“This Is How A Public Service Broadcaster ‘Does’ Inclusion”

at | 27 Replies

From top: Social Welfare office; RTÉ Montrose; Sean O’Rourke (above left) and  Paddy O’Gorman

This week.

A 100 per cent “Christmas Bonus” social welfare payment is paid to all recipients of long-term social welfare payments.

In light of this, there was an item about this payment on RTÉ Radio One Today with Seán O’Rourke with Paddy O’Gorman earlier today, during which Mr O’Gorman chatted to some people who were receiving it.

Further to this..

Frances Byrne tweetz:

It’s ‘double social welfare week’ according to Today with Seán O’Rourke and there’ll be a Paddy O’Gorman piece this morning with people receiving this annual payment.

I’ve tweeted before about these radio pieces which usually take place at welfare or post offices, or outside District Courts or prisons.

Why somebody in RTÉ thinks these reports are a good idea is completely beyond me.

Somebody, somewhere in our national broadcaster thinks that the only places you’ll find poor/working class people are when they’re collecting their welfare payment or outside a court or prison.

In the latter case, having themselves committed a crime or visiting someone who has.

Maybe they also think these pieces are the only way to include poor/working class people on the media.

That this is how a public service broadcaster ‘does’ inclusion.

I am an avid radio listener (and I believe it’s vital that Ireland has a well-supported public service broadcaster).

But I have never, ever heard a regular piece on Irish radio or television which tells us about the tax breaks received by middle class people. Why?

There are ways those of us with good incomes benefit from various breaks and very wealthy people can avail of myriad of write-offs etc.

Where’s the focus on this? Why is one group singled out while everyone else gets off the hook?

Why are poor/working class people seen as ‘other’ and therefore deserving of this level of scrutiny & only in the aforementioned places?

It’s very concerning and is part of a much wider problem across the Irish media which reinforces stereotypes about welfare, crime and taxation.

John Douglas of the Mandate trade union coined the phrase ‘Solidarity Payment’ for the so-called Christmas Bonus. He was right. That’s how all social welfare should be described.

A decent society should be proud of its publicly-funded safety net and those who need it shouldn’t be shamed.

P.S. It’s on. Paddy only met lone parents on this occasion. And is allowing himself to ask why they didn’t use contraception. And judging them for buying expensive toys for their children. My blood is now BOILING.

Anyone?

Listen back in full here

27 thoughts on ““This Is How A Public Service Broadcaster ‘Does’ Inclusion”

  1. george

    Paddy loves misery. Always asking questions like “you must be very lonely?”

    His TV show was awful especially the bit when some old sex tourist was telling him about his much younger Thai wife and Paddy laughed along.

    Reply
    1. Lilly

      + 1 I’m often amazed at how open they are, how willing to talk about their misdeeds, and how vulnerable. We’re all in this mess together.

      Reply
  2. V

    I’m continually surprised that someone outside a District Court sitting hasn’t given him a dig

    But he does fake empathy better than anyone else in RTÉ

    Reply
    1. Paulus

      I’m surprised Oliver Callan hasn’t parodied O’Gorman; just a tweak of his Micheál Lehane voice should do it.

      Reply
    2. Rob_G

      I actually kind of like listening to him; I find the state of righteous indignation that I get into after 5 mins of listening to this patronising middle-class windbag talking down to some recently-released prisoner quite cathartic…

      Reply
  3. Slightly Bemused

    I have on a number of occasions relied on that’publicly-funded safety net’ and do not think it is in any way a sinecure! It is a vital piece of our society’s effort to be a society that cares. It is not perfect, but I agree with the sentiment that those who need it should not be seen as anything other than people.

    As to hearing about middle class tax breaks on the radio, my local station (KFM) does several very good sessions a couple of times every year. Usually around budget time, or October for self-employed filing times. I would imagine other local stations do the same. My preference over the boondoggle that is RTE.

    Reply
  4. Broadbag

    I don’t think anyone has a problem with those who need a ‘safety net’ or carers, old people etc getting welfare – it’s the career dole hounds that rankle with those who spend their lives working, it all seems too easy for them. The idea of them getting a ‘bonus’ is an easy win for any lazy journalist who wants clicks, or eyes or ears on their output.

    Reply
  5. Spaghetti Hoop

    Well RTE introduced, or certainly enforced a class structure and you can hear this via the attitudes of their various broadcasters and their fawning over british royalty and peerage.
    This tweeter raises a valid point about RTE being condescending beyond belief but is also kind of class-ist herself when referring to the ‘middle class’ receiving tax breaks and the poor/working class. I mean, where is this class structure in our society? You could be on 100k one year and then on the dole the next. You could have been educated at a private school but sleeping on the street.

    Reply
  6. Rob_G

    Christmas ‘bonus’ is mental though; people who have recently lost their jobs don’t get one, but dole-lifers do(?)

    “Congrats on yet another year on the scratch – here is some extra money for you”.

    Reply
  7. A Person

    I’m middle class. What tax breaks can I avail of. Please let me know. Are there any Christmas bonuses that I can avail of? Again, please let me know.

    Reply
    1. Cian

      Off the top of my head:
      – If you buy an annual bus or rail card you get it tax free. That’s a 40% off!
      – if you make any pension contributions – that is also tax free.
      – if you can rent-a-room – that is tax free (up to 12K)
      – if you pay a mortgage, you may be entitled to tax relief on interest
      – if you spend money on 3rd level education – tax relief available
      – of you cycle to work – tax free bicycle

      Reply
  8. Rob_G

    I have just listened to this piece on the podcast, and have been convinced that social welfare rates are waaaaaay to high in this country.

    One lady was going to spend her Christmas bonus on iPhones @ €600 a pop for her kids – FFS…

    I must say that I’m delighted that I’m bursting me b@llix each week to pay for €1200 of Christmas presents for people who have never worked a day in their lives.

    Reply

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