Tuesday 6 December 2016

O'Byrnes -- and the bitter laughter of the dole queue

Published 06/08/2011 | 05:00

Unemployment benefits sometimes come in unexpected forms. The 458,000 people on the Live Register are often said to be "languishing on the dole" but, in reality, most are assuming a more complicated posture: yes, they could be described as dispirited, dismayed, disillusioned and an assortment of other terms involving the prefix dis- but, every so often, they are also likely to be doubled-over with bitter laughter.

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After all, one of the most reliable perks of joblessness in this country is the ready supply of comically condescending lectures by would-be public intellectuals who essentially argue that a chief cause of the unemployment crisis is the unemployed themselves.

The latest well-paid bigshot to chastise those who've lost their jobs for their carelessness is Stephen O'Byrnes, a leading PR consultant who took a break from his spin-doctor's surgery last week to talk down to the unemployed from the opinion pages of The Irish Times.

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