Friday, July 31, 2009


I found myself on one of my wanderings around the city recently when I happened upon a collection of malnourished, brutalised public service urchins striking outside their office on Harcourt Street. Confused as to how any organisation in this day and age could allow their employees to deteriorate to such a level I felt compelled to investigate further. I approched a particularly sickly looking lady wearing a sack cloth and plastic bags on her feet with a mixture of pity and fear.

"What's the strike for?" I asked innocently.
"We've had enough of these bastards" she replied. "Forcing us to send our children up chimneys to clean them and asking them to risk life and limb clearing out dirt from under huge weaving looms is one thing" she continued, "but now they expect us to work 27.5 hours a day mucking out stables, de-scaling sewers and even chewing asbastos from the walls of government buildings. It's just not on".

Amazed at this heartless approch to public service management, I asked another feeble looking martyr to the cause how long this has been going on.

"It wasn't so bad a few years ago" she replied, "there was a time when we were treated better, fed well and kept dry and warm. Of course we still had problems, spending Friday afternoons breast-feeding their young was bad, but nothing like this"
Suitably disgusted at the plight of these long-suffering heroes of modern times I fished in my pocked for a few shillings and distributed these alms among the group and carried on my way, looking back to see hair, nails and teeth flying as the scramble for change heated up.

The above account is, of course absolute nonsense. Not the strike, which was the only factual part of the tale, but the efforts of those striking to convince any who will listen of the justification of their actions isn't all that far from the truth.
What I didn't mention was the steady stream of genuinely unfortunate ex-employed masses passing by, making their way to join that bastien of self esteem, the dole queue. Dispite numerous calls of "go back to work" and "I'll never see you where I'm going" our heroes remained steadfast in their belief that right was on their side and that the rest of us just don't understand the pressure which having a job for life can bring to sensitive souls such as our public and civil servants.

Of course the real problem here isn't the people with the hugely inflated sense of state sponsored injustice, but the power behind the throne - the public sector unions. If you tell a child over and over again how special they are, it isn't long before they begin to believe it. Carry on telling them and before you know it you have one seriously maladjusted brat on your hands.
The same is true for our belegured civil and public service workers. It's been so long since these people have had any bad news to swallow that they've completely forgotten that life sometimes serves up a big steaming pile of shite for your consumption.

It's been decades and decades since unions were anything other than a self help group for their own members. Unions aren't left wing, socalist charity organisations. Nor are they bleeding heart do-gooders, champions of the poor and abused working classes. The public sector unions aren't working for the good of all mankind, they are paid to get a better deal for already comfortable middle class members. They don't give a damn about you, your family or your rapidly growing list of friends living of social welfare. They are only interested in the people who pay them.
The days of organisaions employing 5 year olds to clean chimneys or climb into and clean heavy machinery are long gone. Those days have been replaced with our current times of labour laws and human rights.

It's time the trade unions had their wings clipped and the country gets back to being a reasonable place for people to set up business in. Lets just hope this happens before the only people left in full employment are those people working in tax offices with no tax and maintaining road networks without any traffic.

Too much to ask?

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Celtic Tiger Homeless

"A rising tide lifts all boats"

Never has a saying been more true than in post-celtic tiger Ireland.

Most of us remember the days of sandy choc-ices at the beach, Sunday drives to nowhere in particular, Glenroe, Clarke's shoes and unapposed clerical abuse. Simpler times. All people really hoped for was some nice boiled ham and perhaps an extended holiday episode of Where in the World.

Not anymore.

These days people are more concerned with making sure they can watch Britin's Got Talent in HD while booking 2 weeks in Dubai over the internet or a table for two in Fwaa Fwaa's restraunt. And you really know that the country has lost the run of itself when even the homeless are choosy about whom they accept alms from.

I was standing on Abbey street in Dublin at the weekend when I was approched by the usual hooded unfortunate. Being accosted like this on a daily basis I found nothing out of the ordinary, until that is, this particular miscreant opened his mouth.

"Alrigh' bud?"

I was so I replied,


The crafty sod was expecting this response and had his next line ready to go,

"Do ya smoke bud?"

I do so I replied,

"Yup, want one?"

Then came a response I wasn't expecting...

"Dunno, what brand do you smoke?"

What brand do I smoke? Bloody hell! My response was swift...

"What brand? Are you fussy?"

He looked at me for a moment, most likely trying to decide wether to take the cigarette I was offering or take my head off. He settled for the cigarette and wandered off.

It left me wondering (aloud, much to the consternation of the shoppers around me) exactly how we have arrived at the stage where someone living on the streets feels they can interview perspective donators before asking for change/cigarettes/cans of cider. Have we come that far? Do the St. Vincent de Paul only accept food donations from Marks and Spencers? Do Trocaire now only accept credit cards?

Within 2 hours I was again standing on the street enjoying yet another cigarette outside a pub when another domestically challenged individual approched.

"Any chance of enough change for a can of Dutch Gold mate?"

Now cigarettes I don't mind, but lets face it, if I have enough change for a can of Dutch Gold you'll usually find me quaffing a can of Dutch Gold.

"Sorry mate, totally skint" I replied.

His demenor changed immediately.

"Well when you're out tonight looking for f**kin' coke don't come f**kin' lookin' for me. I'll f**kin' burst ya!"

Nice. Homeless but carrying enough class A drugs to power a small town.

Give me Glenroe any day.