Tag Archives: Eamonn Kelly

From top: David Mcwilliams in Saturday’s Irish Times; Eamonn Kelly

Eamonn Kelly writes;

David McWilliams’ article in Saturday’s Irish Times about how people who give out about the multi-nationals are a bit backward, a bit “old Ireland” in their outlook.

But what he failed to see is that people who criticise all the breaks the multi-nationals get are really critiquing in a deflected manner all the breaks that the Irish people don’t get when they want to start a business.

Implicit in the multi-national deals and the manner in which successive sycophantic governments clamour to please corporate America is the idea that the Irish people in and of themselves are clueless about business and dependent on someone else making jobs for us.

This despite the fact that the boast of our superior educated workforce is what the IDA always leads with as a selling point to multi-nationals.

But if you’re an Irish person wanting to start a business it is awkward to the point of being punitive in setting it up and running it. And should the business fail the system is designed to whip away the safety net of welfare at the very time you might need it.

It seems then that everyone and everything is invested in and given breaks except the Irish people. Public monies ear-marked for retraining the workforce, for instance, were handed out in the millions to two British companies who provided no retraining for the investment but only a kind of policing of unemployed people.

The message is clear from the top. The Irish people are not worth investing in but are only useful as drones for corporate America who get all the breaks to use us, basically.

I’m not suggesting that we fling out the multi-nationals. That would be stupid. But this is the kind of “stupidity” that McWilliams was suggesting lay behind critiquing the multi-national deal.

What I am suggesting is that we invest in Irish would-be entrepreneurs and local businesses with the same confidence and generosity as we have been affording to multi-nationals.

By not investing in the Irish people you create a self-fulfilling prophecy that local entrepreneurs are unable to create employment. This reinforces the old national inferiority complex that informs the present system of attracting multi-national investment.

So contrary to McWilliams’  view that people who criticise the multi-nationals are somehow “backward”, the truth is that the system engineered by Lemass for a different Irish population made up of mainly farmers and labourers, is still being run as if the people haven’t changed.

A system based on an acknowledgment of a national inferiority complex, a need for creating employment for a workforce of mainly uneducated and unskilled labour and the luring of friends in America to make jobs for us.

Everything about it is dependent. But that’s not us any more. It’s the system is backward, not the people, as McWilliams implies.

The irony of this is that David McWilliams who presents himself as the progressive face of economics appears to be arguing that we return to the “innocence” of the Lemass era and show gratitude towards the multi-nationals.

If that’s not a big-red-flag clue to a post-colonial authoritarian issue I don’t know what is.

Eamonn Kelly is a freelance writer

Corporate Tax And The Yeah But School Of Economics (David McWilliamns, Irish Times)

From top: US Detenton centre near the Mexican border in Tornillo, Texas; Lissywollen Direct Provision centre, Athlone, Co. Westmeath

In the film version of David Mamet’s 1984 stage play ‘Glengarry Glen Ross’, the salesman sent from head-office to pep talk the sales team announces a new competition: first place wins a car, last place is fired.

The play describes the core principle of what today we understand as neoliberalism as it is practised by the Trump administration and others. In Mamet’s play the representation of the core value of the ideology is simple and brutal and runs like a mantra through the play. It is simply, Fuck You.

Once you see neoliberalism reduced to these two words you begin to see that aspect of the ideology everywhere.

At home it was there when the present taoiseach as minster for social welfare launched the welfare cheats campaign. It was also there when as taoiseach he promised more support for the arts, set up an organisation ostensibly to promote the arts, but then climbed aboard the new vehicle himself, revealing it as a personal PR platform.

In neo-liberalism, the arts are considered worthless, unless they’ve already made fortunes. The worth of all actions is measured on assessment of immediate, short-term financial return. First place wins a car, last place is fired.

This short-term, fast buck, fuck-youness of the system results in what president Michael D. Higgins described last week as “neo-utilitarian mediocrity”, a condition that he has identified as being widespread in the universities, where the neo-liberal ideology of competition and financial bottom-lines is polluting the Humanities at source.

The sinister aspect of the system is the monetising of people as products to be processed, whether it be through the privatisation of social services or the privatisation of prisons.

In a market economy dependent on perpetual growth, where actual jobs are in decline due to automation and environmental limitations to growth, people become the products that are bought and sold. That is where neo-liberalism leads and is leading: towards the mass processing of vulnerable people.

In September 2017 Mark Donatelli, a New Mexico attorney and an opponent of private prison services said to reporter Roz Brown of the Public News Service in Albuquerque:

“…Under the Obama administration, the Justice Department had begun a phase-out of contracts with private-prison companies. When that decision was reversed by President Trump, their stock prices soared…”

There is big money to be made in imprisoning vulnerable people. Jeff Sessions, the US attorney general is said to hold extensive shares in CoreCivic which provides private prison services all across the US.

Donatelli in the same interview went on to speculate that “…the aggressive tactics now being employed by ICE – the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency – likely means private prisons will be utilized…” [to detain immigrants.]

Tellingly, however, while private prison services account for only 12% of all inmates in the US, the percentage share for privately-run immigration and family detention centres is 62%, according to a story by David Dayen in The Nation. This throws a whole new light on the arrests of the Mexican immigrant families.

The same publication, The Nation, ran an article in 2016, shortly after Trump won the election, speculating on how Trump would deport immigrants by branding them as criminal. This being the easiest way to “cater” for them with the systems already in existence. This is exactly what has happened.

The criminalizsng of people for profit in a system of democratic and human-rights restrictions depends primarily on selling the idea to the majority of the electorate, persuading them that certain “criminal” types need rehabilitation.

It’s not about solving the underlying problem. It’s about duping the majority into blaming a minority by identifying a scapegoat group as a focus for “improvement”. The inevitable punitive measures that follow can only happen with the co-operation of the majority of the electorate.

I wrote an article a couple of years ago called “The Investment Potential of Criminalising the Poor” that showed how one of the companies who won the Irish contracts to deliver JobPath was bought out by a major investment corporation attracted by the profit potential of the Irish contracts. I subsequently  discovered that US private prisons have the right to sue local government should a certain quota of fresh prisoners not be met.

While researching that article I came across a story about a questionnaire issued by Turas Nua to jobseekers containing a question that asked, When do you next expect to commit a criminal offence?

The incident was not widely reported. It was reported in The Sun but ignored elsewhere. It was mentioned in the Dáil, but the general response appeared to be that it was some kind of clerical error. The odd question was withdrawn, apologies were made, someone said “regrettable mistake” and so on.

