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Irish Left Review
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Boots in my pillow!

category national | rights and freedoms | opinion/analysis author Monday April 08, 2013 21:19author by Gale Vogel - Birds Eye View Report this post to the editors

The plight of the homeless in Ireland.

What is a day in the life of people living in Ireland today? If we're lucky we awake to the stress of travelling to work, breakfast and getting the children ready for school. What of those who do not have this luck?

“Last night my phone was stolen, together with my shoes and my unclean shirt. Today I sit crying, lonely, the music in my phone is gone. There is no longer the option to escape through those sounds to a place where this life is forgotten.

On cold nights, I phone the council help line seeking a warm place to stay. I realise that in so seeking it is only physical warmth that may be my right. Expect no compassion, the staff are tired, some mean but mostly tired. Expect no cleanliness, the budget for these places it appears does not extend to removing the urine stained and smelling sheets from the weeks of use. When I'm informed that without the €4.50 with me there will be no place, I know then that I would rather sleep rough, for that pittance will buy danger, dirt and stolen things. My new boots, the donated phone, another old shirt will be stuffed into my pillow. While laying there awake, insomnia brought on by the shouting of drug users and alcoholics in loud debate about the merits and rights that they have lost. With a fight there is the removal of the loudest but not the worst. Another man has a heart attack in the next bed. This with the smell of stale urine from the sheets on which I lie has me lie awake awaiting the next day and my forced exit with warm porridge and a half cooked egg, if I'm lucky.

It is then that I begin again the seeking of that same €4.50 for the next tortuous night. My tooth aches. The dentist caring for those of us homeless examines me and says that I need a root canal treatment to the affected molar. This he says will cost 250. I look at him and say that's fine, I've got €3.25. He looks at me with heavy eyes admitting the irony and proceeds with his assistant to remove the mountain in my mouth. Like a volcano removing a mountain there remains after the forty minutes violent struggle a gaping hole. It pains me for days.

If you're listening I won't stop talking for it is so seldom that anyone pays attention.”

These are not my sentiments nor my words, patiently listened to over a coffee with a well spoken man who finds himself in this lonely planet. Not the loneliness of holidays travelling but it seems more expensive, not only in money terms but in the sacrifice of dignity.
Like those few that I knew who worked alone their talks molested those listening like the shout of loneliness. I know that this scream from the homeless is not the want to be heard or listened to but to be respected. The tired abuse from the help line and the disregard offered in stained sheets both combine to create a feeling of being unwanted. The valueless feeling some believe true, but the truth is we are all born naked and in need, the same and equal!

As if the pain were not enough, each hostel place is subsidised by the state, that is in addition to the €4.50 sought. I'm informed that the state pays €35 per bed space per night. There are hotels in Dublin that charge less than the €39.50 for bed spaces, with en-suite showers and full hot breakfasts included. Holiday hostels are cheaper again. How can the dire level of accommodation offered to these vulnerable people be so expensive?

Lee Halpin dies trying to expose the pain and danger of this life.

author by Chestnut - Citizen Journalismpublication date Wed Apr 10, 2013 17:01Report this post to the editors

Stand in another's shoes and empathy are the two strong words that come to mind.

How often do we pass people (casualties of their home environment or some other hardship) and turn our eyes, or ears to the silence of elsewhere. The question is what do each of us hear in this imposed silence. Does class say 'they deserve it' or does God intervene and say 'there but for the Grace of God go I' and yet fear says ignore, or do we say hello and tell little white lies that we cannot contribute because we don't have enough.

It used to be the Church we relied on to support those who are sick and impoverished, the many unwanted children, but the scandal of the Magdalene Laundries and other charities now confirms that the Church had too much power and abused it. Now they are shy of providing the services so it is the State who must step up to the plate. What are they doing? Social Welfare became the credo after the second World War in Britain but now the system is challenged and realistically we don't know if the State will be able to correct the horrors that exist if left to mankind in their tribal and competitive advantage addiction. Boots on the pillow sums up what we the plain people of Ireland must challenge when we witness abuse of those who are classified as vulnerable. Yes a country should be judged by how it treats its vulnerable. Compassion is a character trait that should be fostered in our people. It works.

Chestnut

author by paedofinder generalpublication date Thu Apr 11, 2013 00:39Report this post to the editors

" Now they are shy of providing the servicing"

there....fixed that for you. After their systematic rape, buggery and abuse of vulnerable children over many years, nobody trusts them to "care for" (imprison?) the vulnerable any more. rightly so! Sick perverted bullies.

I hope many were watching the documentary on TV yesterday which interviewed some of the magdalane victims. May we never forget.

author by Swift - Observerpublication date Sat Apr 13, 2013 14:54Report this post to the editors

Paedofinder

I agree but I would suggest to you 'we have already forgotten' about what went on in the Magdalen Laundries. We fail to question the source of our imports eg clothes and the slave labour in countries such as China, Bangladesh, South America. People are People.

We fail to ask about our children who are missing? Where are they? Do we really care? Prostitution was spoken about by a woman on Tubridy Late Late show last night and we should all stand ashamed that Nordic legislation as she suggested, is not in place in Ireland - the basic point being the buyer of sex should be criminalised. The woman now a graduate in journalism from DCU started in prostitution in Benburb Street at the age of 15....do we really care? We should.

Did you have the opportunity to watch John Lonergan's programme on RTE about Young disadvantaged oung people and training at circus acrobatics. Some of the children's circumstances are harrowing, their attention span indicates a system of education and social provision of extreme deprivation. It will be interesting to see the outcome but if there is a success let the powers that be bring in funded education programmes. The future is in our children and the present education system fails those who are on the outside looking in; those with ADD and other conditions that require more specialist curricula. Poverty is not just about money, there is a social capital that must be fostered also.

