Myers in trouble

It was only a matter of time before a journalist as outspoken as Kevin Myers trod on more toes than he could manage and it looks like his reference in an Irishman’s Diary in the Irish Times Tuesday (subs needed) to single parents as “mothers of bastards” could be the toe too far, especially as this was the edition being sent free to Ireland’s schools. He even manages to resurrect the term “unmarried mothers” from its grave.

Myers was reacting to comments by Dr Ed Walsh that children brought up by a single parent do not fare as well in society as children with two-parent families.

“And how many girls, and we’re talking largely about teenagers here, conciously embark upon a career of mothering bastards because it seems a good way of getting money and accomodation from the State? Ah. You don’t like the term bastard? No, I didn’t think you would. In the welfare-land of Euphemisia, what is the correct term for the offspring of unmarried mothers?

He continues, using the acronym “MoB”:

“And how do MoB’s cope when their male bastards (in the literal sense) become metaphorical bastards in adolescence? How does a woman assert her will over a sour, aggressive, uncommunicative boy? Well she usually doesn’t – a study of the parental backgrounds of gang members in London and New York – where they are ahead of us on these matters – will tell you. Mob members usually stressed out Mobs for mothers and absent FoBs for dads.”

Mr. Myers neglects to mention that he has his facts all wrong as today nearly a third of children in the Irish Republic are born outside of marriage, and only 1 in 8 of those to women aged 19 or under.

Compounding his inaccurate “largely teenagers” comment is his implication that the parents of a third of Ireland’s children born in 2004 are the social equivalent of New York gang members, who apparently know all about children outside of marriage .

That’s before taking into account that only 1.2% of unmarried mothers are under the age of 16 according to second quarter 2004 CSO figures.

  • Friendly Fire

    Myers is an obnoxious, right wing git, that thinks he is being funny when doing radio interviews with the BBC.

    He thinks it was ok for the USA and the UK to kill a load of brown people in Iraq that were not a threat.

    I hope he loses his job.

  • Fraggle

    George, I agree with what you are saying but in your 2nd last line, that should be 12.5%.

  • smcgiff

    Fraggle,

    Looks like 2.3% of babies are born to under 15’s. It hardly jumps to 1 in 8 for under 16’s.

  • Alan2

    Surely the whole point is a promotion of the family unit?

  • smcgiff

    ‘Surely the whole point is a promotion of the family unit?’

    It all depends on what you consider is a family unit. Unmarried couple?

  • Fraggle

    From the source.

    “Shock figures on teenage mothers

    [Posted: Fri 17/12/2004]

    By Deborah Condon

    Over 600 teenagers gave birth in the second quarter of this year, 14 of whom were aged 15 or under, figures from the Central Statistics Office (CSO) have shown.

    According to the figures, there were 15,535 births registered nationwide between April and June. Almost 40% of these births were to first time mothers, while 31% were registered as outside marriage.”

    31% or 15,535 is 4816.
    600 out of 4816 is 12.5%.

    14 out of 15,535 babies were born to mothers 15 and under or 0.09%, not 2.3%

  • Keith M

    I totally agree with what Myers says on this subject, even if I probably would not have used the same language. Last week Dr. Eammon Walsh the ex-President of Limerick University made some equally sensible points regarding unmarried mothers.

    The role of the state (funded by the taxpayer) should never be to encourage single parenting. Not wishing to generalise but the offspring of single parents have disporportionally higher rates of criminality and other behavioural problems.

    The state should end all benefits specifically aimed at single parents and use the money to raise the living standards of all parents living below the poverty line irrespective of their marital status.

  • Mick Fealty

    *Yellow Card Finger itches!*

    Now, what’s the issue?

  • smcgiff

    Fraggle,

    I see where you are coming from.

    Although it’s likely that teenagers will have a higher unmarried rate than the national average as a whole.

  • Davros

    Every one of thse cases is the arrival of a human being. Life’s hard enough without being stigmatised as one draws one’s first breath.

  • George

    I got the 4816 figure on my piece of paper but did something wrong with my division Fraggle so thanks for the correction.

    4816 is 31% of the total birth figure for the period and 600 as a percentage of that is 12.5%.

    So 12.5% of children born to unmarried mothers in this time were teenagers, 87.5% were not.

    14 out of 4816 babies born outside of marriage were born to women under 16 so 0.29% of unmarried mothers were under 16.

    They make up just 0.09% of the total mother total but that is obviously grounds enough for Myers to have a go.

    These 14 people must have been an awful burden on the economy.

  • smcgiff

    Likewise KeithM, children born into financially disadvantaged families are likely to have ‘disproportionably higher rates of criminality and other behavioural problems’.

    Should we legislate against poor people?

  • mickhall

    Myers asks what is the correct term for the offspring of unmarried mothers? Children is the simple answer to his question and the fact that he prefers to stretch back into Victorian times to find a word to describe these youngsters, tells one where his political heart lays. This is yet another example of the foul language and intent of the Neocons seeping across the Atlantic. Before Bush can further cut back social security in the US, he must first demonise those who receive it. Thus his henchmen in the media are out portraying two different types of working class people. Good workers who are prepared to work away for the minimum wage and forever tip their cap to their betters and the undeserving poor, who in the minds of such people are either scourging, out on the street causing mayhem through thuggery, or are copulating to produce offspring, as their life’s dream is a run down flat in a tenement/tower block.

