I’m sure the Keelings controversy hasn’t gone under the radar of anybody who’s been keeping in touch over the past few days. While Irishmen and Irishwomen are prohibited from going anywhere more than 2km away from their houses, 189 seasonal workers were flown 2,470km from Sofia, Bulgaria to harvest strawberries. Not only did this cause concern regarding the ongoing public health crisis surrounding COVID-19, but it demonstrated once again the handing over of Irish jobs to migrants from abroad.
Members of the interim government and fake opposition parties offered a meek response, barely touching on the main issues at hand. The National Party alternatively, led a small demonstration with members holding an ‘Ireland Belongs to the Irish’ banner, which inevitably brought staunch criticism from the Twitter commentariat. From the lowest levels of the hive all the way up to queen bee Sinead O’Connor, the familiar accusatory screeches of racism and bigotry were plentiful. There was a time when these sayings actually carried weight, but akin to the story of The Boy Who Cried Wolf, the majority of the public, especially ourselves, have started to filter these out like white noise.
Although the hysterics of social media will always stay around to either entertain or annoy us, there are serious arguments to be made. Challenging the status quo is of the utmost importance, and when it comes to winning elections and establishing a national government, it won’t be your tweet history or like/comment ratio that decides the outcome.
“Doing the jobs the Irish won’t” has become one of the go-to clichés for those on the left. It appears that the official narrative we are supposed to follow is that sometime around the beginning of the Celtic Tiger, the Irish people collectively decided that maintaining the infrastructure we had built as we had done for decades prior, was something we could no longer do. Very few idealise themselves cleaning sewers or sweeping streets, and that idea hasn’t changed much throughout history, but there’s a reason why there were people to do it. There was a time when a large family could be raised by a sole breadwinner in a decent home and fair living conditions. My grandfather for example switched between being a taxi driver and security guard, he was able to accommodate for himself, my grandmother, and their 7 children in a typical Dublin house.
Since then our economic situation has changed drastically, the divide between lower and higher paying jobs has become greater, fiat currency has become more and more worthless and volatile with each recession, housing prices are soaring, rent is unaffordable; a plethora of economic issues have plagued this country since the turn of the millennium, exacerbated by the financial turmoil we’ve suffered from 2008 onwards. My grandfather’s working life would be impossible under today’s conditions, even a mother and father both earning the median wage are struggling to raise a family of 2 children.
The media have tried to pin the Keelings drama on the unwillingness of the Irish to work. Keelings themselves revealed that only 40 of the 900 applications came from Irish people. The cognitive bias of liberal Ireland allows them to immediately draw a line under the discussion; it couldn’t be more obvious that the Irish are lazy and unwilling to spend their days picking strawberries, right? After a mere 15 seconds of critical thought the real answer begins to come out.
Bulgarians are nowhere close to being a significant minority of the population of Ireland, these 189 Bulgarians in particular weren’t even resident as evidenced by the fact they had to be flown in from the other side of Europe. Keelings had specifically looked to hire from outside of the country, despite the recent surge in unemployment, and the constant number of unemployed youth. Unsurprisingly, Bulgarians would accept lower wages than the Irish when our GDP per capita surpasses theirs by nearly eightfold. Yet again the search for cheap labour has put an increasing number of Irish people out of jobs. You’d imagine that the socialist left would be up in arms if a large company had decided to overlook the unemployed in the hopes of saving a bit of money and widening their profit margins, this is happening right in front of our eyes but we haven’t heard a peep from them.
The socialist left and their liberal allies have had other focuses, suggesting that NP members who protested should take up the jobs instead if they’re so concerned about foreigners. Despite all of their protesting and many a year’s head-start, the political action groups of the left and their colleagues have still to lay their fingers on the bricks and mortar that will be used to build the houses they’ve promised to our homeless.
The Keelings dilemma will be repeated into the future as we have seen time and time again. As long as we remain on this trajectory towards the culmination of neoliberal globalism, we will only see it moreso. The public have not pursed their lips on this issue, in fact it has been quite the opposite. We may not be the “silent majority” we once thought we were, but one thing is clear, in a time where it is easy to fall into despair, we are still a nation with a fighting spirit that has not been extinguished. When the deadlock is broken and we can end our periods of self-isolation, we can come back stronger than ever to fight for the flag and the Republic on which it stands.
Ar dheis ar aghaidh!
This article was submitted by a National Party member. If you would like to submit an article for publication on the National Party website, follow this link.