Boots on my pillow needs to take precedence in the minds of people on the Island of Ireland because when the economy is faltering and stuttering, it is the vulnerable who are really targeted. Just take a look at the capitalist American approach to those who have to live off social security and those on disabilities - they name them 'moochers' and they mock them, shame them. Social justice is a thin line when times are economically chaotic. The US is now told to sequester to gain cut-backs on entitlements so the rhetoric proves that nothing has really changed, blame is apportioned and those of entitlements are first in line for same.

author by Gale Vogel - Birds Eye Viewpublication date Sat Apr 13, 2013 19:30Report this post to the editors

Rachel Moran's book 'Paid for: My journey through prostitution' outlines a life of abandonment in a state that claims and has claimed to protect children. However, to bring this topic back to homelessness, the ills cast on an innocent life were created through her being homeless, this itself through her circumstances that the state, its' protecting authorities chose to ignore. A child of 15 seeking to control her own life through an invitation into vice. No real choice, exploited.

Homelessness played no small part in her plight as can be read in today's Irish Times. What allows us to walk past, abuse or debase others? Simply, the idea that we are created unequal. An assumption that is wrong. There are times when I've been very angry. Before the motorway bypassed Kildare town my journey to Dublin was hampered by a demonstration against refugees being housed in the town environs. I've never objected to being delayed by demonstration, in fact I often celebrate the free time but only where there is justice in the cause. That time I navigated around the back roads of Kildare to continue my journey seething at the absence of charity. No! Not the absence of charity, for charity requires compassion and reason, I seethed at the presence of bigotry. It is this same bigotry that allows the rank conditions in which our homeless are temporarily stored. There is a difference between storage and care. It is care that is needed.

Simon walks the streets numbed by his recent plight. A building surveyor who was gainfully employed throughout the boom, who made a contribution, a sole trader finds himself with nowhere to sleep. He phones the helpline, not crying nor knowing that this surreal existence foisted on him is not a dream. His marriage is history, he received from the state €188 each week and rent allowance. The bureaucracy has become a technocracy that stops rent allowance due to a minor clerical error, the landlord without rent is entitled to evict and Simon leaves resigned to this new order. We are not ruled by people, nor with compassion but by a machine with no flexibility that permits the evicting of people from homes, from refuge to then become exploited or slightly better, ignored. Both Simon and Rachel were evicted due to slight misunderstandings. Simons rent allowance stopped because he was late returning a form. Rachel because she had hoarded prescription drugs in preparation of escape, permanent and deadly escape. Thrown out in the street at 15 to fend off the leaches pretending to be men who should be held as criminals. Sweden has that law right it would seem but that is another post.

Related Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xDz1zmv_rs8
author by Chestnut - Boots on my pillowpublication date Mon Apr 15, 2013 16:42Report this post to the editors

Take a walk and stop to chat to someone who sits outside a shop on a regular basis and ask them about their lives. They are in hostels invariably and they are begging for their room. It is a daily process and a most labour intensive one. The reason of course, when you think through to why, is that those who own the hostels or for that matter the B&B's want to keep their night tenants 'keen'. Dublin City Council is the nucleus for those who wander the street. Here we have rules again and when you look deep into them you see how easy it is for people to become vulnerable within a society, because control over and power even at local authority level exists.

Research in England shows that 'local authorities across England are now spending on average up to £650 a week to keep people off the streets.....Charities and councils say a combination of welfare cuts and lack of affordable housing has led to the almost ninefold increase'. The point is that these are supposed to be short-term solutions but they are not.

What is the position in Ireland? Who are the real moneymakers and own these hostels, B&B's? We know that each day you are on the homeless spectrum at 4 pm you must phone (from a phone box a free number at Dublin City Council) and wait for up to 40 minutes if not more while they inform you they have organised a hostel or B&B. The interesting point here is the £4.50 paid by the homeless person is matched by £35+ from the taxpayers purse.

Awareness is essential. For the price of £40 these people have to vacate at 10 in the morning until late afternoon so what is there for them but to beg.

author by Gale Vogel - Birds Eye Viewpublication date Tue Apr 16, 2013 23:16Report this post to the editors

Attitudes towards the homeless range from disgust to compassion and appear to avoid love and friendship. It's like an alternative or parallel life inhabited by the unwanted. There are friendships, sharing and compassion in this life. The giving of coffee vouchers or sharing of where food is free, the gatherings of groups in urban hollows and derelict buildings are like families. It's easy to walk by or laugh, to look the other way or pay the toll to say, 'I've done my bit'. The toll to feeling good. But yesterday, the sentencing of those three youths lay testament to an illness beyond comprehension. It is our society that is ill. Kevin Bennett, the victim had a value that was hidden from society and possibly from himself. That invisible value allowed those three youths to think him only a quest for their entertainment, they murdered him. Do we have some disregard for those that we walk by? Does an absence of wilful neglect justify neglect?

The victims of a society that allows homelessness live that parallel not by choice. It is societies responsibility to protect those more vulnerable, to care. We are society! Do we willingly delegate to authority our own responsibility? The delays in being given accommodation each evening appears in part to be caused by each element delegating to the next that responsibility. 'Don't forget the €4.50!' Leave the inspections to others, delegate silently by ignorance to the charities, the entrepreneurs who know that the system provides the opportunity to profit from this misery. Leave it to others to hide the problem, push them on to hidden places.

'I see a girl looking for chairs, one plastic seat and she gets something to eat.' Traipsing through a loose landfill looking for salvage, cleaned with dirty water and sold for the price of deep fried leftovers collected from bins. With the pending homeless that this country has yet to offer are we to create shanty towns out of waste. The division between those with and without is widening, the laws that apply to the poor appear not to apply to the rich. The right to life that those three youths hold dear appeared not to apply to their victim. They have been held to account, but why do extremes only lead to accountability? Why do we allow minor abuses to develop into major crimes before we take notice?

Related Link: http://news.ninemsn.com.au/world/2013/04/16/06/34/teens...-dare
author by Comyn - Perspectivepublication date Sun Apr 21, 2013 16:23Report this post to the editors

There will always be casualties in society but what the Society has is the obligation to protect the vulnerable.

However, Ireland is in financial strife, debt burden melt town and the Troika are the ringmasters who tell us to cut entitlements now, reduce the over costly public sector now and if we do so, maybe we can regain our economic sovereignty.

The HSE has many responsibilities and is negligent and fraudulent in many aspects of the service it is supposed to provide for the people of Ireland. It does not stand alone in this. Similar happens in the NHS and no doubt other countries.

Social Protection are on board now. There are new ID cards to be used to stop Welfare fraud. It is about clampdown time.

