Dear Mr. Keegan,
We’ve never met, so I won’t call you Owen.
I’m writing to you with a few concerns and questions regarding your comments and position and the society I find myself living in.
“I think Irish people are suckers for celebrity endorsements,” you said about the occupation of Apollo House.
To make it Even Steven, let me tell you a little about how I see the world on this little Island.
For years Mr. Keegan I worked to please pregnant men in ill-fitting suits, who all said it was about strategy, management skills and knowing people.
Women, they inferred were far too hormonal or pregnant or emotional to get a handle on things. [And on a couple of occasions heard we were just seekers of attention].
They’d pat us on the head or the breast or wherever they felt like it and explained that they understood our frustration but in matters of business such things take time. We weren’t in the kitchen now they’d say.
But I think what they really meant, Mr Keegan, was only sometimes. The speed in which the Government mobilised to defend the Apple Corporation and enabled SiteServ to operate under dubious terms of reference and the swiftness of passing the Bill to help Landlords are just a few exceptions that come to mind.
And now that I think of it, NAMA was assembled quite quickly as well.
When I was manhandled at will it was explained to me most carefully that I was too sensitive or couldn’t take a joke when I dared to object.
Sexual harassment was shrugged off by pregnant men in management and women making their way up the corporate ladder [who didn’t want to be seen as a feminist] with,
“don’t mind him he's just a clown”.
Then there was the time.
In a slim slice of my life I taught fifth and sixth class where I enquired of the students what was it they wanted to do in college.
"College, Miss, what’s tha?"
Asking the established and revered members of staff why it was the girls knew nothing about it, in chorus they explained with great sympathy,
"Sure they’re from the Pearse Street Flats, not one of them will ever get there, so we thought it best not to raise expectation."
The playing field was far from level. And I left.
I listen with extreme boredom now, to people who construct important walls around themselves about how it’s only the educated who are progressive or know things because the truth is on occasion I’ve heard more wisdom out of the mouths of women [and men] who are illiterate.
And as for the jokes about ‘owl ones’ and ‘little old grannies’, I was wondering did the boys in Dáil Éireann ever repay the money they borrowed from the National Pension Pot to give to the Boy Bankers?
I worked around things, Mr. Keegan kept my head down not wanting the attention and focused on following my dreams. But that too was, unfortunately interrupted.
Now that I know it was for a reason it eliminates none of the pain.
Don’t get me wrong, Mr. Keegan. It is not pity I feel for people living on the streets. I know from personal experience what being ostracised and made invisible by people who pray to Jesus feels like. No. I reach out in solidarity. And that is where I have found the truest of friendships.
In February 2016 Uplift did a call out for volunteers to clean, refurbish, garden and paint boarded up homes in the Dublin City Council District. One thousand six hundred of us put ourselves forward, to feel useful, trying to make a difference.
The team you manage with skill and strategy with the title of Chief Executive Officer responded with,
“We don’t have the insurance or the ability to delegate that amount of people”
I wondered why it was Mr. Keegan, that you with so many opinions about Irish people, had not trained your staff in the rudiments of Waivers and utilising free labour? Given how fond of the Job Bridge Scheme the Establishment was.
And not one us was looking for attention or to get our names into the press with some well-known artist or activist.
Ryan Nugent’s dramatic headline about the conflict of interest between an Apollo House activist and her mother being a member of your team felt like listening to a little boy who hadn’t been weaned off his own mother’s breast. God Bless him.
But there was no conflict of interest splashed across the media when Mary Harney was paying a woman ‘under the table’ to look after her own infirm mother, while publicly declaring that unmarried one’s were a burden on the State.
As you cycled the streets, all green and everything, did you not find that just a little bit curious?
And when the knowledgeable and very important people in mainstream media and Fine Gael instructed us poor amadáin about the complicated nature of homelessness and making sure the houses selected are suitable, I wanted to reach out to you Mr. Keegan and ask,
"do you think they meant that none of the houses could be situated near the village of Carrickmines? Or does that just apply to the Community of Travellers?"
I was baffled by the Central Bank of Ireland's strategy, [being hormonal and not an economist] when John Hurly, Patrick Honohan and Philip Lane vowed consumer protection and the minding of tax payers money in the realms of financial credit institutions but ignored, completely and with contempt Jonathan Sugarman and his revelations.
You see, I do understand Mr. Keegan, putting it all on you is really unfair on my part.
With regards knowing and having the skills to manage people, that men in suits are so fond of talking about, would you mind terribly if I suggested you did a bit of an ol’ course in psychology.
Please forgive my directness, Mr. Keegan. I’m nearly fifty three and I’ve morphed into a bit of a radical. No need to be alarmed. Radicalism is relative don’t you think? Measured entirely against fear and the archaic.
Maybe I shouldn’t say all this out loud.
Just in case ye all caught on too and are thinking of setting up a system like PREVENT, the UK’s answer to McCarthyism.
Thanks so much for listening to me, Mr Keegan.
If you need clarification on any of the above points, you’ll find me out in the field. Levelling it.
Yours most sincerely and all that.