Ukraine: Ireland's Cause?
The Irish Free State government are only concerned with fitting into an over-reaching globalist agenda, concerned solely with profit and the latest trends in 'cancel culture'. When put under the smallest degree of scrutiny their acts of charity coupled with the implementation of Russian sanctions can only be interpreted as virtue signalling, done entirely to appease their EU masters in Brussels.
Firstly let me be clear, this is not a critique on the Ukrainian cause for it is not a 'black and white' issue. Nor is this a critique on the refugees thereof or on the practice of immigration. Rather this is a critique on the carelessness and thoughtlessness of the Irish Free State government and it's approach to such matters along with the potential for negative and long-term consequences.
It is obviously ethical and admirable to help and assist refugees during a time of war; yet when considering the bigger picture and the mood of the Irish working class, such overtly grand gestures can only be viewed as hypocritical to the extreme. In addition, the consequences of EU-led sanctions against Russia are potentially disastrous for the Irish working class and the economic stability of Ireland.
Herein I shall argue that such manoeuvres on behalf of the Irish Free State are in fact non-benevolent and done solely to appease their masters in Brussels and the globalist elites. This is illustrative of how genuine left wing politics has been hijacked to such an extent that the primary objective is to appease elitists and globalists and engage in watery identity politics. Indeed, the majority of leftists fail to realise that the established right (and the capitalists and elites thereof) tend to be strong proponents of an open immigration policy, and not because of some moral stance, but precisely because it drives down the cost of labour to create more opportunities for profit and industrial growth, thereby strengthening the elitist position while lowering the standard of living for the working class. Furthermore, there is strong evidence to suggest that a primary concern of James Connolly was the 'dilution of labour' and the lowering of wages in the Irish job market arising from an influx of refugees from the First World War.
To continue, by all means let us help Ukrainian refugees, or any refugee for that matter, but let us do so in a mindful and sensible manner so as to create an atmosphere of acceptance and unity. It should not be done in a way that demonises and isolates Russian immigrants already here in Ireland, nor to neglect and put the needs of the Irish working class last. For what sort of gesture is that? You can't rob Peter to pay Paul! More significantly, the Irish Free State fails to comprehend that their very actions may create an environment ripe for racism and reactionary far right rhetoric that is most unhelpful.
I realise that at this stage I may sound like a man without a heart, but I hope to persuade the reader that this is far from the case. For if you bother to get off your high horse and listen to the views of ordinary people in rural Ireland you will soon understand that people are beginning to question the governments response to the situation, and perhaps rightly so. There is without question a sea-change in public opinion. Most concerning of all is the growing undercurrent of resentment and ill feeling towards our Ukrainian neighbours that could easily be curtailed if the Irish government acted appropriately and understood the dialectic they have hurled upon the masses.
The negative ramifications are two-fold: one is economic and the other is social. On the economic front the Free State government has decided to pay hoteliers in rural towns substantial amounts of money to house the Ukrainian refugees; for make no mistake the hoteliers (being men of profit) surely aren’t doing this in the name of charity! Consequently, there has been a sharp decline in revenue in the local tourist industry (bars, restaurants etc.) Ordinarily this would not be a major issue, but when considering the current rate of inflation and cost of living crisis it is altogether a different matter for local business and local people.
Indeed, such is the nature of macro-economics and the ramifications thereof in the geo-political sphere, that there can be no doubt that the current cost of living crisis is inextricably linked to the current situation in Ukraine. Furthermore, the EU-led sanctions imposed against Russia, namely banning the importation of oil and petroleum products can only have disastrous consequences for the Irish people and working class; talk about cutting ones nose off to spite their own face!
Consequently, my main concern is the impact this is having on the Irish working class and their ability to put food on the table - and the shear hesitancy of the Irish Free State government to acknowledge the severity of the issue or to do anything meaningful about it. Yes they will try to appease the situation by providing additional social welfare schemes (under various acronyms), but the reality is such measures are mere crumbs in the grand scheme of things, not to mention the additional hoops to jump through and forms to fill out. So, it appears we are expected to just take it on the proverbial chin and say, ‘ah sure look be grand so.’
Yet the truth is working class families simply have no economic recourse and are being slowly drained of all resources and savings. To put things into perspective they have to pay for their children’s school books, pay to get bins emptied, pay 50 euro for a phone call from a GP, pay 50 euro for a GP appointment along with additional costs for medication etc. etc. etc. And disabled or not, medical cards are handed out like Hens teeth! Worse still, all of this amidst severe price hikes in food, petrol, rent and heating oil.
Upon arriving in Ireland Ukrainian refugees will receive: a lump sum payment, a PPS number, Irish driving licence, a medical card, and ‘bump the queue’ to become first priority on social housing waiting lists. In addition the Ukrainian language is now being taught in many Irish schools. For God forbid if the Irish language should come first, or that immigrants be forced to integrate culturally in any way shape or form. Such measures go over and beyond what is necessary and are nothing more than an insult to Irish working class people and families, many of whom are already struggling with poverty and in desperate need of work, job security and opportunities. Naturally, the end result of all this is an atmosphere of growing resentment and racism to our Ukrainian neighbours.
Critics of the points made out in this essay will no doubt argue that the Irish working class are not living in a war torn land surrounded by bombs and destruction, and therefore said argument is built on a foundation of sand. Yet I would put it to such critics that the Irish government still has an onus to care for its most vulnerable citizens; and that poverty is poverty, hunger is hunger and homelessness is homelessness whether it occur in wartime or not.
To conclude, the Irish government should open the borders to Ukrainian refugees, but it must do so in a sensible way to ensure that there is parity in the support provided. In this way, support provided to Ukrainian refugees should be on par with social support provided to Irish families or any other immigrant and foreign national. In addition, EU-led sanctions imposed against Russia should be challenged and brought to an end, because such sanctions also serve to harm and impoverish Irish citizens. Corrective measures such as these will help to slow the growing resentment, racism and anti-immigrant feeling that is beginning to fester here in Ireland - and therefore help to block the growing agenda of far right elements intent on exploiting such disparities for their own nefarious ends.
Ukraine: Ireland's cause? Absolutely not.
~ Gamhain MacCionaoith
mí Mheithimh, 2022
Contae Dhún na nGall