I did see two women walking for Amnesty International, and two others walking for an African aid organisation. But every other woman I saw was walking, jogging or running for:
either anyone of the three main paediatric hospitals in Dublin,
- or a specialised ward in a regional hospital (usually cancer),
- or Cancer research,
- or Breast Cancer – or a number of other organisations associated with this
- or their local hospice,
- or Heart Children
- or the Irish Heart Foundation
- or various Alzheimer foundations
- or Down Syndrome (DS Ireland and the Dublin branch seemed to be well represented),
- or special schools for Autism (Saplings and ABA in particular),
- or schools for other special needs
Do you get the picture? Basic needs, such as health, such as education, where the state should be providing in full. Basic needs that are in fact provided to the bare minimum, and for which ordinary people feel they have to take the matter into their own hands and ensure everyone gets the level of service they are entitled to. It is worth looking at the event website, and in particular at the list of charities that have used the marathon in previous years to raise funds. The numbers are staggering.
I was watching a programme on Setanta Sport last week, all about this mini-marathon (in fact I did not get to watch it all, but most of it at least) and my unease was confirmed when one of the event organisers said that they estimated over € 14 m was raised last year by charities through this one afternoon alone. Personally, I think I could be more. Quick maths: 40,374 women completed the race this year. If everyone of them raises an average of € 500 each (it’s do-able, I am pleased to say that I am well over this figure by now) this bring us to over € 20 m ! ! !
But my unease is heightened by the fact that women felt the need to raise € 14m LAST YEAR, when the going was good, when the economy had only barely starting to slip, when we were still enjoying the roar of our Celtic Tiger. And they also did it throughout the previous years, when the money was flowing around, when for several years the tax intake far exceeded the state spending needs, giving our nation a budgetary surplus for the first time in its history.
For god sake’s, for two years running, Grafton Street in Dublin had the privilege of boasting the highest retail rent rates IN THE WORD, after 5th Avenue, New York! Is this being rich, or is this being “rich”? Ireland was no longer the poor relation at the edge of Europe.
Where did the money go? Where did this surplus end up? Like the huge downpour of a thunderstorm, has it been sucked away into the bowels of the earth? Or into the sewers of our insolvent banking system?
And now that the Tiger is only tiny little kittie, what is going to happen? How will all these organisations that CARE for the less healthy, the less able, the less strong, find their funding? In fact, why do these organisations exist? Should not the surplus share of tax euros over the last few years have been used to eliminate the need for them, and enable the state to do its job and CARE?
Ireland as a nation is well used to survive hardship. The Great Famine and its long felt consequences made sure of that. The Irish have the reputation of being the most generous people in the world, contributing more per capita to charitable organisations than any other nation. But are we being taken for granted, simply because this is what we do?
And the irony is that women will walk, jog and run for charities again next year, and I already know I want to be with them.
I do love this country, I have been here for over 30 years, by choice, I have made my nest here. I have adopted it and I think it has adopted me. But sometimes, things just don’t make sense.
Having said all this, you too can contribute to a local charity, all to do with Autism, if you need to change your phone and are in the market for a “smart” one. Check out Autism Action: for the month of June only € 10 of your purchase could help make a difference. Mean corporations giving money away…? Yes, it’s true!
Update on this post:
I had not meant for this post to be “party” political. And our local and European Elections last weekend had no influence on it. However, it is political, of course!
In a weird coincidence, a few minutes after reading Lisa’s comment, I heard a song on the radio, one I particularly like. But today it just seemed so appropriate! Replace Lily Allen by the Irish Nation, and “her man” by the current government, and what do you get?
“ It’s not fair, I think you’re really mean, I think you’re really mean…
Oh it’s not fair, it’s really not ok, it’s really not ok, it’s really not ok…
Oh you’re suppose to care, but all you do is take, yea all you do is take…”