This and That: Take 15

Food Poverty

There is nobody the length of breadth of this country who will accuse anybody in Leinster House of going hungry. Whatever the ailments that afflict our venerable TDs malnutrition is not amongst them. Yet between them they manage to run a society where food poverty is pretty rampant. A study commissioned by the Department of Social Protection last week found that almost half a million people are experiencing food poverty.

A Department of Social Protection spokeswoman said that:

We found in our research that certain groups like families with three or more children, lone parent families, the unemployed, people on low incomes and also people with poor health, or the ill or disabled, are most at risk of food poverty.

Not too many banksters, under-developers, or financial sharks there.

St Vincent De Paul Society, always in the front line of the battle to alleviate poverty, has voiced its concern, claiming that it is coming across circumstances in which people are getting by on packets of potato crisps:

We've seen cases where adults on their own miss a meal. They stay in bed in the morning, especially on weekends. They stay in bed and just miss a meal. I've seen cases where dads survive on a bag of crisps until the main meal in the evening.

Ireland is supposed to be a first world country, what they sometimes call an advanced industrial society, yet a huge amount of people are going hungry. 

The Celtic tigers having devoured the wealth are now devouring the nation's hungry children.

Not Profiting From Expenses

The United Left Alliance is under pressure these days. With the departure of the indefatigable Clare Daly followed by the withdrawal from the Alliance of Secretary of the Workers and Unemployed Action Group(WUAG) Seamus Healy TD, the group already under strain has come under even more media scrutiny because of expenses claimed by Richard Boyd Barrett.

Unlike others who bob and weave Boyd Barrett put in a convincing display when confronted by the media. He pointed out that while he draws a full salary he only takes a third of it, the remainder being distributed around the various causes he is involved with.

But rather than giving the remainder of his salary back to the taxpayer, he donates it to the People before Profit group, the anti-household tax campaign, the Save our Seafront campaign in Dun Laoghaire and the campaign to keep the 24-hour A&E department in Loughlinstown Hospital.

While the Indo might hold its nose this seeems a meritorious approach to the matter which Boyd Barrett defends on the grounds that the money is better directed to groups fighting against disadvantage instead of being handed back to government so that it can be recycled to cronies in the corrupt world of banking and business. Even if he is in breach of some technical procedure his ethics are not in question.

Boyd Barrett appears to have broken no rules and is clearly not motivated by greed. It is not very often that we get the chance to hear a politician ringing honest. When we do the moment should be savoured.

Returned to Service

A Catholic priest, Oliver Brennan has been reinstated in his Co Louth parish of Blackrock and Haggardstown after child abuse allegations against him were found to be without substance. Brennan is innocent and it is only proper that he should be allowed to resume his ministry. Given the amount of priestly abusers that were trafficked from parish to parish to carry on where they left off, there is no conceivable reason for the Church to withhold ministry from this man. It is also going to apologise to him.

No cause is served other than a bad one if priests are not to be afforded the same rights as everyone else in society. Not everyone arrested or charged is guilty. Not every accused priest is a child molester. And there are occasions when people make false accusations for whatever reason. If human beings are capable of sexually abusing innocent children then they are capable of ruining the characters of innocent priests. Moreover, police services are no more infallible than the pope even if they find it easier to substantiate the bulk of their claims.

Oliver Brennan endured a harrowing time. Hopefully, the maxim that whatever doesn’t kill makes stronger applies here.


  1. Interesting comments Anthony we have already heard of people having to choose between heat or eat,and those who force the people and their children into such a situation are the very same who created this mess,as you rightly pointed out those people wont have to make such tough decisions,this situation I believe has still a long way down to go yet and this may just be the match to ignite a proper revolution,
    I know didly squat about Boyd Barrett but if he does as you say he does ,then he is a rare one and fair play to him.
    Republicans are only to familiar with the hurt that wrongfully accused does to individuals and their families,it also diminishes the cause that those who are truthfully trying to helps none but the guilty to accuse everyone.

