My Generation



Glenn Fitzpatrick, above, is a trade unionist and a former student activist.

He’s also currently studying for an MA in Political Communication.

Today he launched a new blog, The Young Celts, to offer Ireland’s younger generation a platform for debate.

He writes:

There is an inconvenient truth here but it really shouldn’t be all that inconvenient. Millennials are not saying directly to our parents and elders that we attribute the blame directly to them.

Rather, it is the policies enacted in their name that are precisely the problem.

That should not be a hard concept to grasp. It’s only very recently that I became comfortable with using the term ‘ladder-pullers’ to describe the generation above us.

This particular kind of ‘I’m alright, Jack’ can be found in every pub in Ireland on a Friday night resting safe in the knowledge that he and he alone has done a hard week’s work (unlike the lazy generation coming up behind him trying to take something for nothing).

Cold, hard facts don’t sit well with him. Instead, he likes to talk about how our generation will not be a generation of homeowners because ‘that’s how it is on the continent’.

Bear in mind this gentleman probably accessed social housing when he was my age. He went to the council and got a free gaff on a peppercorn rent. Eventually he had the chance to buy that house for next to nothing.

This ideological state apparatus is part and parcel of the institutionalised ageism that has plagued generation after generation not only in Ireland but across the world.

Last year’s #PresRef was a prime example of how keen Irish society was to ensure that our citizenry remains a second tier one and this was justified along the same lines.

The default picture these ladder-pullers have of us is precisely the frame that saw the Jobseekers’ cut made in 2013.

It wasn’t even up for discussion that someone under 35 might be allowed on the ballot paper (Which was all the question was. No one was being asked to elect a 21 year old on that day). Instead, ladder-pullers united and kept that extra bit of democracy for themselves.

The inter-generational disparity continues across employment, education and of course the very planet that we are inheriting. Would it really so hard for the ladder-pullers to simply express some inter-generational solidarity?

Give up just a smidgen of their privilege so that our generation can live with some dignity?

They should be holding the door open for us. Instead, it’s almost like this is the natural order. Once we’re 40, it will be our turn to go into self-preservation mode, our turn to ignore the plight of the generation coming up behind us.

What is evident is that we are almost at the stage where much of this will be irreversible. We are headed directly for generational conflict. Why on earth would a generation left behind see any merit in their taxes going towards services for the elderly?

And is it any wonder why politics is met with such cynicism? It must be comforting for the ladder-pullers to attribute our apparent apathy to a laziness that so clearly plagues us.

In reality, 15 years ago, young Irish people leaving college had a chance. This is no longer the case for far too many of my fellow millennials.

I christened this blog page ‘The Young Celts’ for a couple of reasons. In recent months I, like many others, have been following the Bernie Sanders campaign closely and The Young Turks offers hard-hitting, unapologetically biased coverage of the US Elections that satisfies my anti-establishment urges.

Whatever you think of the format, the personalities and the content, there is no doubt that The Young Turks exists as a reaction to the feral beast that is US mainstream media.

Shoot across the Atlantic Ocean to our shores and it is very hard to see how young people can be adequately represented by a mainstream media that has for so long tried to pigeon-hole us as good-for-nothings, a mainstream media that works its ass off to protect the status-quo.

I certainly do not have the resources or the wherewithal to replicate what Cenk Ulgur and Ana Kasparian have done but the need for an alternative narrative that our generation controls is not up for debate.

In the interim, I will try and add my 2c to current affairs when I can on this blog.

It would be great to link up with like-minded people, young people with opposite views and particularly people au fait with creative media to see just how much of a counter-narrative we can put out there.

Maybe then the ladder-pullers will feel a little guilty and give us a dig-out.

Millennials vs. Ladder-pullers (The Young Celts)

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102 thoughts on “My Generation

  1. Funster Fionnanánn

    That is a lot of words. A lot of student words. Being a student.

    It’s Friday, relax lad. Join that ladder puller for a pint.

        1. delacaravanio

          He also refers to himself as a millennial. Proof positive he has a willy for a head.

  2. 1980s Man

    More division. More people fighting among themselves. More sectionalism.

    And all the while those who control the worlds economies laugh all the way to the bank.

    Divide and Conquer.

    And this fella has fallen for it.

    1. Glenn (OP)

      You’ve gone and missed the entire point. It’s exactly that kind of divide and conquer I’m trying to warn against. Also, you’re veering into the touchy-feely territory I alluded to.

