the owner of a house, in Ireland they are legally obliged to provide furniture, which I assume includes curtains. They’re not that nice mind, just a nice regal shade of red, I did debate whether to go downstairs empty the content of my bin onto the floor and roll around in it a bit and take the picture from there, but then I thought to myself “yeah as if the first comment is going to be about the quality of the curtains in the photograph you supplied”? If the internet was that clichéd I’d never bother using it.

        1. SOMK

          thanks I’m currently on Back to Work Enterprise Allowance, been on it two weeks, have been working on a business thing, hopefully it comes off, if it doesn’t well I’ll no longer be eligible for social welfare having been registered as self employed so I’ll find a ditch somewhere (in France) with a power cable and finish the f***ing novel!

          1. ineverthoughtidenduphere

            Best of Luck buddy, taking jump with a idea where you want to land is half the battle, you will won’t look back, The world’s a less scary place when you have some control over your own destiny. you be fine,

    3. cluster

      Do you even know if the picture was taken in his house?

      I think his rant is a bit over the top but I am surprised that the reaction to it in the comments below is so dismissive.

    4. Paidi

      What I take from all this is a guy boasting about his ability to pay rent and rent a house with such lucious drapery.

      You’ll be fine. Now, go for a walk.

    5. Paidi

      Shower curtains? Now you’re just pulling the mick*y out of the rest of us truly down on our luck.

  1. Clark J Hazarde

    mad late night rambling rant, complete with cartoon references, and the size of those pupils…

  2. Tickle (Now with 100% awaiting moderation posts!)

    Who every called him a “parasite with buzz cut” should be ashamed. Dude is obviously going bald. Nothing like a buzz cut.

      1. Tickle (Now with 100% awaiting moderation posts!)

        Tell me about it. Mach 3 all the way these days. Best of luck with it all btw.

  3. D

    Any chance he could fill us in on the misfortune that’s befallen him to stop him being able to get a job. Without knowing any of the facts I’m going to assume he did an irrelevant course in University such as conflict management and is shocked that in the real world there isn’t a huge demand for graduates from it.

      1. D

        I did Engineering, I don’t know any of my friends who got good results who don’t have jobs. Sure some of us work in slightly different fields but a 2:1 degree or higher Engineering degree from any of the good Universities in Ireland should get you a decent job of some description.

        1. Sidewinder

          You’re on your own their. I know five people who did civil engineering ad not a one of them has a job as a civil engineer. One is unemployed and doing a job bridge scheme where e is learning nothing new and is definitely just working for free. another has emigrated and the others have been getting sort term jobs in a host of random areas, but none are working as engineers.

        2. Leela2011

          Well it’s not opening doors for me coz I went on to follow the ‘Smart Economy’ dream… now I’m over-qualified. Am doing other courses to hopefully get into the banks/management but so far no interest. Also applying for Job Bridges and college placements. Abroad not an option while other half has permanent job

      2. cluster

        Yup, you might struggle to get a job in the field itself but a civil eng degree from a decent university will open doors at banks/management consultancies/accoutnancy firms etc.

        1. Pierce

          So will an Arts degree in my (friends’) experience. I just meant to highlight that the job market moves, often abruptly and unpredictably. So the jibe about “irrelevant” degrees is a bit of an oversimplification.

          1. cluster

            They may do, I was responding to a point that somebody with a civil engineerign degree could reasonably say that they had no choice but to be on the dole.

    1. mickmick

      “Without knowing any of the facts I’m going to assume…”
      That’s a great way to start. Are you in FG by any chance? Or Labour, FF, SF, etc. for that matter

      1. Jackz

        “Without knowing any of the facts I’m going to assume…”

        No, without knowing any of the facts, don’t speak.


        1. D

          You do realise that was deliberate? Just like the many assumptions our friend who wrote the letter made.

      2. woesinger

        Ah leave him alone – he’s an engineer – concocting wild, often black and white theories based on no evidence whatsoever in fields in which they have no expertise is an affliction endemic to the profession.

          1. cluster

            Interesting link, doesn’t fit with my own perception that engineers don’t contribute nearly enough to the body politic partly because they are afraid of saying anything publicly that they haven’t worked through in really thorough detail themselves unlike journalists, barristers, accoutants etc.

            Then again, maybe this a black and white theory that I, as an engineer, have developed out of thin air!

    2. Nigel

      Why not assume a global economic recession is making life difficult for him? Seems like a good starting point if you’re going to go on assumptions, anyway.

    3. SOMK

      Fine, pull up a chair.

      In school I was obscenely good at creative stuff, writing, drawing, that kind of thing, but I was going to join the royal navy and fly harriers (I liked airplanes as a child) until I went to the NCAD open day figured “hey people actually get paid for being decent at art stuff I can do this” and went for that option instead, I had planned on doing visual communication, but instead opted for media fine art, as it was basically what I was very good, I graduated after five years having done one year as union president (explicitly because I knew I the kind of education you get in NCAD isn’t job friendly). I was considered something of a creative hot-shot in college, (I know how wanky that reads, but it’s true) to the point where I figured life would fall into my lap when I graduated (2006). It didn’t, after getting no joy applying for work I did a course in web design with FÁS, which was pretty useless.

      After graduating from that (Summer 2008) I tried getting work, but my designing wasn’t great (it’s better now mind, I recently did animations for a group called restartireland and hireland) and I was starting to get depressed and anxious, possibly the lowest ebb I’ve experience in my adult life, I ended up hiring a life coach who used NLP (this was 2008, I was living at home in Navan, dole was 220, which was nuts by any standard), that helped me get my head together, I moved up to Dublin in November, had a trial as a door to door charity person but hated it, hated the hours, hated the knocking on people’s doors, hated the manipulation, and focus on targets and numbers, I didn’t want my brain structures morphing into someone who thought liked that, so instead between November and February (this would be the only period in my time on social welfare where I was actively not seeking work, though I was still applying to the odd job on I bashed out a 170,000 first draft of a novel I’ve had in my head for years, put it to one side and fully focused on getting work. I went way over the top in this regard, for example my then housemate used to work in the coffee shop next to Laser DVD/Video and suggested I buy the coffee he used to drink, so when I went to hand in my CV to them I did it with his regular coffee and he looked at me as though he’d just seen his liver in a toilet bowl.

      I eventually got work in May (2009) as an art teacher under the C/E scheme in Finglas, working with children, adults, elderly and disabled for a year, toward the end of that (May 2010) I got a phone call out of the blue and set up with a five week contract teaching digital image editing as part of a FÁS course, the pay was excellent (€800 a week), so I figured “well then let’s have at this so!” So I signed up for a post-graduated cert in Training the trainer which’d allow my to do this work full time, so I made the arrangements to do just that, the course would start in September.

      That Summer (2010) my mother was teaching music in a local pub, this guy happened to be going there the same day she was teaching her course and was blown away by how effective it was. He asked for a meeting with her and she brought me along, because believe it or not I’m probably the most sensible male in our household. In the meeting he talked about how her system could be worth a fortune, he cited a company called Riverdeep, a company based on a teaching system of maths invented by a guy from North Dublin, which was recently sold for over a billion and used to teach k-12 standard math across the US. I didn’t believe him and looked into it, I gradually started to believe it, but by the time I coped on about that he was no longer going to the same pub. I decided that the only way this website was going to get done was if I was to take it on, even though I wouldn’t know a damn thing about setting up a business and have never had what you’d call a proper job in my life.

      I did the course in Training the trainer from September to December 2010 and since then have been working on the business of turning an offline music teaching technique into a online one. My progress hasn’t been stellar by any means but I’m sticking at it until one of us gets cracked, I’ve recently finished a post graduate cert in innovation and entrepreneurship with UCD and did a few weeks in the NDRC Swequity programme where I ended up presenting a credit card fraud business to a crowd of a few hundred and a panel which included a dragon from the RTE den. I’m now on the back to work enterprise allowance and redoing our customer research following the lean start up model as advocated by Eric Reis. I am currently replying to a comment from a stranger on the internet, because broadsheet took one of my comment section rants and printed the bugger up and whilst I generally don’t tick “Notify me of followup comments via e-mail” because I don’t like getting sucked into stuff like this as it’s a time thief, I do believe you should back up what you say to some degree.

      I view myself as a failure, but I’m trying my best to unf*** that scenario, you try to keep a balance, you have to frame yourself in a certain way or otherwise you end up turning your self image into a psychological cancer. I don’t want pity, the thought makes me wince, I couldn’t give a a gnat’s nutsack what you think of me, I am in many many ways a thorough and unconscionable eegit of Olympian standards, but I think the lazy view people have of the unemployed is ridiculous (in case you missed the weekend before last another sponger climbed into the UFC ring and earned a $60,000 knock out bonus), focus your anger on the people who caused this mess. Any assf*** can type “I worked so hard today phew” in a social networking site, and this seems to be the new religion, why? In the 1930’s Keynes wrote about how in the future people would only have to work 15 hour weeks because machines would take over all the work, that hasn’t happened. Instead people are working longer hours for less in jobs they are grossly over-qualified for with mortgages assuming they were going to earn what they are qualified to earn for the next 30 years of their life. There’s always going to be people who can’t or won’t fit in, especially as human society gets more complex and weird, they’re not the problem, heck compared some jobs like banking or advertising executives they actually create more value (Moody’s did analysis of social welfare payments in the US and found every dollar equally 1.61 spend in the economy, whereas the NEF in the UK estimate the average banker destroys something like £8 for every £1 they earn).

