There was a terrible disaster in the Philippines recently. Thousands of people are dead and an area is left devastated. It is without question absolutely no craic at all, zero. Ireland has pledged one million euro in aid to help the region affected. Times are hard here so people have started to question the merits of giving away one million euro when Ireland has need of money. Well, to those of you on the side of the fence who subscribe to the logic that we don’t have money to spare for a country that has recently had the shite knocked out of it by Mother Nature let me just say that you’re wrong.


I am a glutton for punishment (and anything involving toffee) so sometimes I make the mistake of reading the comment section of online articles. I have seen some arguments against giving money here along the lines of ‘what have they ever done for us’ or ‘how come no one is giving us money’ and my favourite misappropriated bit of folksy wisdom for situations such of this is ‘charity begins at home’. Let me just say that yes, a million euro could very easily be given to charitable causes in Ireland, it should be and this government, the last government and the next government should be ashamed of the social conditions some people in Ireland find themselves in BUT the existence of worthy causes at home does not negate the existence of worthy causes abroad, or to throw my own bit of folksy wisdom into the mix ‘two wrongs do not make a right’.


Not to get religious with you but I remember back in first class when Fr. Hislop came in, got us out of learning maths and told us a story. The story was about a poor woman and a rich woman who both went to church to donate money to the poor box. The rich woman dropped like twenty gold coins into the box and the poor woman dropped one, the rich woman was acting all snooty about it until Jesus busted in and high fived the poor woman and round housed the snooty one in the face. The moral of the story being that charity and being a good person (at least according to Fr. Hislop) isn’t defined by how much you give when you can afford to but by how much you give when you can’t afford to.


Now by no means am I suggesting we should strip mine the treasury, sell custom house, sell the transport infrastructure to Michael O Leary and give the proceeds to the Philippine ambassador in a big lotto cheque presented by Marty Whelan, no. What I am saying is that one million euro for a country of 96 million people is not a stellar amount of money in terms of global finance. Yes, we do not have excess money kicking around but people have had their entire lives swept away, both figuratively and literally. The actual cost to each individual person in Ireland is about 0.02 cents (I think, maths is not my strongest area, thanks Fr. Hislop). That’s not too much to ask is it? Sure you’ll find more than double that if you stick your hand in the sofa.


‘What have they ever done for us’ who knows, I am no expert on Hiberno-Philippine relations, I don’t know what ‘they’ have ever ‘done’ for us. However, I do know that during the great famine the Choctaw Nation of Native Americans donated aid to Ireland, as did the Ottoman Empire, when ‘we’ had ‘done’ nothing for them. Charity may begin at home but it does not end at the check out, it is not system of leverage. The spirit of the thing is not weigh up what a poor destitute person has ever done for you, it is to help. Did we ever do anything for the Ottomans? Not really, I mean Irish men fought them in WW1 but that was after the fact and not a positive encounter and as for the Choctaw Nation…well, I mean come on do I even have to? The most we’ve ever done in return is have Damien Dempsey write a song about them, which don’t get me wrong I’m a big fan of Damo but yeah, what had ‘we’ ever ‘done’ for them. They were motivated by our need as fellow human beings, not by material benefit to themselves…which kind of backfired in the long run though in fairness I can’t see that happening in this instance, though if we ever go to war with the Philippines you can feel free to say ‘I told you so’.


The Irish pride ourselves on being well, for lack of a better term ‘sound’. We like to think everyone loves us and sure why wouldn’t they aren’t we all great fun like, if anyone ever has a problem sure we’ll put on the Saw Doctors, crack open the Bulmers and the Jameson and have a bit of a hooley diddly-eye-die-die etc etc. If you want people to think you’re sound do sound things. Hooleys don’t build houses of infrastructure. The infinitesimally small amount of money that you personally are being asked to contribute pales into insignificance when you consider the good it could do. Other countries will give more, we should give what we can and one million euro is something we definitely can give and if you disagree then Fr. Hislop will be very disappointed with you…also you’re kind a mean spirited prick.


 Make sure to follow Declan on Twitter here and many thanks to Declan for sending his post all the way from Canada!





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