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Saturday, June 23, 2007

Death and Taxes

They say the only two certainties in life are death and taxes. Well, that's probably correct in most cases. But then you think about Jesus Christ, or Charlie Haughey, and you remember that there's always someone bucking every system.

Anyhow, I had to go and file some returns at the O'Connell Street Revenue office yesterday. That was, of course, great fun. My mate Rusty the Taxman had warned me that the Revenue office had moved to temporary accommodation, and he wasn't lying.

The usual queues of non-nationals seeking PPS numbers to legitimise their stints working behind the counter of my local shops were still present, of course. But with the original building around the corner being refurnished, the current Revenue office is even less cosy and comfortable than the original.

Plonked in some rent-a-room palace next to a shop selling pictures of the Virgin Mary, there isn't even a seat anywhere. You have to queue, standing, for hours. Then you finally reach the revenue officers, who are sat at their desks, and you have to stand there too, like naughty schoolchildren brought before the principal, while they ruffle your papers and pretend to be busy.

Anyhow, I took my ticket from the machine, surveyed the mammoth queues of various Balts and Africans waiting to legitimise their work in the eyes of the Irish exchequer, and promptly fled to Burger King next door, where there are seats a-plenty.

I reckoned that I could peacefully relax and read my paper for a good half hour, then wander back into the Revenue's temporary home just in time to be called.

So I was quietly mulling over my crap coffee when I was approached by a gold-toothed, heavily bangled Roma gypsy (see image of similar above), a grubby hand thrust under my nose, seeking money.

I pointed out to her that begging is illegal in Ireland. She shrugged and went to the next table instead. Looking over her shoulder, I could see three others like her working the room.

I went to the poor lad whose job it is to clean the place and asked him to throw the beggars out. Let's call him Pablo. Pablo is from abroad, and he came to Ireland to work. He has possibly one of the worst jobs in Ireland, cleaning up the tables in O'Connell Street's Burger King.

Every twenty minutes, a load of Roma gypsy beggars come into his place of work and annoy everyone in it, begging for money. He used to tell them to stop. That's when they stopped him, on his way home after his shift, and threatened to kill him. He's seen them getting into Mercs at the top of O'Connell Street with Dunnes' Stores bags full, literally full, of cash.

So he sympathised with me, but explained that he wasn't going to risk his life or job trying to stop these gold-toothed scam artists from begging anymore.

Back in the tax office, waiting for my number to be called, I looked around at all the faces - the black faces, the white faces, the yellow faces - that surrounded me. I listened to the Russian language, Polish language, Spanish language and French language being spoken.

I thought about all the decent people from so many different places, like Pablo in the burger bar next door, who had come to Ireland simply to earn a living.

Then I thought about the Roma gypsies, their begging scams, their threats on the life of a poor man asking them to stop plaguing his workplace, their Mercedes lift home in the evening.

And I wondered when I'd ever see any of them in the tax office seeking a PPS number and filing a tax return. And I wondered when the Gardai on the most policed street in Ireland are ever going to give poor Pablo a hand and arrest and deport this criminal gang of scum gypsies.


Dario Sanchez said...

I could say so much about these people who have began infesting our streets - even in Cavan - and who exploit their own children to earn a fast buck ...

But I'll stick with saying I agree with you, on pretty much every point you made.

Missing Neighbour said...

I just don't understand it at all. How can you emigrate to another country and be allowed to become a professional beggar? It's a complete nonsense.
I never give any of them a penny and I always make a point of telling them to get job.
It's time law enforcement started doing their job and clearing these parasites off the streets.
As for the incident where they threatened to beat the crap out of 'Pablo', what a complete disgrace. It makes me realy angry that this shit goes on. I won't say what I would have done in the same situation, but lets just say it would have involved several friends and more than a few baseball bats.
Recliam the streets.

JC Skinner said...

What really gets me is when you walk down the most policed street in Europe and see four donut munching Gardai sauntering along past these scumbags as they openly break the law, and do nothing about it.
When I made the mistake of approaching a Guard once and asking them to arrest a very aggressive beggar who was annoying an old woman, he asked for MY id and papers, and threatened me with arrest.
He got reported, but I doubt anything happened. I'm coming to a conclusion that there's some order from on high for Gardai to let these people behave in whatever way they wish.

