Ella (left), who is pregnant, and her children, from left:, Skyler (3), Paige (2), Logan (4), Torrie (10) and her partner Derek who are homeless and living in Emergency Accommodation at yesterday’s Housing Demo in Dublin city centre.

Terry McMahon writes:

Told my ten-year-old he was coming on the march in support of homeless people. He went nuts. Bananas. Barking in protest. My three-year-old was sitting on my shoulders, ready to leave, confounded by her older brother’s rage. This is the exact conversation, word for word.

Him: “But marches don’t change anything! You all think you’re doing something but you’re not. The scumbag Government don’t care. It’s bullshit. I’m not going. I’m not. You can’t make me. I’m not going.”

I didn’t know whether to high-five him for calling the Government, “scumbags,” or chastise him for saying, “bullshit.” But I did neither. Because, on multiple levels, the kid had a point. I had no smart comeback so I told him the only broken truth I know these days.

Me: “You’re a ten-year-old kid. You have your own bedroom upstairs. You have a place you can call your home.”

Him: “I’m not going.”

Me: “If you don’t want to, you don’t have to.”

Him: “Good, because I’m not going.”

Me: “But hear me out.”

Him: “I’ve heard all this bullshit before.”

Me: “You can’t say bullshit.”

Him: “I can when it is.”

He was making to leave. I had five seconds to reach him.

Me: “There are four thousand kids out there who don’t have a place to call home.”

He didn’t stop but he did slow down.

Me: “What happens when one or two of them see a ten-year-old kid on the television, marching for them?”

He stopped. He didn’t turn around. But he did stop.

Me: “What happens when that boy or girl sees a kid who doesn’t know how to really change anything in our crazy country but still puts his coat on to march in the rain for them?”

He didn’t move.

Me: “What happens when those boys and girls see that ten-year-old kid leave his warm bedroom and cosy house to let them know that he hates their scumbag bullshit Government as much as they do?”

He sighed.

Me: “What happens when some stranger who is only ten-year-old still finds the basic decency to make those kids feel less alone in the world by trying to give them a tiny sense of hope for the future?”

He didn’t move. That was it. I had nothing left. The words had run out. He turned and stared at me again. It was coming. I could feel it. The explosion of words to justify his anger.

He opened his mouth to give his standard, brilliant counterargument. But only one word came out. And it was quiet. And it pumped my heart with blood. Because it was the look in his eye when he said it. The look that told us both that he understood. The look that nearly made me burst out crying.

Him: “Okay.”

He put his coat on and opened the front door of his home, where he has a warm bedroom upstairs, then looked up at his three-year-old sister sitting on my shoulders.

Him: “Let’s go.”

It took a ten-year-old boy to make me remember to never forget why we march.

Terry McMahon is a filmmaker and can be found on Twitter @terrymcmahon69

Previously: Terry McMahon on Broadsheet

Yesterday: The Home Crowd

Sam Boal/RollingNews

69 thoughts on “Why We March

    1. Lilly

      Really? What 10-year-old thinks the Government are scumbags. Let the kid have his childhood and stop passing that giant chip on another generation.

      Reply
      1. anne

        I think most people think politicians are self interested liars whose interests lie with the wealthy.. i.e. they’re a bit scummy.

        Lacking in any moral compass sorta scumminess.

        Leo thinks our homeless figures aren’t as bad as elsewhere. He’s gone out with a big stupid poster in his suit telling us those on welfare cheat us.. it is sort of scummy behaviour like.

        Kids holed up in one bedroom hotel rooms & in hubs is not acceptable.

        Reply
        1. Lilly

          No one is saying it’s acceptable, just that it’s an adults’ battle. Bad enough that so many children are directly affected. Leave the rest to write their Santa letters, and enjoy their few short years of childhood.

          Reply
          1. anne

            These homeless kids will be in schools with other kids… it’s all well & good saying they needn’t bother worrying about it, just be kids.. but they’re gonna be seeing it in one shape or form. What do you tell them? Santy didn’t bother his hoop about homes for some, as the elves are racking it in from a property market designed to benefit the wealthy?