  2. Re: Poverty.
    It makes me sick to the teeth hearing this bullshit regarding 'food' or any other kind of 'poverty', being relentlessly bandied about in this Ireland of the 21st century.
    With the exception of the disgraceful very real plight of the elderly and infirm who have no-one to rely on, we have allowed ourselves to be conned by this all encompassing redefinition.
    Poverty nowdays equates to not having sufficient money to afford a mobile phone top-up, a carry-out to drown your sorrows and a chinese take-away, to fill a fat booze ridden gut.
    And if the kids go to school hungry in this day and age, do'nt blame it on the state - blame it on the lazy useless, drunken, drug filled, fat selfish parents who really do'nt give a fuck.
    No family in this country lives in poverty. Many, people of my generation and my parents,(I'm in my 50,s] grew up with poverty and the conflict, in the 60,s and 70,s and despite all, never went with a begging bowl to anyone. It was a time when pride was more important than entitlement, and despite unemployment, my parents avoided the social vices that inflict this generation, in order to put food on the table and educate us in a two-up two-down, in an impoverished but spirited New Lodge Road.
    We have become a nation of 'expectationists', where a trip to corporation street is followed by a call to an advice centre, a call to St Vincents and a carryout from Tesco's before a night out at the club, all gifted by expectation and entitlement. These people have 40inch plasma sky-subscribed tv's and no fucking food in the fridge.

    Poverty- derived from the french 'poverte' and latin 'paupertas' - meaning 'a state of utter destitution' is further away from modern Irish life now, than it ever was. Poverty has become a byword for self-inflicted destitution, where kids run amok, whilst the parents digress into a culture of drink, drugs and self indulgence in epidemic proportions.
    The only poverty I see, is the poverty of 'values'.

  3. There we are then its ok no one is going to be cold or go hungry it is all a figment of our imaginations,well it seems to be according to Truthrevisionist maybe you could explain what exactly is "the poverty of values" what values can the youth of these areas see the only one that I can see is the value of being a member of Quisling $inn £ein, well a valued member at least ,then you may get a "community "post until the funds dry up ,these communities have had the life sucked out of them by gangsters ,con men masquerading as revolutionaries,and brit governments who couldnt give a fuck,your comments describing the people as lazy useless drunken drug filled fat selfish parents is gratuitous in the extreme,to lump these communities into this description fits into the Punch type caricature which made the Irish a laughing stock throughout the world,you should be fucking ashamed of yourself ,not everyone is these areas are as you so disgustingly describe indeed the same comments can be attributed to the well heeled communities, poverty is becoming a real problem not just among the "lazy "Irish but almost on a global scale.but sure you must be ok so keep your blinkers on that way you wont have to see the real world .

  4. Marty
    I see the real world every day in this illusory poverty stricken state. And without 'blinkers on', I can assure you that there is no reason in this day in age that any family should be 'cold and hungry'.
    You see Marty this is the sort of Mindcrap that holds our people back. Self pity that manifests in self indulgence. A culture of 'entitlement' in a generation of fucking x-factor, plasma tv, drink soaked 'zombies'.
    Marty, when was the last time you were in Ardoyne or the New Lodge at 2AM on a sat,sun, or mon morning? I'm there every weekend and weekdays and I see every form of self inflicted idleness and self-indulgence. This is what we have become. And yes,it reminds me very much of the caricatures in that famous Hogarth lithoprint 'Gin-Lane'. We have 'out of control' moronic kids 'spaced' with drink and drugs, preying on elderly citizens,who get a rap on the knuckles for abuse that is nothing less than criminal. I hope they do'nt ever come knocking on your door Marty, these same 'poverty', stricken kids with their i phones and Nike trainers that just robbed some helpless pensioner up the street, whilst their dysfunctional poverty stricken parents drink themselves into oblivion.
    You see Marty, we have an epidemic sweeping through our communities, an epidemic of worthlessness, ineptitude, indolence and self-gratification, perpetuated by people like you, who use the word 'poverty' like some kind of psychosomatic illness to mask the bigger picture. The truth is, our people were conned into a political settlement, by a bunch of self-serving hypocrites, who fucked off to their holiday homes in Donegal, whilst the people they left behind indulged in a free for all, of drink and drugs, which hitherto would not have been tolerated, had the Army not been stood down.

    Nihilism Marty NOT poverty.

