by Bernie Goldbach after walking George's Dock
I'VE WALKED THE LANEWAYS between George's Dock and Custom House Quay and know the area where 49-year-old Mongolian Urantsetseg Tserendorj was murdered by a drunken, thieving young thug roaming the night on a bike. Urangsetseg had been walking home from the cleaning shift that was putting her two children through college. You can bet that the scumbag who killed her would never accept unskilled work for minimum wage during antisocial hours.
In Ireland, many Irish people simply won't accept work. I think the jobseeker's allowance for those aged under 25 is now €220 a week. You can earn 100 euro more than that by taking jobs that I see advertised in several takeaways and shops but you have to get on your bike before the sun comes up or you have to plan on walking home late at night like Urantsetseg did before she died.
"It's scandalous," the councillor said, "that we would treat working families like that."
I think it's perverted that people who have never worked for generations should feel entitled to government housing. I've lived in Ireland for more than 20 years and I have encountered young men who have never worked, whose fathers have never worked, and whose grandparents have figured out the system to ensure their nobody in their family line has to work. And why should they worry? They can stay at home, buy new appliances, and enjoy short breaks to relieve their stress while other people are on the path before 8AM, headed to work where they pay the tax to ensure others have a warm house and a lifestyle protected by generous social welfare supports.
Who can blame people for quitting their jobs and joining the ranks of the unemployed if the most direct way of getting a roof over your head is by remaining actively unemployed?
And who would be bold enough to break free of the feral youth culture where you can top up your drinks budget by attacking people walking home from cleaning pub toilets at night?
I will always think of Urantsetseg Tserendorj whenever I see a hooded teenaged boy on his mountain bike or e-scooter. And I will hope Irish county councillors will have the strength and fortitude to start ensuring the 21st century social vision restores the working class back to a place of pride.
[Bernie Goldbach is an American with Irish and German roots who grew up in a working class family. The Laois County Council appears to be constraining public debate about this topic by actively posturing to prevent the live streaming of its council meetings.]