“Cardboard in his shoes”

Podcast: Impact of a €10 cut to Children’s Benefit http://tinyurl.com/7bmfym2

Another single mother doing her best to make ends meet while trying to avoid stigmatising her son as poor. Just like Jacqueline yesterday Aisling O’Connor is another remarkable woman. Please listen and post a comment.

Some very generous people wanted to give Jacqueline something to help her out. I passed on the offers to her this morning. Her reply – “Thank them for me but no thanks. Everybody in the country has to make cuts in their lives. I just have to make mine too.”

Then there’s the other variety of observation on Jacqueline’s circumstances. I’ve pasted some of the comments I received yesterday in response to Jacqueline’s story below.

Single mothers really are in need of better public relations. Even when they are manifestly struggling to make ends meet, even when they are very clearly doing everything they can to raise their own and their child’s horizons it seems we find it easier to lump them into a catch-all basket of unmotivated, whingeing scroungers. Now, why would we do that?


“so a reduction of 33cent per day would lead to kids not getting milk or not having nappies ??!!!   time to drop the hyperbole and get real    this kind of crap may be populist but masks reality and stops real debate”

“These fuckin whining witches really piss me off. Give it a rest for fuck sake”

“Working class women are choosing to get pregnant impoverish themselves – what do  the feminists do? Nothing – theyre middle class doin fine (unless the cleaner gets pregnant)”

“My husband is self employed – he earns 400 per week. We have 3 kids and a mortgage. The girl next door has 1 child and 280 week on dole with rent allowance. Who is better off?”

“Mother of God! RTÉ playing the bleeding heart for a proposed cut in Children’s Allowance…and expecting the Irish people to swallow it whole. Ye’re a PC organisation all right…”

“Well done rte, once again u have a sterling job of depressing an already downbeat nation. Wish u would make more effort to b positive and show leadership and help the national phsyce.”

“ I am so fed up with news reports about cuts in social welfare. It angers me so much that the state doles out so much in social welfare every year and yet we only hear news reports about people whining about social welfare cuts. Does anyone want to represent my voice?? Does Phillip want to accompanyme on my daily costs? I am self employed, never been on social welfare, yet every day we are crippled with VAT increases, rates, employers PRSI, rent and mortgages. Yet we are entitled to nothing from the state. I am delighted there will be a charge for medical card holders because as far as I can see, they are the reason doctors are so busy. The rest of us can’t afford the doctor. Please change the record and look at the self employed people propping upthe social welfare system.”


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2 responses to ““Cardboard in his shoes”

  1. Mary O'Donoghue

    In fairness there really is no straightforward logical response to the comments you have received. I am at a loss with some of the comments and, if I can be so bold to point out, the only whining (to quote some commentators) I am hearing is from the commentators who it would appear believe that it is a competition to see who has it the hardest. Unfortunately when this is the case, it is often lone parents who bear the brunt. The women, on both evenings, were I believe quite dignified in the telling of their reality and fair play to them. They both outlined the challenges they face and they were not defeatist in their attitudes.
    There is a lot of judgement and preconceived notions about lone parents in this country and it is still viewed as a social stigma, yet no-one wants to see the return of the Magdalene Launderies. With regard to people who are judgmental, they are usually dealing with their own insecurities, and sure it is easier to blame and point fingers at the “single mother” than at society in general. As for better public relations, this would require a more concerted effort on behalf of government and the media. The reality is that the majority of lone parents (this does not get highlighted enough) want to work however due to lack of decent affordable childcare (this is definitely one of the biggest barriers), often the only positions available to them are low-paying part-time jobs. The same can be said in trying to access decent education opportunities. The work of organisations like OPEN and Doras Bui and many community groups around the country should be highlighted more often and indeed should be valued more as they not only challenge a lot of these notions, they also work with lone parents to overcome obstacles. The media also has a role to play, while it might appear that there is a bit of a backlash right now with regard to the drivetime reports , keep highlighting the issues and in particular keep reporting on the excellent job us lone parents are doing, both inside and outside the home.

  2. Frances Byrne

    Was thinking about how to answer some of the content all weekend. Then I logged on and saw Mary’s great reply which sums up everything. Thank you.

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