  5. Truthrevisionist you mix truth with fiction in such a manner it reminds me of one Fred Holroyd of the brits 3rd Army brigade he whose job it was to spread disinformation during the early part of the troubles Mc Gurks bar being one of his best achievements managing like yourself to perpetuate the lie that this was a self inflicted disaster,you state that you visit Ardoyne every weekend and weekdays well a cara I live in POLEGLASS full time and its is no different than Ardoyne, it has like Ardoyne its share of yahoos and drunks and like your Hogarths "Gin lane" it can be like that I live next door to a woman who has alchol problems and some of the neighbours have social problems so a cara I to see the real world and Hogarths "Gin Lane"if memory serves me right was the result of cheap imported alcohol from Holland ,something along the lines of ASDA dont you think?.This cheap alcohol is not imported for the good or benefit of the community but rather to line fat greedy cunts pockets who dont give a fuck how they make their money as long as it keeps rolling in and you can bet party,s like the conservatives who now are in government gets nice big donations from such companies, and like Gin lane it may take legislation to curb this excess,not all you say I disagree with a cara indeed the people were conned "by a bunch of self serving hypocrites" but the problems were here before they fucked of indeed again that is why they are fucking of because they know sooner or later the people will cop on to what has been going on here, poverty changes by the generation a child leaving school today without technical qualifications is impoverished in a technical age for example, the army being stood down is a lame excuse for lack of proper civil policing that these areas need so badly and the army were useless cunts and more of a problem here than anything else,Our kids coped on to the "army " and the wasters who infested it by the late 80,s before most people,the global recession in which we are beginning to turn head into is the result of capitalist greed which like any other problem involving those you dont mention the fat cats its the ordinary people who become the cannon fodder, have you never wondered why its is that Bookies,Pawnbrokers,and those supermarkets selling cheap alcohol make so much money in times like these,I proffer this explanation that in this sort of climate the people give up and inflict social suicide on themselves and all around them,it is now more than ever that areas like Poleglass and Ardoyne need effective leadership,and while I reject all religious principals I believe in the possibility that people can be better than scum, Oscar Wilde a cara I,m looking at the stars.

  6. A p.s.Some in "the Army" were the main reason why so many in these areas are addicted to drink and drugs and they "the army" now live as you rightly say well out of the areas they shit on a cara.The Tout Mc Carthy filter tip made a Killing on cheap filth filled fags,how many have had serious health problems or died ala hop a long?

  7. truthrevisionist,

    Why don't you go back to the sewer? If not, at least have the balls to use your real name when you're spewing your bile.

  8. Marty
    Thank you a cara for your very cogent reply which corroborates just about everything that I have outlined.
    We differ however, only in that you are analysing causes: 'result of capitalist greed which like any other problem involving those you dont mention the fat cats its the ordinary people who become the cannon fodder,'
    In this instance, Im highlighting the excuse of 'Poverty' to justify the breakdown of communities and families, when in fact it's bullshit.
    No-one is in poverty. Real poverty. When there's dole,tax-credits, single parents allowances, family allowance,sick benefits, DLA,budgeting loans, crisis loans, housing benefit, rates allowances etc. etc, no-one should have an empty fridge.
    Marty in your words, 'the infliction of social suicide' is the exact message that I am alluding to and I think that your phrase perfectly sums this up.
    In my view 'poverty' has been reconditioned, redesigned and repackaged to act as an extenuation for all our social ills.


    The brevity of your discourse perhaps belies the fact that you might at some stage have something intelligent to add. Until then, why not just squeeze back in under your stone.

  9. Truth Revisionist;

    'No family in this country lives in poverty'

    I beg to differ. I'd say a child going to school with nothing but a jammy dodger in their belly, if they're lucky, before they get their free school meal is poverty in a supposed developed country.

    And I do blame the State; for its consistent neglect, substandard education, housing, employment opportunities, for its proactive policies of discrimination, harassment, lack of investment in certain areas, it's ongoing fuelling of sectarian hatred and decision making, it's militarisation of the north and the many social legacies of that; depression, addiction, suicide etc etc etc.

  10. truthrevisionist,

    You say there is no poverty in this country. You give no evidence to back up that claim, apart from your own warped anecdotes. Have a read of this.

    I'll squeeze back under my stone once you start using your real name. If you're going to call your neighbours in Ardoyne "lazy, useless, drug-filled, fat, selfish parents who really don't give a fuck" about their children, then you should have the courage of your convictions and say who you are.

    I imagine that it's really easy to spew fact-free bile when you hide behind a ludicrously self-important pseudonym like "truthrevisionist".