      The fact people have to work hard today, in jobs they hate should be a source of anger not pride (and that’s leaving aside the whole issue of employers now stasi-like screening people through looking at their social networking pages).

      Pro tip: If you want to know who’s screwing you, follow shaft and see who’s at the end of it.

      1. Jay

        Good story bro. its all good following a dream but you must set a time on this chase. Otherwise you see what happens, you start mouthing off people criticizing your situation as being on the dole yet its a typical case of choice! You could take on a call center job or other, am I right? I tell you what, if you havent been able to achieve what you wanted in life its not necessarely because of you and you only, many other factor can affect our dreams. I would suggest getting back into employment – ANY employement (ok maybe not door-to door thats a nuisance) and keep that dream idea going, if you want it enough it will happen!

  4. Ahjayzis

    He´s a little on the hug-a-hoody side about the born-to-social-welfare class, but why all the opprobrium? Have none of ye been betwixt jobs for a spell over the last few years?

    I was on the dole for about 5 months after graduating and its miserable, who´s disagreeing with that?

    1. Leela2011

      exactly – bit ranty but people should not underestimate the effect on people who have lost their jobs. Also in a round-about-way he’s saying that even if those who have been raised in poverty are presented with a job on the plate they may not even realise it and what it can do for them

  5. CousinJack

    If he doesn’t have family commitments he should emigrate, thats the FF solution (see Brian Lenihan Snr)
    or the SF solution, get massive hand outs from British taxpayers (£5 billion subvension) to support an unsustainable public service

    1. SOMK

      See previous comment if you’re interested, but I’m BTEW, setting up an online business, Ireland is a very good place for this. As for hand outs etc. where do you think social welfare payments end up? If they aren’t taxed (VAT aside) it pretty much all goes towards the private sector, and it goes there faster than any other method because broke people spend money faster, so much so that work by Moody analytics has shown that in the US every dollar spend on SW equal 1.61 dollars in the economy. If anything social welfare payments support the private sector, firstly in indirect subvention, secondly in crime prevention and security.

  6. JIMMY J

    The average employed joe couldn’t care less if mick is on the dole he’s to busy getting on with his own life, the way he’s painting it is that he has to give up his seat on the bus to an employed person..get over it.

    1. SOMK

      “the way he’s painting it is that he has to give up his seat on the bus to an employed person”

      If I see an older person, or a pregnant woman, or even a mother/father with kids on the bus I’ll get up for them, i don’t see a need for a rule.

      If your point is I feel society makes me feel like I should worship people who work and I don’t agree with it, that’s not quite my view. it’s not the people I think shouldn’t be worshiped, it’s the act. I think it is odd that we worship the notion of “paid work” as a universal good and i think it blinds us from questioning the nature of work as well as demonising people who don’t receive paid work.

      This is a problem especially because every tech start up (the kind of business that the government are so keen to have in this country) in some way if doing something with technology more effeciently than it is done offline. This leads to job losses, there are fewer and fewer jobs because technology is making everything we do more effiecient, but the benfit from that is only going to people who work and own those companies.

      Thinking work is some universal good lets this happen unquestioningly and I think it should, be questioned. Treating work like a universal good also demonises those who don’t work and I think it’s generally a better policy to try and understand and help people in a crappy circumstance, maybe it’s their own fault, maybe it’s not, (personally I have my doubts about free will), but I think it’s best policy to give people the benefit of the doubt before writing them off as “wasters” “spongers” whatever and more so than that, I think it’s systemically damaging.

      Here’s a (short) talk which kind of illustrates my point

  7. the-bag

    He is doing the exact same thing as the people he is railing against, i.e. painting them with the same brush. He says “Nobody in their right mind chooses to be on social welfare (and I mean literally)”. He cannot possibly know that to be true. Also, I know plenty of people who are happy to mooch around on the dole. Conversely, I know plenty of people on the dole who would take up a job tomorrow if they were offered one.
    Talking in generalisations rarely serves to advance the argument. This is definitely the case here.

    1. cluster

      He makes a fair point that when jobs were easily available there was approximately 1% long-term unemployed.

        1. SDaedalus

          He does.

          And he also makes a fair point that people have a habit of turning into what they’re treated as being.

          Very easy to say what other people should do in a situation (volunteer! go out and knock on doors! prove yourself!) until you’re in it yourself and dealing with the shame, the powerlessness and the apathy.

          And I’ve never seen shaming improve anything yet. Mainly because the people who deserve it don’t give a flip and it discourages the ones who don’t.

          Sometimes people are just unlucky. Some of us find it easier to fight against it than others. And a run of bad luck often has a way of continuing. It may not be comfortable to accept this, because it means accepting that misfortune could happen to any of us, but it’s true.

          What Seanan wrote is honest, and takes a lot of courage. It’s pretty clear he’s not a scrounger. Lots of other people on the dole aren’t either. Give the guy a break and some positivity.

    2. SOMK

      I meant literally, in that someone who opts for a life on social welfare, if that’s what they do, isn’t making a wise/sensible/sane choice, you’re damaging your future, you’re damaging yourself (long-term unemployment has been shown to adversely affect earning potential and increase depression) and you’re damaging your children. Now it’s natural for people to flip that around and think of themselves as “screwing the system”, but that’s human nature, the human mind is unique in that it is capable of creating stress based on cognitive phenomena, thus to compensate normal people will constantly re-frame their environment and situation in a positive light.

  8. Tommy

    Anybody I know on social welfare is largely there but choice or design. They’d take a job but not something they would imagine beneath them. Plenty of dream chasers as well who are basically supplementing hobies (music etc.) with welfare. The people with a bit of get up and go are in decent jobs either here or abroad.

    1. Ahjayzis

      Gosh, the lazy and entitled numbers really jumped in the last 4 or so years in that case. Odd that it´s concurrent with an economic depression.

      1. Tommy

        There was a shortage of workers in the last decade. So many of these people walked into jobs without breaking a sweat. Now they are looking at fighting tooth and nail for a job, being presentable and taking even more shit from an employer holding all the cards. They are not willing to do that.
        The recession is a great excuse for them.
        Every now and then they get pissed off with their lot and set about improving themselves. Of course this does not involve paid employment but more college courses.

        1. Ahjayzis

          Still, you´d imagine there´d be more publicity around the obvious labour shortages your theory would suggest?

          I know people like you´re talking about, but really you can say they represent the guts of the 400K people out of work.

          1. cluster

            There has been a lot of talk about multinationals finding it difficult to find those with adequate language and programming skills.

          2. SOMK


            Sean O’sullivan was saying that recently, but his point was that “if we had 20,000 more computer science graduates, we’d have 20,000 more jobs filled” Irish governments have really dropped the ball on putting programming on the curiculum.

            The other side of the coin is that, from people I’ve spoken too it’s often parents who turn down jobs like these to stay on welfare, more so than single people (like myself), so it’s not just about “I’m alright on the dole”, if we had decent /affordable child/daycare facilities in this country, like they do in France, my guess would be this type of thing would if not disapear as a problem, would definitely be severely dented.

    2. Spaghetti Hoop

      Very true. It is a lifestyle choice for many. Whether it is or not, one single individual on 200 per week and rent subsidised only has to worry about sustaining one person – not a family to feed, clothe and educate.

      They are incredibly time-rich. The longer one is out of a job, the less value they place on their time. Time should be viewed as a valuable commodity by the Dept. of SW. A few hours spent by the unemployed in community work and services would be a win/win for all. There are loads of worthwhile projects crying out for volunteers. I would say to Mr. Kerr, instead of ranting online about being called a “sponger”, why not get out there and prove you are not one?

      1. arisocrates

        I was on the dole for a while and I was doing some voluntary work. I was told by a lady in the SW office not to mention it. If it had been known, I wouldnt have got it..

        But I completely agree with you, if your on the dole you should have to do 2 days work in your area. There are a lot of projects that could be completed and it would help in social capital formation to get the unemployed working on something. Im sure there would be a few that do SFA but if the opportunity was there many would make the most of it

        1. Sidewinder

          Can ye maybe just step back for a second and think about what you’re saying? This kind of thinking has resulted in slave labour in several different professions. That you essentially have to work for free for a while before anyone will hire you. This is intolerable. Especially seeing as in the areas it seems to be most prevalent, college courses include practical experience. In talking about primary teaching, secondary teaching, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, engineering etc. It’s becoming standard that you have to offer your very hard earned skills for free for a time. I did Neely a year of it myself before I finally managed to get a part time job in my field and I’m now on casuals with social welfare. As for the “job beneath you” line, do you know how employers react when they ask you what you’ve been doing since you left college and you tell them you worked in costa for a year? And how do you do proper volunteer work to gain experience while working in costa? It’s a vicious cycle that’s very hard to avoid and ends up with civil engineering graduates teaching english to non-nationals (in the case of a friend of mine). Hell probably never work as a civil engineer now as he’s been out of college three years. That make his college education a total waste of tax payer money.

          1. Tommy

            Why does he need to work as a civil engineer? That is a crazy attitude to have towards a degree. There are tons of careers open to him. Financial/analytical jobs are always looking for engineers.

          2. Sidewinder

            Because his degree is in civil engineering and the longer he works outside that field, the more redundant the degree becomes and the more we wasted €40,000+ of tax payers money educating him in that area.

