THE CLEANING WOMEN in UCD earn £6 5s. Od. for a five day week. There are 25 of them. They work from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. and from 2.30 p.m. until 5.30 p.m. This is a thirty hour week, but they have no recognised breaks which makes their week's work equivalent to a normal employee's. On their £6 they pay 9s. 6d. in insurance and up to £1 in income tax. This lowers their weekly salary to £4£4 10s. a week. By John Feeney, Dan Ruddy and Vincent Browne. Published in Nusight, November 1969.
SHE IS 23. She suffers from acute anxiety and chronic depression. Her nerves are so bad that she cannot go out alone, cannot take a bus or go into a crowded shop. Intelligent and articulate she understands her condition, and understands too that it is aggravated by the frightening insecurity of her situation.
MRS. K. stands in the queue for Home Assistance.
"I feel like a beggar," she says. The office is crowded and as each applicant's turn comes the name and amount of assistance money is called out. There is no privacy, no dignity. "I cried the first time I came. I would go hungry, but I can't let the children starve."
SINCE JUST BEFORE the recent Labour Party Conference there has been a sudden feeling that the Government of Harold Wilson might, after all, retain power at the next British general election. The feeling was enhanced by a splendidly characteristic knockabout performance from the Prime Minister at the Conference itself, but it was fundamentally euphoric in character. The government has based its economic strategy on achieving a balance of payments surplus for so long that, when a balance appeared, it went rather to the head.
. The non-contributory widows pension is £3 13s. 6d. per week. For each child there is a 12s. 6d. supplementary benefit.
. There are 5,000 widows under 44 and the vast majority of them would be responsible for rearing a family.
UNIVERSITY COLLEGE DUBLIN has just had the most troubled year of its existence. Occupations, demonstrations, illegal meetings, an openly dissident student body with tacit support from sections of the staff have shaken an administration that hitherto was singular for its strength if not for its efficiency.
. Some 113,000 old people in Ireland may be classified as poor.
. The non-contributory old-age pension is £3 IOs. Od. per week.
. The Dublin Health Authority has stated that at present day rates old people need £4 Os. Od. per week to live (not including rent).
EVERYBODY in the North awaited the Hunt Report during the uneasy lull between the two spates of killings in the last three months. The fate of the B Specials would determine which faction had gained from the tragic events of August. Furthermore the Civil Rights Association knew that whatever about their constitutional victories, which would only marginally affect the mass of Catholics, there would be no chance of keeping peace in Catholic areas so long as they lived in fear of the B Specials.
AN EXTREMELY important meeting takes place in Brussels on November 17. The heads of government of the six Common Market countries are having a " sunlmit " to consider the future of Europe.
The contributory benefit in January 1970 for a single person is 75/- and an extra 62/6 for a spouse. There is a severe means test for the dole. An unemployed person cannot earn more than 61/6 in an urban area and 55/6 in rural areas. . *The inadequacy of this can be ameliorated at the discretion of the local authority with Home Assistance. By John Feeney, Dan Ruddy and Vincent Browne. Published in Nusight, November 1969.