    Of course Myers knows what he writes is regurgitated rubbish, however he has such a low opinion of his readership and those who edit the papers he writes for, he is confident he can get away with it, once again.

  • Keith M

    smcgiff, if you take like for like financial comparisons, children born to unmarried mothers still underperform at school and have worse records of criminality than those in a normal two parent family.

    Rather than trying to create a smokescreen, maybe you can answer a simple question. Do you think that the taxpayer should provide money for single parents that it does not provide for similarly financially disadvantaged dual parents?

  • Keith M

    OK, I’ve now re-read the article again, and read the whole blog above. Can somebodjustify the “Myers in trouble” title, or is it a case of wishful thinking?

  • George

    Keithm,

    over 50% of Irish women aged between 20-44 (87% of the mothers) with children under the age of 3 work and they receive 82.5% of the average male income for the same number of hours worked.

    The proportion of women at risk of poverty, after pensions and social transfers, was 23% in 2004 – the highest in the EU 25.

    So why would you want to move away from helping vulnerable women when they are the ones most in need?

    Less than 1% of persons whose principal economic status was looking after the home and family in 2004 were men.

    More worryingly, are you, like Myers, looking at women as the problem by agreeing with what he implies, namely that 31% of the women who gave birth to children in 2004 are mothers of bastards, akin to New York Gangland members?

    How many single mothers were allocated housing units out of the nearly 80,000 built last year? How many were bought by mothers out of their own finances?

    How much of our taxpayers’ money went on them. Surely you know how much these “benifits” to single mothers of which you speack cost the exchequer. How much money did single mothers earn for the exchequer?

  • Keith M

    George, “How much of our taxpayers’ money went on them. Surely you know how much these “benifits” to single mothers of which you speack cost the exchequer.” As far as I’m concerned if one euro was spent on promoting single parenting, it is one euro too much.

    I posed a question to smcgiff, perhaps you could also give me your answer?

  • Mick Fealty

    It’s interesting to note the absence of many women commentators on Slugger in general, and on this topic in particular.

    My suspicion is they might be less inclined to get caught up on the language issue and more drawn to the practicalities raised by Myers’ piece – which are not inconsiderable.

  • George

    Keithm,
    Myers may equally not be in trouble but he has already been condemned by TD’s from all parties. We will have to wait and see if he is.

    As for your question to smcgiff,
    the basic weekly unemployment assistance rate in the Irish Republic is 148.80 euros while the single parent allowance is 168.10 euros.

    Acoording to the Combat Poverty Agency over two thirds of single parents (not widows) live with their parents. Around 45% work as opposed to the 52% average for women 20-44.

    Now why do you believe that these women who try to raise their children alone should lose this 20 euros a week.

    Lone parents are over-represented in the poverty figures by two-to-one. The very fact that they are alone means that a maximum of one income can come into the household, and if they can’t work, they are wholly dependent on welfare.

    Why is your plan to remove their tiny bit of protection to be considered? How will this work? Force them out on the streets leaving their children alone?

  • smcgiff

    Just back from Lunch, Mick, and I can assure you this is a huge issue. Women (none of which fall into what Myers would like to consider as Gangster factories) are crying on the national airwaves (RADIO 1 – Now I’m really giving out more information than I’d like).

    One was a teacher that has a 2 1/2 child born out of wedlock and she was in bits.

    Mary Ellen Synon (sp) was on defending Myers. You know you’re in trouble when you’ve that witch defending you.

  • Fraggle

    Mick, give the girls time to arrive. The first half of the thread so far has been wrangling over the figures.

  • smcgiff

    ‘Do you think that the taxpayer should provide money for single parents that it does not provide for similarly financially disadvantaged dual parents?’

    Family Income Support – FIS.

  • Richard Delevan

    Synon was on RTE Liveline, with that sanctimonious sh*t Duffy, invited on basically as a punching bag and straw man, but too dim to realise it. Remember the paralympics?
    FF’s Mary O’Rourke was on Pat Kenny RTE 1 this morning and labelled the column ‘hate speech’, Joe O’Toole of ICTU said the gardai should be involved, and John Waters said on Newstalk106 that IT editrix Geraldine Kennedy should resign or be sacked over it.
    Elsewhere, the head of the NUJ called Myers column ‘unacceptable’.
    Myers wanted a debate on free speech, and got one. Is the mere fact that people are offended sufficient reason to suppress speech? That seems to be the mob (not MoB) mentality this morning.

  • smcgiff

    Is the mere fact that people are offended sufficient reason to suppress speech?

    Free speech is one thing. Providing a platform for diatribe is quite another.

  • Mick Fealty

    Seamus and Richard, cool it with the personal stuff, or I’ll go for the Yellow!