          3. D

            Thinking the State can predict who exactly to educate and in which sector is just never going to work. Stilling on the sidelines because you’ll be wasting your education is ridiculous. Very few people I know in my 30s work in exactly the field they trained for or intended to work in.

          4. cluster

            A lot of people study engineering as a broad degree, as a way of training the mind rather than simply to allow them design and manage construction. Much the same was as the bulk of those studying history don;t necessarily expect to be historians.

            The most common degree held by Fortune 500 CEOs is civil engineering, most of them work in businesses that are not directly connected to construction. Was their degree a total waste of money?

          5. Sidewinder

            Oh please. If you want to put them on state projects that’s fine by me, the state is effectively employing them then. But the dsw will have to come up with a way of doing it since they don’t allow volunteering and goodness knows the private sector is taking the piss with how they’re using job bridge. No point in asking employers to create jobs if the state is going to pay people to work for them.

        2. The Other Fella

          If the unemployed are doing work that’s not going to help job creation is it?

          This is a bit like trying to create jobs while at the same time providing thousands of free hours of labour to employers through Jobbridge.

          How can someone sell their time if the government is encouraging (or making it necassary for) others to give away their time for nothing?

          1. cluster

            There are a lot of worthwhile things which go undone because government can’t justify spending more money or investors can’t quite make an adequate profit.

            This kind of work wouldn’t detract from job creation elsewhere.

      2. D4N

        Apart from the fact that you can’t be a volunteer and collect the dole, how do you see this free/cheap labour affecting the job market? Seems like this’d destroy jobs, if anything.

    3. Jay

      Bingo! The all “Nobody in their right mind chooses to be on social welfare (and I mean literally).” Is simply not true. From my experience some people on benefits simply will not take “any” jobs and therefore choose to be on SW. As someone else said the OP is painting everyone with the same brush on the other side of the fence and thats not right either. I do feel for those who were less fortunate in terms of the family they come from but come on, a lot of these not doing well at school were the ones who “wouldn’t bother” studying either and now we (tax payer) have to help them out! Of course its not black and white either.

      1. SOMK

        My point of view would be that by “nobody in their right mind would…” I mean it’s a bad choice, you’re chosing to cop out of society, someone in their twenties might have the attitude “yeah f*** that, dole for life” but what will they end up as? You get one shot of life, and to opt to do nothing with it, it’s wasting your life, it’s a bad choice to make, a sad choice. For some people, a c*** job is a right of passage, for others, they might never get out of it. if your choice is “nothing” then the alternative must have been pretty terrible, or you just don’t apprechiate what life is, i.e. the only chance you get.

  9. Tickle (Now with 100% awaiting moderation posts!)

    You are what you eat and all that. I’d timidly suggest Seanán widens his social circles a tad beyond his obviously intellectual circuit.
    The rant reminds me of being in a room full of pot smoking carebears.
    Take a trip down to any of the “markets” on during the weekend and do a survey on how many get the social versus doing VAT returns and all that.

    Not all “spongers” are lying around in string vests supping on beers with a jonny player blue on the go. Then again not EVERYONE thinks ANYONE in reciept of the social is a sponger.

    1. SOMK

      ” I’d timidly suggest Seanán widens his social circles a tad beyond his obviously intellectual circuit.”

      I very rarely socialise, maybe once every two months I’d go to an art exhibition and avail of free booze and shott the proverbial s***, that’s it, don’t have the money to socialise (which in Ireland means “go to the pub”), don’t have the time, but I’ll take is as a complement you get the impression i move in intellectual social circles.

  10. Owen C

    “When there was full employment in this country the rate was around 3%, of that 3% long-term was around 30% of that, so 1% of the total workforce you’re using as stick to beat the rest.”

    Here’s the official figures by the way.

    Unemployment bottomed at 3.7% in 2001, but with the exception of a few months that year, the real bottom (ie long enough to analyse) was around 4.3-4.8% in 2002-2007, a time when we all know it was difficult to NOT get a job, such was the level of vacancies and job offers.

    The Live Register similarly bottomed at 138k in 2001, but the proper bottom was 140-170k in 2002-2007. So this ~155k and ~4.5% or so are the people who somehow couldnt/wouldnt get a job at the peak of the Celtic Tiger.

    In H1 2007 (the furthest back the CSO seems to provide “live register by duration” data for), the “registered for one year or more” category amounts to 47k people, vs a total live register of around 159k. So basically 30% of the live register at that point, when unemployment was still 4.5%, were long term unemployed, or roughly 1.5% of the workforce. EU data via Eurostat suggests something similar (1.3-1.6% in 2002-2007 – see link below). Obviously within the other 110k people, or 3% of the workforce, many people may have been rotating in and out of employment and unemployment, whether deliberately or not, and therefore not registering in the “long term unemployed”, but still potentially guilty of “sponging” off the system. I have friends who would have been included in this, ie losing a job and then spending 6 months mooching around before finding a new one. I have friends who turned down €30k jobs because they wanted to wait for €50k ones, often for fairly long periods of time.

    Not making an accusation or anything like that, just highlighting the full data to analyse.

    1. The Other Fella

      It has always been difficult to get a job if your address is in a block of flats, if you had a criminal conviction in your youth, if you are a recovered addict etc…

  11. RayRay

    If Seanán is looking for employment it would make sense for him to mention what kind of work he’s looking for.. I’m sure plenty of Broadsheeters know of vacancies around the country..

    Remember that guy who rented a billboard? Genius! If you don’t ask you don’t get and all that..

    1. Leela2011

      Do ye have a job for me while your at it lads?? I’ll do pretty much anything at this stage

      1. James Flynn

        Hi Leela, Would you be interested in giving me a hand with sales? It’d be a part time job with a wage not commission. I started this business 2 years ago as I was out of work too so I understand what it’s like to be on the dole and fully symapthise with all those struggling to find jobs.

        1. Leela2011

          Hi James, only looked back at posts now sorry. I’ll send you an email to your site for more info on the job. thanks

          1. SOMK

            If the above has inadvertantly helped you leela2011 get out of your situation, I wouldn’t dare claim any credit, but it’s still made my day and I sincerely hope it works out best for you.

    2. SOMK

      Not looking for work, thanks for the offer, I’m on BTEW and setting up a business (see ridiculously long comment above for more navel gazing autobiographical detail).

      Thought the billboard guy was inspired stuff.

  12. Herecomesscience

    Great piece Senan.
    This week lots of people have been happy to bang on about how evil Thatcher was for taking industry away in the UK and not even trying to replace it.
    Yet, in our own country we’re happier to blame the unemployed than the people who caused the problems. Is Irish society really so defunct that we pick on those on the lowest rungs of the ladder, rather than try to find a solution? And by the way, moaning and ranting on the internet about the unemployed isn’t a solution.

    1. Am I still on This Island

      If Thousands of Eastern Europeans could mobilize themselves learn a 2nd language and take their skills to a market they were needed what is stopping you? They most likely started from a less privileged position than most recently unemployed in Ireland. The didnt wait for their Gov to help them they helped themselves

      The scenes on the news last night of a mining town celebrating her funeral were funny for a single reason; they were shot in a packed pub during working hours on a weekday with plenty of drink on the tables. Time well spent, for such a destroyed and ruined area 20 years later they could all take a Wed off work to go on the beer.

      1. Herecomesscience

        What are you talking about? It might surprise you to know that even though I’m defending the unemployed I have a job and in have never been unemployed. And I speak 4 languages.
        That’s the problem with these debates, people are working off unrealistic stereotypes and judging people based on their own biases. Put away the Daily Mail for a minute and open your feckin’ eyes.
        And people taking a day to celebrate in the pub? They probably celebrate other events like christenings and birthdays at pubs too. Why is this so disgusting to you? Are you again jumping to conclusions based on very little evidence? Should they be permanently flagellating themselves for being unemployed?

        1. Am I still on This Island

          Perhaps you are missing the point, they are sitting in a pub on a work day with sufficient money to purchase a lot of alcohol, and while bemoaning the fact they are out of work because of somebody else’s actions. It has been nearly 30 years since the mass pit closures, Thatcher is not to blame for the current unemployed in the age bracket of say 20 -40.

          The migration of Labour across the EU especially in the late nineties and noughties proves that with a bit of effort you can move from an area of low employment (Poland, Latvia etc) to areas where employment is available and labour and your skills are needed get off your arss and make a bit of effort, If you are genuinely not able to work, if you have a reason that limits your ability to work, yes you should receive assistance and support from society.

          Oh and I have never read the Mail in my life.

          1. Herecomesscience

            I think you are missing the point. You saw these people in the pub on ONE DAY and you are jumping to all sorts of conclusions. Like you did with me when you assumed I was unemployed as I was defending the unemployed. You might want to look into that a little bit more, that kind of reactionary impulse could get you into trouble ;-)
            Why do you keep on banging the emigration drum? You do know the recession isn’t only in Ireland?
            And I think you should try the Mail, you might like it. They love uninformed opinions.

          2. Sidewinder

            On top of which the level of difficulty involved in emigrating if you’ve got a particular qualification and want to use it when abroad. Emigrating costs money and on €144 a week it’s hard to save the money to do so.

            I know a physio grad who spent three years trying to emigrate to the states before she finally got there and she was working full time here. The costs involved were crazy.