But in light of Trump’s deliberate criminalisation of the Mexican immigrants, that “clerical error” seems now more like a move to habituate people to the idea of unemployment as criminality. And that by two companies whose chief business interest is in private prison services from the UK to Saudi Arabia.

This monetising of vulnerable people is what connects the thinking behind private prison systems in the US and elsewhere, and, more generally, the out-sourcing of social welfare services to private companies, as is happening here.

In real terms, public monies that have seen set aside for social welfare purposes are essentially hi-jacked by these private companies for minimal return. This transference of well-intentioned social funds to private investors is facilitated by governments who simply want to write off the responsibility of providing social welfare, content to throw the most vulnerable on the mercy of the markets.

The lowest bidders almost always win the contracts, to offset costs at the outset. The entire “service” then becomes a cost-cutting exercise by the private contractor, to test how far they can strip the service without actually doing too much harm.

Inevitably however, people are harmed and some people die as a result of the inherent neglect of a system designed for minimal service and maximum profit.

It was the deaths in private prisons that prompted the Obama administration to legislate for the phasing out of private prison services and, naturally, the phasing out of private profits, a situation that Trump and his team were eager to overturn and did.

There is a difference only in degree between the imprisoned children of Mexico, their parents deliberate captives to a private prison service in which the US attorney general holds shares, and, at the milder end of the spectrum, (for the onlookers, not for the families involved,) the homeless families of Ireland, held captive in hotels as sacrifices to the hopeful rejuvenation of the private housing market, an arrangement arrived at by neglect of any serious social housing programme by a government ruling party made up of 32% private landlords.

Both sets of imprisoned families are prisoners for the profit motives of more powerful agents. Add to this the migrant families imprisoned in direct provision in Ireland, farmed out to a private company whose interests are best served financially if direct provision remains a permanent arrangement.

All this makes the taoiseach’s recent gesture of accepting immigrants that the Italians don’t want seem like a calculated PR pre-election stunt to enhance the socially progressive image he has been cultivating on the back of the marriage equality and repeal the 8th amendments.

 Eamonn Kelly is a freelance writer

Pics: Getty/RTÉ

From top: John Waters; Eamonn Kelly

I had and still have great respect for John Waters. I read a lot of his stuff over the years and found him to be one of the most insightful commentators on Irish culture. One memory I have of him was when he was shouted down on the Late Late Show by the entire audience and Gay Byrne (early 1990s) for introducing an ancestral memory idea that argued that the famine still played a part in how Irish people behaved.

This idea stemmed from Epigenetics, the study of how dramatic impacts on peoples may involve changes to gene expression if not the genetic codes, leading to effects that may persist in a society for generations.

Irish historian Oonagh Walsh believes that the Irish Famine may have lead directly to an increase in mental illness in subsequent generations. The point is, the idea has substance and has since developed legs, as they say, no matter how vociferously it may have been rejected by the Late Late Show audience all those years ago.

The effect has been measured and proven and clearly shows that traumatic events like famine in particular leave a genetic imprint on a people which may manifest in how the society conducts itself later on.

I thought it was a really interesting idea, but what I was really struck by was the vehemence of the resistance by everyone to even the notion of such a thing. There was no exploration of the debate. John Waters was roundly ridiculed by audience and host in such a manner as to suggest, to me at any rate, that he seemed to have hit some sort of raw nerve.

That was all in the past, was the sentiment. That doesn’t matter now. That has no bearing on anything, and so on. Or as Gay Byrne pointed out – I paraphrase – I have never heard anything so stupid in my entire life!

This ancestral memory idea informed my own thinking about the impact the catholic church’s authoritarian innings may have had in Ireland. Particularly its input into Irish education, literally moulding minds. And then the later abuse stories, still ongoing, all amounting to a kind of cultural shock, and how this may also still be impacting Irish culture. Only yesterday (May 17th) there was a news report of a group of now elderly men still seeking state redress for sexual abuse perpetrated by clerics.

In an article here on Broadsheet a couple of weeks back, I suggested that the 8th amendment was the last bulwark of the grip the Irish Catholic Church held on secular Ireland and for that reason it would be progressive, a break with a dark past, to vote Yes to repeal the 8th amendment.

I was curious to hear what John Waters’ take on all this might be when I heard, simultaneously, that he was going to be on Eamon Dunphy’s podcast, the Last Stand, and that he had walked out of the podcast after less than 15 minutes.

But in that 15 minutes he dismissed the idea that the 8th amendment has anything to do with the historical influence of the church in Ireland, making out that those of us who believe this are not with it and are raising phantoms of Archbishop McQuaid still “stalking the land”.

John Waters clearly believes that there would be a kind of abortion free-for-all if the amendment was repealed. This alone is worthy of deeper examination because it suggests that he believes that Irish people need “policing” on moral issues like abortion, and that the 8th amendment protects them from themselves.

A suggestion which is also a kind of unfortunate veiled indictment of the priorities of women, suggesting also that he believes that the removal of the amendment would lead to callous women having abortions out of a kind of secular party-animal convenience.

It was a pity the interview was curtailed because the impression I was getting was that John Waters was using all his considerable powers of argument in an attempt to corral the discussion to narrow it in such a way as to be able argue partial questions in a shrunken arena he seemed more comfortable in.

He dismissed, for instance, an attempted discussion on the morning-after-pill as being irrelevant to the “real” issue which was focused exclusively on the rights of the foetus In fact, it was this attempt by Dunphy to broaden the discussion that precipitated Waters’ departure.

That he left when Dunphy pushed ahead to explore other aspects of the debate suggests that he, like many people, is equally challenged by trying to unravel the complexities of such an emotive and complex debate, a position of helplessness and befuddlement he is probably not used to and appears to resent.

The early impression though was that he was not at all open to considering anything that contradicted his already held view, and that in fact his argument seemed designed to rule out the more complex questions of the debate.

You would wonder then, even if he had stayed for the full 40-minute discussion would he ever have gotten near the question as to what such a human rights restriction, a total ban on abortion under all circumstances, is doing in the constitution in the first place, and the implications of such a ban on the rights of women, a restriction that the UN regards as a clear human rights breach.

I’m aware that John Waters has gone back to his Irish Catholic roots in recent years. I read his book “Beyond Consolation” where he argued that Irelands’ rejection of the church since the 1960’s has given rise to a rampant irresponsible consumerism, so it is clear that he genuinely believes that Irish people are not capable of governing themselves without the authority of the Church.