  • smcgiff

    Should have put first sentence in ” “

  • mickhall

    As sure as hell, when words like bastards are used in an article it is not because its author has the best interest of those his name calling is directed at. Statistics are the last thing in such a persons mind. There sole purpose is to stampede public opinion against a section of society, who are already involved in a daily struggle to exist. The fact that the overwhelming majority of single parent families are successful units is a little miracle in itself. If any one believes the majority of teenage pregnancies come about for the reasons Myers gives then they are living in la la land. Having said this, the fact is that their are still to many unplanned pregnancies is a cause for concern, but to stigmatise the mothers and their children is disgraceful, Those who think like this were much the same type of people who supported those dreadful homes for unmarried mothers in the 1930s 40 50 60, that shamed Ireland so when the facts finally became known and in which Christian bigots abused those in their care. If children are getting pregnant, then something is not being done correctly in the schools and admittedly in the home. How we lessen teenage pregnancies should be our aim, not penalising mothers and children.

    Finally I would say this to those who live in their leafy suburbs and believe teenage pregnancies is just a problem that effects the working classes. You are mistaken, the only differences is the middle class due to having the means, after saying a few hail marys get their child on the boat to England for the necessary.

    Finally I would just add, no one wants Myers censored, but he cannot be allowed to get away with such heartless rubbish and thus must, and thankfully is being challenged.

  • Malachy

    From dictionary.com:
    bas·tard    ( P )  Pronunciation Key  (bstrd)
    1. A child born out of wedlock.
    2. Something that is of irregular, inferior, or dubious origin.
    3. Slang. A person, especially one who is held to be mean or disagreeable.

    What is wrong with using the term bastard ? He is using it correctly in the piece above. I do not have access to the Irish Times – so maybe he write something else that peeves people – but the article above even distinguishes the use of the word in the “metaphorical”/slang sense.

  • smcgiff

    Malachy,

    You’ve left out the further definition by dictionary.com

    ‘adj.
    Born of unwed parents; illegitimate.
    Not genuine; spurious: a bastard style of architecture.
    Resembling a known kind or species but not truly such.’

    ‘Illegitimate/Not genuine,’ or my favourite, ‘Resembling a known kind or species but not truly such’.

    There no longer, in the ROI (probably UK also), exists illegitimate children. This word is archaic in modern terms except as a derogative.

  • Mick Fealty

    The centre of Blandford Forum in Dorset is a stunning example of Georgian architecture, and was famously (well, okay only in Dorst) built by two Bastards.

  • Occasional Commenter

    If children born out of wedlock are more likely to be criminals, then it doesn’t mean that encouraging marriage will cut crime.

    ‘not marrying’ and ‘having criminal children’ may be statistically linked, but you have to ask which is the cause and which is the effect. Indeed, perhaps both are effects of another cause altogether.

    A clearer example of my point would be the statistic that unmarried relationships are more likely to break up than married relationships. The couple got married because they are stable.

  • smcgiff

    English Bastards to boot, Mick (apologies – couldn’t resist!!).

    Although any town called BLANDford deserves to be razed.

  • Malachy

    He does not use the word illegitimate as far as I can tell. He uses the word bastard and mentions the offspring of unmarried mothers

    Therefore he is using the term to describe children born “out of wedlock”. The word is real. The description is valid.

    Beyond more Irish weird political correctness and word-picking what is the big deal ?

  • smcgiff

    Malachy,

    At the risk of getting a yellow card, and even more seriously, to further risk being accused of aping bad coronation street speech – Catch Yourself On!

    If you don’t think this is (no matter what the reference) word is offensive try going into your local pub and shout out, ‘Are there any bastards in here?’

    I’m betting you’d have a bleeding nose long before you could explain, ‘Well actually chaps, I do only mean to ask if your parents are married.’ Come to think of it, I’d say you’d get a belt anyway.

    Even giving Myers the benefit of the doubt, it still involves children and so, why use such terms? You’ve admitted yourself there are less than agreeable meanings to this word.

    Myers knew exactly what he was doing – he knew it would get a reaction. I am, however, less than convinced he realised how badly this would be taken.

    The ‘PC culture is out of control’ is too often put forward as the defence to everything.

  • Richard Delevan

    “Seamus and Richard, cool it with the personal stuff” (Mick)
    – apols, on whom was I going personal?

    If anything, “Those who think like this were much the same type of people who supported those dreadful homes for unmarried mothers in the 1930s 40 50 60, that shamed Ireland so when the facts finally became known and in which Christian bigots abused those in their care.” (mickhall) sounds more personal.

    I don’t happen to agree with Myers’ tactic; he knows when he’s lobbing a grenade into the public square, and the explosion has obscured any real debate on his core point – that welfare policies provide incentives (or disincentives) to economic behaviours.

    But I suspect Myers is sitting at home enjoying the show. What I find disgusting is the eagerness of nearly every media outlet in Dublin to jump on the bandwagon.

    PS – Now being discussed on George Hook on Newstalk.

