Rugby, Our Good Life and Bandages

Ireland versus South Africa

When your taxi driver starts chatting thoughtfully to you about inequality and homelessness you know that it’s a huge penny that’s dropping with everyone.

(Interestingly, our Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar has just received huge criticism for commenting that the levels of homelessness are quite normal in Ireland compared to other countries!)

I was making typical, idle conversation with the driver about “how business was with him” and how it must be much better, that we are out of recession – he responded by saying, that “he knew where I was going with the conversation

Yes, things were much better but definitely not for everyone. The rich are getting richer, while others are struggling to survive

He spoke compassionately about the homeless people that he passes every day (we passed many of them on our taxi ride) and mentioned the fundraising that the taxi drivers do – they won’t give them money but they will give them food and essential items.

I mentioned the little piece of work that we had done with Dublin Simon and added my observations – you just feel like you are putting a bandage on something, but actually achieving very little. However, that bandage is required – until the bigger issues are tackled successfully, plenty of bandages are needed.

We were in Dublin for the Ireland v South Africa rugby match – I’m not into rugby but did feel privileged to be able to watch the match in the magnificent Aviva Stadium.

Of course the tickets were expensive and we also bought the other extras including headsets and match programmes. There was a non-stop procession of people walking past us throughout the match with their trays full of beer. I did wonder if many of them were there to watch the game or just drink beer and have the craic!

During our stay we ate well and drank too much, taking our taxis from place to and we stayed in the fine Croke Park Hotel.

We are the lucky ones to be able to afford to do this.

Jonathan Corrie, Homeless man in Dublin

I was asking the driver about “this” side of Dublin as it still seems to be very run down with a few spots here and there that seem a little better.

The driver pointed out the properties that a company called Key Collection had in this part of town. There were lots of individual properties with a distinctive black door that apparently they let out on short term lettings.

The driver expressed his surprise at the locations of these properties, but he explained that they will make much more money on these short term lettings rather than renting them on a permanent basis to families and other people who need them.

He reckons this is a real shame, but reasoned that money wins at the end of the day – we agreed that it was a good thing that at least someone was investing in these properties (probably acquired cheaply) and this would help to improve these parts of the city.

He also pointed out to us some of the drug areas in the city as we drove by, and he filled us in on which drug family controlled each.

I don’t think he was very happy with this “cosmopolitan Dublin” that he felt he didn’t know as well as he did before – “we can’t lose the friendliness that we were always renowned for”.

As he dropped us to the train station his conclusion was that greed was ultimately driving all of this inequality. Is it greed or is it something else?

I guess when we don’t know how to solve these bigger problems, when we don’t know how to get beyond the bandages, do we just concentrate on looking after ourselves?

…Our good life

Greg Canty 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications, a full-service agency that offers Marketing, PR and Branding  services from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

 

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