INTREO are the offices to look out for. They will give personal advice and assistance to unemployed people and provide options. Watch this space.

author by NoMoreAusteritypublication date Sun Apr 21, 2013 18:48Report this post to the editors

Cop on Comyn

There is no need for all this Austerity. For example, the study quoted by Ollie Rehn to back up this policy was found to have had a blatant error in an excel spreadsheet leading to a very incorrect result regarding the relationship between debt and growth

The austerity is being imposed mainly on ideological grounds. The elite wish to cut social supports and privatise state utilities. This means cheap labour and more government money to be given away in tax cuts for the rich and the corporates that tell these servile self serving politicians what to do and pay them off.

So stop with all the nonsense about us having to accept this shit. It's all a huge con job. People like yourself are only helping to perpetuate this big lie.

We need to reject these cuts and the morally "bankrupt" neo liberal philosophy behind them, kick these SOB's out and create a society based on peoples needs, not corporate profits.

author by NoMoreAusteritypublication date Mon Apr 22, 2013 13:07Report this post to the editors

Sheiks and billionaires are lining up for a firesale of valuable assets including whole islands etc as Greek assets are up for sale under orders from the troika.

Their forestry has been sold off. Mining companies are lining up to buy their mineral rights. ( Greece has gold deposits etc )

This is the endgame folks. Your country gets taken out from under you in return for some fake fiat money loans.

Then you have nothing, are nothing. The end.

Exactly the same thing is happening in Ireland but we're too stupid to see it.

Forests are gone for 90 years (no replanting will be done by the buyers), Gas gone (free to shell etc), fracking licences given out. All these enterprises will destroy environment as an "externality". All profits pay off loans of fake fiat money conjured up / printed by ECB and pay off the salaries and huge pensions of the government, banking and civil service facilitators (traitors).

Leaving us with nothing except increasing environmental damage and mounting bills to landlords and private companies for just the basic necessities of being alive / existing.

If they could charge us for breathing they would too.

WAKE UP EVERYONE!!!!

Stop letting the financial terrorists frame this whole debate.
Stop getting lost in the details of how this "austerity" will be imposed on us.
REJECT THE FRAMING OF THE DEBATE ITSELF.
REJECT THE FALSE PREMISE.

A different social model IS possible. A resource based socialist society based on human need.
But this requires revolutionary thought. Staying asleep will not change the inevitable conclusion of current events as they are happening.

author by Bite Reality - Walk in my shoespublication date Mon Apr 22, 2013 13:50Report this post to the editors


Austerity is for a different topic. This topics is about society's most vulnerable, the homeless people on the streets of Ireland. The other night while I was on the Soup Rounds under the bridge at the Barge I spoke to two homeless men who have been sleeping there off and on for over 2 years now. They informed me that Camden Hall and Santa Maria hostels were too dangerous to stay in. They were both very mannerly and pleasant men. They refused our blankets but took the soup and sandwiches. One of them, who was very well spoken, asked me a very direct question. How much money do the owners of these hostels make in any given year on the backs of people like us? I phoned a friend of mine who wishes to remain anonymous in Dublin City Council and he informed me that one TD's son who I cannot name for legal reasons made a net profit of £658,000 last year. The people who run these hostels have tax breaks and get their linen washed and cleaned at subsidised rates. Over 6,000 people are homeless in this country, if not many more and there will be more to come because these Banks are only starting to meet the targets and to repossess homes and properties. I asked the people on this site today - do some research on the topic re Homeless and Vulnerable and stick to the point and let's find out more about the massive profits and the turnovers of the headless figures who run these so called safe accommodations and yet why are they dangerous and why do people prefer to sleep out.

Bite Reality

author by Comyn - Perspectivepublication date Mon Apr 22, 2013 16:34Report this post to the editors

NoMoreAusterity

Rightly so, you tell Comyn to cop on. This posting is about the Homeless but it also about the wider picture and needs from the ground up citizen journalism to speak the views of people who are not the those corrupt white collar crime brigade but those who continue to live in Ireland, those who emigrate because they can find no work here, those who will be forced to pay the local property tax, those who are underemployed, those who have been exploited by the likes of FAS and its near £1 billion annual budget and is now replaced by Solas and all who want to see a just society emerge. It is time to take the rough with the smooth, to create our own grassroots adversarial based discourse to highlight how we can step by step, in a combined way, ensure that when those white collar 'criminals to be' are making their way through the Courts of Justice that we know exactly the wrongs perpetrated and by whom, and in an informed manner. Knowledge is no load and as Ireland embraces it worst economic crisis in its history, we need to engage with the common sense that rests in the consensus of the people of Ireland.

As an aside and maybe someone else would care to comment I mention the 1930's. Fianna Fail under De Valera was in power for the first time. Self-sufficiency determined the policies of this new Government in a fledgling state. Socialist was the theory but the practicalities are up for debate. It was at this time that a decision was made. Ireland owed millions in Annuities to the British Government and on legal advice it was decided in that new Republic called Ireland that they were not going to pay their dues. Whatsmore, they did not. Was this a right decision or a wrong one? Who knows but it is a damn good argument for our Government to make now in the light of the write-down of debts to the ECB. It is for this reason, that George Soros as a hedge fund investor who made billions, makes interesting reading. Perhaps Ireland is seeking too much adulation from the main Creditor Germany who faces elections in September. We need to take courage from those who refused to pay the Annuities in the 1930's and stand firm and negotiate the debt down. The annuites, equated in value perhaps to the amounts we now owe!

Gale: Let us not forget what you wrote and let us add that a country is judged by how it treats its vulnerable and Boots on my Pillow are all about this pledge but alas we need to tackle corruption, fraud, deceit at every level so that we can stamp out that word Corruption and Cronyism and make are way back up the scale on the Transparency International list. 2016 approaches and yet Ireland is but a young Nation, a country that paves the way for others who de-linked themselves from their colonial masters.

NoMoreAusterity

Totally agree with what you say but before the big decision is made for write-down of debt we need to clean up Ireland Inc's balance sheet. So you review corporates and let me be the devil's advocate, based on what is reported in the media. Citizen journalism can inform; its core value is its morality which is about 'Value' as distinct from 'Cost'. Data and information are the digital revolution but the key will be the technology that creates the analytics and it is this that will change healthcare, education, revenue to name but a few making enormous cost reductions to services which are so costly now. Boots on the ground are given their chance now to voice their opinions - it is different times, different values, a young population.