  • Richard Delevan

    Hook defending (or at least explaining) Myers’ use of the word ‘bastard’ consciously as a ‘shock tactic’.

    Newstalk

  • Jimmy Sands

    A friend of mine whose parents never tied the knot once told me how she loathed the term “illegitimate”. She preferred the b-word. Obviously I find myself in agreement with Myers on many issues but this article is indefensible. Even if one agreed with the substance, which I do not, it is couched in terms deliberately designed to cause gratuitous offence.

  • Keith M

    And still people here try to go on creating a smokescreen by using bogus statists and pedantry rather than addressing the real point. Should the taxpayer’s money be used to support single parents at the expense of dual parents? Is there one person who can defend this practice?

    On the use of the words “bastard”, it is totally appropriate to use the word here, despite all the PC whinging. A bastard is a child born out of wedlock. Is a female dog any less of a bitch because that word has also found common perjorative usage?

  • Keith M

    Richard D “I don’t happen to agree with Myers’ tactic; he knows when he’s lobbing a grenade into the public square, and the explosion has obscured any real debate on his core point – that welfare policies provide incentives (or disincentives) to economic behaviours.”. I couldn’t agree more, this article is a blunt instrument which allows people to objurgate Myers without dealing with the serious matter being discussed. As such it is bad writing.

  • smcgiff

    Keith M

    ‘And still people here try to go on creating a smokescreen by using bogus statists and pedantry rather than addressing the real point.’

    I answered your question. They are provided for under Family Income Support provision.

    Also see my answer regarding those that hide behind the “PC gone mad” defence.

  • Jimmy Sands

    Keith M,

    Fair enough. FWIW I take the view that taxpayer’s money is being used primarily for the benefit of the child, rather than the loan parent. The idea of using financial pressure to deter children from being born out of wedlock strikes me as, if you’ll pardon the pun, misconceived.

  • Jimmy Sands

    Keith M,

    Fair enough. FWIW I take the view that taxpayer’s money is being used primarily for the benefit of the child, rather than the lone parent. The idea of using financial pressure to deter children from being born out of wedlock strikes me as, if you’ll pardon the pun, misconceived.

  • smcgiff

    ‘Is a female dog any less of a bitch because that word has also found common perjorative usage?’

    I do despair sometimes, KeithM. Have you forgotten that we are dealing with children that may have enough trouble in the playground without further ammunition being provided.

  • Malachy

    Why do people get up in arms about this while pop-culture, radio, tv etc. is filled for example with expressions like “mother-f***ers” ?

    There are many more offensive terms in daily use than the word “bastard” which in the case of Myers was being used correctly.

    Also the word bastard does not only pertain to children (in playgrounds or otherwise). It simply means persons born out of wedlock.

    The other amazing thing is that if he had referred to persons born out of wedlock no-one would have raised an eyebrow.

  • Ringo

    Keith M

    On the use of the words “bastard”, it is totally appropriate to use the word here, despite all the PC whinging. A bastard is a child born out of wedlock.

    It is also an insult Keith. And not particularly nice name to call to a child who had little say in their own birth. If you want defend the critisicm of the childs parents that is one thing, but saying that because the Oxford dictionary says its ok then its ok is completely off the mark.

  • smcgiff

    Malachy,

    ‘It simply means persons born out of wedlock.’

    Oh, the innocence!

    ‘The other amazing thing is that if he had referred to persons born out of wedlock no-one would have raised an eyebrow.’

    But, he didn’t. Care to surmise as to why he didn’t?

  • Friendly Fire

    Will we get a grovelling apology from Myers and Kennedy in tomorrow’s IT?

  • smcgiff

    If he does, FF, it’ll be pretty meaningless. What would he be actually apologising for? The slump in IT sales? Certainly not for his beliefs.

  • Malachy

    I congratulate Mr. Myers. He has likely succeeded in getting some people to get to the content of his piece which was a discussion of children brought up by a single parent do not fare as well in society as children with two-parent families.

    He mentions New York etc. – the ramifications of the trend in Ireland will not be known for a few years yet but it is well known in the US cities where this has occurred.

    My personal opinion is that the end result of the years of such trends, the popularisation of them and political correctness in general, in the US was the election and re-election of W and a distinct shift rightwards of the prevailing culture and it’s not over yet.

    I eagerly look forward to Ireland 2020 and beyond.

  • Roger W. Christ XVII

    A marriage is a religious ceremony and therefore the word “bastard” which describes absence of same, is a religious term. It shouldn’t surprise anyone that people’s views on other people’s religious practice is used for the purpose of division and hate.

    Keith I don’t think there should be any difference in the way single- and dual-parent families should be supported by the state. Why do you think the dual parent family unit should be underwritten by the government ? There are plenty of dual parent families where abuse are the order of the day, and now that in the UK divorce rates among new marriages are sky-high (well over 50% IIRC) what’s the point in encouraging people to live together when they don’t want to ?

  • smcgiff

    It could have been ‘a discussion of children brought up by a single parent do not fare as well in society as children with two-parent families.’

