Anakana Schofield – Award Winning Author of Bina, Martin John and Malarky

Poverty markers

“The researchers were looking for a chemical marker called a methyl group that is added to the DNA in certain places through a process known as methylation. That turns genes up or down, meaning they become more or less activated, a phenomenon known as epigenetics.”

From Poverty leaves its mark on DNA, researchers find (Abstract of study here)




There’s been a number of articles debating the term chav and chavism in British newspapers (Polly Toynbee here) during latter days. Good to see a discussion about class and social exclusion back on the table and the implications of that term. Surprised it hadn’t come up before now. I am all for satire and comedy, but that term has seeped into the public consciousness beyond any reasonable satirical soakage or take up.  It also indicated the growing gap which has become so pronounced. This isn’t going to be in anyway aided by Cameron’s govt cutting grants, cutting libraries and jacking up university fees to 30 grand  (that’s 50 or 60 in our dollar) and eroding the NHS.

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?