To listen to some of the Irish politicians and economists giving their opinion about Brexit ‘Leave’ winning the UK referendum, one would think that Irish migrants to the UK had some ‘God-given right’ to work in Great Britain, a right which might subsequently be removed if that other island votes to depart European Union (EU) membership.
In actual fact, I can testify that the ‘right’ of us Irish to work in the UK has ‘lessened’ under the EU’s ‘freedom of movement and right to work’ principals, since the UK joined the EU. That has been my experience, anyway.
In August 1966, having passed my Leaving Cert Exams and being unable to get gainful work except digging ditches for six punts for a 45-hour week, I left for Birmingham, UK (which was a known ‘Irish City’, back then). Within a week I secured a job in a car-parts factory, on night shift, and was earning UK£24 nett for a 40-hour week. Truth be told, most of the workers on the night shift were Irish and Pakistani. I was able to send home £6 weekly to my mother, who had six younger children to rear on the meagre earnings of her fisherman husband.
Fast-forward to 2014, where I was offered a nine-month contract job in the UK, in March of that year. My employer had told me I needed a bank account and a National Insurance Number (NiNo) before he could set me up on his payroll. NiNo is equivalent to Ireland’s PPS number.
PPS is issued by the Irish Government, which has been allocating many thousands of such reference numbers, to EU and other migrant workers over the years, mostly since the Eastern European states had joined the EU.
To secure a UK bank account was difficult enough (requiring a fixed address for a reasonable duration), but the hardest to acquire was the NiNo. After three weeks telephoning I was given an appointment for two weeks later. Then I had to be interviewed in a designated ‘Jobcentre’ — where the officer seemed to be mainly interested to know if I was going to be a ‘burden’ on her country’s social security system. I assured the lady that when my job in the UK ended I would then be returning to Ireland, without asking anything further from the UK social welfare system.
Eventually, after another few weeks, I was ‘allowed into the system’ and then received my work payments (having had to subsidise my ‘stay’ in the UK for that duration from my life savings).
The likes of Enda Kenny interfering in the Brexit by visiting the Irish ex-pat communities is more likely to antagonise those of previous generations who were forced to go to the UK to work, when their home country had nothing to offer those unfortunate Irish migrants.
Journalist Peter Greste (himself convicted of ‘criminal’ activities by Egyptian authorities) alleges the Irish Government is not doing enough to secure the release of Ibrahim Halawa from an Egyptian prison.
Except for superpowers, it is extremely difficult and inappropriate for any government to ‘interfere’ in the internal affairs of another country.
Despite the views of Mr Greste, the Halawa family have generated considerable support and sympathy for Ibrahim, including having the matter discussed at EU level.
Ireland has, until now, been very fortunate not to suffer from ‘fundamentalism’ or ‘jihadism’, both of which I have experienced first hand, in places like Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan.
Not pleasant experiences.
The attack in Orlando must be seen for what it is — an act of terrorism against LGBT people. This wasn’t a random attack with the intention of killing anything that breathes, it was targeted specifically against LGBT people by a homophobic bigot.
It is not that I as a gay man am trying to take ownership of the grief, but I do not appreciate newscasters, such as those on Sky News who refused to acknowledge this as an LGBT hate crime. They even tried to shout down Owen Jones (Guardian journalist) for saying that, had this been against the Jewish community, it would most certainly be labelled as an anti-semitic hate crime. Yet when it is against LGBT people, it is just an attack against people in a bar.... who, coincidently were gay.
Equally, it is not fair to bring up his religion as a causation. Not all religious people are bigots, nor do they have homicidal or fundamentalist beliefs. By all accounts, he wasn’t in anyway religious, according to his ex wife whom he beat regularly.
We should not accept that this is an act of religious terrorism. The killer was mentally disturbed, regularly beat his ex wife and made homophobic comments to co-workers. Let us not give him the right to die as some kind of religious martyr, that is what he wanted. Let us instead call him what he is, a bigoted homophobic murderer.
The appointment of a single minister, Michael Ring displays the contempt this and former governments, have for rural affairs, while Fianna Fáil created a new post for a minister for Dublin. Surely this displays the neanderthal mentality within the Fianna Fáil party , whose policies were responsible for the decline of rural areas. The seriousness of the decline of the rural areas, requires a tzar for each province who would have a team under his/her command, and represent the respective province in Dáil Éireann. It is vital that rural areas are given full attention by the Government, so as to energise development in each province, and create an enlivened Ireland collectively and inclusively. The concentration of development in Dublin is old politics, and must be diverted into the rural areas, so that Ireland is developed in an inclusive and collective manner. The exodus from rural areas must be halted by creating industries as an alternative to agriculture, and allowing young people to stay in their areas, and establish homes and families in their respective areas. This can easily be done if we are committed to activating the rural areas.
The time has come for Ireland to become mature politically, and relinquish the tired old images and ideas if we are to survive as a country in a world which is becoming more voracious in swallowing up small countries, and making them obsolete in the new world order. The centralised media must also be diverted for this purpose.
The power of advertising has never been more evident than at the European Championships where an alcohol company has chosen to advertise its product with the use of one sentence and does not mention its product by name. It could be argued that it is basically using one word to advertise its product. I suppose it could be called advertising by association. Pitch-side advertising at this level would surely command extraordinary fees and no company could afford to get things wrong. It makes me wonder could this type of advertising be used to surmount any future legislation that might prohibit alcohol advertising in sports arenas. “Probably”.
Never on the field of human football was so much “given away”by so few.... That dreaded own goal!
What a pity Ireland didn’t beat the Swedes. Now that would have been a turnip for the books!
A young Dutch woman was convicted of “adultery” after she reported she had been drugged and raped while attending a party at a hotel in Doha.
Are we so different with the attitude to victims of rape in this country, where many portray a rather “conservative” attitude to such crimes?
According to Fine Gael TD Brendan Griffin (in a local publication/Killarney Advertiser) the number of people on the live register in Kerry has decreased by 37% in the past few years. This must be due in part to the fact that many job-seeking under 25s who live at home are unable to sign on because their parents’ means are taken into account. Rather convenient for the Government’s number-crunching exercises isn’t it? Lies, damned lies and statistics...