Sir Gerry Robinson says 'Fear is a lousy mechanism for running a business'. I would add for running a country too. He is the man who was set the task of tackling the NHS in the UK and comments on the Irish situation, presumably because he now lives here. He cuts through the nonsense and recognises the need for whistleblowers and in particular those who get things right because then there is the means to an end to correct the problems. He promotes the centralised system of reporting into an executive committee, recognises the feeding of information into a data system. He also recognised you pay the market rate for the Chief Executive (eg £1m). This is the way towards solutions. However, key to systems management is effectiveness, efficiency and removing those who cannot do their jobs and removing waste. He promotes taking views from all, from the doorman to the surgeon. It is about a combined effort to make something work for all concerned. A humble example about the HSE from a 'patient' goes as follows: You take medications that require bloods 5 times pa. The system used to be visit hospital on certain day at certain time and queue. Efficiently bloods taken. Then the powers that be say - no longer is the local hospital eligible. Now you go to Vincents. Now you pay premium rate to phone make an appointment; the reality is now you need the travel pass yet the news says it will be removed. Is this common sense? Ask the people who are the life's blood of medicine for their suggestions, don't make long-term sickness a job of work based on non-informed systems analysis ie bloated bureaucracy mentality. It is this system that leaves so many of our people homeless on the streets, their needs not catered for. Too many are the people released from mental hospitals without the capacity to negotiate a system so hostile because supporting the public sector credo prevails.

Fraud is the strong word so seldom used. We hear Welfare Fraud but we seldom here Healthservice fraud - they talk lots about this in America and Canada but we for some unknown reason just cannot verbalise it. Welfare fraud is the buzz word today. Just check today's Irish Independent. We can say no to Austerity and now but is it not basic common sense to first say tackle WASTE in our public sector first.

Approaching 500,000 people are out of work in Ireland now, with the young population being hardly hit, their reality is that they are not even getting the experience of real job experience which is a basic human right. FAS is an organisation that recklessly operated with no sense of corporate governance to its customers who were people wanting to find work particularly during the Celtic Tiger years (this was not so in the early days when ANCO was established). 2 years this government are in and yet only now is the new model of FAS gaining a status. The new legislation is about to be enacted. Why has it taken so long? Shane Ross, has long flagged down the chaos that reigned therein so the system should be well up and running a year ago?

Solas promises, so let's ensure that it does WORK, a new further education and training authority. Minister for Education and Skills, Mr Ruairi Quinn, has personally written to the board of education and training authority FAS thanking them for their work to date - is this hypocrisy? He states that as FAS is dissolved so will the Board. Let us wait and see what follows on in sweeping out its over indulged culture to one of initiative, potential, growth going forward. Public appointments will post jobs shortly and the aim is to establish the Solas board. Let us hope cronyism is not the main determinant. We need drivers and non wasters, this time round. Not all FAS staff failed on the governance stakes. About 50% of the staff have been transferred to the Department of Social Porection, while others move to 16 education and training boards that are due to be established by the legislation referred to above. What is a need to know for people is that the new appointments to Solas (who can commission private provision for services) are both invigorated and motivated to ensure that the many people presently out of work are provided with education, training and employment, in as efficient, timely, way possible.

Gale, I end with a quote from you. From top to bottom and bottom to top we need to make changes; we need to take responsibility and most importantly we must always ensure those who are vulnerable are not exploited. Hostels, B&B's become easy options but let them not be cash cows at the cost of taxpayers.

'As if the pain were not enough, each hostel place is subsidised by the state, that is in addition to the €4.50 sought. I'm informed that the state pays €35 per bed space per night. There are hotels in Dublin that charge less than the €39.50 for bed spaces, with en-suite showers and full hot breakfasts included. Holiday hostels are cheaper again. How can the dire level of accommodation offered to these vulnerable people be so expensive?

author by NoMoreAusteritypublication date Mon Apr 22, 2013 19:23Report this post to the editors

Comyn

My point was, it seemed from your posts like you had accepted many of the premises of the current austerity arguments and were just discussing how to implement the cuts. That's why I admonished you.

That's normalising the current austerity policy. It's like saying "have you stopped beating your wife yet?" The premise that you do beat your wife is assumed in the question.

The fact is it's not a given that austerity (as currently implemented) is the correct policy for this situation at all. Most economists suggest stimulus to the local economy and targetting efficiencies not at the bottom but at the top regions. We are doing quite the opposite. removing money from the local economy by targetting the bottom / low paid / frontline and leaving in place the inefficiencies and ludicrous wages and pensions at the top. We would be in clear agreement about some of that I think.

I'm certainly not against removing waste. I've often said that FAS can be entirely replaced by a computer server, some programmers from the dole queue and a bulk deal with the open university to supply proper recognised(!!) courses remotely through people's computers (as opposed to the unrecognised fetac shit they dish out which require your physical presence).

in fact, I'm also fully in favour of a MAXIMUM wage of 100k across the board and that everyone just gets the same basic state pension. How's that?

However cutting front line staff is stupid. Cutting wages below 30k is really not fair .

Going after social welfare is unfair. Cutting hospital access is unfair.

Privatisation of our state assets is wrong. Not addressing the issue of rents is stupid.

Yet these stupid measures are exactly the kind of measures they always seem to choose, not the ones that make things more efficient and more fair. The bloat is higher up and the real welfare problem is corporate welfare for foreign tax dodging companies.

We need to invigorate our local economy not hollow it out. We do that by encouraging small business and local spending by the ordinary people, not paying high wages to paper pushers while cutting the income of the poor who spend most of their income in the local economy.

Banks loaned money to buy overpriced housing. Now they will be kicking people out of their houses and selling them all off to foreign investors. Yet we bailed these guys out. Why?? They are still getting most of their money. So where did all the extra bailout money actually go?? To whom??
This has not been properly addressed.

And the big question is why didn't we give the bailout money directly to people having problems paying off mortgages. That way they would stay in their homes and the bank would get their payments so they'd be ok.

