Friday, February 17, 2012

Escaping The Walls

The character Don Booker has had a Facebook page running for just as long as this blog. Once I'd committed to writing Booker's World I thought a head start on getting potential readers seemed like a right sort of thing to be doing. Within a few years Booker had thousands of friends!
Now how they converted into book purchasers are stats we don't want to go into - even given my deplorable marketing efforts to date. Like the blog, the Facebook page over the last year hasn't been about getting readers as such - but more a gonzo-type commentary of the time.
Facebook can be a great source or little pearls of wisdom which serve many things. It also shows the people we have more in common with. I'm pleased to say I'd be among a gang of about 20 fellow dissenting reprobates on Facebook this past 18 months- sharing stuff from around the web for the masses. To ignore - in general.

One such acquaintance posted something mid-week which i found a little alarming. I've copy and pasted it below. It's not for the faint-hearted. It's shows just how much pressure people are under. Largely ignored - beneath a wall of mainstream silence who prefer to butter things over. But there's no buttering over real issues.
I finally got the go-ahead yesterday from the powers that be to go ahead and do my worst to put myself into a position of employment. 15 long long months since I first contacted them. That old wall of silence again.

Don Booker and other characters from Booker's World would resonate with the unfortunate below - who, beaten into submission, decides to put his story live on a public forum for all the world to see. I hid Booker's World behind fiction.
But what actually are people being turned into here when someone feels so desperate that they decide to write something as wrenching as the passage below.

Just to have a little red-tape disappear is a slight weight off tired shoulders. No excuses anymore - not that I've ever looked for any!
I've a lot of the dots. Now i need to join them and see where it goes. It has to be better than staring at four walls and a computer screen for three-quarters of the day. I followed my own direction since September 2009 simply because there was no other one to take.
I didn't expect the wall I met since December 2010 with officialdom in a country spewing out positivity and togetherness - but when it comes to answering such calls - think flat-line on heart monitor.
I'm lucky to have friends about who don't allow people to give up. But when it seems your pissing headway into a Donegal gale that's not often easy.
I probably won't have as much time now to write here about all that's going on in this socially unjust world. But there will be other ways to make the point. I hope!
At least now with this slight boost to the situation I can try make good on some of the things I'd set out to do all along.
At least I've been deemed worthy of trying - at last!


The piece below has been copied & pasted verbatim from a post by one of my fellow facebookers.

This was posted on a Live Blog on and then the Thread was removed. It shows us the struggle people face everyday of their lives. We all know someone who suffers similarly and we need to help those around us......God help this man please!

I've decided that I've had enough...


This is an account of my life on the dole and which seems to contradict what man...y think, particularly media commentators.

I have been unemployed for three years. I have 460 job applications items in the job applications folder of my email account. I am tired. I am weary. My heart and soul is gone. I exist. Since December I've had to start taking anti-depressants for the first time in my life. I live alone. I haven't had a face to face conversation with another person since Christmas. I am well educated (master's degree) and I used to be a bright, outgoing, positive person - now I'm just a shell who sits alone and often cries from sheer loneliness, isolation and despair. I'm a 39 year old grown man, 6ft3, very presentable, articulate but seemingly useless and a burden to the State. I'm also useless according to recruiters and job agencies, most of whom don't even respond to my applications or phone calls. The majority of jobs I apply for I wouldn't have looked at five years ago but I'm no longer even good enough for these. Perhaps, like the certain elements of the media and the State, they think I'm lazy or thick or both.

I am so tired of the negative commentary from Government Ministers and various media commentators about lazy unemployed people not bothering to look for work and preferring to remain on the dole. I depresses me to the point where I just feel like crying and these days I often do. I worked since leaving college when I entered the Civil Service as an AO. I held down a number of very well paid jobs after leaving the CS. I have found life on the dole to be a nightmare. Signing on, queuing in the post office like a beggar, attending CWO clinics - completely alien to me in every way, shape and form - soul destroying. They obliterate one's dignity - standing in a queue, blocking the street every fourth Tuesday to sign on, like a Dickensian beggar at a soup kitchen.

A few days ago I received a letter from the CWO/HEO with a rent supplement review form. My landlord cannot reduce the rent to the level required and nor should he - I'm paying less than the open market rent - the apartment next door was let to a working person last month for €25 per month more than presently I'm paying. This will be the second time since 2009 I have to move because of reductions in rent supplement levels and each time I've moved it has been to increasingly shabby accommodation. This time, however, there is not one single property on at the newly set rate - not one! Even if there was, I don't have access to a deposit and a month's advance rent. I have contacted the Local Authority and they're absolutely useless - in fact worse than useless. These are the same Local Authorities who are going to lead enterprise development - some hope! They told me they would house me in a men's shelter if the worst happens! The rent review laughably asked for details of "all bank accounts" - I don't have a bank account anymore - that's where I'm at! If you're on the dole you cannot be trusted to have it paid to your bank account - you have to stand like a mug in the post office.

I cannot afford to heat where I live - it's electric storage heating and I'm already in arrears with my electricity bill. I never go out to socialise - the only luxury I allow myself is the gym which is a necessity more than a luxury. Most days I take my 16 year old car and drive to a lakeside car park where I have a coffee, read and listen to the radio. I often stay there until 11pm because I can run the car and keep warm, following which I return home and go to bed. If I don't do this I just stay in bed because I have nothing else to do.

I see no hope - none whatsoever. I see a certain sector drawing enormous salaries, pensions, expenses, etc and living lavish lifestyles, while many others struggle to stay warm, to keep a roof over their heads and eat properly. I turn 40 on Feb 27th. I'm a neat, tidy person and mathematically minded - I've purchased a hose pipe and duck tape and it is my plan, on that date, to terminate my time on this earth. Quite simply I see no hope and I CAN'T take anymore of the relentless hammering, negativity and isolation. Instead of being helped by the Department of Social Protection and Government, I am being harassed and threatened. In over three years on the dole I have never once been contacted by any government body, other than to cut, cut, cut. I'm done.

So, after 27th February there will be one less person on the dole, one less person dodging employment, one less person trying to live under the rent supplement scheme, one less person being treated like a beggar by the State to which they once contributed thousands in income tax. I hope it will make a difference to some bottom line because I can tell you that I no longer make any difference to anyone. This is the truth of my reality, the reality of life on the margins of the social spectrum! I'm sure you'll agree that it's a great one and I have little to be moaning about so I'll stop - soon.


Now tell me, is that a society of equals. If country means all and government must exist then maybe instead of lavishing themselves, our public servants could do a little constitutional refreshment.
I think the words equality are mentioned in there just one or two times ...

1 comment:

  1. This is shocking and a reality I know too well but suicide is no answer. If nothing else don't let circumstances win. Whatever else we have to find what positives exist in our day and keep on going. However long it takes to turn the corner there is always something new around it. That's worth sticking around for surely?