Anakana Schofield – Author of Martin John and Malarky

The implications of the bail out for the poor in Ireland are terrifying. Sovereignty was about the only thing protecting them and with that gone it’s open season on social welfare, old age pensions, health, minimum wage, education, students and so on. Before the boom it might surprise people to know that there was a small sense of social conscience from the govt (regardless of political affiliation since I lived there under both Fianna Fail and Fianna Gael govts). There was some understanding of what being poor actually meant and what was a living wage, even a basic one. I’ve a hard time imagining that decisions taken by a non-elected body, who have no experience of living in the country and whose only goal is the recuperation of their billions will have any consideration for these people and what they live with.

Carl O’Brien had a series of moving articles about suicide in The Irish Times this week. Each day another story was told. What came through in all of them was how ill-equipped the mental health system was to help any of these individuals. There was no effective front line response whatsoever when their loved ones sought support for the individual who went on to die by suicide. That was the mental health system under the boom times, add the undoubted savage cuts that are coming to this system and the increase in the suicide rate as people crumble under the stress they’re living with and what will we have then?

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