Brendan Lyons, from Skibereen, Co Cork, writes:
“One-morning-a-week housework was the only vacancy I spotted for Skibbereen in the Southern Star of September 1st. I looked at the CSO site myself. In July 2012 there were 789 men and 582 women available for work in the town.
It is demoralising for the unemployed, either long- or short-term. Demoralising also, because Skibbereen is a microcosm of the whole country.
More demoralising – no, let me be blunt – more degrading, is the 19th century practice of herding the vulnerable into a long line to “sign on”. For the most part, I imagine, they would prefer to have nails surgically removed without anaesthetic than this.
People do not like all and sundry knowing what they earn. Neither do I, but I might as well be hung for a sheep as a lamb: it is €95.70 a week. As someone who was self-employed for more than 20 years, this is what I now receive per week in State benefit.
I may as well shout it from the rooftops, because the second form of degradation visited on the unemployed is that the post office staff in Skibbereen, all of whom I have known for that same 20 years, are put in the embarrassing position of knowing what it is every unemployed person in the town earns. After all, they count every cent into their hands.”