  11. Truthrevisionist a cara it would be arguing for argument sake to dispute all that you say, but as the original post says st Vincent De Paul Society have voiced concerns about this issue and I recall that they raised this a while ago also about families in the Cork area if memory serves me well.the causes are well documented so we need not linger there other than to say that this is now where families in the republic now find themselves, the welfare reform bill will remove some of the benefits that you mention and slash the others,now as things stand the majority of recipients of these benefits have to undergo stringent checks to ensure that they are entitled to any state aid and I believe it is a nightmare to attempt to fill in the forms reqd and an information minefield with loaded questions repeated several times in different ways, the majority of people on benefits here just about manage on a day to day basis providing for their families and no wriggle room for luxuries, however as you rightly say there are those who can and do exploit benefit loopholes and use their monies on drink drugs etc these people are obviously going to be the public image of these areas simply because of their behaviour while the rest of the community tries getting on with it, it has I,m sure crossed your mind that a lot of the anti social activities ,such as car theft hijacking and robberies have been the product of the dirty tricks dept in the so called security forces ie £10 touts that we are well aware of,for years now our communities have had to endure the activities of these morons state included and its here that what you say has the ring of truth a cara.its a problem that has its root cause and answer in politics and we will have to endure this type of behaviour until we have a proper accountable local police force and political representatives who really do care.which with Camerons plans and the ineffectual or worse than useless leadership shown by quisling $inn £ein there seems to be a pushing water uphill struggle ahead.until those with the power and influence make a determined effort to change peoples circumstances ie job creation, housing ,health etc and giving hope where none exists then we are were we are and the future doesnt look good. but it seems that those in power here would rather keep the divide and conquer tactics in place than see a united working class uniting for the common good.I started by mentioning st Vincent De Paul in the republic I think we will genuinely have similar problems here with the onset of winter and fuel prices on the up as usual.people will be forced to choose between heat or eat, and a cara life on benefits is to many a demeaning existence through no choice of their own or where they are forced to live.I think we should be trying to instill pride and dignity back into these areas which as Belfast bookworm has rightly described as consistent neglect by the state.

  12. Belfast Bookworm,

    I'd say a child going to school with nothing but a jammy dodger in their belly, if they're lucky, before they get their free school meal is poverty in a supposed developed country.

    Please get a life. If that child going to school with a jammy dodger in their belly happens, then we are not talking 'poverty'. Its fucking pure and simple, 'criminal neglect' and the parents should be banged up.
    Stop making excuses for these useless morons.

  13. Alfie,

    You seem curiously perturbed by my anonymity. Would you have had the same problem with Eric Blair? Perhaps we're both hiding from the 'thought police'!
    As for - 'my neighbours in Ardoyne'-, Alfie, you diminish yourself when you 'rant' and personalise, an otherwise important discussion, amongst contributors who genuinely want to flex out opinions and seek feedback.
    In fact Alfie, you become the proverbial 'turd in the punchbowl'.
    Try saying something of substance, next time.

  14. TR; you're trying so hard to lean towards the left you're actually sounding like a right wing maniac.

    Tory party, anyone?

  15. Marty,

    There is very little in what you say that I disagree with. My point is so simple.
    Our people are at a low ebb. Republicans and nationalist communities have been shafted by our own. But we cannot keep pushing the 'poverty' button every time the lights go out. People can be facilitated and enabled in order to enhance themselves. But they must have self-worth,-and it is this that I see diminishing in Irish communities.
    Ten men starved to death for a better future for this country. Nobody is starving in poverty in this country today.

  16. Recently the press made a big deal of the late Alan Ryan allegedly not being able to name the ten men who died on hungerstrike, I wonder will we see the same people smirk at Natasha Miller,s gaffe on UTV Live this evening reporting from the newly opened visitors centre the hill of the O Neills in Dungannon the blonde reporter stated that it was possible to see the SEVEN COUNTIES of Ulster from here FFS talk about revisionism...

  17. A lone unemployed parent will receive approximately £56 per week on income support, with one child he/she will receive an additional £19 or so in child benefit, totalling approximately £75 pw. If their housing benefit is paid they make a little contribution of around £10 pw towards this leaving £65 to live on.

    500 litres of heating oil is about £310 but in milder weather that amount could last about 3 months so we'll say that heating costs about £20 pw. Electricity costs about £20 pw provided it's run very economically.
    TV license is £12 per month/£3 per week, leaving about £22 pw.

    A loaf of bread is about £1, as is milk - potatoes, vegetables, meat - all of which will provide a full days 3 square meals will cost about £10-£12. Multiply this by 7 days and you'll get £84. This is before clothes, uniforms, soap etc are even thought of. When I went to school 84 was 62 more than 22 so to me that says that a family like the one I've described, a lone parent with one child,
    needs £62 extra a week to feed their family.

    Is it any wonder Jammy dodgers are the staple of many at 89p a packet.

