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The word “grooming” has all sorts of connotations, but the Taoiseach and his ministers have been at it recently and we are the ones who are being groomed.

It’s a gradual process, but its objective is to make a person or group accept a particular situation, regardless of how unconformable or unacceptable it might have previously seemed.

The thing about the grooming is they, in this case the public, don’t even realise what is taking place until it’s too late.

The workers slamming even lower-paid workers because they’re getting the €350 Pandemic Unemployment Payment instead of slogging away for €200 don’t realise they have been groomed by the Government to think that way.

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Job listings have plummeted since the coronavirus outbreak

Tory Boy Leo Varadkar started it all and now bosses are claiming they can’t get people to work for a pittance any more.

But Supermac’s boss Pat McDonagh – who is worth more than €100million – might have gone and spoiled it all for Leo’s narrative that those mostly young and female workers were somehow scamming the system.

Up until yesterday it was becoming accepted that minimum-wage workers should not be getting the full €350 PUP and instead should be slogging away for low pay.

Then the Supermac’s CEO goes and claims that for many part-time workers the €350 payment was like “winning the Lotto”.

On RTE’s Today with Sarah McInerney he came close to crying poverty, saying his business can’t afford to pay employees higher wages to incentivise them back to work because of the financial hit due to the pandemic.

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But he was fairly put in his place when the presenter asked him why he couldn’t pay the living wage when his company was making big profits.

Here you have an example, a man who is a multi-millionaire claiming low-paid workers are living it up as if they’d won the Lotto because they have a few quid extra every week.

But why is the public not shocked that up to quarter-of-a-million workers are on less than the Central Statistics Officepoverty threshold of €235 yet there is outrage at some employees getting €350?

Labour’s Ged Nash hit the nail on the head when he said the real scandal is low pay, not workers getting a few euro extra.

But never mind, the Taoiseach has already claimed part-time workers receiving more than the weekly €200 wage they earned before the coronavirus was not sustainable.

But if a few thousand workers getting a little too much cash causes controversy what will happen when the 546,000 workers who are currently on the €350 PUP have their payments reduced or stopped completely in the coming weeks? Already the grooming has begun to get the public to accept what might be the worst austerity measures ever seen in this country are necessary.

Parachutists say jumping out of an aircraft for the second time is worse than the first because you know exactly how terrifying it’s going to be.

Swap the aircraft for a recession and this time without the parachute and you get an idea of what’s coming down the track.

After the last recession struck, the public didn’t know just how bad it was going to be and they were pummelled by the Fine Gael/Labour government and it resulted in a lost decade.

The Economic and Social Research Institute has warned the downturn following the Covid-19 outbreak will be unprecedented in modern times with unemployment averaging around 17% this year and rise to 20% in a worst-case scenario.

The unpalatable fact is we are heading into a recession like no other and there is little we can do about it but it should not be handled like the last one.

What puts Ireland in an even worse position than most other countries is the massive debt overhang from the last recession – around €205billion before the pandemic struck.

While it is inevitable there will be much unemployment, there will be no mass emigration to relieve the pressure because of travel restrictions and the fact that many other economies will be in a similar position.

The austerity that destroyed families, communities and businesses last time must be avoided at all costs and the public should beware of those who are trying to groom them to accept it as somehow right.

What is needed is a massive spending programme and building programme as recommended by the ERSI and not cutbacks and tax increases which will only deepen the recession as has happened in the past.

Back to day jab for Botox

The disclosure that Botox clinics are hoping to open in a few weeks will also raise a few eyebrows.

Ironing out a few wrinkles or chasing away a few crows’ feet are hardly essential services, especially now when it doesn’t matter any more because no one is allowed socialise.

You could say that by returning a month-and-a-half early is a slap in the face to the medical authorities. Then again, if you’re having poison injected into your smush, who worries about a virus?

My advice to Botoxiteers is save your money, you’re going to be wearing a mask for the next few years anyway.

Porn prudes have last laugh

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The makers of a soft porn programme complain about its sex scenes being uploaded to a hard porn website.

Sure enough, the creators of Normal People had every right to do so as the sex scene compilation on Pornhub was pirated.

Still, there seems to have been a touch of “our sex scenes are cleaner than your sex scenes” about it.

On the other hand, I’m sure the complainers who rang Joe Duffy and were ridiculed for being prudes when the show was first aired on RTE might laugh at the irony.

Graveyard goats not kidding around

Goats and not ghosts have been haunting a Co Cork graveyard as a novel way of keeping the grass down.

Whoever came up with the idea of hiring goats to eat growth around ancient headstones in Templebreedy Graveyard in Fennells Bay, instead of using machinery which could damage them, is to be congratulated.

No doubt conspiracy theorists Gemma O’Doherty and John Waters will disagree and claim this is just another example of the nanny state gone mad.

Cruel world for animals

So much for Ireland being a nation of animal lovers after it emerged that just three individuals have been jailed for cruelty over the last seven years.

Over one hundred animal welfare cases came before the courts since the Animal and Welfare Act came into force in 2014 but only seven people have been sentenced to a term of imprisonment and that these sentences were suspended in four cases.

Although some of these cases involved horrendous cruelty to animals yet this is not reflected in the sentences being imposed by the courts.

When the State is obviously not taking animal welfare seriously the suffering will go on.

Twit’s tweets monitored

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President Trump is angry that he can no longer lie on Twitter without the social media platform pointing out what he is saying may not be true.

It has also emerged this week that only half of Americans say they would get a Covid-19 vaccine if the scientists working furiously to create one succeed.

Both of the above are connected as the likes of Trump have been spreading lies on social media about everything from vaccines to the origins of the coronavirus and unfortunately a lot of Americans believe him.

So even if a vaccine is found, there will still be no cure for stupid.

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