Dario Sanchez said...

Now here in Cavan, Latvians are ganging up and assaulting locals and mugging them.

Whatever happened to comely maidens at the crossroads?

DeV must be spinning in his grave like a jet engine.

boro said...

Nothing like a bit of casual racism to pass the day, eh?

JC Skinner said...

You got me confused there.
My post is about rampant criminality by a specific cohort of recent immigrants.
What's racist about that, exactly?
The actions of such people are what fuel a racist response in the indigenous community, which other, law-abiding and hard-working immigrants then subsequently suffer from.
It was not me they threatened to kill, but a fellow non-national.

Missing Neighbour said...

@ Boro

What's racist about it?
Do you even know what the word means? You seem a little confused so I will enlighten you:

Racism is a belief or doctrine that inherent differences among the various human so-called races determine cultural or individual achievement, usually involving the idea that one's own race is superior

As far as I was aware nobody suggested any degree of racial superiority at all. Just that some of these people are a bunch of lazy work shy cunts that are willing to use violence to further their means.

Your lazy PC attitude is one of the reasons why this sort of debate is stifled in our society today.

Now let’s talk facts:

If these events are actually happening and are perpetrated by said beggars why not highlight this? Are they immune from scrutiny because they happen to be of a different ethnic origin than most of the people on this island? Only an idiot would suggest so.

boro said...

"missing neighbour"

Thats a lovely quote directly from wikipedia. Definition comes from a dictionary, wikipedia is glorified hearsay. However a dictionary (for instance Websters) also defines racism as "racial prejudice or discrimination". Now racial is also defined as "of, relating to, or based on a race".

Now im unsure if the Romani qualify as a 'race' under the terms of the definition above, or merely an ethnic group (ethnicism isnt quite as catchy), but the principle of the matter remains.

JC Skinner specifically referred to the Roma Gypsies in a prejudicial (def: leading to premature judgment or unwarranted opinion) and/or discriminatory (def: applying or favoring discrimination in treatment) way. Specifically, "gold toothed scam artists", "Then I thought about the Roma gypsies, their begging scams, their threats on the life of a poor man asking them to stop plaguing his workplace, their Mercedes lift home in the evening", "arrest and deport this criminal gang of scum gypsies".

Correctly (or perhaps incorrectly, your opinion is perfectly valid too) defining a manner of presenting a stereotypical representation of a certain ethnic group as racism, that is what I did. There was nothing lazy nor PC about that. Admittedly the comment was one of those fire and forget ones, but not intrinsically wrong.

PC would be if i had said that Skinner should have given the beggar his watch or something and to stop complaining, all people have a right...,yadda yadda..., etc. I did none of those things. As a matter of fact, I am in complete agreement with his viewpoint. You however now deserve to have the 'lazy' card thrown at you for not actually reading my statement correctly and merely jumping to your own conclusions.

JC Skinner said...

Let's leave aside the useless term 'race' anyway, since as Missing Neighbour pointed out accurately, it is a Victorian concept of humanity long since jettisoned by genetic scientists.
Let us consider instead the Roma as a culture. A group of people sharing cultural value, concepts and meaning, if not also language and appearance.
We can separate the Roma in two ways: those who still live in their traditional homelands in Romania and the Balkans, and those who don't. We can also separate them into those who consider begging a legitimate way to live and those who do not.
I am incidentally happy to accept that examples of all four types of Roma exist.
Now, it seems to me that the Roma in the Balkans do not affect my life. Good luck to them, is what I say. Their lives are harder than my own. But most of us could say that about most of the planet. We live in a bubble of affluence in Western Europe and it is important to remember that.
However, the Roma in Ireland are in my environment and what they do can affect my daily life, as it did last Friday.
I can honestly say that almost every single Roma I have ever seen in Ireland has been begging. I can honestly say that every single interaction I've ever had with a Roma involved them with their hand out looking for cash from me.
If it is part of their culture that this is acceptable behaviour, then it is incumbent on us to enforce our culture, where it is not.
And that means enforcing the law of the land on these people. Until they either do as Missing Neighbour suggested and go become contributing members of society like the poor man in Burger King, or it leads as I fearfully predicted earlier to a backlash against ALL newly arrived minorities from an evermore agitated, harassed and angered indigenous population.