    But it ended up being a rant. It ended up being diatribe, because everyone knows that children brought up by single parents are disadvantaged, and that angle just wasn’t juicy enough.

    Also, John Waters, also an Irish Times journalist, who is probably best known as being at the forefront for Father’s rights has been scathing in his criticism of Myers. He has called for the editor’s resignation.

  • Malachy

    Marraige is not a religious ceremony and bastard is certainly not a religious term.

    A bastard is a term which is applied to a person born out of legal wedlock. It also has several “metaphorical” meanings as mentioned by Mr. Myers.

    Religion does not come into it except possibly in the minds of people in post-catholic Ireland.

  • JD

    What Myers has done is stigmatise a lot of children. Open hatred and stigmatisation of the poor is terrible.

    And, FWIW, I absolutely think that these parents should be helped by the government.

    I also love the inflammatory hysteria of phrases like “taxpayers’ money”: “These bastards will become the thugs that will rob the eye out of your head and come back for the eyelashes. And YOU paid for it!”

    Comedy gold.

  • aquifer

    An important issue needs airplay whatever the terminology.

    Rising numbers of children with one parent have more problems becoming law abiding, stable, and in turn caring, adults.

    The proportion of children of absent fathers in the population is rising, and bringing with it a rise in anti-social behaviour, criminality, and state dependency. Also the pattern of young single parenthood and benefit dependency tends to replicate in the next generation, with the prospect of these problems growing and becoming entrenched in sections of the population.

    There is a trend that is not sustainable and it must be arrested at some point.

    Separation of the parents is not penalty-free for the child or for society, yet the state has financial and other incentives in place for just this. Some countries even bave blame free and easy divorce, as if the state had no interest in the matter of raising well children.

    What to do?

    Free childcare for working mothers?

    Raise the VAT rate and relieve married taxes?

    More adoption of the wayward into functional homes?

    Better pension provision for parents who stay with the children until age 18?

    Governments are crap at planning beyond the electoral cycle so expect more kids to suffer.

  • aquifer

    PS Many of the states that voted for Bush have the highest rates of teenage pregnancies and marriage breakdown. Interesting?

  • Keith M

    smcgiff “I answered your question. They are provided for under Family Income Support provision.” I don’t care what some annonymous civil servant in Store Street calls it, I want an answer to my question ; do you think that the taxpayer should provide money for single parents that it does not provide for similarly financially disadvantaged dual parents? It’s a simple yes or no question.

    “Have you forgotten that we are dealing with children that may have enough trouble in the playground without further ammunition being provided.” Don’t blame me for the situation that these childen find themselves in. Blame their parents or better still blame the state for rewarding their parents for their irresponsible behaviour .

    Jimmy Sands ” The idea of using financial pressure to deter children from being born out of wedlock strikes me as, if you’ll pardon the pun, misconceived.”. I’m not suggesting this for a moment I’m suggesting treating all children equally rather than as happens at the moment and financially rewarding those who choose to bring up children out of wedlock. The taxpayer should not be seem as some surrogate benefactor for highly questionable lifestyle choices.

  • Davros

    The obvious question here is would Myers – and by extension Keith – favour the return of the “good old days” where these “sort of girls” were sent to the Magdalene Laundries and their children either given to an approved family or exported ?

  • Jimmy Sands

    Keith M,

    That is a thoroughly disingenuous answer. Any additional benefit to lone parents is on the basis of perceived additional need. It is not a “reward”. They are treated equally inasmuch as their benefits are meant to reflect their respective needs. What you are proposing is in effect a penalty.

  • Richard Delevan

    Reports are that Geraldine Kennedy, editor of the Irish Times, will tomorrow publish a statement. Part-transcript of John Waters’ resignation call (in context, with Fintan O’Toole’s response, here) Expect tomorrow’s paper to have the highest sales of any edition of the Irish Times since the Iraq War.

  • Davros

    Excellent blog Richard.

  • Keith M

    Davros, if you cannot see the middle ground between the current ridiculous sitation of the taxpayer rewarding people for bringing up children out of wedlock and the bad old days of punishing those who got caught in a poverty and anti-abortion trap, then I despair.

    What I have advocated is that the money currently used to reward unmarried mothers is targetted better to make sure that no child is brought up in poverty, and that the martital status is made irrelevant. For what it’s worth I also believe that there should be tax concessions for approved childcare, thus encouraging unmarried mothers back into the workforce anfd actually helping their offspring escape the poverty trap.

    If anything we should be encouraging dual parenting in the same way we encourage other responsible behaviour like pensions, health insurance etc.

  • mickhall

    Mick,

    Im not sure if one can cut and paste on slugger in the manner I have done below, if not apologies and delete my post.

    aquifer posted, “Rising numbers of children with one parent have more problems becoming law abiding, stable, and in turn caring, adults.”

    MH reply, On what evidence do you base the above on?

    aquifer posted “The proportion of children of absent fathers in the population is rising, and bringing with it a rise in anti-social behaviour, criminality, and state dependency. Also the pattern of young single parenthood and benefit dependency tends to replicate in the next generation, with the prospect of these problems growing and becoming entrenched in sections of the population.”