          1. rotide

            It was an absolute thriller. Riveting edge of the seat stuff.

            In fairness, it was so pointless and boring it was hard to actually point out that many flaws in it.

      1. Clampers Outside!

        Your piece is badly written if it is in any way attempting to “warn against” inter-generational divisions.

        Your piece reads like the guy who put the wall up between them. And then stands defensively beside it.

      2. Sheik Yahbouti

        No Glen he did NOT miss the point, and if your article is really meant to set out what you’ve just expressed then it falls way short of the mark.

  3. Kieran NYC

    I remember quite a few people on here thinking it would almost be compulsory to vote for Jedward as President(s) if the Presidential Referendum passed.

    I think most normal people were too busy making sure that the Marriage Ref passed to deal with the nonsense.

    1. curmudgeon

      Nonsense eh? How about the fact the most of the patriots of 1916 who fought (and quite a few died) were under 35. Suppose you wouldn’t consider them fit for democratic election to office of the president. Literally the people’s representitime. No? Michael Collins died age 31, had he survived you don’t think he’d be eligible based on an arbitrary number (even though there’s a good chance he’d write a chunk of the constitution).

        1. curmudgeon

          No my argument stands. The rebels were young and deserving. This number is arbitrary and impedes the democratic right of the people to choose their ultimate representative. The Republic was founded by people that deserved that honour and whenever next we find a citizen of their calibre I would hope red tape does not rule out the best candidate. Still disagree?

  4. 1980s Man

    This notion that anyone over 40 is trying to keep it all for themselves and make it hard on the younger generation is rubbish. It’s just not true. It’s a fiction. Those younger people are their children, their nieces and nephews. They want the world for them.

    Billionaire owners and CEOs of huge companies and merchant banks who lend to Governments are to blame for reducing the wages and conditions for younger people AND older people.

    1. Kieran NYC

      You should have used ‘cabal of banksters’ somewhere in your second paragraph. Would have made it sooo much more convincing.

        1. Kieran NYC

          Not really. But I don’t blame them for everything that’s wrong in my life either.

          But of course it’s much easier to blame a boogeyman than face up to the issues.

          1. Kieran NYC

            The push for deregulation, criminal activities, the financial crash, not going to jail, etc.

            But they’re not to blame for how we chose to deal with the fallout of the financial crisis. And for every other gripe and problem we have.

          2. Anne

            What do you think he’s blaming them for that he’s responsible for himself?
            Without generalising now Kieran.

    2. classter

      ‘This notion that anyone over 40 is trying to keep it all for themselves and make it hard on the younger generation is rubbish’

      They may not explicitly be doing so but they are implicitly doing so – politically & culturally.

      IMO one of Ireland’s biggest problem is than you really have to serve your time to get anywhere. It discourages people from moving around, it leaves more senior people to get stagnant, it infantilises those in their 20s & early 30s, it discourages innovation & reform…

  5. Rainy Day

    Embarrassing, cringe inducing writing, unbelievably naive …
    “Bear in mind this gentleman probably accessed social housing when he was my age. He went to the council and got a free gaff on a peppercorn rent. Eventually he had the chance to buy that house for next to nothing.” … ya wha? …where did he get this from?….peppercorn rent? ….
    It’s just a load of words puked onto a page in no particular order. Over zealous student who is learning about certain political concepts for the first time and thinks he has a grasp of it all.

    1. Glenn (OP)

      I am sorry you’re so embarrassed by my writing. Truly, I am. You’re an embarrassment onto yourself that you automatically assume I haven’t contemplated my views. I must be just some young fella incapable of articulating anything ‘sensible’. You’re alright, Jack.

      1. Clampers Outside!

        You haven’t actually articulated anything in fairness, all you have done is moan, and propped that up with some very, very wide of the mark anecdotes about a small number of the population.

  6. sendog

    100% correct. 2008 onwards has been a war on young people.

    Plenty of examples from public sector new entrants on lower wages to protect the lifestyle the older generation has become accustomed too. Jobbridge, ie working for free. never the case in my parents generation.

    They are the entitled generation! and we are paying for it.

      1. Kieran NYC

        Now, now. We can’t cut straight to the insults or we’ll have nothing to do when Mercille steals this topic for his Monday column ;)

      2. sendog

        I do remember the eighties. I remember the vast majority of people where just surviving.