            He has a right to parent as he sees fit.. sounds like he convinced the child to give a sh*t about those less fortunate.

          2. Lilly

            You don’t ‘convince’ a child to give a sh*t about those less fortunate by brow beating them to take part in a march they have zero interest in.

            Regular, unshowy acts of decency and practical help tend to make more of an impression on watchful little ones than grand standing – or at least that’s how my parents went about it.

          3. Keith

            What chip are you talking about?? Terry’s is and has been a struggling artist in a society that’s over priced and hates poor people. If anyone has a chip, it’s you. It frustrates you that you can’t find the courage to rise above your keyboard. In an age where online bullying is an epidemic. It would do kids no harm to beware of some of the harsher realities with in the world.

      2. Keith

        What chip are you talking about?? Terry’s is and has been a struggling artist in a society that’s over priced and hates poor people. If anyone has a chip, it’s you. It frustrates you that you can’t find the courage to rise above your keyboard.

        Reply
      1. Ollie Cromwell

        Perhaps she’s against the idea of taking children on demonstrations ?
        I dunno.
        But it’s a fair question to ask when a father deliberately puts his children in the public domain.
        I’m in favour of it myself but I always think there are two sides to every story.

        Reply
  1. Cian

    Funny thing. My 3-year-old daughter literally just asked:
    “Papa,” she said, “why do certain adults attribute their own musing upon their offspring? Do they believe that people will be fooled? Are they that shallow?”
    And I said “but Poppet, it is Terry McMahon!”
    To which she replied:
    “Oh, that aunt? Never mind “

    Reply
    1. Catherine costelloe

      That’s not a nice comment at all , Cian. Let’s hope you’ll never end up in a hotel room with your 3 year old.

      Reply
  2. Gillet jaune

    Demonstrating to pinpoint the wrongs in society and solidarity with the underdog is about the only force we have, it unites us all and the government do not like that.
    Our children wont learn this in school – fair play to any parent who transmits the ‘alternative route’ to their children…as they are the future.

    Reply
  3. Gillet jaune

    Demonstrating to pinpoint the wrongs in society and solidarity with the underdog is about the only force we have, it unites us all and the government do not like that.
    Our children wont learn this in school – fair play to any parent who transmits the ‘alternative route’ to their children…as they are the future.

    Reply
    1. SOQ

      Another way of looking at it is that ROI has not had a history of street politics until very recently and that the main political parties are poo scared of it. It was the marches which clipped Irish Water’s wings after all because when Irish people take to the streets, it is really getting serious.

      I repeat, social housing is a side show. The unwillingness of this government (FG AND FF) to support and encourage the building of affordable homes is unacceptable. Fluck setting up agencies, go after the land hoarders like Diageo, Catholic Church and the state sector NOW.

      In reserve order obviously.

      Reply
      1. Ollie Cromwell

        Unusually we agree.
        Especially about the Catholic Church.
        Those b@stards should have been taken to the cleaners over compensation for child abuse victims.

        Reply
        1. jusayinlike

          The Church of England also, don’t forget Prince Charles’ pedo bishop friends whom he wrote letters on behalf of..

          Reply
  4. rotide

    “What happens when that boy or girl sees a kid who doesn’t know how to really change anything in our crazy country but still puts his coat on to march in the rain for them?”

    I know I for one am dumbfounded that Terry doesn’t get more funding for his scripts

    Reply
  5. Rob_G

    “Ella (left), who is pregnant, and her children, from left:, Skyler (3), Paige (2), Logan (4), Torrie (10) and her partner Derek who are homeless and living in Emergency Accommodation”.

    This is why I would not take part in one of these marches; they still to be mainly fighting for the right of irresponsible parents to continue having child after child that they are incapable of providing for.

    Reply
    1. bisted

      …I’m with Bog_R on this…and why didn’t they call their kids proper names…like Aisling, Peig, Milly or Biddy… and I note he’s changed his tune on the unborn…

      Reply
      1. Rob_G

        If the protests were about working people who can’t afford to rent in Dublin, I would be fully behind them. Instead, the organisers seem to happily align themselves to the like the Cashes, Erica Fleming, and Brendan Ogle, who couldn’t give a toss about the average worker.

