Down on Dylan via Motorola I asked regular contributor Geraldine how she was. The first reply was words to the effect of ‘not as bad as some considering what the government have done,’ (actually put in the charming expression: ‘Ireland completely lost the run of itself for the last few years…’) and that led on to this below. I found it a rather compelling microcosmic account of what actually goes on and how it makes people feel:
No, I don’t mind you asking! Our business is in civil engineering, (I won’t be more specific here), which we started thirty years ago, using a bedroom in our home as an office. Our two sons were toddlers at the time; I looked after the office and my husband did the fieldwork and over the years we built up a well respected business which covered the whole country. We even managed to get a proper office! We employ a considerable number of people, many of whom have been with us for years. Our eldest son decided some years ago that he would join his father in the business and he took to it very well, working really hard and giving it his all, looking forward to a long number of years bringing it all on. My husband was looking forward to retiring in a few years, or at least doing a little bit less…
Now, thanks to a toxic combination of bankers and politicians and, it must be said, wholesale greed, nobody’s jobs or businesses are safe any more and there may be nothing to retire from. All of our current workforce cannot be maintained because there is simply no work for them to do, or very little, there are no civil engineering works happening here any more. Thank heavens we never had anything to do with house-building or property development or we really would be in deep doodoo. Having said all that, ours is just an average story of misfortune: there are many, many people who are far worse off than us, who have lost everything, their jobs, their homes, their families – either because marriages have come apart under the strain of it all or because the younger people are emigrating again in great numbers.
And do you know what? The bankers who caused all this and the politicians who aided and abetted them are nearly all still in situ. In what other job than banking could one make such huge, unthinkable losses and still be paid a bonus? A huge bonus? And get a gold-plated, ring-fenced pension as well? It’s simply unbelievable.
As for the “government” – swanning around in their expensive, chauffeur-driven cars (on-duty policemen, available around the clock) while their constituents have lost their jobs and homes through very little fault of their own, except perhaps for a misguided trust in the banks’ mortgage departments and a naive belief that a 110% mortgage will be “no problem with two of us working” or if they still have their homes they are so deeply in debt that they often do not have the money to feed their families properly – and that shower won’t even car pool, or get the bus to Leinster House. There must be a wall somewhere we could line them up against … with the bankers as well, of course.
Sorry! That was all a bit self-indulgent, I didn’t mean to start such a diatribe but if you were here and could just see what has been done to this lovely country and its people, destroyed by pure greed, it’s enough to make anyone cry.
* One day Geraldine, one day…