    M H reply, The above is one set of prejudices reinforcing another. How can you say there is a pattern replicating itself, how many generations of single parents were part of any study that proved this, indeed was any study actually done? What’s with this Benefit dependency nonsense, The poor must be penalised to make them work, whilst the rich must be pampered and given incentives like tax breaks? Sheer prejudice in favour of the wealthy.

    aquifer posted, Separation of the parents is not penalty-free for the child or for society, yet the state has financial and other incentives in place for just this. Some countries even bave blame free and easy divorce, as if the state had no interest in the matter of raising well children.

    MH reply, No much better to keep couples in loveless marriages and the children in what can often be a hell hole of such a relationship. I have to say I feel only a man would make such reactionary statements as you have, or a woman who is lucky enough to be in a love match and lacks imagination. I find your attempts to treat all of the children of single parents in a blanket manner both insulting and crass. My own father was the child of a single parent, who eventually dumped him in a home for delinquent boys, although he had committed no crime. He went on to lead a productive life and along with my mother, who also came from an unhappy and violent home, the two of them created a wonderful loving home for my sister and I. I might add the word bastard cut him to the core until his dying day, as it had been used against him as a weopon when he was a child, not least to place him in a home for delinquent’s. One only has to read the definition of the word bastard posted above to understand how easily this happened.

  • Davros

    the money currently used to reward unmarried mothers

    That’s the language of the mindset that gave us the Maggies Keith.

  • Davros

    Excellent post Mickhall.

  • Keith M

    Davros “the Maggies” ?

  • James

    Why is everyone getting so worked up?

    It’s all show biz.

    People are talking about what a jerk Kevin Myers is but people are still talking about Kevin Myers.

    No one on the island, certain Blueshirts excepted, values him as part of the national brain trust but rather as “outspoken”. The closest that bozo ever got to the intelligentsia is when he hosted your knock off of College Bowl.

    It’s your version of Jerry Springer without the lesbian biker moms.

  • Davros

    Sorry Keith – it was how people on the outside referred to the unfortunates imprisoned in the Laundries.

  • Davros

    Why is everyone getting so worked up?

    I suspect because he has touched on something people want to forget. A bit like the fuss whenever anybody raises issues of collaboration during WWII in France . People want to pretend that the Ireland of the Laundries never happened.

  • Roger W. Christ XVII

    “Marraige is not a religious ceremony “

    Yes it is. Historically it is the blessing of a relationship between two people by the bearded bloke in the sky. The validation of it has more recently been undertaken by states but this has been the case before the concept of separation between church and state became fashionable, and in any case doesn’t alter it’s religious meaning. Why would two people want their relationship to be validated by the government other than to get the present-day tax benefits ?

    I agree with Mick Hall who makes the point far better than I ever could have. It reminds me of how on this thread we’re a short step away from justifying the Magdalene Laundries.

    Aquifier, good point about the Bush states and I’d add that we (in the UK and Ireland) have the highest rates of teenage pregnancy in western Europe. The solution to this problem isn’t going come through handwringing about rewarding single parents or mulling over the best use of taxpayer’s money.

  • Davros

    Self-righteousness such as seen on this issue seems to be a national characteristic Roger. My granny maintained that my parents were married because they had a Quaker and not a C of I wedding service.
    There’s an irony in this in that many of those most moralistic in the past would be horrified to realise that a lot of their ancestors weren’t “married”.

  • Davros

    Whoops – My granny maintained that my parents were not married because they had a Quaker and not a C of I wedding service.

  • maca

    “Bastard” and “illegitimate” are words which should never be used to describe a child. One can argue about the accuracy of such words but anyone who uses them is making a judgement on the child, and have no right to do so. So what if a child is born out of wedlock, big bloody deal, why the hell should people need to get married to have kids anyway?? It’s 2005, lest people forget.

    Keith
    “irresponsible behaviour” ??
    What’s irresponsible is the disgraceful way the state and the church has treated young mothers over the decades.
    What’s irresponsible is the attitude of people who think it’s acceptable to label a child “bastard”.

  • smcgiff

    Keith M,

    Feeling sorry for the working class 101 –

    If you’re going to rant on about how ‘dual parents’ are being disadvantaged by the social welfare system, then at least learn about the social welfare system.

    “I don’t care what some anonymous civil servant in Store Street calls it…”

    I take it from your above sentence that you’ve never heard of FIS (Family Income Support). You’ll find that the state does (To answer your question) provide for Families with low income. I’m not going to bore everybody with the details. Now, toddle off and Google it, and take your faux rage with you!

  • smcgiff

    ‘Rising numbers of children with one parent have more problems becoming law abiding, stable, and in turn caring, adults.’

    You may have a valid point, Aquifer , but you’ve not lowered your argument to the level of abusing children whose parents are not married.

    SHOCK HORROR – Married men and to a lesser extent women have been known to leave their families in the lurch. One of the two parents have even been know to be inconsiderate enough to have died. Hell some parents take jobs on oilrigs and leave the remaining spouse as ‘married’ women in name only. Now, the children of these ‘blessed’ relationships are as likely (if not more so, depending) to turn into delinquents. Although born in Wedlock are we to ignore them?