    You'll respond to this by saying the parent should get a job and you could be right. They'd earn about £180 per week but would have to pay rent at around £90. They'd also have to pay childcare at around £123pw, leaving them in a far worse position as they literally couldn't make ends meet.

  18. No one should be hiding behind a pen name to attack other identifiable people. As Mick Fealty told Niall Meehan invisible people have invisible rights.

    Truth Revisionist has made his accusations in a general sense, not identifying any individual, so it falls within what is permissible here. In general it is better if people identify themselves but anonymity can be used if the person employing it is making a point. We simply ask that people refuse from using it to have a malign go at named individuals. That hasn't happened in this thread even if the tone of the discussion has gone a bit strident.

  19. Truthrevisionist once again we are merging onto a single track I cant fault your comment entirely,we do need to inject pride and respect back into our communities, I dont think this can be done by slashing welfare benefits without having a viable alternative in place which would be of benefit to our communities I think the ACE schemes were a step in the right direction,Cameron and his cronies dont give a fuck about the plebs their goal is the safeguarding those of the privileged class note that the royals do not come under the microscope of austerity.six of those ten brave Irishmen were shafted by politicians and they called themselves friend and comrade,hunger comes in many guises a cara and nearly all have been denied to our people.freedom,respect, justice,to name but a few .

  20. Anthony,

    I'm not saying that you should prevent people from posting anonymously. I am saying that though truthrevisionist has the right to rant against Jews and the working class, (s)he is cowardly for doing so behind a pen name. That truthrevisionist puts himself/herself in the same category as Eric Blair, who assumed the pseudonym George Orwell in order to avoid any embarrassment to his family over his time as a tramp, demonstrates his/her delusion and hubris.

  21. Alfie,

    I understand that you were not demanding anonymity be censored. I accept that there is no courage involved in taking cover behind a pen name. The comparison with Orwell was hardly going to work. Big hat no cattle. Seen it so often in this game. But if people choose the easy option we are not going to chase them them unless they are using it to hurt people with more courage than themselves; those who express their views without use of the anonymity shield. We have in the past considered a cowards' corner for those who seek to use anonymity as a weapon rather than as a shield. But I doubt if we need it for a thread like this. It seems more bad tempered than vicious.

  22. Big hat no cattle? Leave Danny Morrison alone.

  23. I didn't say big hat no brains!

  24. Big hat no mettle might be more appropriate!

  25. This could go on.. He'll be gnawing at the rim of the said big hat when reading this no doubt. I hear he takes his hats quite seriously.

  26. The government today announced plans to give more protection to children working in the entertainment a response the BBC stated that from immediate effect it will supply condoms to all their staff.

  27. Belfast Bookworm

    This could go on ... He'll be gnawing at the rim of the said big hat.

    Yes, I imagine he is the type of creature to which gnawing comes instinctively.

  28. Anthont BB, sorry to butt in but a conscience could be gnawing at him.if indeed he has one it would bound to be troubled....

  29. Marty,

    his 5th July ambush took out almost as many republicans as the SAS did with their 8th May ambush

  30. That 'Thiepval to Danny' comment still makes me laugh.

    I can't pass him in the street without thinking about it.

  31. Beolfast Bookworm,

    it was funny when it happened. It was in Kelly's Cellars just after Denis Donaldson had come out. We were out for a Christmas drink and he was trying to push his weight about and ranting that I was saying what the Brits wanted said. Because he had one too many I was giving him a by ball. His sons were there sharing a drink with us and being totally civil so we wanted to cause them no hassle and they didn't want to cause us any either. But unsolicited Danny had to insert himself into the conversation.

    I actually wished him a happy Christmas on the way out (which he returned). But earlier on there was a bit of tension and a few words exchanged between him and one of our company. Later he answered his mobile and one of the lads shouted that about Theipval across the bar. You will probably laugh even more when you learn who shouted it.

  32. Was it a big lad with a beard Anthony

  33. Anyway THIS -N THAT;
    The head of the catholic church in England and Wales has written to the pope to ask if Jimmy Saviles papal knighthood can be posthumously removed the letter reads we dont want our organisation affiliated with some sicko who was largely into females

  34. Marty,

    Boyd Barrett was sound on that issue. The right were simply trying to make trouble for him but he came out so convincingly against their attack on him.

  35. Belfast Bookworm,

    A lone unemployed parent will receive approximately £56 per week on income ...

    A pretty substantive demolition of the case against the poor.