By Rachael O’Sullivan of Rebel City
Ireland’s leading lady Joan Burton has declared in her alluring, yet boring tones, that taking away the Single Parent Payment when a child is seven will give “single parents an incentive” to return to work. Incentive “a thing that motivates or encourages someone to do something.” Yes I can see how this new legislation will be a fabulous incentive for struggling families as starvation is definitely a motivating factor for any mother bear. I’m delighted to see that Joan and I share a passion for wildlife documentaries and that the law of the jungle plays such an integral part in the formation of Irish legislation.
This Darwinian approach could be exactly what the doctor ordered. We have been carrying those lazy full time parents for too long. An entire section of society that contributes nothing to our economy. Just take, take, take. Christ even if they knitted or something we could see a little production. Yes caring for the future generation can be a burden but with a proper “life plan” it is a manageable one and not as hard as previously proclaimed by mankind. The department of social protection (after an extensive study) revealed that child care can be reduced to an efficient two hours a day!! It is a simple mathematical formula of three meals of 20 minutes each (more efficient if ready meals are used), 20 minutes homework (if dinner is cooked while the child is teaching itself to read in a corner), 20 minutes housework by the housewife/ homemaker/ house bride and 20 minutes of empathy or emotional-developmental-parental-interaction time. The suggested one shower a week and two short stories are optional.
This study also offered the considered anthropological opinion that childcare should be provided for free by the child care industry as it is more of a hobby than a career. Joan inferred that getting ‘payed to play’ would be beneath the average Irish citizen. She reminded the women who complained how lucky they were as the Laundries who provided child care until recently expected more than ‘just playing’ from its members. Sure the Nuns could not even spell trade union she laughed. Of course the lone parents and child care industry once reminded of the past hugged each other. And though tears are now a thing of the past, due to Irish Water dehydration syndrome, people could still see how moved the crowd was. Hands were shook, speeches were made and the crowd of demonstrators left feeling they may not be in good hands but considering Joan’s educated and boring manner, she must at least have taken the time to try and understand the plight of the people she reigns over.
Hilarious but it feels true. On what bases have these devastating cuts and decisions been made. Was there a report? If so, who conducted it and can we read it?. How does deprivation encourage the deprived to become less poor. We will make you more disadvantaged to enable you to become more advantaged. Is this a riddle?
Single parents, the majority of whom are female, have seen numerous sliding cuts over the last six years. Child benefit has gone from 166 in 2009 to 135 in 2015 (-31). Back to School Allowance from 200-100. Fuel allowance has been reduced from 32 to 26 weeks a year, a loss of 120 and now the age of the entire single parents payment will be taken from 18 years of age to 7 per child. Your child is seven go to work. Unless you are married and then raising your children is a noble profession, as children are the future. Where are you going here Joan? What do you expect to happen? Is there an economic plan within this horror movie? Will people on single parent payment be entitled to back to education grants or how about one of your bridge schemes or VEC schemes. The greatest part of this irony is that enshrined within our constitution is article 51 that clearly states ‘’The State shall, therefore, endeavour to ensure that mothers shall not be obliged by economic necessity to engage in labour to the neglect of their duties in the home’’,
This government has made a direct attack on Irish women and through the feminisation of poverty they have attacked our children. What does this mean for us as a society? On one hand family and unborn babies are sacrosanct but on the other hand the government indiscriminately targets women and children for economic cuts. Or more interestingly single mothers. Do I hear Pope-ly laughter and the crackling of the witch hunt pyres.
Why are Irish women and children paying the price for the excess greed and foolish gambling of very wealthy men? We spend so much time just keeping our heads above water that we do not have time to see who is sitting in the boat, using the life jackets as a cushion. Stop hurting the vulnerable. Spread the burden!! Revenue Commissioners have estimated that between €24 million and €142 million could be brought in by an increase of between 1 per cent and 6 per cent on the USC for PAYE workers earning over €100,000. How much would a 1% tax on a social welfare payment raise. 1% of 200 euro or 1% of 100,000 euro. Help I need a consultant, a tribunal and an enquiry, my leaving cert maths is failing me again. Perhaps we could even look at the really wealthy? Would they allow you to tax them by an increased one percent. Look I can see how that would be an awkward situation for anyone pretending to be in power, so leave it and continue the economic bullying of single mothers. A/ they cannot afford lawyers and B/ are thankfully culturally ashamed of their status as failed women and are unlikely to want to draw attention to their state rather than mate dependency.
Money does not make you wise. Being a single parent does not make you foolish, undeserving or broken. Poverty is not a genetic Darwinian trait that places you in a lower caste than the rich. Poor people are often not ruthless or emotionally self centred enough to disengage from their neighbours, friends or families. Their values centered more around people than economic standing. To accumulate power or extreme wealth in this society you need to be ambitious but in reality this means ruthless. It is hard to get wealthy if you give two euro to a beggar when all you have is ten. Is the latter stupid, ill advised behaviour with no foresight or it is generous and kind? The way we treat the vulnerable defines us as a people. What are you saying Joan when you cut the welfare system to shreds. Are you truly aware of what you do or are you just trying to survive in a political system controlled by economics. Where leaders are puppets for a master they will never dine with.
It will be the children in the dole queue who will be shaping Ireland’s future and they will not hate their mothers Joan. I wonder what our austerity babies will bring to tomorrow’s table. Will it be empathy or economics they hold dear? What will they remember about a government that made their mother cry as she tried to make a hair cut feed them for a week. Will they thank you Joan for your latch key kid policies or will revenge be the dish of the day. Here is to the future of Ireland and the children who will be raising themselves. Even monkeys take care of their young Joan; what would you have us become?
with Thanks to Liz Madden