    It is for this reason we can hold Meyers’ article up to scrutiny and decry it for the pejorative diatribe that it is at its heart.

  • maca

    …Seamus, not to mention married parents who beat/abuse/neglect their kids.

    I don’t accept any of this BS that somehow kids born from single parent families are destined for a life of crime and/or hardship.
    I know a number of single mothers which are doing a better job with their kids than many two parent families.

  • smcgiff

    Hi Maca,

    Ssssh, these types of parents don’t exist in Ireland, certainly not those that have been, ‘churched’!

    One of the reason’s I voted for divorce was on the premise that people would have to work at their marriages. This was borne from the opinion that a child taken care of by a divorced parent is better than in an unhappy family.

  • Malachy

    I conclude from the continuing references to religion and church, that people in the South of Ireland may in fact only see marraige as a religious institution – and in post-catholic Ireland they will not touch it.

    Has civil marraige not succeeded in replacing Church marraige in post-catholic Ireland ?

    It is very interesting. I now understand why there is such a furore over the word bastard. Thank you all.

  • maca

    Séamus
    I’d probably go the other way on divorce, difficult issue though.

    Malachy
    I’d probably agree with that.

  • smcgiff

    ‘Has civil marraige not succeeded in replacing Church marraige in post-catholic Ireland ?’

    Dublin may be different, but outside the pale I’d say the church weddings are still de rigueur.

    I’m guessing here, but it may take another generation or so before civic weddings really take off. Remember, the mammies are still very important in the whole wedding day thing and so their prejudices are still filtering through.

    I also think a church wedding provides a bigger backdrop to the €30k weddings that are now common.

  • smcgiff

    ‘I’d probably go the other way on divorce, difficult issue though.’

    Hah! Hah! We won! 😉

  • Malachy

    Many of the states that voted for Bush have the highest rates of teenage pregnancies and marriage breakdown. Interesting?

    I’m not sure what is being inferred by this. I would point out that Mr. Bush is a vehiment advocate of one of the few bi-partisan items of legislation passed by his predecessor – WELFARE TO WORK!

    That’s something for you to google over if you are not familiar with it. That’s probably not one that Mr. clinton discussed while in Ireland.

  • Keith M

    maca “the hell should people need to get married to have kids anyway?” Who here has suggested that people shoud not be able to have children outside of wedlock? Stop fighting straw men, and address the point. Do you think that the taxpayer should provide money for single parents that it does not provide for similarly financially disadvantaged dual parents? Should people benefit financially from bringing up children out of wedlock?

    smcgiff; 5 attempts later and you still haven’t answered the question. Have I ever said that the taxpayer does not provide welfare for disadvantaged families? You’re underestimating the level of intelligence of people here if you think such tactics fool them. If you’re not prepared to answer a simple question, that’s your choice but spare us the histrionics.

  • smcgiff

    Okay, KeithM,

    Lets keep this simple. One sentence question. What are you asking?

  • Friendly Fire

    The creator of this thread said “Myers in Trouble”.

    This is what this thread is about. We can all agree on the socio-economic cost of young teenage mothers that have the following choices.

    1) Abortion………… hop on Ryanair

    2) Have the “Bastard” to quote Kevin Myers, and enjoy social benefits etc etc.

    I am male and a single parent, I am a widower. So what?

    Kevin Myers just took a debate that needed to be debated and blew up semtex under it and the issue is now all hot and bothered.

    This is about Kevin Myers being an obnoxious bollocks. How can his articles be on the same page of the IT opinion page?

    I will not buy the IT tomorrow, or never again, until he walks.

  • smcgiff

    Specifically, KeithM, what financial disadvantage are dual parents labouring under.

  • smcgiff

    Goodnight, folks. I’m off to watch Jodie Foster overact Panic on TV3.

  • maca

    Keith
    “Who here has suggested that people shoud not be able to have children outside of wedlock?”
    All this talk of kids from unmarried parents being labelled “bastards” and “illegetimate” whould suggest that. IMHO.

    “Stop fighting straw men…”
    They are also important points worth addressing.

    “Do you think that the taxpayer should provide money for single parents that it does not provide for similarly financially disadvantaged dual parents?”
    Single parents likely have a lot less money coming into the household. The important thing is to provide the money where it is needed, if single parents need more support then they should get it.

    “Should people benefit financially from bringing up children out of wedlock?”
    Not simply because they are not married.

  • Cill Ros

    FriendlyFire is right. This isn’t about the issue Myers pretended to be discussing. This is about Myers being – since he doesn’t find such terms offensive, can we now call him an SoB?

    Myers likes easy targets. If they’re dead, all the better, but children are good too. They don’t hit back, do they? If we protest, we’re the howling mob besieging the truth teller. Alack!

    I hope he is kicked out, and the editor too. It’s been clear for a long time now that he isn’t subject to any editorial control.