Instead we gave it directly to banks who used it to continue to gamble on the stock market buying even more derivatives etc while staunchly refusing to loan money to small (viable) businesses because their gambling was far more lucrative. And all the way through the bankers were paid huge bonuses for creating a big mess.

Anyway the premise of "austerity" is we cut the money in poor people's pockets (hence destroy the local economy) , cut social safety nets, privatise everything and sell off state assets while leaving the low tax rate and the tax loopholes for corporates and the rich and give any money we raise from the serfs away to banksters, then give all the elite a bonus and a nice pension pot for a job well done selling our state down the river.

What's left is a pool of slave labour, toll booths on everything, no regulation, no sovereignty.

This approach is purely ideological and neo liberal.

We need to reject these premises altogether, rather than letting these maniacs frame the debates and merely discussing the mechanics of how to implement this lunacy.

What has any of this to do with homelessness you ask? Well, The banks are directly causing homelessness by kicking people out of their houses. Not addressing the subject of rents means they will rise and rise and this will creating a housing crisis for the homeless. NAMA has enough housing to clear the waiting list several times over, saving on rent allowance payments (some of which could be used to fix up the housing)

However because of the ideological nature of the policies implemened, the debates are framed so as not to let other interesting ideas that might possibly help solve the problems in.

So we need to stop letting debates be ideologically framed and instead, flat out reject the neo liberal premises of these debates. That way more creative ideas can find their way into the narrative. Ideas that COULD possibly improve the situation, as opposed to the current approach which will likely just end up giving away our country to financial predators.

author by Gale Vogel - Birds Eye Viewpublication date Mon Apr 22, 2013 23:09Report this post to the editors

'I burnt my hand. Well, we all did. We could rest, apply ointment and wait until we can be productive again. Or! We could punish the hand for being burnt, encourage toil in shit conditions, fester, diseased and chopped or thrown on the fire. How fitting! Burnt again, expelled from its old home, the arm now lonely with nothing homed and nothing as useful as it should be. Yes! Today I burnt my hand, frustrated in attempt to eat while cooking on a tin can furnace, holes cut with a can opener, it worked well. Except that cooked needed to be cooked very well, out of date and salvaged but better than....... Well, let's not talk of the homeless and the places they are homed. The sheltered place near the park will seem more inviting, safer!'

As a child, I took pride in this country. As a teenager, I spoke proudly of the socialist nature of this fledgling state, there appeared to be care for those less lucky. Today, I walk with some shame, having in my silence permitted this disaster. If I walk, what is important is to where and for what reason? Can there be purpose in marching? Is it that today we consider ourselves totally powerless in the face of the invisible foe that has integrated and invaded our lives. The silent insidious onslaught of hidden financiers who appear to take control of our every thought we permit ad lib. Is it we who are guilty of the giving? Is it our lives that we willingly give in exchange for the futile hope that someone else will lift us from this gloom?

THEY! A common command as if the responsibility belongs only to others, uttered by those who stand still and shout. Like a warrior screaming with a terror expression but unarmed and not dangerous, to be cast down in bloodied waste. To house those discharged of their lives, both they and we should shout, but act like we're shouting and not remain still.

But, talk is easy! Taking control in order to offer those homeless may require the cooperation of those same people who both steal and those who give permission for the wrongdoing. The thief has the power to convince those stolen from that it may be charitably be for the best of those taken from. Worse, the illusion that those stolen from are guilty of being powerless and that their loss is of their own making. The powerful remain so only because the weak remain weak. This is why a rising is called a RISING, those appearing weak lift themselves from their turmoil.

author by Brian Flannery - Justicepublication date Wed Apr 24, 2013 13:37Report this post to the editors

The fat cat bankers and the failures.

I accept many points that are made on this topic by NoMoreAusterity, Gale Vogel - even though at times, he is a little vague, and also the points made by Comyn. We are all on the same platform here in relation to the corruption, the cronyism, the lack of government leadership, the fallen promises, and the social chaos, this country finds itself in right now. Boucher, CEO, Bank of Ireland lost £2 Billion last year under his reign and here is there since 2003, a decade and yet on a salary of nearly £1 million pa. He receives bonuses for his failures. It is the Irish people that brought about the Constitution and it is only the Irish people now that can make changes and tell the Troika and Frankfurt - No More. Enough is Enough. This site is about homelessness - it is about our most vulnerable in society. People on the streets now had a life once, had a job, had a house, had a family once. Yet, society and government turn a blind eye. The modern saying about Ireland now goes 'It is no country to grow old in and especially to be vulnerable in'.

NoMoreAusterity said we need to invigorate our local economy and not hollow it out. I totally agree. But I will go one further - we need to change the rents and get them down and not choke out small businesses as is now happening throughout Ireland. It is taxpayers money that bailed the banks out and we need to change the power play in relation to who sits as directors. The people of Ireland should have a mandate in relation to all directors' salaries and there should be no more bonuses for failures. Austerity also said why did they not give the money of the bailout in mortgage arrears - sadly I must answer him. They don't care - these people are collateral damage and the priority is Rockerfeller, the Rothschilds and other feckless bastards who ran off with our taxpayers money. Let us not forget that Michael Noonan was a failed leader in Health and he certainly is no heavyweight in Finance but he has one PhD and that is pure hot air.

Change only comes about by the power of the Irish people yet sadly the condition called apathy has spread across a nation and we are behaving like sheep on a Ming Flanagan dose of marijuana. This morning in town I was driving around where Brother Kevin is based and there was almost 100 people waiting in a queue for a simple breakfast. Let us not forget we are back to a famine, we are back to the soup kitchens, and yet the 1% that took this country down still wine and dine and feed on the backs of the vulnerable.

Boots in my pillow, as Gale Vogel began this, reminds us that Hostels are Hostile and dangerous.

Brian Flannery

author by Smelly Hostel - Was Homelesspublication date Sat Apr 27, 2013 11:05Report this post to the editors

The once pitiful petty bourgeois have not gone away, but metamorphised into trade union leaders and labour party td's who couldn't give a xxxx about homeles people. While the petty bourgeis wanted only to bow and scrape to their wealthy masters and maintain their status que, the labour party and union YES MEN, [pun intended] have shifted their worship to Fine Gael and the bankers hoping that their slavish behaviour will guarantee their well paid positions in government and trade unions.

