Golfers at the Royal Portrush Golf Club in Co. AntrimTourism Ireland

An Irish man has discovered it’s better to play golf and draw social welfare than hold down a full time job in Ireland these days.

Andy McNamara from Drogheda, Co. Louth wrote a letter into the Irish Independent on Wednesday, April 15 explaining his reasoning.

After a conversation with a good friend who was recently laid off, McNamara was startled to discover that it made more sense financially for his buddy to golf everyday while his four children were in school than to go to work full time.

Slightly baffled that this was possible, McNamara wrote in his letter that he sat down with his friend do “the sums.”

While employed, McNamara’s friend’s yearly gross income was €35,000. His annual net income after the recent mini-Budget came into effect was €28,854, all deductions included.

Now after losing his job, McNamara’s friend is entitled to supplementary welfare allowance of €443.90 per week because he has a wife and four kids. This totals €23,083 annually.

But what about his mortgage payments? Not a problem. He is entitled to a mortgage interest supplement, which pays all of the interest on his mortgage. In this case, McNamara’s friend is entitled to €1,200 per month of his €1,500 mortgage, or €14,400 per year.

Now that he is unemployed the avid golfer is also entitled to a back-to-school allowance (€905 per year for four children), a medical card and a heating supplement.

In total, McNamara’s friend now has a tax-free income of €38,888, an increase in his net income of €10,034 per year and all he has to do is work on his golf handicap.

Said McNamara in his letter: “Based on the calculations after the mini-Budget,” a person “would need to earn more than €47,000 per year if you have four children to justify continuing to work.”

The Co. Louth man also points out the cost of getting to work: gas, car maintenance, tolls, lunches and other hidden costs.

“Now in any civilized society, and especially in a society in a deep recession with a huge welfare bill, surely the government must give people an incentive to go out and work,” he writes.

McNamara only sees the situation getting worse.

The Irish government plans to test the child benefit payments later this year. “This,” writes McNamara, “is just going to make the situation worse and encourage more people to give up work and rely on the state to live.”

Very discouraged, McNamara ends his letter questioning his own situation: “Why should I bother to go out to work when it is basically costing me money to work?”

Unless he sees changes very soon, McNamara said he might be joining his friend on the golf course.