The Difference Between ‘Dole Scum’ and Unemployed People

Like most other people in Ireland, I’m fully aware of the unemployment crisis we’re faced with. When you switch on the news, there it is. “The unemployment rate has risen, there are approximately xxx unemployed adults in Ireland”, etc.

It’s frightening to think that emigration may be the only option for me, and countless others my age. That is, of course, if we want the right job, and we want it badly enough that we would be prepared to change our entire lifestyles for it.

Alternatively, we can remain in Ireland, vegetate, and collect Jobseeker’s Allowance, while constantly applying for job vacancies, and receiving rejection after rejection along the way. Unfortunately, this is what is happening to people in Ireland. And this isn’t a new trend. It’s been happening on the increase for a number of years now.

So, what’s the point in going to college? What’s the point in getting a degree? What’s the point in training in any area? What’s the point in writing those ‘What I want to be when I grow up’ essays in Primary School? So, at the end of it all, we all have a life of unemployment and constant rejection from the workforce?

There is no point denying that the future is bleak for the youth of Ireland. We will all remain Irish, but sadly the majority of us will remain Irish in another country. We will scatter ourselves unevenly along the globe, not out of choice, but out of necessity. Our ambition for employment will lead us from our heritage, from our homes, from our families, from our friends.

The cruelty of what is happening is immense. Parents are being forced to leave their young children in order to provide for them in different countries. Families are being torn apart. And for what? Money.

Understandably, many young people have lost their drive to learn, to get a good career, to get trained, to get into the workforce. Why would they bother doing any of that when they could sign on for the dole, get money without having to work for it, and thus live a casual and easy lifestyle until they rot away in their own pool of excrement.

So, there you have it, the two equally depressing options young people face in the near future. I am currently in college, as many others my age are. Remaining in education during this economic crisis is a less depressing option than sitting at home and signing on till doomsday comes. But, all this talk brings me to the question, is it wrong to be on the dole? And, why is it that so many employed individuals generally despise the unemployed? Clearly, the reason for this is that their hard-earned wages are being ripped to shreds; with an unjust portion being taxed, and this tax thus goes straight to the unemployed so they can live. Essentially, employed people are paying for unemployment to even exist.

However, it baffles me to discover that so many employed Irish people remain to despise the unemployed, even now in such a crippling economy. Surely, these same hard workers should be able to apply some compassion and understanding of the situation, and realise that the majority of unemployed people in Ireland today ARE NOT the ‘dole scum’ they possibly once were. So, what’s the difference between ‘dole scum’ and unemployed people?

Quite simply, unemployed people are, in my opinion, the Irish who have the desire to be employed, but cannot find employment. These same individuals collect Jobseeker’s Allowance, but would much prefer to be working. They apply for vacancy after vacancy, but are never successful. They are genuine struggling unemployed people. Any one of you, anyone at all, could lose your job any day or any month. And yes, I am speaking to the snobby Irish workers who turn their noses down on the unemployed. Even now, you dare to look down on unemployed people. All you have to do is switch on the news, read a newspaper, look outside, talk to your neighbours, and you will discover that unemployment is becoming a part of our very existence in Ireland. Please have some understanding, compassion and realisation that the same thing could happen to you any week now. Your job could just be snatched from you. There are budget cuts every left, right and centre and you may be one of the unfortunate individuals who gets cut from the company. And then what will you do? Become homeless instead of ‘getting handouts’ to live? Of course not, you will have no choice but to sign on for the dole until you can find another job.

The ‘dole scum’ however, are the unemployed Irish who have absolutely no desire to work, who would happily live off benefits for the rest of their lives. They are the lazy wasters of our country who happily sit back and let taxpayers nationwide fund their cushy lifestyles. We all know who they are. We’ve all seen them. They’re generally the rednecks of your town who expect special treatment from everyone because they feel they are ‘socially disadvantaged’. The ‘dole scum’ of Ireland often go around in clumps, and do not associate themselves with other kinds of people. They are tightly knitted together and are often all related to one another and live closely together. They get a free council house without much hassle because they are who they are, they get free health and education because of who they are. They may get a higher dole than genuine cases because they are who they are.

They are constantly rewarded for doing nothing, and they are sheltered from the real world by the very system that is social welfare.

Now, please do not feel I’m being prejudiced or ignorant. I understand that there are a variety of reasons why people could be unemployed. Illness is a classic example, and because of various illnesses some people will never be able to work, so they have no choice but to survive on benefits. Another example could be invalid citizenship. The individual may have emigrated to Ireland from another country and may not be legally able to work in Ireland for various reasons regarding legislation.

Please understand that when I refer to the ‘dole scum’, I refer only to a small percentage of unemployed people in Ireland. This is because I realise it’s different now. It’s not like how it used to be, about ten years ago, when there were more jobs, when there were more opportunities. It’s not like then, when being unemployed was entirely socially unacceptable, and all unemployed people were referred to as ‘dole scum’ without even the slightest insight into the individual’s situation.

I know a lot of people who are unemployed at the minute, including myself. I’m in college full-time but I, like countless others, am finding it incredibly difficult to find part-time work to help support myself in college.

Being unemployed should no longer be looked down upon. Those of you who turn your noses down on the unemployed, those of you in Ireland, need to open your eyes and realise the reality of the situation. We’re not all dole scum. They’re not all dole scum. In fact, the majority of them are just helpless people who are the result of a hopeless economy and rising unemployment. They would rather be working. They don’t enjoy getting handouts.

So yes, it does confuse me how this snobbery can still exist in such an economically hopeless society. It does confuse me how compassion and understanding appears to have been lost. It does confuse me that being on the dole is still something that is frowned upon, when it is not even a choice for many people anymore.

We’re faced with two bleak options – the dole or emigration.