We did not get the government we deserve - now let us give the government what THEY deserve.

author by McVerry endorsed - Boots in my pillowpublication date Sat Apr 27, 2013 16:03Report this post to the editors

30 years Fr Peter McVerry SJ has been involved with the homeless situation in Ireland. His letter in today's Irish Times is brief but the point is damning. He concludes with the proverb "if your neighbour is hungry, your chick's aren't safe'.

Bubbling under the surface is an underclass of people that soon will be so demoralised that it is now time, before things disintergrate further, for people to grasp what Austerity is doing to Ireland and in particular to our most vulnerable members of society.

McVerry states clearly that the emergency accommodation available to homeless people is an insult to them '- shared accommodation where everyone is "dumped" together regardless of their circumstances. People who are drug-free have to share a room with active drug users. People who are abused as children have to share a room with strangers. Young vulnerable people are terrified, sharing a room with career criminals......'

Stop now and think. Do you know anyone who is part of this cast away group in society. It could be you. because if this Austerity continues, homelessness will become a real issue. In the recession in the UK in the late 1980's early 1990's, it was said I am x times monthly salary away from being evicted. It is worth reading the article in the Internationalist about what is happening to people in Spain and the evictions already carried out. The underclass are an emerging EU sector of people. Can we say No longer please?

author by Tpublication date Sun Apr 28, 2013 00:02Report this post to the editors

The link to that article in the Internationalist on evictions in Spain would appear to be the one below.

It is time people start resisting here before it begins on the massive scale that it is taking place in Spain

The fallout from Spain’s property bubble is homelessness on an unprecedented scale. Melissa García Lamarca records how public despair and anger is galvanizing a movement for housing justice.

Every day in Spain more than 500 eviction orders get delivered to households, leaving lives broken up like rubble. Sadly this is not a new story – over 420,000 foreclosures and 220,000 evictions have occurred since 2007. The loss of homes comes on top of vicious austerity measures, unemployment levels creeping above 25 per cent and massive political corruption scandals. As greater numbers of the recent jobless reach the end of their two-year unemployment insurance payouts, the scale of evictions ratchets up. ...


http://newint.org/features/2013/04/01/sparks-from-the-s...ible/

Related Link: http://newint.org/features/2013/04/01/sparks-from-the-s...ible/
author by Comyn - Observerpublication date Mon Apr 29, 2013 16:17Report this post to the editors

T

The links reveal a 'need to know' crisis and reality in Spain that we in Ireland are about to face.

Tonight on RTE the programme at 9.30 is addressing what most of us probably don't yet grasp and that is about families having to leave their homes because their loans are foreclosed, or because the rent allowance is insufficient for them to pay to rent a house in accordance with their needs.

This is happening in Greece, in Italy and in Spain. If you talk to people from these countries they will tell you that suicide is prevalent and distress in families is severe with many having returned to their parents - this is the new world of three generations in one house. For many more, it is soup kitchens, social housing lists and if you don't match the guidelines for the social housing list, well tough, you face asking family, friends or just being homeless. Unemployment has a stranglehold on people who cannot find work because austerity impacted too rigourously on the capacity for economic growth. Enterprise is stifled, apathy prevails. Waste needs to be targeted in particular in the HSE, public sector and in the pensions paid to former government, civil servant and even trade union elites. Anyone paid in excess of £100,000 pension needs a pension pot of nearly £4 million. The people like George McNeice former 51 year old with £9.7 m deal reduced from near £24 million should send up warning flags, that this cannot be sustained in a country so deeply indebted.

Take time to say hi to the person you see sitting down on the street. Don't judge. Today, there is a new person on our street. All I know is that he is too young, too inexperienced, and it is sad there are no opportunities. Next time in Grafton Street take time to look out for John - the man whose rabbit was thrown into the Liffey. He now sits with his rabbit to his side and with his dog. He wants a home that will accommodate his best friends, his two animals.

Comyn

author by W. Finnertypublication date Mon Apr 29, 2013 17:26Report this post to the editors

"Yes, there’s wee Ireland up at the top, just edging out Germany for the dubious title of spending the most on the banking crisis. €41 billion to date according to the Eurostat accounting data (this doesn’t count the billions ploughed into the covered banks from our National Pension Reserve Fund as this was not counted as a ‘cost’ to the General Government budget)."

The above excerpt is from: http://www.thejournal.ie/readme/banking-crisis-bill-ire...2013/

And were these "billions" of bank bailout payments to date (with many more billions to follow I suspect if we give them the chance) by our Government (Executive, Legislative, and Judicial) legal?

Legal in the sense of being in keeping with our very hard fought for, and won, Bunreacht na hEireann (the Constitution of the Republic of Ireland), the SUPREME LAW of the Republic of Ireland?

As far as I know, "the people" of the Republic of Ireland were NEVER directly consulted regarding these bank bailout payments, even though Article 6.1 of our Constitution very clearly ensures that "the people" have the "final" say regarding "all" matters of "national policy": with no ifs, buts, or maybes about it.

Instead, our Government (Executive, Legislative, and Judicial) collectively "lied its head off" by falsely claiming, in public, that it had "no alternative" other than to go along with the array of bankster scams in question. Nothing could be further than the truth, because there was at least one far, far better alternative available to our Government (Executive, Legislative, and Judicial). See (for example) the list at: http://tinyurl.com/bse8lk9

It seems to me that our Government (Executive, Legislative, and Judicial) has pulled yet another "fast one" on "the people" regarding the "common good" of "the people" of the Republic of Ireland regarding these bank bailouts; and, that "the people" of the Republic of Ireland are allowing the Government (Executive, Legislative, and Judicial) of the Republic of Ireland to get away with yet another one of their "fast ones".

More fool "the people" of the Republic of Ireland I'd say?

I'd also say it's well time now that "the people" of the Republic of Ireland started to smarten themselves up a little, and "copped themselves on" a bit, regarding the matter of they allowing our Government to keep on fooling and abusing our people regarding the "common good" of "the people", as set out in the supreme law of the land: our people, that is.