          3. Am I still on This Island

            I never once assumed you were unemployed? I never stated that I thought you were? I tend to speak in passive generics when posting on line to avoid pedantic people correcting me on their Sex or status. I made the assumption that these people could afford to drink and be merry on a week day so they were hardly what you would call poor. Or if they are they are making a choice to spend money on a luxury. They may well currently have jobs and took a day off, the impression they gave when being interviewed was they were all unemployed and poor because of Thatcher.

            Thatcher closed the mines before some of these people were even born, Wales is a small place from the Valleys to Cardiff is a shorter commute than some workers make in the London daily. How can you say that a 20 year old unemployed worker in Wales is unemployed because of Thatcher?

            She closed one industry out of many possible job opportunities available currently in other industries. Did someone born in 1980 really think at age 10 (1990) they were going to be working in a mine?

            The argument of mobility is invalid if people from Eastern Europe could do it on lower standards of living what is to say an Irish person cannot.

          4. Herecomesscience

            Can’t seem to reply to your later post.
            Couple of things “you” is not passive, so you might want to watch out for that, it might cause you problems particularly on the internet.
            Having a drink on a special occasion does not make one rich.
            Having lived in both the valleys and London (thank you for choosing those examples), while the commute to Cardiff might be much shorter, the transport system is woeful and certainly when I lived there, there was no service after 10.30 or 11 at night (can’t remember which) so working in pubs/restaurants was out for me.
            London has a LOT more jobs than Cardiff/the Valleys, in proportion to the amount of people living there although as I’m sure you’re aware it also has unemployment blackspots.
            The rest of your questions (which I’m sure you meant passively) are moot to me as they don’t really tie in with my original post. Which is basically that people blame the unemployed in Ireland for their problems but blame Thatcher for the problems in the UK. I don’t include you in these “people” as you clearly have blanket contempt for the unemployed, wherever they may be.

      2. The Other Fella

        They are celebrating Thatcher’s death because she closed the mines and took away the jobs in their community which had a knock on effect caused huge social problems.

        There has high unemployment in those areas every since as a result of Thatchers policies. That is their point.

        Their unemployment is Thatcher’s legacy.

          1. cluster

            Those businesses need not have all been outdated.

            Poor, upper class managament and aggressive unions prevented them modernising as many of their German counterparts did.

            Thatcher decided to apply shock therapy, and arguably this was more for ideological reasons than as a smart piece of long-term thinking.

        1. SOMK

          Actually I think people are celebrating Thatcher’s death because she was devisive as much as her actions (Labour famously closed more pits than she did).

          There was research done into what types of doctors get sued, and it was found there was much more strong corelation with doctors who had bad people skills getting sued than imcompetant doctors getting sued.

          So Thatcher, a woman who said stuff like “anyone who’s 26 years of age and uses public transport is a failure” is likely to get people riled up in a way someone like John Major or tony Blair would not.

          Identity often comes from the other, there was no concept of “ireland” in the people that lived here until we were invaded “there’s someone not from here, therefore i must be from somewhere” again Thatcher, hating her is a big peg for the identity of the left and indeed the state/offical media too (given the reaction which the parties are getting), it’s in the nature of young people to rise up against the grain because when you’re still trying to figure out you’re indenity, the first step is through “well I’m not one of those”.

          I personally find the whole thing is hilarious, but then I’ve a pretty morbid sense of humour.

    2. cluster

      Thatcher neglected a huge, heavy industrial base which if modernised had a potential to pay reasonable wages to huge numbers of people in semi-skilled and skilled employment and supported finance which was only ever going to employ a relatively small number of highly paid people.

      To be fair, we didn’t have that base but a cornerstone of our industrial development policy was to attract chemicals/pharmaceutical/computer assembly plants as well as financial institutions.

      1. Herecomesscience

        I agree with you Cluster but I don’t think most of the people gloating about her death are even considering that. They just like to pick on easy targets without going too deeply into the issues.

        1. SOMK

          For my few cents I see Thatcher as very much akin to study’s that show it’s surly doctors rather than incompetant doctors who get sued. Thatcher was openly divisive and antagonistic to her enemies and thus became a pillar from which a lot of left-leaning people got their identity from (identity needs another that’s why every story has an antagonist, there was no such thing as Ireland until we were invaded by Vikings and British), she wa despicable in lots of ways too, but that’s not why people are celebrating, their celebrating as much because of what she symbolises as what she did.

  13. Am I still on This Island

    This reads like the rant of a very bitter individual who will only take work close to home with good conditions and with no effort on his part. I have dissected a few of his points below.

    ”You certainly won’t get them into work if you make their dole less, if they can’t find work in a boom how they hell do you expect it in a depression when competition for work is higher”

    Anybody fit to work, who could not find a job/training course or be a productive member of society in Ireland between 1999-2005 (Approx) is a sponge there was work out there for everyone.

    “..conditions beyond their control, like depression, dyslexia, the fact that they were more than likely born into poverty”

    Is he talking about me? I have suffer from bi-polar disorder (Currently under control yeah), have dyslexia (which with a lot of effort is manageable) and come from a poor family in one of the most socially deprived and working class areas of Dublin.

    But I have worked part time from 16-22, and since a month after I graduated form college I have been in gainful employment every day I have lived in Ireland.

    ..” but their weekly few quid and the life of middling daytime TV”
    Perhaps if you get your arss of the couch and stop watching Daytime TV your quality of life will improve. Go for a run / Walk it cost nothing. Spend you time more productively

    .. “(either through bailout massive failed industries like the banks, selling off natural resources for profit, exporting jobs…).”
    Wow grab a tinfoil hat there lad, the Government is not responsible for job creation people are. Nothing is stopping you starting a small business.

    Not all people on the dole are spongers and scrounges, some are there through no fault of their own but it is how long you are on it and how you react to being there that defines you.

    If Thousands of Eastern Europeans could mobilize themselves learn a 2nd language and take their skills to a market they were needed what is stopping you? They most likely started from a less privileged position than most recently unemployed in Ireland. The didnt wait for their Gov to help them they helped themselves

    1. Sidewinder

      Jesus. You seem to know a him about him that certainly wasn’t written above. How do you know he’s looking for a job close to home with good conditions? How do you know he’s watching day time TV? How do you know he downs for for a run?

      Christ the irony of you coming out with that ream of stupid stereotypes is just lost on you isn’t it?

      1. Am I still on This Island

        I am making an assumption based on the number of people I know who have found work at home or abroad either as a temporary or as a permanent solution, that and the fact that Facebook,Linkidin and Google are currently IMPORTING staff from abroad to fill vacancies in Dublin, or if you search any of the thousands of vacant positions on that are not Job bbridge
        He mentions watching Daytime TV in fact I even put his quote into my response and he could well go for a Run it was a suggestion not a criticism. There are no intentional stereotypes just assumptions based on his initial response and the facts of jobs available currently in Ireland.

        Believe it or not and it won’t take long to check there is plenty of companies looking for staff in Ireland right now, if you have time to expand your skill set and all ready have a 3rd level qualification it will not take long to make you attractive to the right employer. Even if your qualifications are lower than that there is opportunity, it may not be what you want right now but it is better than sitting on your ass at home, even if the pay is slightly lower.

        1. D4N

          “Assumptions”-see stereotypes. Do you understand that the entire point here is that you’re judging based on stereotypes? I’m assuming all your comments are based on such assumptions rather than having a clue what you’re actually talking about.

    2. Nigel

      You are a sterling example of someone who has overcome all the odds. well done. That means everyone everywhere should be able to overcome all the odds. In a period of global recession and high unemployment. And the disabled need to pull themselves up by their own bootstraps and get over themselves. Not so much a helping hand as a slap in the face.

      The welfare state is the shining beacon of a civilised society. Nothing in world history has made so many lives better, barring key medical breakthroughs like, maybe, the smallpox vaccine or anesthesia. Eastern Europeans are motivated because they come from Eastern European hellholes. For f**k’s sake. The economic pendulum will eventually swing back. You’ll still be complaining about the 4% and everyone will still know a sponger, magically doubling the country’s population.

      1. Am I still on This Island

        I whole heartedly agree with you the welfare state is a good thing when it is not abused, those that are permanently or temporarily Physically, mentally or otherwise incapable of working should receive all the assistance the state can provide them and then some. I have no issue with the welfare state; I have an issue with those that abuse it.
        Believe it or not and it won’t take long to check there is plenty of companies looking for staff in Ireland right now, if you have time to expand your skill set and all ready have a 3rd level qualification it will not take long to make you attractive to the right employer. Even if your qualifications are lower than that there is opportunity, it may not be what you want right now but it is better than sitting on your ass at home, even if the pay is slightly lower.

        1. Nigel

          Fair enough.

          I’m not quite buying that jobs are that abundant, but even the unemployed have the right to take certain things into account before deciding whether to go for or accept a job. It’d be nice if people just assumed they most of them are doing their best to make the right choices for themselves and their families, rather than second-guessing them and assuming bad faith or laziness, and that the economic safety net that allows them this freedom is a right, not a luxury.

    3. scottser

      fair points and well made. although you should at least acknowledge that being on the scratch, if you genuinely don’t want to be on it, is a serious pain in the hole. it is demeaning and depressing as most of us know, and seanan is in the throes of it right now. most folks respond better to a little encouragement, rather than to blame and finger-pointing. keep the faith seanan, you’ll get out of your rut soon ;)

      1. Am I still on This Island

        Acknowledged and absolutely no argument, I think I covered that but happy to provide encouragement and support where I can to anyone that asks.

