What do a millionaire Killiney couple and an unemployed Moyross mother of four have in common? Not much, you might imagine, until you compare the demands they make and their complete blindness to the notion of personal responsibility.
On the face of it, you might think that the Kellys, who entertained and enraged the country in equal measure recently, share little or nothing with Serinna Corbett, but then you dig beneath the surface to discover that they have precisely the same outlook on life if not, perhaps, the same guile.
These two cases embody the distorted, unreal thinking that beset our country and consumed those of every class and status, including politicians and bankers. I’m not responsible. Somebody else is. Just give me the money.
The Kellys, you’ll recall, were thrown out of their palatial €4 million mansion next door to Gavin O Reilly, recently ousted from Independent News & Media. They set up a tent on the side of the road and compared themselves to poor Irish peasants in the 19th century, evicted by evil landlords. It mattered to them not a tittle that they had defaulted on their mortgage and that the cost of the loss would fall on the public purse. They wanted the house anyway, even if the taxpayer had to cover the loss. Uncomfortably for Brendan and Asta, the papers did a bit of digging and discovered that they owned 21 apartments in Dublin and a further 13 in London.
Now, on a much smaller scale, but with precisely the same mentality, we have a Limerick woman, Serinna Corbett, who has launched a media campaign to get a bigger council house.
Well, according to the Limerick Leader, Serinna thinks her living conditions are beyond human endurance. Having a 13 year old, and an 18-month-old sleeping in the same room is just wrong. It’s just not on. She wants a bigger house from the council.
According to Serinna, the 13-year-old has ADHD, which she says causes fits and hallucinations. (It doesn’t). He might wake up in the middle of the night and attack the baby, she says. Oddly, the obvious solution doesn’t seem to occur to her: bring the baby into your own bedroom. No. The baby must sleep in a place where he faces danger, just as the other children have done for five years now. You see, according to Serinna, the heating is defective, and the children ran the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. This danger didn’t prevent her turning on the heating though, which seems a strange thing to do when you believe it threatens your children’s lives.
Serinna’s clincher is this: there’s another baby on the way. You have to stand back and think about this for a minute. Another child on the way? Well, how the hell did that happen? Did a postcard arrive through the letterbox? Hi, future mother. See you soon. Best wishes, Your New Baby.
Serinna, apparently, wants to qualify as a midwife, which is great news. At least she’ll find out where babies come from but in the meantime this fait accompli seems to be sufficient for Serinna. I got pregnant. Now sort it out.
No. Just no.
Exactly like the Kellys, there’s a complete disconnection between actions and consequences. You live in a house that you consider too small for your family, so what’s the obvious next step? That’s right, bring another child into the world, and then make it some other person’s responsibility. The rest of us in the real world, work out what we can afford, how many children we can clothe, feed, shelter and educate, but not, it seems, on Planet Entitlement, an enchanted fairytale place where everything is free no matter how much you screw up.
Amazingly, the mayor of Limerick, Jim Long, gave this woman 90 minutes of his valuable time, according to the Leader. What exactly did they discuss for an hour and a half, and more to the point, has he nothing better to do? Wait — don’t bother answering that.
Go away, Serinna. Go away Brendan Kelly. Take some responsibility for what you do, instead of expecting the public to cover the cost of your behaviour. Isn’t it about time we started connecting actions with consequences in this country? Isn’t it about time we started relating rights to responsibilities?
When you point out fairly obvious things, people tend to brand you as a fascist, even though all you’re doing is pointing out fairly obvious problems. I don’t know why this is, but it seems to be the reality. Maybe it’s because those criticising the viewpoint come from such privileged backgrounds that they have the luxury to point fingers without ever having to worry about economic realities. Who can tell? I don’t know.