  • Jacko

    “…and John Waters said on Newstalk106 that IT editrix Geraldine Kennedy should resign or be sacked over it”.

    Could this signal two vacant column spots at the IT in the near future?

    My application is already in the post – just in case.

  • Henry94

    It seems the entire discussion has centered on the unmarried moothers and nobody at all expects the unmarried fathers to pay a penny towards the upkeep of their offspring.

    In these days of DNA testing it should be perfectly possible to identify the fathers and deduct a contribution from their incomes to compensate the state for the expense incurred.

    25% would be a reasonable figure.

    I find Myers lothesome on this and many other topics but if the IT are willing to give him a platform then that is their choice. The rest of us could choose not to buy that paper on the days his articles feature.

    That is more democratic and safer than the reactions from politicans

    FF’s Mary O’Rourke was on Pat Kenny RTE 1 this morning and labelled the column ‘hate speech’, Joe O’Toole of ICTU said the gardai should be involved

    Dangerous nonsense.

  • Malachy

    Thank you Henry94.

    Personal responsibility is something that is rarely discussed today. While Ireland passed a divorce bill, did they pass any laws to enforce support payments ?

    Also as far as the weirdo politicians, I repeat that the era of political correctness, righteous indignation and the ensuing suppression of intellectual debate is essentially what brought GW Bush to two terms of office in the US. What will come after him is anyone’s guess.

  • Mick Fealty

    Friendly Fire, whatever substantive point you are trying to make is lost in your direct attack on Myers. That constitutes a yellow card.

    There’s nothing wrong with your argument. Just try to resist thumping in on the man and foresaking the ball!

  • puddinhead

    How did slugger do at the recent awards ceremony?

  • Greg

    It seems to me that for anyone to claim that it’s okay to call people bastards because the word’s in the dictionary is a bit disingenuous. The concise Oxford’s primary definition, in any case, is that it’s an archaic or derogatory term for an illegitimate person. Is anybody nowadays illegitimate? No? Well, then, I guess there aren’t any bastards around in the primary sense. The secondary one, though, that a bastard is an unpleasant or despicable person… well, I wonder how often Myers looks in the mirror.

    But anyway, coming from West Dublin, I’ve known loads of unmarried mothers, and have yet to meet one who has ever said that they got pregnant because the government would look after them. Let’s face it, being a mother’s hard work, and there’s better money doing almost anything else.

    I guess they might have been concealing their real motives, but if so, I’m curious why they’d be so quick to fill in Myers as to their sinister purposes, when they’d not let their friends know.

  • Malachy

    It has just occurred to me – is there really no such thing in Ireland as a paternity lawsuit ? Can a pregnant woman/single mother not sue the father for support ?

    Now that is weird.

    The same cultural weakness that created and fostered the mad religious-run orphanages now puts the responsibility on the state welfare system and people think this is ok ?

  • aquifer

    MH 7.47

    Thanks for the feedback, but I believe that my observations 7.06 are true in the aggregate, however effective some particular children of absent fathers may prove in a life.

    I will be relieved to have social policy experts present contrary statistical evidence to show that I am wrong about the trend and its effects here and in other places.

  • armaghman

    having heard the retraction on RTE and knowing how he complained about getting an article spiked methinks Madame Editor set him a trap and he walked straight into it!

  • iti114

    We share the overall concern expressed by Myers on Fatherless families -notwithstanding the inappropriate use of offensive language- and we note the deafening silence emanating from the same liberal quarters on the actual real issue to hand: “Fatherless Families”.

    This resonates with the statement made by Dr Ed Walsh where he expressed concern that “the absence of father figures is destabilising Irish society”.

    This statement, by one of Ireland’s leading academics, echoes that of the statement made by then Supreme court Justice Keane as reported by the Prime Time investigation into Absent Fathers in January 2004 “The absence of the Father role is a very serious matter in society. It affects children very badly that there is no settled male figure in their lives” said The Chief Justice Ronan Keane in an interview with the Sunday Tribune’s John Burke. He went on to say “The absence of Fathers in many families is contributing to the rise of juvenile crime and lawlessness.”

    At the very lest, perhaps this will bring some real debate to the destruciton of family life in Ireland.

    source: http://www.dads-house.com

  • Cill Ros

    So blank out the insults and Myers is right!
    Disappointing that an organisation which claims to have the interests of children at heart should take that attitude. I suspect they approve of the tactic of blaming the country’s ills on vunerable women.
    In response to those who allege that any editorial control over an opinion columnist constitutes censorship, do you suggest that racists, for example, should free to incite hatred? Children are powerless, and so are single parents. Therefore they are fair game?
    Society’s problems should not be individualised. Ghettoisation and poverty are on the increase thanks to the government’s social policy. I suspect Myers and co. are attempting to distract attention from that fact.

  • Amy B

    No one even begins to mention all the irresponsible men out there helping create these babies. Why is all the responsibility shifted to the women yet again??

    Taking social services from unwed mothers is criminal. Brehon law would provide for them , why then should not modern law??

    This is just another sick example of the church trying to push people into social submission.

    Amy