Are we really looking after ‘the common good’?

                                                                                                                                                                 by Anne Heffernan

 

As I wander around this country of ours – well, counties Offaly, Kildare and all of Dublin in particular, I notice, as I am sure you do too, the huge numbers of people, often times, young children and teenagers buying fast food on the go. There seems to be no end to the money they and their families have to spend on such. After school times and lunch times seem to be the busiest! The buzz in any Mc Donalds, Eddie Rockets and other fast food outlets is mesmerising as are the gangs of youths hanging out with their happy meals, breakfast rolls, smoothies, milk-shakes and other drinks – that don’t come cheap.

All nationalities are represented and the chatter among them is infectious. As I sit over my one, skinny latte I ponder the systems in our country. My mind wonders especially about those who are obviously not ethnic Irish. Often times I’m in areas classed as ‘deprived’ (where the unemployment rate is high) and simply wonder how the people I am sitting among can afford to spend the money they do. I cannot fathom where these people get the money it costs to treat themselves or their children to such expensive products on a regular basis.

Some may call me a racist for this comment, others may say I’m discriminating against certain sections of society. But I’m not, I’m simply making an observation: As a person on a low income myself, I cannot afford to live this way. I don’t have the money to do it – a skinny latte is my limit!

Is there a secret organisation working away in the background making money to give extra to these people for their luxuries? Does money grow on the trees where they live?

money, Dublin, young children, teenagers, expensive products,                                                                                                                                                                                                    image credit www.flickr.com

I’m empathetic by nature to anyone in real need and I have no problem with people in difficulties from other jurisdictions coming to Ireland for a better quality of life or to flee persecution. I believe, as citizens of this world, we have a duty to do so. But I believe as a society, we Irish need to be sure we are offering a fair and adequate lifestyle to all our citizens (and especially those on low incomes, regardless of the reasons why) equal to that which others are receiving from the State’s purse – from the tax-payers of our country. As a tax-payer all my life, I object to anything less than fairness and I’m angry with those we’ve elected to look after ‘the common good’ who push for benefits and perks for certain sections of our society without a second thought for others.

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