He argues in the book that the church’s greatest harm was in giving the impression that religious belief is externally imposed, this as a result of the church’s authoritarianism, and that the loss is that Irish people have developed no inner religious authority. That Irish people have missed the basic message that God is inside and not outside.

I don’t know about that. Buddhism, among other spiritual practices and religious observances, is popular in Ireland. But the deeper problem about such an argument is the underlying assumption that the only way to rectify such a spiritual deficiency, if such a deficiency even exists, is to restore an external authority as a kind of spiritual policeman.

This is a bit of a cousin of an argument to the view that former colonial powers should be reinstated in their various colonies as a response to the imperial notion that “the natives can’t rule themselves”, the “evidence” being civil wars and other governing problems that arise when the former authority withdraws.

While “Beyond Consolation” offered a compelling personal story of a return to the religion of his childhood, which is his prerogative, the book also revealed a suspicion of secular Ireland that chimed a bit uncomfortably with the often-restrictive doctrines and beliefs of the discredited organisation.

Whatever his personal reasons for seeking solace in the religion that was instilled in him as a child, it is difficult to escape the conclusion, based on the arguments condemning Irish secular society in “Beyond Consolation”, and then in his often irrational-seeming retorts on the Dunphy podcast, culminating in his dramatic walkout and abandonment of the argument, that his personal re-embracing of the Catholic church may be clouding his judgement on the issue of the repeal of the 8th amendment as it impacts on the human rights of women.

From a personal point of view, it is disappointing to see that the thinker who first raised the idea in my mind that the famine may have distorted Irish society, and who was roundly condemned for his insight, cannot also see that the impact of the Irish Catholic Church and all its private crimes against people may have had a similarly distorting and destructive effect on the culture, albeit not as extreme perhaps as the effect of famine.

For these reasons, my own position is that the only responsible and progressive answer in the referendum is to vote Yes to repeal the 8th amendment, as a vote of confidence in secular Ireland to conduct itself responsibly.

Eamonn Kelly is a freelance writer

Yesterday: The Stand-Off

Rollingnews

I always had this sense that the arts were being neutered and framed as “just for kids”, often presented in great big nursery colors as “harmless fun”. A device to get in touch with your inner child.

The proof is in the pudding as they say, as yesterday’s Irish Times article by Una Mullally shows when Dublin City council cancelled a literary event with a repeal the 8th theme. This coming shortly after the painting-over of Yes murals.

No sooner do the arts get a little political than they’re literally shut down.

There is also a short film called ‘Terminal ‘(above) doing the rounds about two women on the ferry to England which RTÉ has decided to shelve until after the referendum.

Now I understand that RTÉ as a public service broadcaster have to be seen to be impartial, but the church are reading the No side from the pulpits.

The Limerick Leader carried a report yesterday of the Yes position being likened to the Holocaust by a well known journalist speaking from a church pulpit; which, when you think about it, is an insult to both the Yes side, the Holocaust, Journalism and pulpits in general.

But what is RTÉ only a secular pulpit? God knows it is often used for that purpose.

‘Terminal’, politely deferred by the national broadcaster until after the referendum, is a valid artistic contribution to the referendum debate.In that respect it is arguably in the public interest to show the film.

Not showing the film at a time of its peak relevance is no different really than the no-sayers driving around in vans tearing down Yes posters.

Show the film RTÉ, for crying out loud.

Eamonn Kelly is a freelance writer

 

From top: The Launch of The launch of GAA Athletes for a No Vote on Saturday, in Ballyfermot, Dublin 10; Father Ray Kelly on Britain’s Got Talent

There was a time back in the 1980s when I truly believed that Ireland was on a progressive trajectory of cultural change. I had a severe case of optimism back then, cured by a divorce referendum, an abortion referendum and the moving statues phenomenon. Ireland, it seemed, was slow to change.

One afternoon about 10 years ago, I came across a gaggle of drunken rag-week students, all male, ladding it around the town. Something about the familiarity of their Irish features and their general demeanour caused a kind of epiphany.

It occurred to me that the reason why Ireland had failed to take that progressive trajectory is because most people, for the most part, become like their parents, since this is the trajectory of least resistance.

It takes real effort to make a break with the past, and the truth is, most people can’t be arsed.

The macro result is that the culture, any culture, remains more or less the same from generation to generation.

In Ireland this sameyness is helped in great part by emigration and the departure of the majority of adventurous spirits, leaving the dull and the lazy to tend to the culture, with predictable results, like RTÉ programming and Country and Irish music.

Even the much-lauded Celtic Tiger period was essentially more of the same in Ireland except there were better cars and holidays and cocaine, but under the hood of souped Celtic Tiger decadence, things remained pretty much donkey-and-cart Irish in the bars and parlours of the wet old sod.

For instance, during the Celtic Tiger period some obscure saint’s “relic” came to Ireland for a “tour” – it was a splinter of bone I think, a kind of Elvis’ toenail for serious Catholics.  People turned up in their thousands to pay homage to this old dead thing, proving that Ireland had one foot still very firmly planted in the European medieval period. There was a long way to go yet for anything that might look like a progressive cultural trajectory.

Now we have another Groundhog Day-like referendum and the same cast of dubious characters are haunting the cultural landscape with essentially the same regressive doctrines and fear-mongering. It’s a wonder that they’re still here.

The progressive nature and success of the marriage equality referendum bodes well for the advent of an age of cultural enlightenment at last. Though I may be losing the run of myself a bit here and slipping dangerously towards unabashed optimism. And we all know where that leads.

Apart from the complexities of the abortion issue – it is in these complexities that the fundamentalists make the most hay by generating confusion, fear and uncertainty – I personally don’t see this really as being about abortion as such.

Abortion, divorce, same-sex marriage and so on are just the ball in a greater game; diversions from the core issue of all the debates that have plagued Ireland around sexuality.

That core issue is the grip on power the catholic church managed to wangle in the formation of the new Irish state, courtesy of de Valera who used them for some much-needed political stability, but maybe got a little more stability than he bargained for.

We’re still severely stabilised here in Ireland. The latest referendum, like the ones that preceded it, is really a question asking: Are we ready yet to risk thinking for ourselves?

It seems now that the church deliberately set out to indoctrinate the Irish people into a system of social, political and personal control, using the free access to the minds of children they enjoyed in the new state, to deeply embed ideas of shame, guilt, fear and uncertainty regarding questions of sexuality, establishing a kind of totalitarian power over the new state, to provide a foothold in a Europe in which the church was becoming increasingly irrelevant.