    4. SOMK

      Within that 1% what kind of make up do they have, I’d guess they’d be a higher prevalence of conditions like dyslexia, bi-polar etc. Just because you have over come it, doesn’t mean others will do so. It’s like saying because Paul Scholes has asthma then every person who’d ever had it should expect to play in midfield for Man utd.? It’s not a cause, but it doesn’t help, some people can overcome it, some people can’t.

      As for “get your ass off the couch”, well yeah, only about 10% (and this is a pure guess) or so of people exercise the recommended 30 minutes a day, even with jobs. People are naturally lazy, laziness is a law of nature, an object will always follow the path of least resistance. Point being such laziness is not inherent to social welfare recipients.

      “Wow grab a tinfoil hat there lad, the Government is not responsible for job creation people are. Nothing is stopping you starting a small business. ”

      Government is responsible for the well being of people, they were awfully quick to save the banks, taking on €370 billion in contingent liabilities like that, but when say an area like Summerhill looses a huge amount of jobs, they do absolutely nothing, the attitude is “take your dole and piss off”, the height of public planning has been initiatives like Tallaght, akin to “stick the urban peasants in a box”. There’s no tin hat here, government isn’t 100% responsible for creating jobs, neither are business, in fact if they can they’ll outsource jobs, the only legal responsibility of a limited corporation is to make profit for shareholders. If a company can find cheap Labour elsewhere they will, something has to act against that, governments should never have signed up to GATT (and a big part of that blame lies with Clinton). I am setting up a business by the by.

      As per “spongers”, the term itself is de-humanising on a profound level, a sponge being an animal that has no spine, barely even has a shape, and is one we use to wipe away dirt and filth. I don’t think any person should be viewed like that, it’s de-humanising, dull and uninteresting.

      “They most likely started from a less privileged position than most recently unemployed in Ireland”
      It’s all relative, that’s how the human brain works, are unemployed people in Ireland privileged? Compared to what? We’re not even worth answering the phone to, try it, ring any social welfare office in Ireland and see if they answer the phone. Worth is not just about money, €188 might be a lot compared to the rest of Europe, but the attitude people seem to have about a small group of people is to my mind utterly poisonous.

      1. Am I still on This Island

        I have not overcome anything I have dealt and continue to deal with what is my lot in life and I get on with it, the conditions I suffer are neither an excuse or a justification for being unemployed you adapt and keep going. Each individual circumstance is the same and I clearly and unequivocally indicated that I support those who for Physical, Mental or any other reason cannot work or care for themselves should be able to avail of any resource the state can provide to them
        I never inferred laziness was inherent to social welfare recipiants, I took this case at its merits and the individual believs he is owed something the get off the couch was a comment to tell him to go make something happen. I never realized Summerhill was an industrial hub, and your choice of using a corporate entity and its goals in interesting, plenty of business are not corporations they range from Cottage industries up to large conglomerates and everything in-between. Plenty of people start business companies to provide for themselves and they grow from there it or maintain it as the case may be, not about big business or what ever chip it has left on your shoulder. Look at the motives behind setting up your own business?
        I never used the word sponger anywhere in my text? Unless it was a quote from the OP. The comment about privilege is a broad one from, financial to geography and plenty in between. It was directly related to the mobility of labor from Eastern Europe to other EU countries. If it is possible for people who would have less money, less access to markets and the transport to get them there what is to stop an individual here it was a comparative comment.
        My view is not aimed at welfare recipients it is aimed at those like the original OP who believe the Gov and society has to hand him something or make it easier for him.

        1. SOMK

          Firstly i’m going through a lot of comments here, so if I’m attributing a sentiment to you that you didn’t express, I appologise. i have a small window to go through this very long page and try and expand on the point I’m making.

          “My view is not aimed at welfare recipients it is aimed at those like the original OP who believe the Gov and society has to hand him something or make it easier for him.”

          I am the OP, I believe governments have a fundmenal duty of care to their citizens, this care may manifest itself in “handouts”, because such handouts allow people to get by. i don’t want or think I deserve so called “handouts”, I never once went to a post office collected my 188 and though “well that’s another good days work done”, I hate it, absolutely hate it, I hate that I am in this situation, I hate the fact someone else is working whilst I am doing nothing, but the other side of it is I’m not doing “nothing”, I’ve never done “nothing”, there may have been times in my life when I felt I couldn’t do anything, that I was utterly hopeless, but i got over that feeling, kept going, I’m still going and I’ll drop dead before I stop, because I want a life, I want to do what I know I can do, I hate this pergatorial existence, enough cash for food, bills, rent and very little else,* i want to f***ing live!

          *note don’t contrue this as “whining” I’m not complaining, I get by and am generally happy enough, it’s my own damned fault, no one else’s and I’m well aware what I get/got through the dole is more than other countries, but that’s a whole other arguement.

  14. Pierce

    UK’s Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne on the unemployed:
    “When a hard-working head of the household leaves for work every morning, he can see that the blinds on the windows of the house opposite are still closed. Behind those blinds may be somebody who is on benefits and is not going to work. He is paying for those behind the blinds to stay at home and not work.”

    Over there the government is working hard to engender paranoid hate against social relief of any kind. I didn’t realise this mentality had seeped so thoroughly through the Irish population. We should invite the Tories over here to show them how us-vs-them is really done.

    1. SOMK

      See yesterday I commented the above in reply to something someone said about “spongers”, er I forget exactly which one.

    1. SOMK

      If people on this thread keep trying to kill irony, I’m never going to be able to listen to “Mike flowers Pop” ever again.

  15. Captain Obvious

    Bit of a rant really.
    The whole unemployed thing can get to you, trust me I have experience – it isn’t nice.
    However sitting at home all day thinking of how the world has fu*ked you over isn’t healthy for the noggin…see result above.
    Best of luck to him and I hope he gets a job soon.

    1. SOMK

      I don’t think the world has f*** me over, by any means, you look at yourself and you have to figure out what’s your fault and what’s the system fault, and then apply your analysis appropriately, improving yourself and getting a better understanding of the system and what it values and wants.

      My noggin is in exceptionally fine health, there’s no paranoia, self-pitying or anything of the sort, I’ve a pretty objective view of myself (at least I like to think I do). The above in an unedited rant on a pop culture website, it’s one step above toilet graffiti, if you were to judge the sanity of a nation by what’s written in toilets* then everyone would be in a straight jacket.

      *Which is not to say broadsheet is a toilet

  16. James

    I don’t buy unemployment. Way too many unemployed rejected our €25k (€35 OTE) pa sales positions to believe…

    Unemployed in Ireland are offered way too many benefits, from medial cards, rent allowances, cash in hand to come back to work. And I’m sorry, but if you are sitting on your arse for the last 2 years instead of gaining experience, we can’t give you more than €25k…

    1. The Other Fella

      “sitting on your arse.” Maybe they didn’t like your attitude thought working for you would make their lives a misery.

      1. cluster

        I am quite sympathetic to OP but I think it is this very attitude that many here are giving out about.

        Deciding against a 25k per annum sales job before even trying it when the only alternative is being on the dole is not on.

    2. Leela2011

      I get nothing as my other half works, been volunteering and trying to gain new skills but can’t get job. I spend my time applying to ones I’ve half a hope of getting – haven’t applied to sales jobs as I’ve no experience but am sure I’d be grand. If people applied to your jobs, were interviewed and turned them down they were probably offered better

    3. SOMK

      Is it not the case though that the people who turn down €25K jobs are often parents, so it’s not just about the “I’m better off on social” but “If I take this job I mightn’t be able to look after the children”. Having parents around is good for children, which in the long run is good for the country.

      I can’t fathom why someone getting 10K per anum for doing nothing would turn down 25K for doing something.

  17. Ronan

    “No one in their right mind chooses to be on social welfare” is frankly bollox. Just because the author and some chums are looking for work doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of people who choose not to. He is not the voice of the unemployed, he is the voice of himself.

    I know a guy who won’t take a job until he gets a house on the housing list. He says he will then work when he has secured a council house.

    I can only assume there are many in the same boat, who won’t work lest it damage their chances of getting their housing ‘needs’ met.

    1. Sidewinder

      To be fair there are some circumstances under which if an unemployed person accepts work they’ll be screwed financially, I mean it doesn’t sound like the guy mentioned above is like that but it does show that the social welfare system needs to change.

      When I graduated college I couldn’t get a job in my field so I managed to get two part time jobs, one was a care assistant with a private company where you go to a person’s house to look after them for a particular length of time and I had 4 hours work with them a week to start, the other was one day a week as a care assistant in a nursing home. The home hours were very consistent but they couldn’t give me any more, the home care assistant was really inconsistent because some weeks the person I was looking after wouldn’t need me so I wouldn’t work at all.

      I was on casual allowance and they had no way of marking down which days I was working for which job, so I’d get docked as if I’d worked both. When the home care company offered me an extra three hours a week I couldn’t take it because I would have been working more than three days a week, which cancels out your allowance. I’d only have been working three hours on the extra day but I would have had my entire allowance taken away from me. This would have meant I’d earn grand total of 13 hours a week (but only some weeks) and earning about €125 (before USC) a week (some weeks) to pay for rent, bills, food, travel to and from work etc.