        Reply
        1. Yep

          The protest was about the current housing crisis. Attended by and for the wide spectrum of people affected by the crisis. You have highlighted a tiny fraction of the attendees as the reason you would not attend. It’s a nonsense reason.

          Reply
    2. scottser

      it doesn’t say how long she is homeless, or how long she is pregnant. but hey, jump to conclusions all you want, it’s only the internet.

      Reply
      1. Rob_G

        If a couple already have a three kids, having a fourth seems to be not such a great idea if there is any uncertainty in their financial/housing situation.

        Why is the father marching around demanding that the government house the children that he has brought forth into the world – why isn’t he providing a roof over the head of his own children?
        (and his partner, and himself)

        Reply
        1. scottser

          you don’t know the circumstances of them being pregnant this time, do you? and you don’t know the father’s intentions in going to the protest or the efforts he has made to secure accommodation for his family either.
          you’ve got big jumping boots and a massive tar brush rob.

          Reply
          1. Rob_G

            Other than the fact that the taxpayer is now being asked to pay for a fourth child, along with the three other children and two adults currently being supported, I don’t know anything about this family’s circumstances, no.

          2. scottser

            you are assuming that he’s unemployed, aren’t you? you know that you can be in homeless accommodation while still employed, rob? what if he’s working part-time or in a low-paid job?
            furthermore, if the family have been deemed to be homeless by their local authority under the 1988 Housing Act Sec 10, and subsequently placed in an emergency accommodation, what business is it of yours? maybe you don’t like the way assessments are done, or the legislation that guides them, in which case you could bring it up with your elected representatives.

          3. Rob_G

            I haven’t made any assumptions about either partners’ employment status; the facts are that they already have three kids that they cannot provide for, and now they are having yet another.

            I doubt that this yet-as-unborn fourth child was the thing the pushed them over the edge financially, so presumably at some point they had three kids that they could not provide for, and then decided to have a fourth, regardless of their financial difficulties.

            If these two adults were having difficulties providing for the children that they already have (which they clearly were, given that they were at risk of homelessness, and now homeless), I find it difficult to comprehend their decision to bring a new life into the world – that is all.

            On the individual level, it is indeed none of my business, but on the macro level is it of course everyone’s business, given that we will be footing the bill at the end of the day

  6. rotide

    “You tell your lowlife family and friends there’s a new breed of top dog in this town; we are the movers, makers, shakers and takers and you fupp with us at your peril. ”
    – Little Johnny McMahon during little break on wednesday

    Reply
  7. Dub Spot

    Fair dues Terry for giving us a perspective on attendance; remarkably politically astute 10 year old.

    Unlike G’OD.

    https://twitter.com/gemmaod1/status/1069187375010594817

    Gemma O’Doherty
    ‏ @gemmaod1
    13h13 hours ago

    The irony of #HomesForAll march, infiltrated by groups funded by vile #Soros who is intent on destroying sovereign #Ireland. Key spokesperson is ⁦@RBoydBarrett⁩ whose cronies want our Tricolour removed from civic buildings. Tells you all you need to know. Destined to fail

    Reply
    1. Rob_G

      When Soros dies, I don’t know what conspiracy theorists will do; he really forms such a central tenet of a host of conspiracies, both for the left and the right.

      Reply
  8. Termagant

    Lads can anyone just write up any old bum-matter and send it in to the Broadsheet dot com and get it put up here? Like is there any kind of editorial “yeah that’s bitchin’ cogent and thoughtful we’ll post that, no not that one that’s just inane rambling” sort of process.

    Out of curiosity.

    Reply
  9. A Person

    We all know that the only reason why Terry is posting on homelessness and is that Simon Coveney dissed him at a meeting in Apollo House. Grown up, Terry and do something useful for a change.

    Reply
  10. Wellness

    Given his rather lengthy stint in Africa, It would have been much more impressive if Terry Junior had managed to raised his objections in Swahili.

    Reply

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