Cú Chonnacht said...

As far as I'm aware, begging isn't illegal, so they've got every right to beg if they wise.

Niall said...

Here Here, I have to agree totally with jc here.
A recent phenomenon in Berlin has seen troupes of Roma begging the train stations and plätze. Equipped with chidren and/or a sign explaining in German what they wanted.

Berlin is not a rich city. There are many homeless people here who survive on the kindness of strangers. They sell papers etc. There are also many punks here who are also berggars, but they are after booze only so fuck them.
Now there are Roma who seem to be way more aggressive and pushy.

What aggravates me is that there are many immigrants here, mostly turkish, arab, polish and african.
They're mostly poor but, They never beg.
They seem to want to make something of the limited opportunities available.
A subsection of the Roma community obviously prefer to harass people and beg and steal(common in Italy). I think that is a bullshit attitude that hurts our society.

Missing Neighbour said...


You didn't seem to add any weight at all to your first banal and lazy comment so I will leave it there.
A fact is a fact is a fact. It doesn't matter what race, colour or creed a person is. If they are a Begging, criminal violent waster and someone gets annoyed about it throwing terms like 'racist' around only muddies the water.

JC Skinner said...

Yes indeedy, a judge in their recent wisdom did indeed accidentally make begging legal by striking down the old British law that banned it.
However, vagrancy, anti-social behaviour, harrassment with menaces, threatening to murder and extortion are all crimes still on the statute book.

boro said...

@ Missing Neighbour

I still dont think you have bothered reading what I wrote. My comment was not lazy. It was possibly banal though, i'll give you that. I used the definition of racism in my comment, not the connotation filled word that you assume. I explained in my second post why I used it. If you were too lazy to read that and understand it, well I cant do any more for you. I was not trying to add any weight to the post, nor comment on whether 'begging, criminal violent wasters' were involved or not. JC stereotyped a subsection of people in his article. That is what i was commenting on. You write about "lazy PC attitude stifling this sort of debate" - how ironic. You obviously dont understand the issues that I was raising at all and seem to be spouting a self-righteous mantra, one with the people and all that.

I suggest you go back to reading the sun, that seems to be your level of comprehension.

JC Skinner said...

The only thing is, the people I characterised as begging, criminal, violent wasters are people who beg, break the law, threatened violence on a man in his workplace for asking them to leave, and refuse to get a proper job.
So it was a perfectly accurate description which I stand by, and I don't see how racism comes into it at all.

Missing Neighbour said...

@ Boro


Close the door on the way out will you. There's a good lad.

The sun indeed. I will have you know I am an avid daily sport reader. Tsk. Tsk.

boro said...

@missing neighbour

Thank you for your insightful replies. I truly have seen the error of my ways now. Your superior debating tactics and knowledge of which you speak has quite overawed me.


Of course the sarcasm is probably lost on you because, yet again, you wont actually read what i wrote and will just fill in the blanks with your own assumptions. Good luck with your future career in politics.

Anonymous said...

yeah, its not like our Gardai have ever gone easy/ignored other slightly more indigenous travelling communities that go around breaking the law and threatening people with violence.

Anonymous said...


this is the third blog/ whatever you want to call it..that i have come across in the last 30 mins where the posting people end up squabbling between themselves!

