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Long-term unemployed in Ireland

When I returned to the Republic of Ireland from the Netherlands, I went on the dole.

I didn't expect it; I'm American. I didn't ask for it; the Department of Health and Family Services just gave it to me.

I had no legal status in Ireland. Well, that's not really true. I'd gotten a tax number a few years earlier. I was "quasi-legal" in the republic, for nearly a decade. For more than half of that time, I was unemployed or underemployed, and on the "Live Register" — on the dole.

I'd moved to Ireland in the summer of 2001. I got a PPS number in September. I hadn't expected that, either.

In January of 2005, I returned, after a year-and-a-half in Nijmegen.

I made a trip to FAS, the national employment agency, to look for a bit of work. The lady there asked me if I'd been up to the Social Welfare office. Therefore I went up to the Social Welfare office.

I had noticed something when I'd gotten my PPS number back in 2001 — and in this case here, this time in January 2005, I got a feeling that there was a correlation and I knew that I should pay attention to it.

  that had a similar "shape" as this new incident.

I knew one thing: I was to go to the Social Welfare office and I was to tell them that somebody at FAS had told me to inquire.