You might have heard of the recent Fitzgerald Report on regenerating a number of troubled areas in Limerick. Squid included some local reaction to it, including this gem from a Father Pat Hogan, who’s based in the Southill area.
Where you have acute income poverty, you have poor literacy, truancy, poor parenting skills and all the rest that follows.
Now, how does he figure that out, I wonder? I didn’t see him explaining exactly how poverty makes bad parents. You’re short of money, so you decide to neglect your children? Eh, no, Pat. Decent people look after their children, money or no money. It costs them nothing to tell a child right from wrong. They might be short of money, but they still do their best for the kids. Of course, being a priest, Pat wouldn’t know anything about being a parent anyway, would he?
I wonder if he ever thought about it being the other way around?
Most of my friends’ parents left school at twelve because they had to, but they were all literate. They weren’t violent. They didn’t even swear in front of the kids. They made sure their children could read, because, unlike now, poverty didn’t make people illiterate in those far-off days. If you couldn’t afford books, you brought your kids to the free public library, you brought books home and you encouraged your children to read. Poverty didn’t cause truancy either in those distant days. The same parents sent their children to school every day because they wanted them to do well in life.
The glib phrase, poor parenting skills, is part of this new bland language we all have to speak in the new PC world where nobody is ever to blame for anything. Priest-speak. Social-worker-speak. It’s the blame-free way to describe people who don’t give a fuck about their kids, let them run wild and have no ambitions to see them do well. And guess what that leads to? Yep. Truancy. Illiteracy. Acute poverty. Crime. And all the rest that follows, as Father Pat might say.
And when you have complete bastards such as the well-known family terrorising all of Father Pat’s downtrodden parish, it isn’t about poverty. It’s about genetics.