im sick of it- whats the point?
i just entered in google -roma beggars dublin- and -romanian beggars dublin- just to see what kind of feeling there is amongst the online community with regard to these people.
it has come into conversations in the past two days amongst friends just how many roma beggars there are suddenly in the capital.
i have lived in the city centre for the past 4 years, and have noticed gradually an increase in the numbers of roma women who stop me in the street. On my own street i have just recently begun to have to watch my step as these women have started to plant themselves by the
'pay and display' ticketing machines..i have also just recently noticed that it is the same woman (with small child) each day, as i have become more aware and paid more attention, it seems that an older woman -possibly her mother -patrols the ticket machine at the other side of the road..in the past week they have been joined by a middle aged man who knocks on car windows at the traffic lights. These same people are here in position every day. it has come to my attention that the beggars on Parnell st- which adjoins my street, are also there every day, each person has their own territory
....i feel this is a kind of pivot point for my understanding of the nature of these people, it would appear all very organised, and i wonder if Dublin has reached some kind of maximum occupancy for begging as each group have now marked out their area. I wouldnt be here writing this (i dont generally write on blogs) only thisevening my
boyfriend initiated a conversation with me, with his eyebrows raised in a kind of disbelief, he asked me to guess how many times he was interupted by a roma woman over a 30min period outside a cafe at lunch time (he smokes so sits outside) seven times he said...I feel that unless something is done (and i have no idea what or where to start) ordinary non-racist non-discriminatory people like myself are going to become insensitive and and angry towards our fellow human beings...I think this situation is getting out of control and i wonder what the official line on all of this is... are we going to continue accepting these people into the country until
each non-roma person here has a shadow behind them all day every day??

JC Skinner said...

Thanks for your post, anon. I feel exactly the same way as you in relation to this. Every time I see Roma women begging on the street my blood boils, and a tiny bit of tolerance dissipates from my being. In the long run, people WILL start feeling negative to all new arrivals in Ireland because of the few who keep abusing our hospitality like the Roma do.
And that would be tragic, and could have tremendously negative consequences.

Big Bill said...

Ignore Boro. Just remember, there have always been Irish traitors and turncoats who fought for the English and others seeking to colonize Ireland in exchange for their 30 pieces of silver.

Boro is just the latest incarnation.

I can just hear Boro's g-grandfather's speech from 100 years ago:

"But Mr. DeValera, the English living here are just yearning to breathe free!

We can't disenfranchise them based on old, outdated stereotypes!

We must Welcome Them, Embrace Them, Celebrate Them and make a Wonderful New Multicultural Paradise right here on Earth!

OK, sure, the English are having a couple minor problems assimilating, but all we have to do is raise taxes on the Irish people to give to the English, apologize for all our ill-treatment of the English in the past and beg English forgiveness. I am sure they will integrate just fine!

Anuraag Sanghi said...

Hi Skinner! Your outrage, your cal for actions while seemingly in place are also inaccurate.

There is fair bit of sad history behind this Roma problem - and an "angry young/old man" should possibly channelise it by going to the root cause. Look at their history and you will understand that the Gardai are not the solution but a part of the problem.

Read a small part of this story at

Best Wishes.

secondlook said...

Hi Skinner! Your outrage, your cal for actions while seemingly in place are also inaccurate.

There is fair bit of sad history behind this Roma problem - and an "angry young/old man" should possibly channelise it by going to the root cause. Look at their history and you will understand that the Gardai are not the solution but a part of the problem.

Read a small part of this story at

Best Wishes.

JC Skinner said...

The Roma refuse to work at home or here, preferring to beg and steal. No amount of historical context, much of which is highly debatable, exonerates them from their own inherent refusal to be constructive members of any society.
They're parasites.

Anonymous said...

Excellently said.
These wonderful cultural 'enrichers' have also landed in vast numbers in Belfast.

Useless begging, lazy parasites with gold teeth who would sell their goddamn kids for an extra quid. They have also monopolised the selling of the big issue magazine, which was set up to give the unfortunate a chance to get back on their feet, but to these bastards it's a profession.

I have also noticed an increasing amount of hostility from the average punter in the street, and rightly so. If the government is to weak and PC to solve the problem, perhaps the people should.

Anonymous said...