The greatest irony of this campaign of oppression, as we all know, was the fact that the church itself provided cover for sexual predators who preyed on children in that church-generated climate of fear and uncertainty, causing cowed Irish adults to turn a blind eye to their activities.

This was the oppression in action. The generational inculcation of fear and guilt and tipping the hat to a clergy that behaved abominably, betraying the trust of an entire people’s mistaken respect, while clerics engaged in activities that included the rape of children and the selling of children for profit, among other “caring” preoccupations that have since been revealed to appall the world.

Two of the legacies of that campaign to oppress the Irish people were the divorce and abortion referenda where the church and its lackeys, and often with help, training and money from fundamentalist Christian organisations in the US, set out to manipulate those old fears and uncertainties embedded in Irish people in previous generations, their goal similarly to achieve social, political and personal control through shame, guilt, fear and uncertainty.

A Yes vote in the upcoming referendum is a Yes to releasing the grip these fanatics continue to hold on the minds and hearts of many Irish people and continue to hold on the Irish constitution itself.

This continued grip on power was achieved over generations through clever and underhanded manipulations, in a campaign of oppression that was designed to trick Irish people into democratically locking these oppressive ideas into Irish law, and by doing so, locking the church’s influence into the secular state.

When you vote Yes, you vote Yes to undoing the damage these shameless manipulators have inflicted on the Irish Constitution. You break their hold on power once and for all.

Nevertheless, they do persist, and the game continues. Yesterday a group of GAA footballers came out to launch a campaign for a No vote on the grounds that abortion is a failure of team-work. They say:

“…the proposal fails the test of teamwork. This is a society of people of many talents, with boundless potential and vast resources. If we work together, we can come up with a better solution than to cast away the rights of our unborn children and call it a solution. We can, and we must, do better.”

Suggestions on a postcard please, I guess.

Talk about simplifying the complex. But since they’re raised the metaphor of teamwork, you have to wonder if allowing a woman to die because the medical team’s hands are tied by the legalities of the 8th amendment is not also a failure of “teamwork”.

The statement also says:

“The proposal the Government has put forward is not inclusive. It specifically seeks to exclude one group of people, the unborn, from our society. It strips them of rights, it declares that they are not on our team.”

As this government routinely does with the homeless, with patients on hospital trolleys, with the disabled, the immigrants, the emigrants, the low paid worker and the unemployed.
It might be a greater demonstration of social concern and practical benefit if the GAA players went campaigning for the housing of the 5,000 homeless children the state also does not include on the “team”.

The statement ends with the brilliantly oblivious,:

“We respect and cherish women. We support them, and we believe that as a society, we have much more, so much more, to offer our women than the death of their children.”

Really? Like what, for instance?

Some right wing Christian think-tank may have put the GAA players up to this. But the concept is spun so poorly that it is likely that the GAA players dreamed it up themselves.
For instance, the core principles they cite are; inclusiveness, compassion, respect, dignity and teamwork.

But realistically each of these comes with a barely concealed gender prejudice and might more honestly be presented as, Inclusiveness (except for the girls.); Compassion (except for the girls.); Respect (except for the girls); Dignity (except for the girls.); Teamwork (Except for the girls.)

Then, just in time for the referendum, to cap it all off, like a fresh gag in a bleak divine comedy, Ireland coughs up, like a miraculous intervention, a singing priest crooning “Everybody Hurts” (they sure do, father) on Britain’s Got Talent.

This is a performance that has been fulsomely praised on Facebook by young Irish people who really should know better. But the strangest thing of it is. When the priest finished
singing there was a deathly silence in the auditorium until Simon Cowell rose to his feet and generated an ovation. Cowell sees money in this and he’s clearly backing the crooning cleric for a big payoff.

This, for those of a medieval mindset, appears to indicate that the singing priest has made a pact with the Devil.

Eamonn Kelly is a freelance writer

Pics:  Rollingnews/ITV

 

From top: A scene from RTÉ’s What Are You Working For?; Eamonn Kelly

The Phillip Boucher Hayes documentary What Are You Working For? Screened on RTÉ on April 9 demonstrated that the jobs being created in recent times, particularly low paid jobs are not only not achieving what they were supposed to achieve – more funds in the tax net – but are apparently designed in such a way as to deliver neither security or a realistic living wage to those who hold such jobs.

They are in a way McJobs; all appearance and no sustenance.

Early in the programme Boucher-Hayes asked one of the participants, a low-paid retail worker, if she would be better off not working. This is an interesting question and something of a trap in a way, though there is no suggestion that it was intended as such.

To be better off not working alludes of course to the welfare system and the case is then usually made that welfare is too “generous” if some people can only be marginally better off by working.

The participant in this case was working part time in retail, earning €15,000 which left her tax free and also eligible for state supplementary benefit. But the period of entitlement to this state benefit was coming to a close, leaving her in a situation where her weekly earnings did not cover living costs.

This impoverishment of low-paid workers is a familiar scenario in the US where the systems of exploitation of low-paid workers is far more sophisticated, leading to situations where homeless people work full time but remain below the first rung of the so-called accommodation ladder.

It used to be called the housing ladder, but the homelessness crisis has created a new sub-zone requiring a new ladder. Soon we’ll have people struggling to get on the first rung of the deep-black-pit ladder.

The Irish retail worker the RTE documentary, when asked would she better off not working, said that she was earning €15 more for her 15 hours than she would earn if she went on welfare, which she refuses to do because she doesn’t want to take handouts from the state, despite the fact that she is working in a job that doesn’t actually cover living costs.

She went on to say that claiming welfare would set a bad example to her children, and adds:

“They need to have that self-worth to get out there and earn their own money.”

This is a sentiment we would all agree with, and one that is often made by low-paid workers who take pride in asserting that they could not and would not take state “handouts”. It is interesting too that the concept of self-worth is often factored into such sentiments as a quality only deliverable by working in a “job”.

But the idea of “getting out there” and earning “your own money”, while admirable in its fighting intent and moral chutzpah, takes absolutely no cognizance of the realities of finding decently paid occupation in a system seemingly deliberately designed to minimize worker’s benefits and protections.

To have a concept of personal self-worth tied into and dependent on success in such a system seems almost tragic.

These decent, moral qualities expressed by this woman are unfortunately just more sustenance for the dinosaur-like corporate entities roaming the planet. They’ll eat that stuff up all day. It serves them to have moral, honest hard-working people playing by traditional rules and moral codes.

