About this time every year, media outlets such as yours research and assemble a list of the wealthiest people in Ireland. It is often argued that the object of these articles is to scrutinize our most wealthy by highlighting their estimated earnings and so remind them of their responsibility to society and the less fortunate. However, over the past few years, it seems instead to have become a means of congratulating rich people for getting even richer. It is a gaudy exercise in our time of historic inequality. One can only assume that editorial staff have not considered alternative articles. To that end, dear Editor, here are some ideas for your consideration…
Ireland’s Poorest list:
It’s a simple alternative in as far as it is the direct opposite thing. Nevertheless, if it’s acceptable to list the wealthiest in our society, same rules should apply for our poorest. You know, for balance. Such a list would likely have a broader reach, ranging from those with arrears and negative equity to credit card debts or credit union loans. True, this may account for a much more sizeable publication, but so be it. And for balance, which is so important, you can still have the Rich list, so the people on the Poorest list can see who has directly profited from their struggles.
Ireland’s Richest Women List
Purely for the entertainment of the men who are substantially richer, allowing them to be patronising about the gender gap while they actively maintain and push it further.
Ireland’s (Other Kinds of) Rich list:
What’s that? A list derived entirely from a play on words? Admit it, you’re intrigued. This should be a truly definitive list of other meanings of Rich. The name Rich, for instance. Richie Rich? Not included, he makes wealth a topic again. Rich Hall? Get that funny guy on this list. Adrienne Rich? Brilliant human, clearly makes the list. Richard Dunne? Let’s agree to allow the additional letters and put this unassailable brick wall that masqueraded as a central defender on the list. Not interested in people? Let’s have a definitive list of the best Rich Tea biscuits by brand. Or how about richness in a non-financial sense – what county has the richest soil? You see, all it takes is a little imagination to show that a Rich list can aspire to be so much more.
Ireland’s Major Recipients of American ‘Philanthropy’ list:
(not available for legal reasons)
Ireland’s Healthiest list:
After all, your health is your wealth. Since our health system is chronically under-resourced, if you don’t have your own health, it won’t be improved by anyone else either. Fitness experts, athletes, and maybe some of those people you see on social media that seemingly spend every waking moment in the gym or working through some new-fangled nutrition nonsense; these are potential candidates for this list. Essentially, it would be a list of the healthiest people who, if they could only find a way to monetize their health, would also be the wealthiest.
Ireland’s Flukiest list:
This would be a list of the jammy bastards who won the National Lotto or the Euromillions or something like that.
Ireland’s Most County Titles list:
If the editorial focus of a Rich list really is to show inequality, well then this whole sporting business is unfair and needs to be addressed. Kerry and Kilkenny in particular need to stop hogging all the all-Ireland titles. Honestly… can someone please throw a Sam Maguire to Mayo so they can all get on with their lives? It’s a humanitarian crisis at this stage.
Ireland’s Most Privately-Wealthy Socialists list:
Of course, one great irony of this little island is that those who call themselves socialists tend to be against things that would impugn upon their private comforts. The champagne socialist – what a terrible human being.
Ireland’s Most Homeless list:
There are so many people without housing in this country, you’d almost understand the government for doing absolutely nothing about it. Where to start? Should it be with the families and individuals sleeping rough on the streets? What about the young professionals trapped in an increasingly hostile rental market where it is somehow both impossible to buy or find other properties to rent? Or maybe it should be with those suffering in Ireland’s system of direct provision? Or perhaps the countless refugees or asylum seekers who, in all humanity and decency, should be accommodated here somewhere? The prudent course of action to this point is textbook Irish Politics, page one – Inaction; the art of doing nothing. This is where our media outlets could lend a hand by producing a Most Homeless list, finding the most homeless citizen of all and making them the starting point. Now that’s a pretty good use of column inches, you must agree.
Of course, dear Editor, these are but humble suggestions for your consideration. These are simple alternatives to an annual article of your publication that merits review in this day and age of ours. The Rich List segment for next year may already be locked in for publication and that is a great pity. But what if it is not? What if you are reading this and contemplating something else for those pages? You must admit that it would feel better than, once again, glamourising excessive wealth against a backdrop of rampant and widening inequality. Equally if not a greater possibility, dear Editor, you will either not see this or ignore it if you do and go on and publish yet another annual Rich List. If that is the outcome, why then, allow me to be perfectly plain with you:
You can take your deplorable Rich List and stick it so far up your hole that it may, over time, decay from print form until you shit out what your rag of a publication appears like to me on first viewing.