      If the system worked on a per hour rate, not per day rate, I imagine there would be a lot more people working a lot more hours. The system just can’t cope with inconsistent shift work, when I first went onto casuals after getting the care assistant job I told the women in the social welfare office that I had gotten four hours of work a week she told me she found it “hard to believe” that I’d only be working four hours a week. Just shows how completely uninformed they are of different types of work.

      1. SOMK

        I’m left handed, which means I’m right side brain dominant, which means I’m more in my “right mind” than 90% of the population.

  18. rapchinations

    my brother is on the dole, he’s a lazy git who is now long term unemplyed and will probably live off benefits (and sponge off family members) for the rest of his life. he spends his time giving out about the government on facebook and trying to win big on the horses and trying to get the bank to let him off his mortgage while keeping his house. he should be made work for his dole.

    1. Tommy

      That can’t be right because Seanán said “Nobody in their right mind chooses to be on social welfare (and I mean literally). “

    2. SOMK

      And he’ll die alone and miserable.

      Problem with welfare to work, is that it’s fine in principle but as others have outlined, if every person on the dole working for free is someone under cutting someone who could be paid to do that work.

      The C/E scheme was for me brilliant, I got work after it, it’s essentially people on the dole working (you get the dole + 10%), the government have cut back on in recent years, as with a deficit to bring down it’s cheaper for them to just hand out the money rather than organise people to do work in the community.

      But I don’t know if forcing people to take that work would work, if you’re going to work in the community then you should care, if you’re forcing people into work then it’s awfully close to “work as punishment”, which implies people on social welfare should be punished, which when there’s a lack of jobs out there is pure vindictiveness.

  19. Ronan

    I should add, this guy was happy to go labouring when he was younger and the money was good. He now “won’t take a job while they’re offering shit wages”

    ‘They’, presumably is the unseen hand that owes him a good standard of living.

    1. SOMK

      Not whinging, in fact not currently on dole, I wouldn’t have typed the above if I was as it would be exactly that, and would be viewed as objective.

      Besides crying is an attempt to draw attention from parents, I’m pretty sure you’re not my father.

      1. Tommy

        Come on, it’s the dole with a different name. I can see the merit with some of these schemes but an awful lot are there to hide the true unemployment rate.

          1. SOMK

            Well I know plenty of people who were self employed and are now inelligable. As far as I’m concerned I never want to set foot in a social welfare office ever again, all I need to do is turn a good idea into something that brings me in 200 a week and I have two years to achieve that in, I have no doubt in my mind that I can do that, none.

  20. Joe

    It isn’t my fault a person hasn’t to wits to do better with their life nor should it be the place of working citizens to bank roll them until they figure that out. There is nothing more that I hate to hear then someone say “My family is poor and from a bad area so that’s why I’m not educated or employed” and I have heard it. Joe worked all summer to be able to go to uni and get an education, anyone can do the same, Joe has changed professions to be kept employed and Joe is doing a course to expand his opportunities. Joe is a grown up who is standing on his own two feet and not looking for sympathy or hand outs. So dude, less of the darn moaning and get a bit proactive instead.

    1. Nigel

      Stern, patriarchal Joe is disappointed in you. Don’t make stern, patriarchal Joe take his belt off.

    2. SOMK

      You’re not bank rolling people on social welfare, it’s not as if they burn the money they get, they tend to spent it 100% in private businesses because the money isn’t taxed. As per “having the wits” since when do people choose what wits they have do they? Because patently there are a lot of people out there who weren’t blessed with sufficient wit to be able to pick how much wit they’d go through life with.

      1. Joe

        we all come into this world the same, there is no one born stoopid. however people do learn to be lazy and at an early age.

        1. SOMK

          We don’t all come into this world the same, genes and environment dictate to large degree who we are, there’s such a thing known as the gini coefficient, which tracks how much your parent’s income effects your income. If everyone had the same chance starting out there’d be no such thing as private schools, you would have businesses called “Mcdonagh and sons”

  21. Nigel

    What a lot of it seems to boil down to is that there are people in full employment who are actually envious of people on the dole. Which beggars belief. And people in full employment who are resentful of people who are unemployed in a time of high unemployment. Which should beggar belief, but just seems depressingly human.

    1. D

      No there are people in full employment paying an incredible amount of taxes to pay for a host of benefits whether they be pensions or unemployment benefit and they all know example so of people who do choose to take the dole versus employment that pays similar so they are pissed off.

      1. Nigel

        Given the unemployment figures during the boom, most of the people unemployed now paid their taxes too, and probably wish they were paying them now.

    2. woesinger

      Impressive amounts of argument from anecdote.

      “I know a fella the dole who’s a scrounger, so all people on the dole are scoungers”.

      “I see poor people in the pub drinking their dole money, so all poor people on the dole are sponging alcos.”

      “I grew up in a poor background and worked hard and did well, so anyone who had a similar background who didn’t must be lazy and bad.”

      Mind you, as pointed out, the OP indulged in this too.

      “I’m doing my best on the dole, so everyone on the dole must be like me.”

      Some people on the dole probably are scrounging. They’re lazy and gaming the system. Thing is, that kind of person is never going to get a job – because who honestly is going to employ them – aside perhaps from someone providing advice on how to diddle their taxes?

      Some people on the dole will never have a job because they’re – to put it bluntly – f**ked in the head for various reasons.

      Some people on the dole could get a job if they had the right access to education or motivation. Those people do need to get off their a**es. But what won’t help that is being continually run down by tough-talking Tory wannabes – because there’s nothing more demotivating than being told continually that you’re worthless. If you believe people should work hard – giving encouragement (where it’s deserved) rather than scornful second-hand Thatcherite slogans would be a better use of your very valuable time.

      Some people on the dole likely want to work and have the ability to – but find themselves in an economy that’s completely f**ked.

      Someone said – “nothing’s stopping you starting your own business”. Sure – nothing except a shortage of credit from banks and austerity policies that mean that people no longer have lots of disposable income to support small businesses.

      Governments don’t create jobs (not strictly true), but one of the marks of good governance is a government that works to create an environment where jobs can be created.

      Some entrepreneurs will succeed no matter what, but expecting everyone to be like that and labeling them as lazy if they’re not shows as much naivety about the world as it shows lack of empathy.

      So – if nothing else comes from the OP’s rant – which, let’s be clear, was in response to some of the glib Tory-lite trolling that’s popular on here – can we all agree that regarding the unemployed as an amorphous mass that this or that blanket term (good or bad) can be attached it is simplistic and wrong.

      The unemployed are people, and people are diverse. Some people are a**holes and will never be anything else. Most people are just trying to get on as best they can.

      Look at the person, not the label, and judge them on their actions. And if that person is an a**hole, resist the lazy reflex to then label all similar people as a**holes just because they’re similar.

      If you’re smart and ambitious enough to be in a position to look down on those less fortunate than yourself – then you should have the intelligence and empathy to do that.

      And if you don’t, well, maybe that’s a sign that the lazy a**hole might in fact be you.

      1. Tommy

        Most people will base their opinions on the 20-30 people they know on the dole. There is no possible way of capturing the reality of every unemployed persons situations and motivations that you get when you know somebody personal.

        1. woesinger

          So you’re admitting that when you (and everyone else, mind) are making general sweeping statements about the unemployed that they’re likely to be wrong as they’re based on a tiny sample size?

          1. Tommy

            No I work with the data as well. But the data is highly limited.
            I will let everyone do an audit of their own unemployed acquaintances and make their own minds up.
            Sweeping statements about them all wanting to work are nonsense.

          2. woesinger

            And I’ll bet the data (genuine question: got a link?) shows that there are some people that will be unemployed no matter what – whether through inability, or intention. Data to show the actual reasons for unemployment, now that’d be interesting, if next to nigh impossible to get.

            Totally agree that sweeping statements about them all wanting to work are nonsense.

            I’m anti-sweeping statements of all sorts.

          3. Tommy

            You can get the employment data from the CSO on their statbank. I analyse it every quarter, trying to find hidden unemployment. The QNHS is the most useful dataset. I’ve also gotten some specific data from the CSO which they don’t put online. There is more truth in anecdote. If I were to do some academic research on this issue it would be a mix of the qualitative and quantitative. It would be reasonable to expect interviews with welfare recipients to form the basis of any proper analysis.

          4. cluster

            If we have a problem with the sweeping generalisations, could someone link to relevant research papers? Else, how does any opinion form?

            Anyway OP did say, ‘Nobody in their right mind chooses to be on social welfare (and I mean literally).’ Any reader who think of a single person of ‘right mind’ (leaving aside arguments over what that means) who has chosen social welfare can prove him wrong.

      2. McNinja

        I think this whole thread and OP should be deleted and replaced by woesinger’s post here. It’s not easy to be non-bias one way or another, generalising people is basic human psychology, it allows us to make quick enough decisions to get by day by day (and made a lot of money selling books for David McWillians). Recognising your own bias is the first step to defeating it. It’s difficult to analise data with so many variables, employment levels, population levels, emigration, world financial status but that’s no reason to jump to conclusions because you know 10 people with a common attribute.

      3. SOMK

        Great comment! Fully agree, I don’t necessarily see people on the dole as saints either, or blameless, my real beef is with firstly the attitude that work is some kind of universal good, and secondly with the de-humanising use of terms like “sponge” for other human being, more likely than not less perfect than you are, but who chooses to be less than perfect if they can?

        1. Jay

          But you know, when you pay tax through the nose and have very little income left as a result, walk to the chemist and see a bunch of lads going from Pub to Bookies next door ALL DAY LONG, “spongers” suddenly comes to mind a lot easier.

