In case you hadn’t noticed; the world is in the middle of a economic recession.
Also if you hadn’t noticed: Ireland is being hit worse by our over reliance on the property industry.
Lastly if you hadn’t noticed: our politicians across the board are being quoted left right and centre on how they want to combat the recession and create new employment.
So being the kind of person that I am I decided in January to do my bit and open a start up incubator called “The GreenHouse“. Great initiative aimed at actually creating employment through the establishment of new companies. The project has come ahead in leaps and bounds and has received lots of support from the private sector. But interest or support from the public sector has been close to zero in spite of all the talking heads on TV and in the paper saying how “something needs to be done”.
So 11 days ago today I sent an email to all Limerick County Councillors, Limerick based TD’s and other local politicians. The email went as follows:
I’ve read your recent comments on the growing unemployment in Limerick and I agree that it’s time that something is done.
Unfortunately there are is too much talking going on and not enough action.
The assigned task force is only due to release its first report over the next few weeks and Tus Nua and other so-called work groups have not progressed beyond discussions and information sharing.
It seems that the Greenhouse Incubator that I have set up is the only initiative that has taken any concrete steps towards creating actual employment.
I’ve started the Greenhouse initiative in January after Dell announced its first redundancies.
The aim is to put people with a business idea through a 6-month incubation cycle. The Greenhouse will develop their idea into a fully formed business with all the “i’s” dotted and “t’s” crossed, looking after incorporation, finances, patents & intellectual property, R&D, marketing etc.
At the end of this 6-month cycle the start up will be ready for further investment and expansion and we will assist them with this also.
And now for the real “surprise”: the Greenhouse does NOT charge for this! Instead of this we take a small equity stake in the start up (typically between 2 -10 %). This also ensures our continued commitment as we will only be viable if our “graduates” are successful in the long term.
We can accommodate 20 people in every 6-month cycle which basically means that twice a year we will take 20 people of welfare and help them to create jobs for themselves and others. Rough indications are that this will result in 100 new jobs every year at a minimum!
Our progress has been nothing but stunning as we are run on no-budget at the moment, just myself, my time and all the moral & material support I can get.
I think that it’s now time for Limerick County Council, it’s councillors, TD’s and business community to actively support the Greenhouse.
It is time for action not words!
I therefore suggest that we meet to discuss how you can support us helping the people of Limerick.
Regards, Evert Bopp.
Founder, The GreenHouse”
Number of emails sent: 38 Total feedback so far: 3 emails.
Leo Varadkar (Fine Gael Enterprise Spokesman) who could recently be seen on Oireachtas report questioning the head of Enterprise Ireland on how much they had really done to create jobs replied by telling me: “my best advice would be contact the Limerick-based TDs and Senators“. Well Leo, your “best advice” sucks, stop passing the buck and actually do something yourself.
Peter Power replied advising me that: “The Minister apologises that he was unable to attend your recent Public Meeting due to Official Department commitments but would be most anxious to meet with you at a convenient time. We will be in touch with you shortly to arrange a time that is suitable.”” Interesting point is that we did not have a public meeting recently. Also they have not been in touch since that email so obviously the ministers anxiousness is relative…
But the real price goes to Willie O’Dea. Willie who cancelled a previously arranged meeting at the last moment several months ago. He had his office contact me last Monday to arrange a meeting. Where did he want to meet me? In a pub! Only in Ireland.
Anyway I was told to make myself available at the Windmill bar on Henry street in Limerick at 5 pm on Friday. So of I went and took my place at the bar at 5 o’clock on the dot. Did Willie O’Dea show up? Did he hell! I sat there, like the gobshite that the collective Irish population gets treated as, for two hours without a sign or a word from the minister or his office.
Two hours wasted! Two hours that I could have been working trying to create jobs or that I could have spent with my family. Two hours that I could have spent in a multitude of ways without being made to feel like an ass!
Besides the personal insult in being stood up like this it just again clearly indicates the total disregard for public opinion amongst the political establishment. They feel that they’re untouchable, do not have to consider the needs and wishes of the electorate and have obviously completely forgotten who pays their wages and what the definition of “civil servant” is.
On my return I tried contacting the minister on a few of the numbers on his website to leave a “friendly message”. The 061/454488 number just rings out and hasn’t even got a voicemail facility. And the “lo-call” number listed rings straight into the Department of Defence. Obviously only to be used to report an invasion.
So there you go people of Ireland: the political establishment couldn’t care less!
You’re buggered, but we’re fine so please leave us alone.
But don’t get me wrong, the Greenhouse is going full steam ahead and will open it’s doors next month. The political establishment has however (again) missed the boat…