Rolf Dobelli might be right…

Maybe giving up news would be a good idea (search google for: Rolf Dobelli no news)

Reading this article in the Irish Independent didn’t do me any good today. The headline should have been enough to make me steer clear of it : Family snub house with no room for trampoline.

“A local authority has hit out at the high number of people refusing offers of social housing – with one family refusing a council house because they complained there wasn’t enough room in the garden for a trampoline”

The choice of the word ‘snub’ in the headline is very deliberate. One of the definitions for snub is : “A deliberate slight or affront”. This immediately sets the tone for the piece: a blameless County Council working hard to provide housing for ungrateful people who SNUB offers for no good reason. No good reason such as having a bit of space in the back garden for kids to play in.

Is that what it comes down to in this country now? A family struggling to make ends meet is painted as ungrateful because the accommodation offered wasn’t suitable? Employees of the state releasing private details of housing applications to national media and blaming the little people for long waiting lists?

It’s a disgrace that Cork County Council or any other council would have a pop at people on the social housing list who refuses the offer of whatever the council throws at them. Looking at the criteria for social housing on the Cork County Council website, a two person household with 3 children (for example) with an income of less than €33.750 is entitled to be on the list. Less than €33,750 and you are not entitled to turn down an offer. That’s what the article and Cork County Council seem to be implying.

As if the article isn’t bad enough, we have the comments on the piece which, quite frankly, are shameful. Comments like these (reproduced verbatim) :

“Beggars can’t be chooser! That what your given or provide for yourself!”

“Yeah and anything else they would like just ask. Sure I have my own mortgage to pay for but its important that others get a house for nothing and that they can pick and choose one.”

“Some if not most of these individuals have been spoon fed by the council/government for all of their lives ,They are under this strange impression that we the tax payer owe them something, They are so greedy that the think they have the right to free housing with all the trimmings etc, they put on this poor poor scenario , but once the door is closed they are have a good laugh at the government and us fools, and scheme about what move to make next, We will never ever learn.”

“I’m amazed by the sense of entitlement and high standards that some of these welfare recipients have set for themselves. Where is the incentive to work hard, pay taxes, get a mortgage for a box of a house with a stamp sized yard that you don’t have time to tend anyway because you’re too busy working?”

And on it goes. Them and us. Someone else getting something that I don’t have. A complete lack of empathy for fellow citizens. No concept of social cohesion. No recognition that there is no “them and us”. No comprehesion that there is only “we” – we, the Irish people.

It makes me sad that hearts appear to be growing harder in Ireland, with media providing the raw material for the cement.

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