Limerick poet urges unemployed to sign off the dole

Aine Fitzgerald

Reporter:

Aine Fitzgerald

AN Ardpatrick man who has penned a book on the Celtic Tiger years is calling on unemployed people from all over Ireland to sign off the dole on February 13.

AN Ardpatrick man who has penned a book on the Celtic Tiger years is calling on unemployed people from all over Ireland to sign off the dole on February 13.

Jonni O’Gorman who now lives in Spanish Point believes that the mass action would have a significant macro-economic effect and would put pressure on the government to lower the general cost of living.

He says it would “put an end to the ridiculous situation whereby innocent citizens are forced to pay off the gambling losses of private bankers.

“Each individual person who is on the dole is obviously dependent on the dole to pay their bills and buy their food but the amount you get on the dole is set against the cost of living and in my opinion the cost of living is too high in Ireland,” said Jonni.

“And then the EU are saying that we have to pay this huge banking debt, otherwise they will turn off the tap - turn off the dole and the wages to the gardai and the nurses, so we are being held over a barrel, collectively.”

The 37-year-old who is on the dole himself, poses the question: “as an individual should you say ‘give me the crumbs off your plate’?”

While he acknowledges that it would be “very difficult” to take such a stance as an individual, Jonni believes that collectively, it is possible.

“There is an interdependency there because every time a person gets the dole, what they end up doing is paying their electricity bill and their phone and food bill – all at an elevated price. So if everybody did it – there would be all that much less money in the economy.”

During the Celtic Tiger years, specifically between 2004 and 2007, Jonni wrote extensively about the nature of the boom and its impending doom.

“I decided to explore my poetic ability back in 2004,” he explained.

“I started writing simple poems and after a few months it started to grow legs.”

Jonni quit his job and moved to Spain to try his hand at art.

“I started living frugally and started selling art on the beaches. When I came back to Ireland, I started to get a different perspective on things and started to write about what I could see. I got myself a little microphone and amplifier and used to recite my poems on the streets around Temple Bar in the evenings,” he explained.

Jonni performed regularly at venues and slam competitions around Ireland and has now put a selection of this material in book form entitled Rise Up Ya Poorman.

“It is a collection of poems and illustrations from that time, 2004- 2007. For example in 2006, Bertie Ahern appeared on TV kind of crying with little tears in his eyes so there is a poem there entitled Dry Your Eyes Bertie which is a play on a South Park episode,” he explained.

For more details and information on the book see Jonni’s website jogideas.com