Irish State Pays For Communion Dresses

When I first heard that people were being paid as much as €300 to cover the cost of their children’s communion ceremonies, I thought it was a joke.

What?  At a time when some families can’t afford coal for their fires, the Social Welfare is paying others to get spray tans for their big fat seven-year-old princesses?

Could this be for real?

Well, unfortunately, the answer is Yes.  It is, and the practice exists mostly in Dublin,  though the payments are not specifically designated for communions.  These are exceptional needs payments, where the definition of  both need and exceptional rest with the officials examining the applications.  We’ll come back to this.

The Irish Times has an interesting report , with good solid figures which emerged from a review of last year’s payments.

In 2011, €3.4 million was paid out to people for religious occasions, which means dressing up their kids, doing their hair, spray-tanning them and getting pissed.

Dublin has the most claims.  5,616 families got money to help with their exceptional needs, receiving an average of €303 each.

By way of comparison, 1,944 families in the south-east got an average of €213.

1,546 familes scored €194 in the mid-west, while 1,334 princesses were created in the north-east at an average cost of €189.

1,282 payments in the south averaged €217, while 1,131 lucky Brides of Christ in the west got €219.

In the midlands, 1,093 little wedding dresses cost the State €196 each, while the north-west claimed only 25 grants, at €223 each.

Think about that now.  In a country whose constitution explicitly outlaws endowing any religion, we paid €3.4 million to people because some public officials think an extravagant display at a religious ceremony is an exceptional need, not an outrageous demand, but why stop with communions?  Why not have exceptional needs grants for kids who desperately need a bungee-jumping experience in New Zealand?  Or kids who need singing lessons to get on the X-Factor?  Or kids who desperately need a set of decks to make them the best DJ who ever lived?  There are parents who would consider these things just as essential as a Holy Communion dress, so why do we discriminate between one and the other?

We now live in a society where the biggest crime is telling the children they can’t have something.  Why?  Because nobody wants to be the adult anymore.  Nobody wants to take responsibility for telling children the most beneficial word they’ll ever learn in their entire lives: NO.

Entire tracts of society have abdicated responsibility for parenting and either forget, or don’t understand, that indulging a child’s every whim is not support but abuse.

Guess what?  You might wish for something but that doesn’t make you entitled to get it.  I’m sorry that your  kids will be disappointed they can’t have a stretch limo or a hair-do or a spray tan, but who gave them those expectations?   If you can’t afford it, you can’t have it.  That’s the reality for all of us, so get used to it.

The more I think about it, the more insane this story becomes.  Certain public officials decided that a fancy communion celebration is a need, and maybe it’s time for a major readjustment.  I’m very happy to see the State protecting people from poverty, illness and oppression.  I think a civilised society provides its children with a proper education.  But I’m not so sure it’s a good idea to be protecting people from their delusions, which include the idea that what they want is what they need.

It’s time to get real.  A Holy Communion celebration is not an exceptional need but an expensive extravagance.

If you can afford it, good luck to you, but don’t expect me to pay for it.


39 thoughts on “Irish State Pays For Communion Dresses

  1. Th money that has been paid out should be deducted from the wages or remuneration of the civil servants who signed off on these payments.

  2. I am an unemployed Pastafarian.

    I wonder if I can apply for an exceptional needs payment to cover the cost of Parmesan to shake liberally over His Divine Noodliness and His Great Stringy Appendages when we celebrate ‘Holiday’?

    I will make inquiry with the Department of Silly Social Affairs tomorrow.

    Do you object?

  3. “I wonder if I can apply for an exceptional needs payment to cover the cost of Parmesan to shake liberally over His Divine Noodliness ”

    hahaha. His Divine Noodliness. Funny.

    I don’t agree with these pay outs, but I don’t know if the amounts per family would cover all that extravagance you mention Bock.
    Also it’s not just princesses who make communions. Boys do too.
    I don’t know if one, two or three hundred euro would cover a communion outfit even.. I’d say they are expensive.
    On the other hand, I can imagine if you don’t have the money for this sort of thing, and it’s part of the primary school curriculum, it’d be tough on parents to send their child to the ceremony in regular clothes.

  4. I totally agree, parents have forgotten how to say no, or are too scared of their kids that they can’t say no.

    A parent said this to me last year and it’s never been more true during a recession tell them no we can’t afford it.

    Welcome to the harsh reality of life, how are we going to save to buy something, what can we do without.

