Our story is but a small snapshot of how the decisions of the past and present are affecting real people in our country. I had been self-employed in the education and training sector of the economy until the demand ceased and I ran out of financial road. Once that occurred all semblance of normal everyday life ceased for us as a family. We have had to fire-sale any possession to keep the mortgage paid. We have other loans that we cannot service yet pay minimal sums to date; I have offered settlement figures all to no avail and now the banks are not prepared to allow us any more time and we face judgement orders. The banks have been bailed out by the taxpayer, they have won, but their behaviour is not as Winston Churchill stated - “In Victory, Magnanimity”.
We are trying to self-start again on a cost-neutral basis from where we stand at present. To say the least, this is very stressful and laced with anxiety. In 35 years of employment we have never run out of work and never failed to pay either our business loans or any other loans, yet now our credit-rating is shot to pieces with no chance of loan funding in the foreseeable future.
We have invested whatever financial resources we have had into my wife up-skilling over the past 18 months to achieve a qualification in Healthcare. She has thus far managed to gain 1.5 hours per week at a rate of €10 per hour. We are now facing default on our mortgage, we do not have funds to cover any emergencies.
When our washing-machine packed up in the last fortnight, only then did I know what hardship meant – this is now my interpretation: “Is hardship when the washing-machine or similar machine breaks down and your wife is so stressed and in tears because you’ve run out of financial road to deal with such things? No! That’s not hardship; hardship is witnessing it as a breadwinning husband and not being in a position to do anything about it. It assaults the very core of your being, the pit of your stomach; your chest aches all the time. That’s hardship”.
We are now socially and economically isolated. We just subsist from week to week, we keep our negative thoughts in check as best we can, but our time of reckoning is fast approaching; we will not be able to survive unless a glimmer of hope is presented. Our alternative is to emigrate again or lose everything else we possess, namely, our home.
I possess many skill-sets as a tradesperson with third-level qualifications yet since 2011 have had no success in obtaining even part-time employment, despite over 120 applications. We look at the economic devastation taking place in our local town, the shops closing every week; our politicians saying that things are getting less worse does not mean that they are improving. I can sometimes visualize tumbleweed blowing down the main street.
What’s occurring in our country is unprecedented, it is like a low creeping fog that envelops all, consumes all, a silent evil. It cannot easily be seen yet all citizens know that it is there.
I have no sense of hope for the future in this country. We have had terribly weak ‘leadership’ from our politicians – in fact leadership it most certainly is not, appeasement is the correct term and it has echoes of Chamberlain’s efforts at appeasing Hitler in the late 1930s.
However having reached my 50th year I will conclude on a positive note and I again pay homage to Winston Churchill and the great leadership he showed the world when he said “In Defeat, Defiance”.