The 32: a diverse, moving and tantalising collection on on class in Ireland

This collection is a bold, welcome and generous start to mining the working-class Irish experience

Factory shutdown: Ireland is like every other country; riddled with invisible, unfair strings that bind people together according to their socioeconomic status. Photograph: Sahm Doherty/Getty

Factory shutdown: Ireland is like every other country; riddled with invisible, unfair strings that bind people together according to their socioeconomic status. Photograph: Sahm Doherty/Getty

There is a common misapprehension that Ireland has no class system. Sure how could we? Didn’t we get rid of the Brits with their aristo obsessions and weren’t we all broke anyway, or all Catholic, so how could we have a class system? Aren’t we a land filled with hard-working, educated, egalitarian, non-covetous, noble people? Class was for “over there” with their landowners and private schools and flat-capped miners.

Except we all know that isn’t true. Lack of a scrounging monarchy aside, Ireland is like every other country; riddled with invisible, unfair strings that bind people together according to their socioeconomic status. Disparities in opportunities between these groups have fuelled a very distinct and complex class system that is unique to this island. A system that differs between city and country, between races, between North and South, and between the generations.

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