I've been a victim of the Roma gypsy scams on the streets of dublin twice now, so am just about at breaking point and my tolerance with these people has been completely destroyed. Let's be very clear about this, warning people on sites such as this,about these scams is not just an excuse for people to vent and contribute to racial intolerance or re-inforce racial steroetypes, it is a legitimate method of making people aware of common scams and a way of warning people that being naive and trusting Roma gypsies can and will undoubtedly backfire in your face, as I can testify to twice. I have been robbed by Roma gypsies at the ATM's in that well-documented scam where they flutter newspapers in your face, distract you and steal your money, which happened to me in broad daylight while I was trying to make a withdrawal, and although I chalked that up to a nasty experience and forgot about it, I fell foul to another scam last night on the bus in the early hours of the evening, 3 Roma gypsies got on, although at first I didn't realise there was 3,as one sat down the back away from the 'couple', then made a gesture to the couple who were sitting in the wheelchair accessible seats on the bus, which was presumably a non-verbal instruction to target me because I was sitting on my own, just opposite them. The man at the back of the bus then moved to the unoccupied seat beside me as if to suggest he was just preparing to get off the bus, still not indicating that he was with the 'couple', then he pulled out a map and asked me directions to 'city-centre' labouring over a 'no-speak English' excuse, while I proceeded to tell him he wasn't in town yet, the woman cleverly distracted me by pretending to intercept and translate for him, I looked up at her for a split second and bam! - He whipped my phone out of my bag in a blink of an eye and then the three ran of the bus, before I'd realised I'd been duped and was left feeling utterly livid and sick to the stomach. I feel so angry for trying to help, trying to show that I am not a racist and as I result, I get conned, again. It is a vile culture and a vicious cycle which is based on stealing, begging and conning innocent people. EU countries provide for these people with healthcare and homes and benefits and offer them a way out, it is an opportunity to break the cycle. Why don't they take the opportunity to break free?
The woman was pregnant, and the sad thing is, that the way things are going, I feel fairly certain that her innocent unborn child will be taught to beg and steal before it can talk or walk. It's the children I feel really sorry for.Their legacy is a life of stealing enforced and manipulated by parents who make no effort to assimilate or contribute to our or any other European country's culture, they are not here for that purpose and that is why people are no longer prepared to give them a fair break, because the word fair doesn't exist in their culture, they are here to thrive on deception and chicanery and to manipulate innocent people who try to show good faith and do a good act. I've had enough and I urge people to show vigilance on buse and in public places, but would like to stress that I mean it just in the same way as I would urge people to be vigilant on buses and in public places to the scourge of our own native population of equally vile junkie thieves.

Anonymous said...

The people have snapped.


The BBC reports them as 'Romanians' and 'migrant workers' but it is a gigantic feed of horses plums. Their thick agenda has boosted a brick being thrown into their top story for the day. Fucking joke.

Notice how there are over 50 of them?
That's because they work in gangs, begging, stealing, scamming, about 20 of them lived in that one house.

Maybe now they will take the hint, but with the BBC propping them up, who knows.

Anonymous said...

JC, although your post seems unnecessarily harsh to me I appreciate your differenciation between the different categories of any race, the Roma in this case. All races are split into those who live at home and those who emmigrate. All races are split into those who observe the law and those who dont.

I have not seen any report or evidence that the Roma living in Belfast committed any crime or anti-social behaviour. Its just that when most of us read about the Roma we presume that they fit into the category of people who dont obey the law. We do this without any evidence at all.

For me, the reason that your rant was racist is because you presumed you "knew" these people. Have you ever met any of them? Do you know anyone else that was directly involved in the situation? Or are you, like most of us, basing your opinions on experiences you have had with entirely different individuals. You write with such an intensity of feeling but with very little evidence. And that, to me and many like me, is upsetting.

JC Skinner said...

You didn't even read this post before responding, did you, anon?
This post IS about my own personal experiences of Roma in Dublin, nothing to do with Belfast.
There is a post on the Belfast issue, dating from 19.06.09. I would direct you to it.

Anonymous said...

JC, I did read your post but replied in the wrong spot.
If you had read my reply you could see that I was clearly referring to the post of 19/6/09.
Anything to say about the content at all?

JC Skinner said...

If you want to respond the post above, please do, and I will respond to what you say.
If you want to speak about Belfast, please go to the relevant post.

Anonymous said...

Thats a pity mate, I thought you were a proper anarchist. Just giving out isnt that interesting.

JC Skinner said...

Only trustafarians are anarchists. I wasn't blessed with the silver spoon in my mouth.