Article 6.1 of Bunreacht na hEireann:

"All powers of government, legislative, executive and judicial, derive, under God, from the people, whose right it is to designate the rulers of the State and, in final appeal, to decide all questions of national policy, according to the requirements of the common good."

Related Link:
Criminal abuses of Article 6.1 of the Republic of Ireland Constitution by the Republic of Ireland Government, Executive, Legislative, and Judicial ...
http://tinyurl.com/cxmhtfg

author by Gale Vogel - Birds Eye View.publication date Thu May 02, 2013 21:52Report this post to the editors

Rampant waste through the disregard for the people of Ireland is highlighted in the previous post. W, you are correct and it is easy for us to level blame only at those elected. We have placed them where they are and we have largely remained silent while they throw our resources away. The oil and gas fields, the property, land and the very dignity of those on this island who suffer has been cast to the wolves.

Who has responsibility for ensuring that our Constitution is honoured and maintained? Who hold the responsibility “to decide all questions of national policy, according to the requirements of the common good"?
Is it our responsibility to ensure that those elected do so in accordance with our laws?
Is it the responsibility of the judiciary?

Who is ultimately responsible for the homeless? Perhaps it is those passing in the streets or those offering shelter. In the past number of years a pendulum has swung at times in favour of humanity and at times cold and sociopathic. I've listened to those patting themselves and complimenting society for being caring, increasingly through the cooperation that grew in the depression years. Was this only talk? My more recent observation is of the strong and powerful ensuring their own survival with scant if any regard for the homeless. The homeless include those today squatting in mortgaged properties while their incomes barely provide. While they may not be actually homeless yet, their homes do not belong to them and possibly never will, they own no homes. The homeless is you! Me! And in our being weak we permit the errors of our leaders. We allow the wrongdoings and the greedy exploitation of the true homeless, without knowing that we are nurturing our own future. The healthy should stand firm and express disgust at the apparently illegal activities of the banks, the government, the landlords of squalor and anyone exploiting.

We are to blame and WE have the power to bring justice back by admitting the failure is not only of those obscure politicians but of our silence and our own disregard for the integrity of our constitution.

We listen almost daily to the claims of success by those bleeding this country. We hear the congratulations at the success of our suffering. We as W has quoted have listened to our government who “lied its head off” and accepted that we had “no alternative” to our demise. There will come a time when we will forget the noise that they've made but those who rot may never forget the silence of their friends.

“In the end we will remember not the words of our enemies but the silence of our friends.” Martin Luther King Jnr.

author by Gale Vogel - Birds Eye View.publication date Fri May 10, 2013 09:55Report this post to the editors

'Last night I lay on my lumpy boot filled pillow with a flea ridden duvet on the floor beside my bed. The sun would rise soon allowing me the freedom again to walk the streets and hope that tonight I'll sleep peacefully. A vain hope! Crack cocaine, heroin, I don't know which or if it's both, but the smell of the smoke from my fellow residents has me feeling sick and sore today.'

That same night Josef Pavelka was found in Ennis with no more use for this world. His slow and painful descent into the despair that is associated with this non choice life style has resulted in his death, alone in a doorway with passing people, the noise of cars, closing pubs and a life forgotten. These sounds we take for granted while most of us escape behind locked doors to safety and the simplicity of our own place.

'The beauty and dignity of a simple bedsit, that lockable door to a poorly equipped single room is altogether better than shitting in the corner of Dublin's dereliction or sharing a blood splattered syringe store with a loo and a wash basin.'

It is clear that the option of a bedsit that fails in adhering to current regulations is a far more palatable and healthy option than is the plight of many in Ireland today. Recent reports state that there are up to eight thousand people either homeless of imminently in danger of becoming homeless. Some of those no doubt being expelled from sub-standard bedsits to search for somewhere to sit a bed.

'I've an ear peace connected to a phone, listen!'

The sound of elevator music faintly tinges.

'Not my choice, I don't know if that's a radio or a loop. All I want is for it to stop and to be told where I can sleep tonight. I was number twenty in the cue, now I'm second and I'm terrified that my phone will cut off, it's not working well. If that happens, I'm back to the beginning.'

He raises his hand, and quickly lifts the phone to his head, listening and muttering. The very brief and hopeful elation instantly fades, the dejection in his face is palpable. One could be forgiven for thinking his quest to have been unsuccessful and that he would tonight sleep rough. No!

'They're sending me back to the same place as last night.'

No more said, it looks like he could cry. Once a skilled worker and now a grown man brought to tears through the frustration created by a system that doesn't care.

'The staff are fine, they just don't check the dorms and make sure people are comfortable, they don't see the drugs and the fear that comes from that place, they don't check the sheets. I wouldn't put one near me, filthy and hoping. When I first stayed there I assumed it to be dust, the welts and itching for the next few day were unbearable. I'd to go to the homeless doctor.'

Related Link: http://www.independent.ie/irish-news/tragic-end-as-home....html
author by Chestnut - Boots in my Pillowpublication date Wed Dec 25, 2013 19:37Report this post to the editors

What a beautiful day, a Christmas day, when people have that precious commodity called 'time' to share with family, friends, foe and others.

Boots in my pillow is about the stark reminder of those who are provided with a glimpse of that other side that Christmas brings; when the RDS like other charities encourage those who have either financially or who have precious time to contribute to others who have a void in their lives and who are unfortunate enough to be displaced by society to homelessness.

The sky was blue, the buses arrived and the 'homeless' were granted their festivities in the RDS. In the adjoining hall, more people worked filling bags of goodies for people living alone to ensure they were not forgotten.

The day ends and all we can do is hope that people have enjoyed theday. However the thought is about this posting and 'boots in my pillow'. The homeless no doubt have returned to their hostels or worse to the streets and all they had is a glimpse of entitlement. To those who have been begging consistently on our streets especially before Christmas - I hope places like the RDS have given you a little hope for change in 2014 - you deserve the chance and opportunities that others have.

Jesse Jackson quite rightly says: 'Never look down on anyone unless you are helping them up'

Chestnut

author by fredpublication date Thu Dec 26, 2013 10:11Report this post to the editors

No hope for the poor here, except to become a desperate pool of cheap labour

Here's what FG / Enda kenny slipped through on december 24th

http://www.independent.ie/irish-news/dole-recipients-to....html

author by Comyn - Stand down Inequalitiespublication date Mon May 26, 2014 16:42Report this post to the editors

The power of the pen ie the written word has been subsumed by the visual.