        I also remember the rapid increase in wealth beginning in the 90s and the associated lifestyles that went with it. Thats what that generation has become accustomed too and are hell bent on keeping.

        Tell me will you get the same pension entitlements as those above 50?
        Will you see the same wage inflation and increments they have seen in your working life?

      3. Sheik Yahbouti

        I agree Mr 80’s. “Entitled”, yeah it was great fun being a young married on forty five quid a week paying a mortgage at rated between 15 and 17.5%, variable rate. A couple of weeks late with a payment and you got a severe letter from your lender. Ah, what a paradise it was to be alive, I feel sooo entitled. Another great thing about being alive now is that your kids are ‘entitled ‘ to expect you to take on another mortgage so that they can buy a house.

          1. Sheik Yahbouti

            Believe it or not coco, one had to demonstrate savings for a minimum of a year with the Lender you were approaching, plus there was a twelve week wait to receive an Application Form, while they checked you out. The application was then scrutinized further.

    1. Clampers Outside!

      I remember it well, in 2008 all us non-millennials took up voting cards and made sure our public representatives screwed the young over. It was a tough “war”, but we had to do it ya see…. pffft

  7. Polaroid Fluid

    get rid of those ear rings if you want a job son, you’re not at your parents’ anymore.

  8. Rob_G

    I agree with much of the author’s sentiment, so I find it surprising that he has involved himself in the trade union movement – they are the group who played the biggest role in screwing over young people by agreeing the lower payscales for new entrants after 2012 in a host of public sector bodies.

    1. Glenn (OP)

      They’re not immune. They as much as anyone need to change their approach to youth interaction. Where they are doing so they are reaping the benefits but it is not happening nearly quickly enough. I think they realise this now as the average age of the movement was only going one direction, much like the Catholic Church. Still would think that a vibrant trade union movement would be one of the leading contenders to help young people with that equaliser.

    2. pedeyw

      The trade union movement aren’t to blame. The trade union leaders are, though. There’s only one way to change that. The unions aren’t perfect but I’d rather have them there than the alternative.

  9. Anne

    When they reduced the dole to 100 euro for under 25s, was there any account taken of people’s lives at all?
    i.e. if they were still living at home or not, if they had children or not? I don’t think so.

    Jobridge – another assault on young peoples capacity to earn a decent wage.

    Things are getting harder for younger people.. there’s no doubt about it.

  10. Clampers Outside!

    In summary…
    “He said, she said, and then an anecdote on top of another speculative crass anecdote assuminganyone over 35 got their home for free and is milking it now….. something daft about the #PresRef… 3 or 4 paragraphs of moanin’ without actually saying what’s wrong or could be changed… goes on a tangent about the Young Turks [Cenk is older than I, it’s a program for the awake, not just millennials?] …. more moanin’. And then, yep, more moanin’ about being called ‘good for nothin’ [something all generations get told, by the way]…. ”

    Yes, you guys have it tough. But to suggest that those who have gone before ya have it easy is a farcical denial of the truth.

    Another thing I’d note about that piece. Rather than showing solidarity for all, thye tone assumes a confrontational approach from the off and sets down a notion that there is a divide of them and us between the generations……. now whose hand does that play into? Kinda reminds me of the young tax paying voters who want to reduce state pensions and benefits… akin to shooting oneself in the face darling.

    1. Glenn (OP)

      You should try directly quoting what I said. Here is the knub. Confrontation is happening anyway. Intergenerational solidarity is already a one way street.

      “Millennials are not saying directly to our parents and elders that we attribute the blame directly to them. Rather, it is the policies enacted in their name that are precisely the problem”

      1. Clampers Outside!

        “Intergenerational solidarity is already a one way street” – please elaborate.


        “Millennials are not saying directly to our parents and elders that we attribute the blame directly to them. Rather, it is the policies enacted in their name that are precisely the problem”

        Placing this, ‘clause’ like para at the top of your piece does not excuse the writing that follows, which basically goes on the attack of the generation ahead of you. It’s akin to when Una Mullaly wrote ‘when I write about “all men” I only mean ‘all the bad men’. It’s a cringey childish nonsense that serves only one purpose, hiding true intent.

        One last thing, what is meant by “the policies enacted in their name”?
        Many ‘millenials’ were in their 20s, and had a vote in 2008. These policies were enacted by a govt, in way that that govt thought was in the countries interest, a country that was going through a crisis the like never seen before….. how were these “policies enacted in their name”…. what does that even mean?