Have you ever heard a multi-national corporation declare that it was too proud to accept state handouts? Corporations take all the handouts they can get and actually have systems in place to trawl the globe looking for state handouts.

They’re no mugs, that’s why they command all the wealth. That’s why we have so many multi-national corporations here in Ireland, and the majority of them are US vampire-like companies who parked their gargantuan arses here, tax free, to avail of state handouts, in exchange for “jobs” they would provide.

But the concept of “job” in this Faustian pact has clearly come to have two separate and distinct meanings for the parties involved.

The state may understand a “job” in the old-fashioned way of an occupation in manufacturing that delivers decent wages to its workers which will filter back into the local economy and into the national tax base in terms of income tax, VAT and so on, with the rising tide lifting all boats and so on. This understanding of “job” is predicated on the assumption that “jobs” are by their nature, well paid, a dangerous assumption as it turns out.

A multi-national company however may view a “job” in an entirely different way. If for instance a company is entering a deal of job provision in return for a tax-free base allowing access to the lucrative European markets, it may create as many jobs as you desire.

But don’t expect them to be “jobs” in the sense you understand the concept. Expect them to be occupations involving the use of the time and labour of local individuals in a setting that looks like the type of setting you assume a “job” belongs in.

A place owned by the employer that provides some service or other and which pays a minimal wage to an employee who is kept there against their natural inclination by the traditional moral imperative of getting out there and earning your own money.

Stick a paper hat on it and presto! It’s a “job”.

But if this “job” doesn’t pay enough to contribute to the tax base and the local economy, as was the case with all of the low-paid jobs featured in the RTÉ documentary, almost 400,000 of them, it is not a “job” in the sense in which you understood when you entered into a tax-exemption deal with multi-national companies in return for the creation of “jobs”.  They’re jobs, Jim. But not as we know them.

Such jobs are deliberately designed to be precarious, particularly jobs created by the US companies who have decades of experience in feeding off workforces as if people are just so many tubes of toothpaste to be used up and discarded.

The effect of engineering precarious employment is to destroy the concept of unions and worker protections and to leave individual workers bearing the costs of creating employment while the corporation takes all the profit.

This creates a situation where the projected tax take from increased employment that was understood as part of the “job” creation deal doesn’t materialise.

Everyone is working, but everyone is losing except the corporations. And that’s the way it is arranged. Workers can never win. It’s like gambling in a casino. The games are rigged. The house always wins.

So, what’s being taken from people, in real terms?

Their time. Their energy. Their skills. Their education. Their autonomy.

Here’s the IDA’s sell of Irish workers to lure foreign companies to Ireland.

International reports rate Ireland’s workforce highly for factors such as educational attainment, productivity and flexibility

These qualities are assets and are being sold on the international market by the government to lure so-called foreign investment.

But if the workers then hired in the deal of tax breaks and an educated workforce in return for “jobs” are then essentially cheated by these companies by being hi-jacked into precarious employments, as was demonstrated on the RTÉ documentary, it is clear that the initial deal is being poorly misunderstood by the deal-makers in government.

It’s a bad deal that fails to achieve what it set out to achieve, leaving Irish people essentially footing the bill for multinational profiteers, whether through low wages and the sacrifice of their skills to the cause of the multi-nationals’ business priorities, or by paying tax for social services some of which will supplement the living costs of the impoverished workers who are simply not being paid enough to live on and must resort to welfare top-ups.

Many short-term contracts create a situation where workers are on permanent call at the whim of the employer. Such a situation has further hidden costs in basic human needs and the effect on family relationships. Plus, you can be sure there are people who are simply not sleeping as much as they should for best health, and not eating properly.

These too are costs paid by the employee that directly enhance corporate profit while incurring health deficits that will inevitably mean future costs on the health service as over-worked people’s health breaks down. Costs which will again be paid by the Irish tax-payer.

All these “assets” are being turned to capital by the multi-national companies invited by a government still essentially exercising the tricks of the Lemass era.

It even could be that this ongoing dependent behaviour on multi-nationals to do our job creation for us has left our governments relatively guileless in the ways of business, and now prone to cutting deals that are damaging in their naivete.

Though I’m not sure the Irish establishment is that naïve. It’s more likely and fits more with anecdotal evidence and personal experience that they simply have no real respect or esteem for the native citizenry.

The way these multi-national companies operate is a bit like strip-mining the human workforce. All the skills, talents, qualifications and experience are turned over to the companies by the government in the interest of “job” creation.

But the “jobs” created are immediately stripped of profit by systems already in place and the workers and all their assets in the form of education and skills is immediately turned into a kind of human pulp from which the companies crush time, expertise, labour and fundamental health into profit for the company.

These profit-harvesting machines create wastelands of people and places, like those desolate US urban spaces you see on Louis Theroux documentaries where junkies roam like zombies until such time as they step foul of the law and are washed and dressed in cotton whites and consigned for life into fridge-like cubicles in privately run prisons where, in their permanent captivity they still miraculously generate profits for private companies.

This pact of tax breaks and selling off an educated workforce to multi-national companies in return for “jobs” is not only a poor deal, it also seems like an ongoing statement of a national lack of self-confidence. An Achille’s heel that is being mercilessly exploited by international profiteers.

All the creativity of a highly educated workforce is being burnt up to serve the production really of multinational company profits, with skilled people being pressed to take “proper jobs” that are often a waste of their talents and that are so poorly paid that they don’t qualify to contribute in any meaningful way to the tax base.

I came across an article recently where someone said of the US job market that wonderful art works are being lost because the artists and musicians are being pressed into low paid employment flipping burgers and so on. The same is happening here because the same principles and the same players are being let loose here too.

The talents and qualifications being wasted in the service of these companies is also a loss of potential real capital, since it has been demonstrated in study after study that the arts are a huge source of income to any country and are of particularly lucrative potential here in Ireland where the native talent is the envy of more culturally sterile but wealthy countries, like Germany for instance.

In the long-term, raw creative talent will not achieve its potential, because its energy and gift is being squandered to serve the creation of corporate profits for minimal benefit, in the name of the creation of an old-hat understanding of “real jobs”.

The waste of native talent in exchange for McJobs is tantamount to a crime against culture. A dated initiative for job-creation that is selling us all out and burning up future potential in exchange for nothing really, except a statistical boast for a government who then claim a raise for a job well done.

If you demonstrated the tax-breaks for jobs deal in a kindergarten with squares of chocolate, the five-year-olds would look on with total derision at the obvious cheat of it all.

