Sunday, 13 March 2011

Fine Gael's Councillor Dennison bemoans "non-Irish" on housing lists

when I lived and worked in London, the Daily Mail - and other such rags -  were full of scandalous stories about the lazy Irish flocking over to claim social welfare and housing in Britain.  Presumably, welfare was more generous in Britain at the time, and it was possible to get local authority housing without having first popped out about 15 kids.

Anyway, I was there to work, and work I did.  I never claimed a penny from the social welfare in my nine years there, but paid a lot of tax into it.  Yet I - and other hard-working Irish - had to put up with lazy tabloid stories in the tabs, writing us all off as spongers and scroungers.

Just like Fine Gael councillor, Kieran Dennison, has done to the non-Irish nationals who find themselves victims of Ireland's economic meltdown.  It seems that of the 8,144 applicants on Fingal's housing waiting list, 4,108 are of non-Irish nationality ( according to a report in the current Northside People).   The good councillor drew the conclusion that the figure reflected the need for a crackdown on "welfare tourism". 

Correct me if I am wrong, but I believe that the number of migrants coming to Ireland has decreased in recent years.  So, it is fair to assume that the non-Irish "welfare tourists" of Dennison's lazy imagination are, in fact, migrant workers hit most by the downturn.  There is also the simple fact that Ireland is not the homogeneous place that it was 15 or so years ago.

Certainly those in the Migrant Rights Centre Ireland seem to concur.  A spokesperson from that organisation opined that Dennison's statement:

"could be seen as an attempt to score cheap political points and scapegoat migrant workers by claiming that they are somehow taking advantage of Ireland's social welfare system...  he fails to take into account the changing demographic of his constituency and jumps to unfounded conclusions regarding housing lists."

The fact is, migrant workers are more likely to have been employed in areas of the economy most hit by the recession.  Many of them worked  in low-paid jobs that the Irish did not want to do, or did not deem financially rewarding enough to get up out of the scratcher for... even when the economy was at its most buoyant. 

The very constituency most likely to be impressed by Dennison's remarks.

Back to Gombeen Nation main page


anna said...

I totally agree with all the above.
I also believe that money drains form this economy like water in a colander in many ways:the above councillor would do well to ask for more attention to tax dodges for the rich, also the fact that our tax systme soemhow Never has enough personnel to get after those rich who Flagrantly ignore tax laws.
Another area is REAL welfare fraud ( totally different to people who have paid into system getting benfits they need). I know from still having friends in North's Social security system that there have been massive crack downs on fraud and over payment- never the same diligence here- yet could save country billions. From my own work with a government department here, I noted that at times certain people were in full time work( PSRI sector) AND claiming benefits - yet no one bothers to investigate.. more ways in which this country loses badly needed funds.
BUT only called in to congratulate you:

Best Political Blog SHORTLIST 2011
– Sponsored by


Makes all the loneliness of the long distance late night blogger worthwhile, doesn't ??

The Gombeen Man said...

Thanks Anna.

Yes, I'm chuffed with Gombeen Nation being a last-five finalist in the "Best Political Blog" category of the Irish Blog Awards, second year running.

I mean, it's up there with the mighty Slugger O'Toole - an accolade in itself.

It's great for me to know that there are people out there who tune in and rate the blog.

Makes the lack of a social life and the computer-posture-induced scoliosis worthwhile! ;-)

Ella said...

Hi GM, in the mid-80s I was on the dole here and transferred my benefit to London. I think I was getting IRL42 per week and in GB about STG 27. I found employment within days, but I remember running into old school friends and the like (professional dole scroungers if you will, all signing on several times a week). Paddy and Mary only needed a birth cert, so birth certs from siblings who had no intention of ever going to the UK were highly sought after and very easy to get. I imagine they were the types the daily mail, daily express and evening slander (sorry I meant to say standard) wrote about, but they gave the impression that if you were a paddy you were on the fiddle, and that simply was not the case. There were incidents as cited above.

As for people residing here now, well they are entitled to the same rights regardless of where they come from in the 27 Member State EU block. Many of them came here to do, as you say the jobs that were beneath Paddy and Mary and were in sectors most hit by the recession, so now find, through no fault of their own themselves looking for housing and benefits. If I lose my job I'll be looking for benefits too. So what exactly is Mr Dennison's point? Welfare tourism my a..e! It's nigh on impossible to come to Ireland and decide to stay to pick up social housing and benefits.

Anonymous said...

this is truly ironic stuff GM since auld foriengers imf etc are the people keeping the lights on in our glorious bankrupt corrupt little nation of goms ,equally ironic is our good friends with bad teeth and their antipasta ooops i mean antipaddy rag press catering to the denizens of those o so delightfull and charming multicultural council housing estates that virtually is 75% of the society so full of charming chavs dossers and lager louts.surely our own little bit of paradise and its genious political elites will not follow this model or did get there already UP KERRY BH

The Gombeen Man said...

@ Ella. Spot on. Just to back up your point: When I was in London, I had a brief stay in a squat in Peckham with these middle-class types rebelling against their upbringing by living in squalor. It was too much for me, as I'd been living in squalor involuntarily up until then, so I upped and left and got a flat.

Some of these characters, however, had a few social welfare scams going - as you describe. The reason they got away with it was because things were so lax. So sure, if they want to tighten up on social welfare fraud, do it across the board. Let's not tar a whole section of society with the same brush, as Dennison has done.

@ BH. Yes, my friend. I think we have a master race of eejits in this place. But blaming others for all of Iorland's ills is a well-established practice at this point.

Greetings to Paris for me. ;-)

Anonymous said...

Laim smullen

Gombeen Man, all, look all the ejeits watching
brain cowen sing, and despite everything that has
happened since he was under strong pressure to stand again from the local
fianna fail grass roots electorate.

Anonymous said...

Wacky Bastards
I feel that it is pertinent to enquire where the water supply to Dublin comes from. My reason for asking this is: after reading about Councillor Dennison' antics, and looking at opinions on and listening John Stokes from “The Players Lounge” in Fairview on Radio 1 re. The Queens Visit to Ireland. I wonder if it is possible that there might be magic mushrooms of some other hallucinogenic or psychotic causing substance entering the water, at some point before it reaches the city.

I seems clear to me that some toxin or poison is contaminating minds, because some opinions expressed were psychotic and "out of reach". These wacky bastards with "far out" (Irish Famine, 1798, 1916, 1922, hunger strikes, etc., etc.) dangerous wacky opinions of blood and slaughter against the Queens Visit seemed to live in the Dublin environs.

I got in touch with the RTE programme and asked if this was a "send up" using actors to make the programme interesting. But alas, these mad bastards are real and free to walk about.