          1. SOMK

            Easier yeah, but easy thinking is another kind of laziness, blaming the person below you socially for your suffering is natural, it happens in all kinds of animals, baboons for examples if one male beats up another male then the male who was attacked will pick on the one below them. i can see how it’s annoying, even I get it, I’m pretty open minded but sometimes i see foreginers in the social and i think “those c***s” not literally, but there’s a part of myself that growls at them, but what I say to myself when i catch it is that “that’s just another person muddling through life just like you are, you have no idea what their life is, what their choices were, cop on.”

          2. SOMK

            What I mean is, it’s understandable, Christ I’ve thought it of myself plenty (that I’m a waste of space etc.) and I make no excuses for my own damned mess of a life. i just don’t think it does any good at all, that it’s poisionous to think of people like that.

  22. HolyMadness

    Kerr’s points are good ones. When did someone arguing for compassion and empathy become a parasite?

    1. D

      Yeah, as predicted, background with few practical uses for the majority of employers so unsurprisingly in a time of thrift finds it difficult to get work.

  23. Peter Ian Staker

    Well said, Seanán, fair play.

    Perhaps a slight generalisation about absolutely nobody choosing to be on the dole, as I know people who are happy enough to collect as many benefits as possible.

    But I think these are the minority and most people signing on want to work. But a combination of factors are working against them – high cost of living, mortgages, high cost of childcare, a sharp drop in wages vs a slight drop in welfare levels, a broken welfare system that doesn’t support people trying to work for themselves etc

    1. SOMK

      True re the generalisation, but I’d add to that that people will naturally re-frame their situation positively, so someone who really had no choice but to be on the dole might decide that actually they chose to be on it all along.

  24. jack

    I think he was trying to highlight the fact that most people who are on the dole don’t want to be, and for all your “I know a fella who…” stories there are dozens more really struggling to get by and genuniely trying to find work. And if you’re working in a particular industry or have a particular set of skills or training, ie. you’re motivated enough to not give up on having a worthwhile career, then trying to find a job in those areas makes sense, but sometimes takes a while. The assumptions made in these comments are so mean-spirited, so self-absorbed. This guy doesn’t deserve your bile just because your brother happens to be a lazy d**khead and just because you have a job in no way makes you a paragon of virtue. So you’re supporting yourself, bula f**king bos, you don’t need to be going on about it and attacking those who are struggling to do so. Young people in Ireland aren’t all emigrating en masse for the craic, there just aren’t the jobs here, and to say otherwise is to be talking out of your a**e. Mainly he seemed to want to highlight how lacking in compassion and ignorant the comments that are made about the unemployed and the stigma that is attached to them, and the bile coming out here, from comments about his appearance to speculations about his motivation and how lazy he is prove the point. Thatcher is alive and well

  25. wearnicehats

    Um, he’s crying about being stereotyped and goes on to say

    “the sums paid out are usually recycled within the economy at a rate much faster than money paid out to public sector employees or through government contract”

    i.e, “actually, most of those on social welfare p*ss it up the wall and smoke it out their ears or get in da Skya Sporats”

    and, yes, I have looked for, and not found, sarcasm or irony in the context of his comments.

    1. eamonn moran

      All it means is that people on social welfare spend every penny they get where as public sector employees and government contractors save some of the money they get. If they save it doesn’t go back into the economy.

    2. orieldude

      “and, yes, I have looked for, and not found, sarcasm or irony in the context of his comments”

      Well done – you answered a stupid question no one with half a brain would bother asking.

    3. cluster

      So they pay out to publicans and brewers and newsagents and utilities companies and to electricians and TVC technicians and electrical shops…

      This is OP’s point, exactly. What is your issue?

      1. Sidewinder

        I think the point is that you shouldn’t be able to afford a social life, because unemployed people with severe depression is something we’re short of in this country.

    4. SOMK

      .e, “actually, most of those on social welfare p*ss it up the wall and smoke it out their ears or get in da Skya Sporats”

      I’m not a doctor, but in my considered estimation you wouldn’t live too long if that was all you spend your money on.

    5. SOMK

      Also “not crying” where in the post have I tried to elicit sympathy for myself? I use broad generalisations deliberately, I’m not working class, I speak with a ridiculous made-up accent that I put on because I hated being from Navan as a teenager, I went to art college, if I knew what I know now aged 18-25 I’d have done things differently sure, but I didn’t, so I didn’t. The only reason I even brought this up in a comment was that I’m no longer on the dole, but on BTWEA, as I knew personally that an comment I made would be in a sense making an excuse for myself and that’s not something I would ever want to do, but hey I’m sure you know my own mind better than I do myself.

  26. Richard McAleavey

    I can’t help but notice that the criticisms directed at the author of this piece are all made by people using pseudonyms, whereas he has used his real name. Are they too ashamed to identify themselves as Norman Tebbit devotees in public?

    1. cluster

      I largely support him but I amn’t willing to come out from behind my pseudonym.

      He is giving out about those who try to shame the unemployed. Your response to his critics is to try shame them into expressing the ‘correct’ opinion?

      You would be better off trying to engage with their pseudonyms and convince them instead of silencing them because they will have secrecy in the polling booth anyway.

      1. Richard McAleavey

        No, I’m not trying to shame anyone into expressing the ‘correct’ opinion. I think pseudonyms are a vital part of online discussion because it allows people to express views that might place them in a difficult position if they did so with their real name. But I also think there should be basic decorum followed, and pseudonyms shouldn’t be abused: when someone -especially someone who is not a privileged public figure- uses their real name, it is fine to engage with their argument through use of a pseudonym. What I think is unacceptable is the use of ad hominem contempt and insult, as displayed by numerous people here. Not just because it shows disrespect to the person who is speaking in public using their real name, but because it is intimidating towards other people who see what happens when they express their opinions in public.

        1. Jack

          I don’t see any insults or that privilege being abused? And there has to be a degree of ad hominem because he has (or at least Broadsheet have) set him up as an example no?

          1. woesinger

            Your comment makes no sense.

            In the first line you say there’s no abuse or insults, and in the next you say the ad hominems are explicable by the fact the guy published his real name.

            People playing the man and not the ball is going to convince no one of anything except that the person flinging the insults is a d*ck. You may well have a valid point – but ad homs are not the way to make it.

            The guy had the courage to put his name out there. I don’t agree with everything he says, but at least do him the courtesy of engaging with his arguments rather than insulting him personally.

          2. Jack

            Not wanting to get into semantics but I think by “ad hominem” people are saying that commenters should only deal with the general principles rather than this guy’s specific case? But you can have an “ad hominem” argument where we question what this guy is doing without being insulting?

          3. D4N

            “But you can have an “ad hominem” argument where we question what this guy is doing without being insulting?”
            Ad-hominem is insulting a person rather than refuting their argument, you literally cannot have an ad hominem argument without insult.

    2. Tickle (Now with 100% awaiting moderation posts!)

      Well he appears to be posting here as “SOMK”.

      Which I believe stands for SEXY OLD MAN KING

      So where is you pseudonyms argument now? huh?

      1. SOMK

        It’s my initials, I do it to distance myself from what I’d type in a comment, which may well be hastily thought-out and wrong (as there’s a risk with the internet, being shallow, that you can often get the wrong end of the stick when you read something first), and so I wouldn’t want it to be linked back to me, it’s the initials of my name Seanán Oliver Manfred Kerr, though I am perfectly happy to be designated “Sexy Old Man King” if needs be.

        1. Tickle (Now with 100% awaiting moderation posts!)

          I was messing dude!

          The day people started writing & proofing their comments (mini eassys) here in “word” before posting, should have sent warn signals….

  27. Jonjo

    “Nobody in their right mind chooses to be on social welfare (and I mean literally).”

    Well that’s just not true. I’m not saying you choose to be on it but some people definitely do.

    1. SOMK

      People rationalise their thoughts, I read an interesting comment by a scientists who wire up rats that they can be remote controlled, and he reckoned that if the same were done to humans because of the nature of how we process our sense of self we wouldn’t even notice we were being controlled. When I said “right mind” I meant literally, as in if someone chooses to live a life on the dole they are making a very bad decision (unless they are writing a novel, like say Julian Gough did or training to be a UFC fighter like Conor McPhearson, interestingly it is thought that well fare to work programes in the UK destroyed their music scene, with something like only 6% of top ten musicians in 1990 being public schooled and today it being 90% (i.e today it’s posh kids with piano lessons and stage school experience who make it rather than poor kids with second hand guitars), the dole lifestyle allowed people like David Bowie and Jarvis Cocker to develop and refine their art, you need somewhere in the margins people can exist, we don’t really appreciate how weirdly choking modern society is because we are in it).

      And IF someone does decide to go on the dole as a lifestyle choice (and this is a very small percentage of even the 1.5% of the workforce who were long-term unemployed in the boom), what harm does it do? They do their bit economically, spend money quickly keep the system ticking over. There’s always people on the margins in any society, what’s it to you how they live, what’s so wrong with screwing the system just a bit, when Mammy sent you to the shops as a child did yo always give her back the exact change?