Eamonn Kelly is a freelance writer

Top pic: RTÉ

From top: Propoganda for one of the Soviet Union’s Five Year Plans; Cabinet members at the Project Ireland 2040 launch at the Institute of Technology, Sligo last week

Eamonn Kelly writes:

The five-year plans of the Bolsheviks were partly designed to deflect criticism from the ruling party. Later Stalin finessed this by simply killing the critics.

To introduce a 20-year development plan as Fine Gael have done is partly genius, since many of the present critics of the party’s policies are likely to be either dead or in nursing homes by the time the 20 years rolls around and everyone is finally permitted to say, “Well, that didn’t work!”

The idea combines early Bolshevik thinking of using the long-term plan to deflect criticism, but by extending the term of the plan it also gives a nod to Stalin’s propensity for silencing criticism, but with a more civilized approach by arranging for the passage of great swaths of time itself to be the executioner of opposing voices.

I know it’s a bit strange to be lumping Fine Gael in with the Bolsheviks, especially given the taoiseach’s contempt for what he calls hard-left politics, but these are strange times and everything is not always as it seems.

Because what Varadkar’s Fine Gael and the Bolsheviks have in common is a propensity to engage in wide-ranging officially sanctioned deceits designed to mislead the public.

In the Bolshevik’s case this was done to ward off a counter-revolution, in the Fine Gael case it is being done simply to ward off criticism that might undermine their hold on power. In Russia it was called censorship, in Fine Gael it’s called “controlling negative narratives”.

The thinking behind all this may be sincere. Perhaps the taoiseach genuinely believes that he is tackling head-on the native Irish propensity for negative thinking by trying to push through more positive thinking models, marrying positive thinking with economics, like they do in the US.

But you have only to look at the US to know that while positive thinking economics might be good for certain sectors of the economy, the top 1% for instance, it tends not to be so great or positive for blue-collar workers, most while collars workers, the poor, the destitute and everybody else really who isn’t either a tech billionaire or a movie star.

But whatever the degree of the taoiseach’s sincerity on the subject of positive thinking as a generator of economic recovery, the fact remains that, like the Bolsheviks, Fine Gael are investing public money in a team to control the news and the perception of the government, in order to hold onto power. And like the Bolsheviks are using the concept of a long-term economic plan to deflect criticism.

Varadkar has also to date targeted a minority social group for scapegoat treatment through the welfare cheats campaign, which he personally led, voluntarily making himself the official face of intolerance of the poor in direct contravention of an EU directive which his party have failed to implement: namely, to add discrimination on grounds of socio-economic status as a protection during austerity.

But if this right were implemented, the smirking minister with the welfare cheats sign would be on the wrong side of the law, as would the entire JobPath employment activation programme, which is predicated precisely on discrimination against those on welfare, or the poor, or those of low socio-economic status; something the then minister for social protection, now taoiseach, was fully aware of when he set out to pit low-paid worker against the unemployed, by scapegoating the latter as the cause of high taxation.

The number of artists who were also transferred into the JobPath system could also be viewed as a direct attack on the imagination of the culture, the system essentially degrading artists into a pool of menial labour from which two private companies hoped to profit.

This is not quite the gulags of the Soviet Union, but the results in silencing oppositional viewpoints are very similar, and much easier to defend, since the economic argument can always be raised as a justification for silencing art in the name of recovery.

What joins Fine Gael and the Bolsheviks is naked political power and the willingness to bend laws or neglect their implementation to retain power. The use of the long-term economic plan seals the similarity, despite the politics being, on the face of it, on the opposite sides of the spectrum.

There is little difference between Varadkar’s PR team running paid “advertorials” in the national press in order to combat what it terms “negative narratives”, and the Bolshevik’s all-encompassing control of the news in the soviet states, except in terms of degree.

Both are ultimately concerned with silencing opposition, and both justify repressive actions on the grounds of economic progress.

While Fine Gael’s form of control is not bare-faced censorship, they are quite open about their intention to silence dissent as being merely “negative”, and government control of the main organs of news creates a form of censorship by omission, with the concept of “advertorials” now merely adding to the flavour of a government-controlled Tass-like Agency in our midst.

The Fine Gael party’s secret weapons are “progressive” Varadkar as their public face, and the “religion” of positive thinking, which they hope will be enough to appeal to a majority of the electorate, enough to consolidate their grip on power. The twenty-year plan is perhaps a direct appeal to millennials.

But the wild introduction of that 20-year plan also seems to suggest that Fine Gael are not at all confident of success in the next election, where arguably all their focus truly lays, despite all the bumph of 2040. In other words, Fine Gael appear to be privately entertaining a few negative narratives of their own.

Eamonn Kelly is a freelance writer

It has been said before that there is a kind of denial of class division in Ireland. But everyone knows that there is a class system, a lower and upper and so on, though the insistence appears to be that there are mainly “normal people like us”, who are annoyed for the most part by “skangers”, “scumbags”, “posh fuckers” and the “super rich”.

The socially unfortunate are explained away by seizing on a kind of Catholic throwback understanding, part karma and part divine retribution, which amounts to the judgment that they “brought it on themselves” by, usually, “not working hard enough”.

The new homeless fall into this category, a kind of secular damned, suffering the torments brought about by original economic sin of borrowing too much, and, presumably, “not working hard enough.”

The various prejudices that hold the whole thing together are supplemented by selective readings of the news. Stats are particularly good for propping up the illusion that everything is hunky dory. Just don’t contrast stories from different ends of the spectrum or they’re likely to ignite and blow up in your face.

Take today for instance, December 15th 2017.

The Irish Times had a story reporting over 10% growth in GDP, with the strong pick-up due to “personal consumption”. If you want to support the system, Leo’s Ireland, and pat yourself on the back for being of optimistic outlook, you’ll seize on that reported 10.5% growth figure and think no more about it.

But if you read down through the article you’ll find that the figure isn’t as solid as it might first appear to be, due to difficulties in acquiring accurate measurements of GDP. By the end of the article the true figure for GDP growth is somewhere between 6.5% and 10%, maybe.

Goodbody analyst Dermot O’Leary is quoted as saying:

“the headline GDP growth estimate of 10.5 per cent year on year is not a realistic gauge of the pace of growth in Ireland in Q3 2017…”

That the article leads with the headline “Irish economy surges to double-digit growth,” is a fair indication that the Irish Times believes that this is what we should believe. But the headline is an inaccurate exaggeration of the true story, almost tabloidy, so, proving that in mean times even the formerly urbane may become a little calloused.

