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Remember — the poor are people too

IT’S good to see a columnist telling it like it really is.

Fergus Finlay’s reminder (April 14) — that trade unions won’t do much in the present crisis to help the poor because the poor don’t matter — is as stark and true as it gets.

Trade union activism has become another career move, little else. Why can’t the poor organise marches and put up placards? It’s a question of will, very often. If you can’t eat you can’t talk.

It is the many casual insults that the poor and powerless are treated to that angers me most. I can remember, long-term on the dole, being poked in the shoulder by a manager of a radio and TV shop — in full view of other customers — when I tried to return a new radio that didn't work.

“I know your sort,” was his comment.

I was on the dole and I looked it. I was no one, I had no power and he knew it. He smiled and it struck me that he would get away with it, even surrounded by witnesses. I had become a non-person. And for a long time afterwards, I was very, very angry.

Fred Johnston

Circular Road

Galway


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