Irish Election Literature

… what you maybe meant to keep…

Self Aid – 17th May 1986 RDS January 5, 2010

Filed under: Irish Politics,protest — irishelectionliterature @ 11:54 am
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Found this in the attic over Christmas, the programme for the Self Aid concert in May 1986.  Lets Make it work…
The day itself was great fun, the musical highlights were many.. Rory Gallagher playing ‘Follow Me’ (The theme tune to MT USA)
..and lots more including of course U2s performance of Maggies Farm.

Yet why were all these people there? Why watch were all the people watching?
Unemployment. The political classes, Government and the State weren’t able to provide employment, so maybe a concert would?
Tony Boland and Niall Matthews message is whats relevant (ie a failure of State and political system) for this Blog.
Jobs were promised, the Self Aid Trust was set up …. did it have any long term impact?


7 Responses to “Self Aid – 17th May 1986 RDS”

  1. steve white Says:

    and did it do anything?

  2. Tony Boland Says:

    Quite a number of small businesses and community projects were helped. Some are still going and providing employment. Some people got work and jobs at a time when there really weren’t any. Was it a solution, of course not but it was better than doing nothing at all. This was a time when young people came out of school and college and faced the choice of the dole with little real hope of any work or making the decision to emigrate.
    Would I do it again? If I thought it could generate even one job, yes I would and if you were to ask any of the unfortunate thousands who have lost their jobs in the last couple of years, I am pretty sure they would agree..
    Tony Boland, January 2010

  3. […] …well it was like a bad disco there for a while with lots from the 80’s… First off I found the programme for Self Aid, the introduction by Tony Boland and Niall Matthews explains the concept. […]

  4. Tony Boland Says:

    …well it was like a bad disco there for a while with lots from the 80’s… First off I found the programme for Self Aid, the introduction by Tony Boland and Niall Matthews explains the concept. […]

    Not sure what point you are making? Is it that the music of the 80’s, veiwed from the “Naughties”, was crap? OR is it that we should not have tried to do anything?
    Yes, doing nothing is always an option but not the best way of dealing with problems in life.
    As I said before, I don’t for one moment think “Self Aid” changed anything but I certainly think it was worth doing because at that time in Ireland the sheer national depression was hard to appreciate and with that had come a national malaise if any project raises morale or even just cheers us up as a distraction for a while while also generating some jobs, its worth it.
    I am retired now but I as look at what has and is happening in Ireland at the moment with the levels of unemployment raising so fast again, my heart goes out to the many thousands who have lost their jobs in this recession.
    Do I have any answers? No!
    But I am all for people having a go and the I firmly believe in the principle of a community pulling together to try and see what they can collectively do-who knows what might come out of it?
    Doing something is always better than sitting on the sidelines feeling helpless.

    • Thanks for the responses Tony,
      I had the pleasure of attending the event it was a fantastic day…and it was a poor reference to the music played in Discos in the 80s, and the number of leaflets from the 80s I’d posted as opposed to the acts in Self Aid.
      I left school in the 80s and Self Aid was a bright spot in the whole prevailing sense of despair of emmigration, unemployment etc.
      The reason I posted the Self Aid piece here, was that it was an event that illustrated the times and the failures of politics and the State.
      You’re right in that it did raise national morale, not just the actual concert which was brilliant, but also that it could take place in the first place and of course jobs were created and money raised.
      There is plenty online about the concert itself, but little about the aftermath which is why its good to see the details in your reply.
      The message conveyed in the introduction piece is just as relevant now as it was back then.

  5. Keith Says:

    I particularly like the emphasis on changing the attitude to work, instead of creating highly educated drones to be packaged for pillage by the next multinaional to swing on by for the tax breaks.
    I’m not sure if that ethos has changed, there still seems to be an idea that the technology sector will save us, even though these companies can’t get off the island fast enough.

    One thing I really liked was seeing Freddie White on the bill, early memories of getting out to see him in bars, playing crowded house on a walkman during the break in his set.

    Anyway fair play Tony, I had no idea you were behind that event in my teenage years. You are to be congratulated.

  6. Dave Kenny Says:

    Hi Tony,

    I write a column for the Tribune and last weekend called for someone to step forward to stage Self Aid Two.
    I was a bit hard on the original concept as I thought the jobs pledge was naive. In hindsight, I was too hard. I’ve always believed in the principle you espouse here that it’s better to do something rather than sit around complaining. So well done, retrospectively. The Colm Hayes Show on 2FM have asked me to a phoner this Friday (about 10am-ish) about the column. I expect a lot of negativity as the producer wasn’t buying the concept and said she thought it was impractical.
    Any advice you could give me would be greatly appreciated. Here’s a link to the article:

    I’ve argued that the event raised money but can’t find any details for the Trust other than that it was dissolved in 1999. I don’t need an exact figure, but if you could email me a ballpark one, it would help my argument. I’ll email my mobile number by return.

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