However, the plight of the homeless is now ignored by both and the crisis is as stated by Fr McVerry a "tsunami".

Sunday Business Post:

'Pension couple could be evicted anytime'. Surely, not. This could not be Ireland. This couple, two OAP's, have lived in their semi-detached house in Castleknock for 14 years.

Their problem is not that the Landlord has chosen to serve an eviction notice on them; it is much worse than that: it is ultimately the banking sector who if they haven't sold their debts on to the vulture funds, are finally responding to the demands of Central Bank and Mr Draghi of the ECB and they are hunting down the mainly buy-to-lets landlords 'BTl's' who for the last number of years have been non compliant and who have not paid the banks for the loans they have received.

This couple have just received an eviction notice. What we need to understand here is that there are some 40,000 more BTL's who will be served with similar notices within the next year.

This couple have lodged an appeal to the High Court.....
For those who don't understand the procedure, this means at any time they can in fact be evicted. This couple have no rights, or so it seems. They have rented this property for 14 years. They paid a rent of e800 euros a month, a rent which has increased significantly in the last year and is now in excess of £1400 p.m. The landlord in this case has transitioned legally to the bank wants to sell the property. This couple have looked for a similar property but in no way can they meet the increased rent.

Where is the local authority housing? We can blame the present Government but we also can blame Fianna Fail and the PD's. They had the clever idea of shifting public sector housing provision from the tender process of Dublin City Council and the construction of designated social housing to meet the needs of the now 100,000 people waiting years on the housing list onto the private housing sector. Tax incentives such as section 23 enabled people become landlords and obtain tax incentives.

The crisis with this sector came with the Lehman Brother financial disaster and the emergence of the "Delinquent borrowers" and the negative equity crisis.

Where does this leave Ireland? In a housing supply crisis. For the lucky people in the more affluent areas like South Dublin, we have a mini boom with 100 people turning up to view houses and gazumping being reported in some cases. We are told prices are rising. An example of a house in Clonsilla placed on the market at e190,000 actually selling for e290,000. However, this does little to those who are falling into homelessness.

The Irish Times: A letter from Brother Kevin Crowley, OFM CAP, Capuchin Day Centre.
"I am appalled that despite being alert to the increase in numbers of people accessing services such as the Capuchin Day Centre, the current housing crisis has been allowed to develop and that it took until 2 days before an election before it reached the agenda of the Oireachtas"....

He draws reference to the new dimension of the crisis in that people ask for food parcels to take home to feed their children. Brother Kevin quite rightly highlights the bureaucracies that submerge the promises and the delinquency of the local government and other agencies to combine together and effectively tackle the housing crisis. Too much, he says has been spent on meaningless research, surveys and failed action plans.

Pope Francis talks about waste - the waste of food that amounts to as much as 50% and that to engage in such waste is in fact stealing from the poor. Brother Francis reminds us of Saint Francis of Assisi and quotes

"Start with what is necessary and do what is possible".

Some suggestions for our Government especially An Tanaiste who asked for the homeless man to be removed from an area where he intended to make a speech.

The new poor are the 40,000 people who are in the private landlord sector who are now going to face eviction notices if they cannot pay the rent or if the landlords are being forced to sell by the banks then they are to be evicted anyway. Inept pre-election promises to allocate funds for housing is not enough.

Brother Kevin suggests:-
"For those sleeping rough, the night bus and emergency services should be restored to 2010 levels.
For families in the private rented accommodation, reinstate the rent supplement or force landlords to accommodate people adequately..... Stop the banks who owe the Irish people billions from repossessing homes".

Another hands on involved person for many decades now is Fr Peter McVerry a Jesuit.

Regarding the right to a home, he states

"I believe having a home is a basic human right. It should be guaranteed by the State, and provided by the structures of the State and not through charities.....he goes on to say:-

"he is pragmatic, verging on pessimistic, about the outlook for Ireland's homeless. Most people in this country don't know anyone who is homeless, and so its very difficult to generate public interest in an issues that people are not familiar with. However, I think that's going to change with the tsunami of homelessness coming down the road, as we will see ordinary working class people losing their accommodation"

It is for the plain people of Ireland to tackle this crisis before 40,000 more people face eviction and are potentially added to the 100,000+ social housing list.

To the vulture funds buying up the multi-family units. Is it your intention to exclude people on rental allowance when you are letting out your subtantially written down properties? Is the investment long-term or short-term? These are questions we need to ask.

Google: Morgan Kelly and his economy viewpoint on housing, small to medium enterprises and education. It is about a need to know at every level of our society.

author by Ruapublication date Thu May 29, 2014 10:02Report this post to the editors

I was disgusted and shocked when i read about the new water barons on indymedia,it has now re-inforced my belief that indymedia truly is a public service for the people.

how do the new water barons relate to homelessness?well through increased charges pushing people on small pennies into homelessness.

now with big businesses buying up water probably next from the irish government will definately push people into homelessness..

they will charge thrice the price of what our government would charge us,and who is to stop the government from selling our birthright our natural assets??

big businesses like goldman sachs have blood on their hands..

author by Gale Vogel - Birds Eye Viewpublication date Thu May 29, 2014 13:59Report this post to the editors

I woke up this morning and yesterday was gone. All my yesterdays were passed, and all that I had with them. Rent is increasing dramatically in the Dublin area, many cannot afford rents which are surpassing the costs of mortgages, again! Purchasing may be more economical than renting. Even without tax incentives, this makes 'buy to let' more attractive. This comparison could be of some comfort were it possible for many to get a mortgage. The banks however are forcing many to take the less viable and more expensive option of renting, or more insidiously, homelessness!

Waking this morning with that simple and over obvious reality, I was saddened at what has been lost as has been my privilege. For many however, the loss of all they possessed is not merely the sadness of the loss but the desperation of each waking day. It is true that society as managed by our state representatives is responsible morally for all citizens. They should all be entitled to a home, a safe place where when waking they can celebrate today in the knowledge and security that it will be similar to yesterday. No one should wake each day in fear of loss, or in fear of being unable to regain a home.

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