Saturday 21 April 2018

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

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.

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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