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The dole files

The writer is an American who lived in Ireland for donkey's years. Somehow I got on the dole. I can't explain it. I never asked for it.

• Ireland, 2001 — I'd been in the republic since early summer, and had gotten to Kilkenny in September. I started work in a restaurant, washing dishes for cash. After a couple of weeks the chef asked me to get a tax number. I assumed it was impossible, but said I'd try. (As an American, I was not entitled.) But I got one. And in the proceeding weeks, months — and years — I would find myself unusually welcomed into Irish bureaucracy — maybe uniquely.

Oddly enough, I'm working legally now — summer 2002

Quasilegal — October 2002

• In the summer of 2003, I met a Dutch girl and went to the Netherlands until January of 2005.

• In January 2005 when I returned to Ireland and Kilkenny, I went to the national employment agency FÁS. They directed me to file paperwork at the Social Welfare office as a condition of their assistance. The Department of Social and Family Affairs put me on the dole.

On the dole — a succinct history

On the dole — a brief history

Ash Wednesday 2005 — my first dole payment

18 March 2005 — Who would call a lad about work the morning after Saint Patrick's Day?

Worrying about writing about the dole — August 2005

Getting the dole — an afterword, I guess you could say....


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