“It is almost unbelievable that just 1% of the population, roughly 40,000 people, control more than a third of the wealth of the state. This one statistic tells you all you need to know about modern Ireland. How can there be any hope of a better future for the children of this country when the distribution of wealth is so grossly unequal?”
So says Gregor Kerr of the 1% Network, which is a coalition of some left-wing groups formed to highlight the fact that just 1% of the population in Ireland control in excess of 34% of the wealth of the state.
The coalition is holding a walking tour of Dublin, which will pass “through the heartland of the Golden circle” to show how the 1% live. “The tour will stop outside of the homes of tax dodgers, the headquarters of failed banks and the offices of gombeen politicians, who between them they have brought the economy to ruin and our society to edge of the abyss.”
The fun starts at 1pm on Saturday Oct 9th from the Wolfe Tone Monument, St. Stephen’s Green.
To some extent, of course, mentioning this rather than the many other walking tours through Dublin (the 1916 Rebellion Tour, the James Joyce tour, Historical Dublin tour, etc.) displays a bit of bias (although note: it’s pretty hard to escape bias when it comes to human geography!).
But what really catches the eye with this idea is that the tour seeks to combine, leisure, pleasure, education, and political action. Most walking tours entail the first three. This one goes a bit further. For there is no doubt that the organizers are hoping the tour will agitate and perhaps radicalize its audience.
Furthermore, what’s interesting for Geography students is that the political aspect will have a spatial component. The tour will be a walking political geography. Only certain parts of the city will be toured. Like other societies, there is a geography of inequality and power in Ireland. So we can safely assume the Liberties won’t be toured, nor Stoney Batter, say. And further still, the tour will be geographical insofar as it will inevitably entail identifying (former?) nodes of power; particular sites where key decisions were made; perhaps the results of bad decisions (Liam Carroll’s AIB HQ, maybe?); maybe even some of the important hangouts of the “1%”.
So it’ll be spatial in the sense of exploring a certain terrain and spatial in the sense of focusing on the uneven geography power and influence in Dublin. Should be a fascinating afternoon.