The Heelers Diaries

the fantasy world of ireland's greatest living poet

My Photo
Location: Kilcullen (Phone 087 7790766), County Kildare, Ireland

Wednesday, December 06, 2017

a modest proposal

(for reform of Ireland's social welfare system)

1. Remove the adversarial qualities of the system.

2. Reduce unemployment benefits generally, paying say 50 Euro a week up to the age of twenty five, 100 Euro a week up to the age of thirty five, and an upper rate of 190 Euro per week only over the age of forty five.

3. Redefine unemployment benefits as entitlements, the notion being that if you are unemployed in Ireland you get this amount and it cannot be taken from you. If this measure wouldn't break the economy it should be done, as the behaviour of trade unionised employees at the Department of Social Welfare towards the general public is killing people now. I am suggesting that reductions in the amount of benefit being paid will be acceptable to unemployed people if the capacity of Social Welfare staff to intimidate, to hector and to arbitrarily remove benefits is ended.

4. Redefining benefits as entitlements will further save money by reducing the mental health issues that are induced when people feel overwhelmed by the way they are being treated in Social Welfare Offices. I am postulating that the suicide rate will also fall. The social gain from removing the recurrent and constant frivolous confrontations of the present adversarial system will be immense.

5. Redefining benefits as entitlements will end the dysfunct currently built into the system whereby a large number of people have themselves falsely designated as unfit for work in order to obtain a disability pension in place of the entitlements they are otherwise having difficulty accessing.

6. The signs in Social Welfare Offices which warn the public: "If you are rude to our staff you may be arrested," should be removed as the proponderance of rudeness issues arise when Social Welfare staff are rude, wrongly advise, intimidate, or otherwise exceed their authority in dealing with the public.

7. Clarify to all Social Welfare Staff the reason why their department has been renamed the Department of Social Protection, to wit, that their duty is to protect the people who come to them seeking to access their entitlements.

8. End the IRA mafia's control of trade unions in Ireland.

9. Provide an advocate to sit in at meetings for any citizen who has dealings with the Social Welfare Office and who feels his rights are not being protected.

10. Insist on the right of citizens to written notification in advance of any changes to their receipt of entitlements with a clear right of appeal in all circumstances.

11. Consider the possibility of introducing an entitlement for any citizen who wishes to register for it, to have at least one job offer a year, generated internally by the system, and which may be accepted or refused without prejudice at the discretion of the citizen. The State would generate these job offers across all sectors, forestry, the police, the army, the civil service, transport, education, television, media. Again this should be done if it wouldn't break the economy. The positions would be entry level positions on reduced wages, explicitly for anyone who really wants to work. Difficulties will be presented by the trade union movement which will regard such a policy as an attentat upon trade union power. Nonetheless I think we should look at this as a way to directly address the unemployment situation.

12. The aim of these proposals is to end the incivility towards the citizen implicit in the present administration of social welfare systems in Ireland. An additional aim is to end the cultural intellectual log jam which has led to the prevalence of the notion that structural, ie permanent, unemployment (officially running above ten percent in Europe with real figures much higher) is inevitable. It is inevitable only until we find a way to deal with it. The thinking that we can and should provide the option of a job for everyone is a first step to providing a job for everyone.


Post a Comment

<< Home