Forty Winks – The backlash against Eamon Ryan

Plenty of us are lucky enough to have good job security. We can afford to make a small mistake here or there and still keep our bank ticking over. We can sleep in on rare occasion and not worry about the repercussions too much. Some people I know can turn up late for work every day and not worry about a slap on the wrist. Unfortunately, plenty of us are not so lucky. Some worry about their only source of income being cut off because they were late due to traffic. Some are dealing with horrible home situations, turning up to work exhausted because there was no possibility of sleep in a house full of rage. If that person falls asleep on a call with an irate customer, or falls asleep in the storeroom just before rush hour then they are gone. The nature of some of these jobs that pay minimum wage is that they are expendable. How can there be job security when someone just as desperate to make ends meet will be looking for the same job you just lost? It is nobody’s fault but the system and the government that perpetrates it.
Obviously, if someone is consistently late or poor in performance then they should be reprimanded. However, people need second chances and a proper way of being notified of their poor performance.

Do I think Eamon Ryan should be sacked for falling asleep in work? No. Do I understand why people are outraged? Yes.
Picture the scene: One of Ireland’s most senior politicians and member of our current government as Leader of the Green Party and Minister for Climate Action, Communications and Transport falls asleep while important votes are being raised. He has to be woken up to vote against raising the minimum wage for lower-paid workers in Ireland. The legislation, which was opposed by Ryan’s government, was defeated.
So, Eamon Ryan falls asleep and wakes up to vote against a motion that would bring peace to mind and bank account for workers in lower-paid jobs. The irony being, of course, that if said workers fell asleep in these lower paid jobs then they could potentially get the sack. Of course you would be outraged!

What fanned the flame of this latest indiscretion by our new but familiar looking government was the amount of people jumping to Minister Ryan’s defense. Alan Brogan, former Dublin senior intercounty footballer, implored us to think of Minister Ryan’s schedule over the past few months. Yes, I grant you that he is a busy man, but it is his job. At the risk of using a fallacy to strengthen my argument, if Alan Brogan fell asleep on the subs bench or at training, he would be dropped for games. He simply wouldn’t be up for doing his job. Yes, we can give someone, anyone, sympathy for being tired and out of sorts while doing a difficult job, but we don’t all have to rush to support them. This isn’t some parable.

‘They came for Eamon Ryan, and I did not speak up, because I am not Eamon Ryan.’

People came for Eamon Ryan because he made a pact with a government that the majority of young people rejected and now is doing their bidding. You don’t have to defend him out of a misguided sense of fear. You should be examining those feelings and wondering why so many people disagree with you. Why do so many young people disagree with you?
The minimum wage is staying the same and people in dire situations are being forced to work extremely hard to make ends meet. Will you treat them with the same sympathy when they make a small mistake when providing an essential service for you?


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