        Finally, I wish you well, in raising a voice for those your own age whom you don’t feel have a voice. I just hope the voice is clearer in determining what it sounds like.

  11. Daisy Chainsaw

    We’ve had hundreds of years of hardship, recession, emigration and unemployment… and roughly 9 years when we didn’t. The only difference is that this piece will be written for a blog, rather than a photocopied handout.

  12. Harry Molloy

    Glenn, we’d probably ave different ideological viewpoints and I’d disagree with a lot of what you say but best of luck on your blog. If it is to encourage debate I suggest you try to keep it balanced and veer away from hyperbolic arguments and cheery picking data as there is already a lot of that and not considered to be of worth by anyone capable of objective analysis. Try not to fall into the blame game and, above all, don’t present problems without proposing solutions.

    /Harry’s Pro-Bono Advice (HPBA)

  13. Goodnight Ireland

    Most people find it hard starting out. Nobody opens the door for you. When I left college in the late 90’s I had to work two jobs to skill up. It’s hard to get going but I never felt it was my parent’s generation’s fault. The people leaving college 15 years ago were in a totally different world which was about to collapse.

    Certainly people 35-50 are mostly in negative equity and have had the salaries cut. The author seems to think that it’s on his generation who have had it tough.

    1. pedeyw

      There aren’t two jobs to work, there’s barely one job at the moment. The jobs aren’t there. I think the problem right now is millenials being called whingers blah blah blah because they don’t have the same set of problems as their parents. They do however have a whole other set of problems, equally as bad. For example, up until the 90’s you could buy a banger apply for your provisional, and you were away. Now you have NCTs, a written test you have to pay for to get your provisional, 12 lessons before you can even do your test and the price of parking and petrol is criminal.

      1. rotide

        Really? Millenials have it hard because “the price of parking and petrol is criminal.”
        It’s a disgrace Joe.

  14. DubLoony

    Give the guy a break!

    If you look at the multiplicity of crisis in this country (real ones, not the fake water one)
    – Housing (student accommodation, rent, 20% deposits, roof over head)
    – 20% youth unemployment – low entry pay, internships, casualisation
    – childcare costs
    – mental health, addication, self harm
    All of them hit young adults harder than other groups. There is a real inter- generational problem.
    Fair play to him for calling it out.

    1. Clampers Outside!

      No one is giving out about raising the issues.

      What I see being argued is he’s got off to a start by taking a ‘blame game’ stance that is based on anecdotes and minority related anecdotes at that….. when he could easily have listed the issues as you did. But, I guess finger pointing has us debating it, so maybe his writing is intentionally trolling

  15. Jake38

    “Glenn Fitzpatrick, above, is a trade unionist and a former student activist.”

    I was about to stop reading then but, for some reason, didn’t. Glen, at least on this topic, speaks a lot of sense.

    I’m just wondering why this trade unionist did not mention his fellow beardies as the greatest force in our society for the preservation of privilege of the middle aged mediocrities who dominate teaching, nursing, the public service, etc at the expense of their younger “comrades”?

    1. pedeyw

      So let’s get to work reforming the trade unions. Unless you think abolishing all trade unions is a good idea? I certainly don’t.

      1. Rob_G

        I don’t think that anyone is talking about abolishing trade unions; I think it’s more that people are questioning the logic of young people joining trade unions when they were one of the main actors in the recent screwing-over of those young people.

  16. rotide

    Glenn might be the perfect broadsheet columnist. Not only does he write objectionable material that is easily deconstructed and refuted (Good job clampers) but he provides the additional entertainment of coming to the comments and engaging with the sort of panache unseen since Amo accused of all of ‘mansplaining’

    particularly loved the random use of “#PresRef” in the piece. Really showed the Millenial bona fides there.

    1. The People's Hero

      If only Mercille got as stuck in. Those native advertising rates would go thru the roof!

    2. My Meat is Murder

      I’m sure most people would rather have his stuff than all the tedious reactionary droll and frankly , crap stuff you post here

  17. some old queen

    Here we go again. Who has/had it harder. We can’t afford this verses we couldn’t afford that.

    This is not an attempt to call out ageism, it is the exact opposite. Do you have you a LinkedIn account? Go figure why anyone over the age of fifty does not have a face picture on their profile while looking a new job. They deal with it. They move on.

    I am sorry if this appears harsh but you really need a reality check. People discriminate for all sorts of reasons. There is no point in howling at the #mygeneration moon. Just get on with it and make the best of what you have got.

