Saturday, February 20, 2016
Fundraiser for mother who wrote open letter about life on the poverty line
A fundraising effort has been established to aid a single mother whose open letter on her life of poverty went viral this week.
The woman, who states that she lives in Mayo, just 15 minutes from Taoiseach Enda Kenny, gained national attention in an online post in which she describes how she would greet the first election canvasser to come to her door.
“I have maybe four tea-bags in my cupboard and no coffee, so I hope if someone comes they will be content to drink tap water while I show them how the tagline ‘Let’s Keep the Recovery Going’ is simply a fantasy for those living on the poverty line,” the woman wrote.
“I will tell them how my young child went to bed last night with two pairs of socks on and a hat; while I wore my scarf under a hoody because we had no oil or coal to heat the house. I will show them how draughty my rented accommodation is and let them see their own breath as fog as they speak to me. I will tell them how I’ve been juggling single motherhood and my education for the last seven years and how I am now qualified with a CV packed with voluntary work and community involvement.”
“I’ll show them my awards and professional references to prove that I am not the ‘lazy single mother’ the media paints us as when discussing welfare. I will outline how I would stay awake until daylight calculating how I would make €217.80 stretch far enough to pay rent, childcare, petrol costs, heating, food and bills. It never did.
“I’ll tell them how those barriers and slammed doors caused so much stress and pressure I inevitably had a mental breakdown and fell into a state of immobilisation and minimum functioning.”
The woman also details how she believes the nation’s mental health services have failed her, and how she had attempted suicide.
“I will then tell the local candidate how I was left on a trolley in a corridor in Mayo General Hospital for hours, going in and out of consciousness, only to be sent wobbling out the door late that night and told not to do it again,” she wrote.
“I’ll show them the pile of unpaid bills and open my purse to show them the 40c to get me to the end of the week.”
She further outlines her “even scarier problem”, how her son is starting to display mental health issues.
“I’ll tell them that our GP has identified a need for him to speak to a professional regarding his feelings immediately for effective early intervention, but that the public system again has long waiting lists for his age.
“I’ll tell them that I have rang over 20 private practitioners in the county and how each of them charge amounts that I can certainly not afford while living on the poverty line. And that in order for us to do so, we will have to cut our grocery shopping costs in half and say goodbye to heat entirely. I’ll then ask them to explain to me how the slogan ‘Let’s Keep the Recovery Going’ is justifiable when the people on the ground in the Taoiseach’s own constituency are being denied access to basic heath recovery. But then again. Will anyone even knock at all?”
A fundraising site has been set up by campaigner Ruairí McKiernan, who said that he knows the woman and can vouch for her story.
Mr McKiernan, a member of the Council of State, raised over €1,400 as of last night via www.youcaring.com/young-woman-in-castlebar-mayo-524563