  5. This sense of entitlement is indeed ridiculous. I think it has some of it’s roots in an older Ireland,, a time when the cogs of Government policies were turned by those of Religious persuasion.

    Also, in more modern times parents respond to the pressures of clever marketing strategies, eg. at Christmas, Communion, Debs’ fucking balls and more. Parents who can ill-afford these trivial things are put under most pressure, they simply do not want to feel they have somehow deprived their children.

    I’m reminded of a line from Paul Simon’s ‘Diamonds on the souls of her shoes’… ‘The poor boy puts on aftershave to compensate for his ordinary shoes’

    The children themselves have been reared on TV delivered marketing and advertising since they were old enough to sit up. In fact it has served well ‘in loco parentis’ and so it becomes clear that pressure is also brought to bear on some parents by their own progeny.

    Yes Bock, there is certainly need for re-adjustment, on one part with our politicians who need to shake of the last remaining vestiges of Religious influence in policy making and on the part of the parents who spoil their children and their whims rather than prepare them properly for adulthood and it’s difficulties.

  6. Dear Troika

    We are going to burn the bondholders and renege on the promissory notes. Ok?

    PS can we have €3.4m for some pretty tasteless dresses and a piss up?

  7. I wonder what the percentage of those actually go to church. Don’t like the fact that money is going on a fashion show. Can understand a funeral but not this.

  8. “If you can’t afford it, you can’t have it. That’s the reality for all of us, so get used to it”

    “If you can afford it, good luck to you, but don’t expect me to pay for it.”

    Why are funerals ok but not communions?

  9. It wouldn’t be the first time I contradicted myself, not the last, but in this case I’m not sure where that happened. Please point it out.

  10. At the risk of coming across as a pedant but when you write

    “If you can’t afford it, you can’t have it. That’s the reality for all of us, so get used to it”

    “If you can afford it, good luck to you, but don’t expect me to pay for it.”

    In relation to communions but make exceptions for funerals, that strikes me as contradictory.

    Should the state pay for funeral pyres on the banks of the river for Hindus?

  11. Too poor to die.. imagine!
    I wonder is that a good business to be in?
    Crosses must be minted with the times we live in.

  12. As always, we moderate our certainties with compassion.

    A funeral is essential, while a communion is not, and in any case, a communion can be had at no cost, provided the parents don’t require extravagance.

    The need to bury a loved-one stirs my compassion, while the desire to spray-tan a child does not, but of course, compassion is discretionary, and I only speak for myself in saying that I can understand extending it to someone who has been bereaved.

  13. I agree, not arguing the sentiment but rather looking to explore the difference in our attitudes to different rites.

    All religious ceremonies should be perform through the parish and not through the school. I’m sure non catholic children must look on in bemusement at the antics of their teachers and classmates.

  14. Because Chantal and \Wayne are entitled to their big day out plus we’ve booked the back room of The Rock for a family celebration.

  15. What 6 year old wants a fake tan?It’s their knacker parents that want this shit.

    As you said these people need to cut their cloth.

    This whingeing everytime a cut in the dole is mentioned is ludicrous.The payments are perfectly adequate to lead a pretty good life.

    Did you hear the woman on Paddy O Gorman on Pat Kenny,a few weeks back,decrying the amount the state gave her(And I’m sure it’s been her whole life).

    Paddy pointed out that she was smoking and inquired how many she smoked a day.
    This going over her head completely,said she “only” smoked 40 a day now “But it used to be 100 Paddy”.

    Jesus fucking wept.

  16. ” It would be tough on the parents to send their child to the cermony in regular clothes ” Really FFI , tough ? because it might compromise their competitive standard with their neighbours ? or because its another hand out for those with a sense of entitlement ? or just because its symbolic nonsense that parents believe they are obligated to adhere to because someone else told them…..that and the ensuening piss up that is the inevitable part of the same ” Tradition ”

    “If i was that way inclined, i would now be on my knees praying for a sense of humour.
    One question , is this crazy payment exclusive to Catholics or open to all

  17. I don’t know what sense of anything anyone has.
    But if there’s communion money being given out and you kid’s communion is coming up, you’d see if you could get that communion money.
    I wouldn’t blame any parent for wanting the best for little chantal and wayne on their special day. After all, communion only comes but once.
    And afterwards you are communed forever more.

