Land of Milk and Honey - Essay 001

Most of the time I’ve spent outside of my home in Ireland has been in hospitals, ambulances and doctors offices. More so than supermarkets.

My last visit to a hospital 3 different people heard I was from across the sea and asked me what I plan to do.. and I answered honestly, to engage in community. Though by the third time I sensed that I wasn't just being asked out of small-talk, but to appease the obligation to be productive as an immigrant.

And guess what they all replied with? “Well we need doctors and nurses.” Albeit that’s not verbatim what they said, but that was it in a nutshell. Two of them wrapped it up in a joke and laugh. But the message became clear to me that day, Ireland is struggling in the health sector.

I would pity them, except the pandemic revealed how disgustingly nurses in particular are being treated by the government's health organisation. It made me wonder. What does Ireland want, really? Because in the new budget they appointed 7,000 new posts across the sector.. but nothing about new conditions or higher pay as has been pleaded for by the workers.

If you want people to join your national health service, then treat those already existing it better, much much much better. I was disgusted to hear from an African locum GP shared the reality of being an immigrant doctor in Ireland. That there is a literally club in which foreigners - especially Africans - are seldom permitted to join which would allow them to set up their own practices, forcing them to be locum doctors that work overtime across Ireland to cover bills and sustain themselves.

The public were vocal about the issues of housing that during the last election. There are only 5 million people in the country, how is there a lack of housing? Why are they not being built, where or who rather, is the money going to?

 In the 2022 Budget, instead of regulating rent, which is one of the biggest problems facing Europe right now, the government have conceded to building 9,000 "new build social housing" and 4,000 "affordable" homes. Affordable in what sense, and how did they come to the conclusion that 4,000 affordable homes would be enough. Where exactly will these homes be? How much will they cost?

While the minimum wage is increasing by 30 cents to €10.50, this obviously isn't enough if the average 30+ year old is living with 4 other housemates, if they leave their parents home at all. The wages paid in this country are not feasible for property ownership. And in a country of 5 million people where, in 2022, 17,800 homes will be supported by the Rental Accommodation Scheme is clearly not everyone is eligible for such help.

Ireland is the European headquarters for the wealthiest companies in the world - Google and Amazon; and, as the pandemic rages on, I believe Pfizer's profits will increase enough to include them too. So how is it that Ireland has these issues at all?

A population this small should have no issues being able to account for every cent spent, and with such wealth the corporate juggernauts aforementioned have - there should be no trouble for these things at all.. except there is. And asylum seekers, refugees and immigrants, are of course, are bearing the brunt of it.  

I haven't even touched direct provision which.. I mean.. Everything the Irish government is subjecting those people to is being scaled up to the rest of the population in the most insidious ways but you guys don't want to see it - because asylum seekers make no difference to your lives abi? "We're already doing them a favour", "they're asking for too much", abi? Hm. Now why does that sound so familiar...?

 What I will say is this, Ireland, do not fall into the trap of emulating your coloniser in order to reclaim power they stole from you when you were colonised. You of all people shouldn’t dare, because you have a close up - the closest view - of their demise and have done this whole time. Catch yourselves on, quickly, and open the gates - FULLY.