      To my mind when people give out about social welfare spongers what their really doing is bemoaning their own lives. “Why should I have to work so hard when they’re doing nothing” it’s easier to pick on people with lower status because you’re much more likely to win the fight against them. It’s a scientifically observed human trait to want to not be seen at the bottom, this is why poor people are generally more racist than wealthy people. But just because it’s human nature doesn’t mean it’s helpful or cannot and should not be overcome. We work more days in the 21st century than people did in medieval times when they were peasants, we’ve made all this stuff that takes away the amount of work that needs to be done and the results of that is less pay pay, longer hours and jobs being exported to foreign countries, a house now costs a multiple of 7-10 times the average wage instead of 2-3. To blame this, or take your anger and frustration out on a percentage of 1.5% who maybe choose to be on social welfare, is perfectly natural, but so’s wiping your arse with you hand instead of toilet roll, in reality it’s deeply and profoundly idiotic, not to mention wrong-headed.

    1. cluster

      Come up with rebuttals rather than trying to chill the free speech which people can express when they don’t have to identify themselves.

    2. Peyin

      Ideas should stand or fall based on their own merits, not the merits of those communicating them.

  28. orieldude

    The quality of science education in this country must be absolutely f#cking appalling if the amount of anecdotal gibberish being spouted here is anything to go by.

    1. cluster

      That is true of both sides.

      Do you expect everybody to have well-researched academic papers on this topic in this country at this time? If you do, please share them.

      1. orieldude

        I expect people to have the intelligence not to make statements of fact based on personal anecdotes, irregardless of their opinions, if they want to be taken seriously.

        1. cluster

          Some commenters may have gone a bit far extrapolating their own experiences into sweeping generalisations. Even so, it is a bit much to expect them to banish all personal experiences from their mind when they consider a topic like this.

          Even if one had a wealth of data and models set up to analyse it, one would still need to step back and review it in the light of one’s own personal experiences.

  29. Nigel

    You see, if you’re on the dole, while there’s always a chance you’re not actually a scrounger or a sponger, the fact is, to a lot of people, you are functionally worthless in any way that matters. All your human responses to being unemployed are to be discounted because you are, effectively, worthless. It is to be assumed that if you are merely worthless and not additionally a sponger and a scrounger you will automatically exclude yourself from references to those receiving the dole as scroungers and spongers, and any human sensitivity you my experience are your own fault and your own problem and are, frankly, the kind of think we prefer to regard as trivial affectations in this neo-Victorian proto-Thatcherite era of economic opportunity.

    1. Sidewinder

      Yeah, it’s a sweet life living off €144 a week while feeling totally worthless. It’s a gay old time. I will never ever forget the feeling that I was a completely pointless waste of oxygen when I first went to collect the dole. It’s both utterly depressing and utterly untrue but it’s how shitty people on this thread make ALL unemployed people feel, regardless of whether or not they chose to be unemployed.

    1. Tommy

      hold on….is that the same guy? I remember his frontline rant. I assumed he was an actor taking the piss.

      1. SOMK

        Yes that was me, I actually made quite a salient point, but it was the night of the Dublin snow, spent literally four hours pushing a car through ice from D2-D4 before showing up in the studio somewhat rattled, still the point I made was a salient one.

    1. Salmon of Nollaig

      Congratulations on managing to be a smug git in one sentence. Some people take an entire paragraph.

      1. Drogg

        First thing companies do when looking to employee someone these days is google them. So having an online persona that comes across as over argumentative, condescending and patronising does not make you very employable. Also the choice of profile pics not great, especially for someone who works in a visual medium.

        1. McNinja

          I don’t know, I know a lot of very successful people in business and politics that are over argumentative, condescending and patronising and would probably hire people like themselves.

          1. cluster

            I often find that ‘over argumentative, condescending and patronising people’ often don’t think they themselves match this description and don’t necessarily like others that do.

            I don’t have any published papers to support this.

          2. cluster

            I often find that ‘over argumentative, condescending and patronising people’ often don’t think they themselves match this description and don’t necessarily like others that do.

            I don’t have any published papers to support this.

        2. SOMK

          How I hypothetically conduct myself in social media or online in general is no business of any potential employer of mine. Why should anyone have to hide who they are for the sake of a job, there’s a reason people like Eben Moglen call facebook a modern day Stasi. As for my profile picture, it’s a fair representation of what I look like in front of a screen, bit posery and contrived, but then so is the notion of even having a twitter account.

          1. Drogg

            But they do, i know from personal experience from going for jobs and from interviewing people its the first thing employers do. I am just trying to be helpful but what would i know i haven’t been unemployed since i was 17

    1. SOMK

      This is correct, though probably applicable to anyone, in that generally, any life form with a respiration system will inevitably produce some form of waste, with (we naturally asume, in our most humble of capacities) said waste often eminating from a specific source. What does have a tendency to occur is Newton’s laws of Thermodynamics have an irrating habbit of being obeyed, thus in accordance with the second law (approximately) every action has an opposite or equal reaction, or, more colloquially, what goes up must go down, or put it another way “s*** is not in the habit of spontaniously appearing from nowhere, thus it is reasonable to assume that in order for there to be poop, there must first be food. So in order for a person to be in a position to “spouts some amount of shite.” one must first have consumer the necessary substance, if we are talking strictly gastronomically then that would take the form of a meal, if we are talk more abstracly, say for example in terms of information, then perhaps that may be in the form of consumption of information and then processing such information and the inevitable waste material that wou;d be expected to result from such an endeavour. Thus in short, you are probably correct and righteous in the original expression of most considered analysis and opinion, and for that not only do I thank you, but so do my descendants, history, and (in there own particular manifestations) all other forms of early twenty first century human to human cmmunication.

  30. Tood

    “Entrepreneur, Artist, Writer, Teacher, Designer”

    Haha some Entrepreneur if you are on the dole. You need to get real with your qualifications and accept your new reality.

    1. Salmon of Nollaig

      Whoever your employer is, I bet he/she rues the day they gave a job to a snide little turd like you…

    2. SOMK

      I’m on back to work enterprise allowance actually. I don’t particularly like calling myself an “entrepreneur” without having set up a functioning business yet, but what the hell else should I call myself, that’s what I’m doing setting up a business, and the term for someone in the early stage of setting up a business is “entrepreneur”, I’ve written (but never been paid for it), I’ve been a teacher (and have been paid for it), done some design, even had a show or two.

      To quote Henry Ford “If you think you are or you think you aren’t you’re probably right.”

      1. cluster

        Fair play, I wouldn’t worry about calling myself an entrepreneur if I was you.

        Wasn’t JK Rowling on the dole before she became one of the world’s richest women? Is she a sponger?

  31. Roger

    It’s official. After reading these comments. Most people in Ireland are utter c*nts.


    There are seriously loads of people in that Young Fine Gael social media reaction war room.

  32. Kev

    People here are using non arguments, straw men and particular ad hominems to case their point. Being dismissive all the while attacking someone who raised some valid points by going at their character and using some irrelevant unrelated angle or sweeping generalisations to point score, says a lot more about the quality of the person posting than it does about the people they are aiming for.

      1. SOMK

        It was posted as a comment, unedited and never intended for this kind of attention, if I’d spend three hours writing it rather than 15 minutes it’d have less generalisations and more fact and figures.

  33. Vinny

    Nobody in their right mind chooses to be on social welfare.

    It’s a lifestyle choice for many of those 18-year old pricks I see in the Ladbrokes in Crumlin.

    1. SOMK

      “18-year old pricks I see in the Ladbrokes in Crumlin.”

      You don’t think that’s sad, barely children just out of school with nothing better to do but waste money gambling on horses and dogs?

  34. thejacks

    Damn, this website is, too often, a bottomless pit of the most appallingly callous human detritus. So long folks.

    1. AmeliaBedelia

      Absolutely. Lazy assumptions, anecdata and ‘I’m alright Jack’ mentalities. We have just gone through one of the worst recessions a small country has had to bear in living memory. Ever. I have to stop reading the comments on Broadsheet because really, if they are indicative of the understanding people have of cyclical unemployment in capitalist societies, and how currently, its existence is being used to break down social solidarity in this country, I despair.

      1. tommy

        Look at the welfare entitlements in other bust european countries. Look at Spain, Greece. Even look at the UK. Our welfare budget is completely out of control. It is not sustainable. It is intensely damaging to our future prospects and for all of our citizens.

        1. SDaedalus


          Hey, not all the comments. Or even most of them. Just a few. Some of which are from people who are angry at the wrong people, and some of which are from people who are just downright nasty.

          Like everything else, the only way to deal with it is to stand up if you don’t agree and say why. People need to know they’re not alone, and that not everyone feels like that.

  35. Buzz

    Forgive me for not reading all the comments and arriving late at the party – long day at the coalface – but whoever described the working life as: “taking even more shit from an employer holding all the cards” nailed it in my experience.

    Was unemployed for a few months (pretty active though, no time for daytime TV) and although it was financially next-to-impossible (how the hell does anyone get rent allowance without moving into a shed?), I was happier than I’ve ever been chained to the desk.

    People who talk about the 9-5 should ask themselves, who gets to leave work at 5pm these days? Work is overrated, careers are overrated… stop buying sh*t you don’t need and work less. My job is ok, demanding and boring at the same time – but office life is depressing full stop.

    Wishing you luck Seanán, avoid becoming a wage slave and aim for flexibility!

  36. Buzz

    Oh and another thing, a guy I know has a successful company (mostly due to good luck and good timing). He’s rarely there, swans in and out, pays his employees buttons, and puts them under a lot of pressure. He regards himself as the definition of success. Who’s the parasite?

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