    Then dream. Then make those dreams a reality. By hard work.

  18. Cabbage Bazooka Firing Squad

    “We are headed directly for generational conflict.”

    Ooh yeah baby. I’ve been preparing my whole life for this. Tugging at my ladder as we speak.

    1. Clampers Outside!

      ….in my day, we had to make the ladder for the landlord
      …in my day, we repaired and maintained the ladder for the landlords kids
      … in my day, we ran the industrial machines that made the ladders for the wealthy industrialists
      ….in my day, we got together and formed a union and got a step up the ladder

      ….skip a few years…

      …child is born….. ….grows through early years when the world is on a high…. and…. the come down is painful… the boys and girls just ahead are still on the first rung!

      And, hey presto!

      “where’s my ladder?!”

      Could ya blame ’em…

      1. Andy

        Pfft, that’s nothing.
        We had it tough. We used to have to get up out of the shoebox at twelve o’clock at night, and LICK the road clean with our tongues. We had half a handful of freezing cold gravel, worked twenty-four hours a day at the mill for fourpence every six years, and when we got home, our Dad would slice us in two with a bread knife.

        But you try and tell the young people today that… and they won’t believe ya’.

      2. some old queen

        I spent two years unemployed then moved to London. I walked all of north London pushing leaflets into letter boxes then worked on the sites. But that is not the point. I called self absorbed bullsh|t in Kilburn back then and I still do now.

        If you start on the basis that you are entitled to xy and z then it really is time to grow up. Anyone who thinks that the inherently corrupt Labour leadership is in any way going to improve their lives need to look no further than the entity known as Irish Water.

  19. Andy

    So this lad is a Trade Unionist yet he is still a student i.e he doesn’t have much experience in a working environment?

    So this is basically a launch of a blog where youngsters will whinge about how hard they have it.

    Fantastic, another boring blog about how terrible everything is and how everything is someone else’s fault.
    My parents emigrated for a decade in the 70’s when things were tough.
    We emigrated in the late 2000’s when things were tough.

    You’ve too options in live (i) do something about it or (ii) don’t do something about it.

    Writing a blog does not qualify as doing something about it.

  20. Termagant

    The Young Turks are a bunch of attention-hungry sheisters, though.

    I mean I’m all in favour of killing and eating our elders and sewing their skins into grand robes for us to wear but let’s set the bar a little higher, please.

  21. Clampers Outside!

    I can’t believe I missed this, I had to give my glasses a good rub, my eyes aren’t what they used to be, ya know, over forty, fupped… the adventure is over, it’s all down hill, no more achievements to be had, only nesting mind, that’s it because, well, in all seriousness, it’s like he said…

    “Once we’re 40, it will be our turn to go into self-preservation mode”

    I admire the man’s view of life, and the self-preservation mode he has set out for himself.

    Did I…
    go wrong… *sniff*

  22. Liam Deliverance

    I enjoyed reading this piece, I get a sense the author is frustrated by the current state of the nation, and to be fair it is in all awful state. I share a similiar frustration in that we never seem to progress as a nation in this country. For all the elections and all the TD’s that we have elected none of them have really changed anything fundamentally. One of the big problems in politics is corruption yet we never legislate to discourage it and allow those who do it to be punished. Why is that? If one of the authors aims with the blog is to question the status quo and ask why things are the way they are with the intention of changing that then I say fair play to him. We have had enough of people playing the system, we need someone to change the system. The system is flawed. You only have to look at the current farce with FF and FG trying to form a government 60 days after the election, who is going to renege on what parts of their pre election promises, which party can wangle it so they come off more populist. And if it comes down to an another election then what, where do we turn, how do we vote.How many people will end up voting for candidates on the basis of “lesser of two evils”. Is that what we have come to?

    1. My Meat is Murder

      Completely agree . The droll oul premature grandads attacking him are nauseating

      1. Anomanomanom

        Grandads! iv decades away from being that and only it’s already been said in above comments I’d be “attacking” him as well.

  23. Supercrazyprices


    Give me a break.

    When they bump into someone on the street because they were staring at their phone, they sigh as if it was the other person’s fault. They step out into traffic they’re so disconnected from their surroundings. They cycle the wrong way down streets and think this is entirely OK despite nearly creaming pedestrians who look in the direction of traffic.

    Millennials need a kick in the backside.

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