Meanwhile, over in RTÉ, Fr Peter McVerry was also quoting figures to Cathal MacCoille on Morning Ireland, the dialogue reported in Broadsheet. Fr McVerry was calling for a rent freeze, describing the current housing crisis as “beyond crisis”. He warned that within months all available hotel accommodation would be used up.

He said:

“In January this year, there were 410 families in emergency accommodation. In July, there were 659 families in emergency accommodation. The numbers are just going up and up and up. And I would describe the situation,

it’s like a boat that’s drifting, it’s drifting towards the rocks and there doesn’t seem to be any engine that’s trying to drift it away from the rocks and there doesn’t seem to be anybody in charge. The problem is just getting worse and I see no measures being taken to try and address that problem in the short term.”

Fr McVerry added:

“The primary cause now of homelessness, of 90% of the new people becoming homeless is the private, rental sector. Their rents have gone through the roof. People can no longer afford them…”

Wait! Didn’t the other article in the Irish Times say that the GDP was up due mainly to personal consumption? From the times article:

“The latest quarterly national accounts show gross domestic product (GDP) accelerated by 4.2 per cent in the third quarter alone amid a pick-up in personal consumption…”

Hmm… Could these stories be connected?

Fr McVerry said that he and others have been calling for rent freezes for over a year now, but these calls have been ignored, and while rents have increased dramatically, rent supplement from the department of social protection has decreased.

He said:

“The rents, nationwide, in the last three and a half years have gone up by an average of €50 per week. In Dublin they’ve gone up by over €90 per week on average and the rent supplement has been reduced by 28% – there is just no correlation now between the rent supplement and the rents that are being demanded by the landlord.”

Fr McVerry added that Alan Kelly, Minster for Environment, Community and Local Government had promised a rent freeze last February:

“…he said he was going to do it – he actually said he was going to introduce emergency rent freeze. We’ve heard nothing since.”

If there were some correlation between increasing rents and “surging GDP” due to “personal consumption”, a rent freeze might mess up the surging GDP, effectively freezing the recovery.

This leaves the government really with a choice on what to freeze, like so many economic housewives. Given that many of them are landlords we shouldn’t be too surprised that they often choose, by neglect, to freeze the homeless. Sure, they probably deserve it anyway. If they’d worked harder when they had the chance they wouldn’t be homeless.
They’ve only themselves to blame.

Meanwhile, on Facebook, someone shared a Christmas card from President Michael D. Higgins. The president’s Christmas Message was:

“To give protection, food and water to those who are fleeing war, oppression or starvation is a matter of fundamental, universal human solidarity. The refusal to do so goes beyond that remarkable phrase coined by Pope Francis – ‘the globalisation of indifference’, as indifference is slowly turning into mistrust and hostility.”

If the sentiment of that rubs you up the wrong way, there was consolation to be found further down the news feed, where someone shared a clip from the Dáil debate on homelessness, with Richard Boyd Barrett quoting the Taoiseach as saying “There is no such thing as a free home.” Which stands as a nice contrasting Christmas message to Michael D’s perhaps dated sentiments.

As you can see, with careful selectivity, the news always has something for everyone.
I was a bit inspired myself by the Taoiseach’s quote, and I made up a Christmas card meme (top) in keeping with the sentiments and priorities of Leo’s New Ireland.

Eamonn Kelly is a freelance writer

Rollingnews

From left: Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government Eoghan Murphy TD and Damien English TD at the Housing Summit in the Custom House, Dublin last September.

We all know about the €5million the Taoiseach set aside for a PR team. It is generally assume that they advise the Taoiseach on his “look”, but it likely goes a little deeper than that. To paraphrase a Tom Wait’s song, you can’t help wondering “what are they building in there?”

In November 2017 the Taoiseach suddenly took another tack on the subject of homelessness. He decided to downplay it, to describe it as normal, to as good as deny its existence.
This was taken up by others in the government. There was outrage on the internet, but it seems to have burned itself out. Maybe that too was an idea. To be outrageous and burn off the outrage.

An idea that featured in the sudden re-evaluation of homelessness as “normal” was the term “negative narrative”. I first heard it in a quote from Damien English. In the context in which the phrase was used by Fine Gael, and in the new “beliefs” about homelessness that the phrase appeared to inform, the implication appeared to be that homelessness was a consequence of negative thinking and behaviour.

Homelessness was being presented, in a sense, as the result of a failure to think positive.

This seems exactly like something a PR team would dream up. It’s quite good too when you look at it. By attaching the concept of positive thinking to the homeless crisis the aim of the 5million club appears to be to tap into those Irish people, a sizeable minority, if not possibly the majority, who genuinely subscribe to the idea of positive thinking as a progressive strategy for improvement and change.

Positive thinking is seen by many Irish people as a corrective to Irish begrudgery, and is enthusiastically championed by people who genuinely wish to shuck off their inherited Irish pessimism.

The phrase “negative narrative” is essentially a mechanism, which could conceivably be attached to any number of issues, ensuring more or less the same outcomes, i.e. blame the victim for having created the problem.

This time it is homelessness, next time it may serve similar functions attached to some other issue. Such a phrase can imply, across the board, that all problems ultimately are a failure on the part of those with the problem to practise positive thinking.

But, might this be true? Would social conditions improve if everyone thought more positively?

Studies have shown that the concept of positive thinking is very similar to religions in the manner in which it promises positive returns for certain rituals and practises. It is for this reason that the belief system, which is essentially what it is, is often regarded as a cult. The system has garnered a host of critiques, mainly in the US, questioning its claims. It’s no accident either that President Trump is a big positive-thinking aficionado.

But Trump, like Fine Gael, often cynically uses the concept of positive thinking to deny uncomfortable truths, much as Fine Gael appear to have cynically used the concept to downplay the severity of the homelessness crisis.

But positive thinking, when allied to politics, has been described by some critics as “political gaslighting”. Kitty S Jones describes in the web blog, “Politics and Insights” how the Tories in 2015 used the concept of positive thinking to discredit jobseekers when George Osborne installed cognitive behaviour therapists in job centres to “support” people.

The insinuation being that the causes of unemployment are “psychological rather than socio-political” and that the jobseekers simply weren’t thinking right. Cognitive Behaviour Therapy is designed specifically to modify so-called negative thinking. Still, there is a potential growth market in this, creating employment for cognitive therapists “fixing” poor people’s attitudes.

On top of the cynical use of the concept for political ends, an article in the New Yorker in 2014 by Adam Alter cited studies that appeared to demonstrate that even the concept of positive thinking was questionable as an effective agent for the improvement of anything.

