Sunday 19 November 2017

Garda wife's story used as the first shots in an ideological war

The 'Irish Times' story only plays into the hands of those who deny there is hardship, writes Eilis O'Hanlon

As symbols go, a garda sergeant's wife who can't afford to feed her children because of the recession has it all. No wonder it was, for days, the most read story on the Irish Times website, with correspondingly huge interest on RTE and in social media, where it was plugged relentlessly as a damning indictment of the Celtic Tiger gone wrong.

Not everyone was wholly sympathetic. Some felt that those who bought houses at the height of the boom were getting everything they deserved; others wondered whether the country had lost the run of itself when people earning €75,000 -- or possibly €65,000, depending on which page of the Irish Times you read -- are now claiming to be victims. The wisest just smelt a rat and set about crunching the numbers, because, even after all the deductions, it was hard to see why this couple could not afford food for their children. The Irish Times said it was satisfied with the details of the family's finances, but did that mean readers had to take the Irish Times' word for it too?

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