A voice for the 'silent' poverty class


Sir, – The article concerning the “cry for help” from the wife of a Garda sergeant has naturally provoked a flood of reaction (Kathy Sheridan, Home News, October 17th). However, the vitriolic abuse in the majority of comments on The Irish Times website has been shockingly ignorant and a reflection of just how divided and self-absorbed we are as a small island nation.

Just because someone earns more money than you should not automatically give a sense of entitlement to judge them lock, stock and barrel. There may indeed be details missing from the article that are just so to protect identity eg – a disabled/autistic child.

How can the eldest son get a job when there are none? They should get a loan? From whom exactly? Comparing public sector pay with Germany? Don’t make me laugh. I spent a week in Germany on business in 2009 and was astounded at how cheap food is in supermarkets (a one-litre bottle of water was 19 cent). I’d love to send the IMF around our shops with a trolley. Angela Merkel would gawp at what we pay in Aldi.

People may say health insurance is a luxury, but not so for a Garda who is more likely to be injured, stabbed or shot on the job. This article has exposed how misleading a gross salary can be and how the past four years will be nothing compared with the difficulties coming in the next four. There is no denying the large portion of personal responsibility that has to be taken for moving to a bigger house for “an extra bedroom”. However, I live in a tiny house and my mortgage is half of theirs, only because I am fortunate to have a tracker mortgage. Without it, I would be struggling to put food on the table for my children.

People have also made good points about having to adjust by taking in a lodger, washing dishes by hand, etc, and no doubt they will do these things because they will have to.

That is in no way mutually exclusive from the fear, stress and anxiety the woman featured in the article is feeling and expressing. In fact, the very act of writing to ministers is a proactive step to try to improve their situation.

I hate the word “entitlement” in our society, but this woman is entitled to be upset that she cannot afford to properly feed and send her son to college on such a high salary and anyone who mocks her for that has no respect. – Yours, etc,


Chambers Park,

Kilcock, Co Kildare.