“The Powerlessness of Positive Thinking” cites several studies that appear to show that positive thinking may actually be detrimental to positive outcomes, for reasons that are similar to talking up a plan so much that you’ve talked all the energy out and the thing never gets done.

One of the more popular and scathing books on the subject is Barbara Ehrenreich’s “Bright Sided: How the Relentless Promotion of Positive Thinking Has Undermined America” (Review here).

She takes issue with some of the main tenets of the belief system, the idea of shutting all “negative” people out of your life; the idea that the poor make themselves poor by not thinking “rich”; and that most cruel and disgusting idea, the notion that cancer sufferers create their own cancer through negative thinking.

All these questionable ideas from Positive Thinking are quite similar to Eileen Gleeson’s assertion that the homeless create their own homelessness through “bad behaviour”. Similarly, Damien English’s use of the phrase “negative narratives” seems also to be pitched in the spirit of positive thinking as a progressive cure-all.

It is likely that the Taoiseach’s 5million club have identified the popularity of positive thinking in Ireland – it could even be that the concept has filled the vacuum created by the decline in church participation – and have set out to cynically exploit the popularity of the belief system to deny the existence of homelessness.

In much the same way as the Trump administration use denial, often flagrantly, in the face of direct evidence to the contrary, in order to discredit all opposition and “equalise” irrationality with common sense perceptions. But the key strategy appears to be, in the Irish case, to hook into those in the middle ground who subscribe, with genuine good intentions, to the concept of positive thinking as a progressive tool for change.

Taken to absurdity, the concept could be invoked to claim that all political opposition is simply negative thinking in action. Maybe the government could install a team of cognitive behavioural therapists in the Dáil to try and modify the thinking of the left Alliance in order to arrive at a more agreeable political consensus.

Maybe instead of giving food and support to the homeless, which Eileen Gleeson suggests is a bad idea anyway, why not just give them copies of “The Secret”, and let them positive-vibe their way out of the hotels and off the streets?

This amalgam of right-wing religious type cultishness, based on a belief system that identifies a righteous elect and excluded defectives responsible for their own misery through “wrong thinking” is about as dangerous a mix of irrational bullshit as any government or ruling elite could possibly conceive of.

Eamonn Kelly is a freelance writer

Rollingnews

 

From top: Seetac/JobPath office in Cabra, Dublin; Eamonn Kelly

Last Monday, the Dáil debated the Social Welfare, Pensions and Civil Registration Bill.

Arguing against the bill, which ‘provides for the publication of the names of people engaged in social welfare fraud’, Catherine Murphy of the Soc Dems addressed the case of a father of two referred to JobPath last year.

Eamonn Kelly writes:

Earlier this week in the Dáil, Catherine Murphy TD talked about JobPath and how a man was pressured by Seetec staff to attend sessions as part of the JobPath service.

But attendance at JobPath sessions conflicted with the times of genuine casual work the man already had, putting the job he already held in jeopardy.

The job was also being threatened, along with the reputation of the man, by Seetec staff contacting and badgering his employer to sign documents which would ensure that Seetec could claim the work the man already held, as being a ‘success’ for Seetec, for which the DSP would pay a commission once they received the documentation.

When the man, trying to protect the work he already had, refused to attend some of the sessions with Seetec, he was then pressured by Seetec staff in to to signing documents declaring he was present at the sessions he had not attended.

If he refused to sign the documents, Seetec would recommend to the DSP that the man’s already partial welfare payment be cut or stopped.

The man, realizing that he would be participating in a fraud by signing the documents, leaving himself open to prosecution, pointed this out, to which a Seetec staff member is reported to have said, “Don’t worry about it.”

The man was told that he had to sign the documents to ensure his welfare payment. The man signed the documents.

So here we have a clear case, cited in the Dáil, of Seetec staff using the threat of loss of payment for non-compliance with all requests they make, in order to pressure a Jobseeker into participating in a white-collar fraud.

A case that also shows Seetec staff interfering in a job already created, in order to claim it as their own and claim a commission. In doing so, directly threatening a job already in existence, while also revealing a jobseeker as a welfare dependent to an employer who may or may not find this acceptable.

In the case cited by Catherine Murphy the employer in question was sympathetic to the jobseeker. He also had become so fed up with being harassed by Seetec that he too signed forms which could then be used by Seetec to claim commissions from the DSP for a job they did not create, while also implicating the employer in the fraud.

The case was reported directly to the Taoiseach who described the incident as a ‘complaint’, and implied that it was an isolated incident. He then said that he couldn’t speak on individual cases and that it would be better to bring the matter up with the minister for social protection.

He cited the JobPath satisfaction survey, claiming that many people were ‘happy’ with JobPath, implying again that this particular ‘complaint’ was an isolated incident.

So, in the Dáil, a TD reported directly to the Taoiseach about abuse of powers by officials acting on behalf of the DSP, who were pressuring a Jobseeker into signing documents to support fraudulent claims and pressuring an employer to sign documents claiming that Seetec had created the job the employer had created, implicating both the employer and the Jobseeker in a fraud.

There has long been a suspicion that JobPath manufactures stats in order to prove its own worth and effectiveness, and here we have evidence of Seetec staff manufacturing false documentation to massage the stats to prove Seetec’s worth and effectiveness.

It’s fair then to question the actual job-creation results that they report, along with the satisfaction stats cited by the Taoiseach.

Were those figures manufactured too? Were they too acquired by threatening penalties for non-compliance?

Catherine Murphy’ suggests that the manner in which Seetec staff pressured the jobseeker into signing the documents, was routine. That they then pressured the employer to also sign documents to support their fraud, demonstrates an audaciousness that should be of concern.

The entire nature of the case cited by Catherine Murphy TD suggests that this is not just an isolated incident, or a ‘complaint’, but is the way JobPath is run.

The fact that JobPath is described as a service, and billed as such, must mean that it can be judged in terms of the type of service that it is delivering to the consumer.

Asking people under duress if they are ‘happy’ with the ‘service’ is not quite the same as assessing whether or not a service to the public is delivering what it claims to be delivering, or whether or not it is a service that is in any way damaging to the public.

A consumer and a private citizen being press-ganged into participating in a fraud can hardly be described as a very customer-friendly type of service.

In this regard, Catherine Murphy’s revelations have cast grave doubt on the value and credibility of the entire JobPath ‘service’.

Eamonn Kelly is a freelance writer.

Previously: JobPath And The Reality of ‘Employment Activation’