  18. That was my point in saying that all religious ceremonies/sacrements/rites should be taken out of secular life and performed exclusively through the church or your choice. I am not a practising catholic and according to the government only 30% of the country attend mass. If Chantal and Wayne are making their communions because that is what is done and will never see the inside of a church again then why should the state contribute directly and indirectly through the teachers pay who have to give up class time to instruct the little darlings.

  19. “It’s not about what the parents want. It’s about what they need.”
    A kick up the backside?

    I blame the state here.
    If the money is being given out, people will take it.

    How about a little state contribution for say a ceremony – aka a BBQ out the back to mark your official withdrawal from the church. Is there a term for that?
    Didn’t you have a post on that once Bock – How to officially withdraw from the church.
    Fuck it, I can’t remember the term.
    I did a google and all I got was this –

    “Firstly, when my husband and I have intercourse, he usually withdraws before completing the act. I know this is wrong and have expressed this to him but he does not want more children (we have 3). I am open to more, and in fact want more.

    I’m wondering, is this a mortal sin for him and is this a mortal sin for me, since I am also involved in the act?”

    Would the state cough up for that though? A little party to mark the occasion?

  20. I say that if your husband doesn’t withdraw then the state will be coughing up. For the next 18 years at least.

  21. I never realised s/w recipients were ‘entitled’ to payments for catholic religious ceremonies.
    Our family are not Catholic and so, had we been on s/w, our kids would not have got these payments, as we did not participate in ant catholic ceremonies.
    As these payments are sourced from Tax payers money and not church funds then surely non-catholics are being prejudiced against.
    Payments for religious ceremonies should be available for all or for none.
    Reducing these payments by 50% is not enough. It should be abolished completely or made available to non catholics also.
    I would prefer to simply abolish it.

  22. These payments are obscene. But when people see that Ministers have a clothes cleaning allowance of 3 1/2 K is it any wonder they regard this communion money as an entitlement. Austerity,but only for some.

  23. State does pay for funerals also . . .well helps a little anyways !!

    A Bereavement Grant is a payment of €850. The grant is usually paid to the person responsible for payment of the funeral bill. (For example, the grant can be paid to the husband, wife, civil partner, personal representative or next-of-kin of the deceased person).

    In addition to the Bereavement Grant, you may also be entitled to a Widowed or Surviving Civil Partner Grant of €6,000 for widows/widowers/civil partners with dependent children.

    You may also be eligible for a Special Funeral Grant (under the Occupational Injuries Benefits scheme) of €850.

    Payments are made by cheque.

  24. Compassion isn’t discretionary, it’s subjective, depending on what kind of a cunt you are. This is mind numbing. I have no problem paying tax so little Chantal and Shakira can avail of something approaching equality of opportunity, but this, NO SIR.

  25. Not to go off point but between the wigs and fake tan for communion isn’t it just as bad for the Irish Dancing!!! There is a racket if ever I saw one!!

  26. Constitutional or not, Its a mary loving country through and through. Even civil servants get 2 hours off to go to mass on holy days. What if you’re protestant , can you still get the 2 hours for shopping?

  27. Superchick » I can’t remember when the holy-day nonsense was abolished, but it was available to all, regardless of denomination. Even atheists got the day off.

  28. Late to the party here. Wow. I’m shocked.
    Here’s what bothers me. It’s not a surprise (like a funeral might be). I imagine most people know that their child will be making communion at a certain age. Here’s a big concept. Save a bit for for a few years to pay for it. That might genuinely not be possible for some, I understand bad times. Then do what we all did when we were broke – borrow a hand-me-down. Or lobby in advance for school uniform communion, or get the church to buy graduation type robes and then all you need are well-shined shoes.
    I have sympathy for being poor and hitting bad times. But there is nothing wrong with borrowing a dress or a suit. The bloody suit is only worn for a few hours by the previous bored child for goodness sake.
    We lived in handmedowns. We were pinned and adjusted and fussed over. Then we got a pinch in the cheeks and the oft-repeated “thank god ye’re good looking, nobody will look at what ye’re wearing”. For an awful long time we believed it :)

  29. Is this not just another sign of the rampant disease sweeping the country in the last few years? I speak of course of the fact so many parents (especially mothers) love to show off their children.
    This is why so many mothers are now going to schoolboy GAA, Rugby and Soccer matches. Its not neccesarily to give the kids support but more an oppotunity to boast to the other parents about their fat spoilt brat!!

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