Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Emigration Again This Time Sparked By Grubbiness

There have been many reasons, over the centuries, why people emigrated from Ireland in their droves.
A thousand year ago, or more, they left our shores to bring Christianity and, indeed, education to parts of Europe where their legacy is still celebrated.
In the 19th century, they left, of course, because of the potato famine which decimated the population.
In the middle of the 20th century, it was unemployment and poverty which forced, particularly young men, to leave Ireland.
Now, though, I fear a new wave of emigration.
This time, it will be spurred on not by poverty or famine or indeed a desire to spread God's gospel.
No. It will be as a result of Ireland becoming a nasty, grubby, greedy place where the only God worshipped is money.

We have long since passed the time when we expected moral leadership from our politicians. Having granted themselves more than 30 pay rises in the past ten years, they have demonstrated their greed for all to see.
It's hard not to blame them.
Our most senior politician, the Taoiseach Bertie Ahern, who received all of those pay rises and saw his salary almost treble in ten years, also pocketed large sums of money given to him by businessmen.
He says there were no favours asked or given.
Well, we might believe that if he had managed, once, to tell the truth to the Tribunal investigating his affairs.
Sure, it has not found evidence that he took money from the businessman Owen O'Callaghan. And that was the allegation which led to the Tribunal being set up.
But what it has found is vast sums of money in numerous accounts, in various currencies, amounts Bertie Ahern has failed to explain.
Bertie Ahern. What a legacy he will leave.
He has overseen the creation of vast wealth in Ireland during his term as Taoiseach. Sadly, most of it is concentrated in a very few hands.
We are still short of schools and have many, many schools in appalling condition.
The health service is a farce, a dangerous farce top heavy with administrators and short of front line staff not to mention equipment and facilities.
Crime is rampant, despite what Bertie Ahern says. We are short of prison spaces and of policemen.
And our heritage is being bulldozed, not to build a road to ease the lot of commuters, but to open up land for development.
In most countries, a site such as Tara would be treasured.
But then, Bertie Ahern has often talked about his admiration for the Chinese way of doing things. "Up and over, without all the public consultation," was more or less how he put it on one occasion.
There is no value placed on culture in Ireland any more.
There is little or no value placed on religion of any kind.
There is no value placed on honesty, decency or generosity.
If I was younger, I think I'd be off.
As it is, many of our young find the place distasteful.
And we're going to lose them.

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Monday, March 10, 2008

The Peasants Will Soon Be Revolting

Bertie opens Dublin Airport's 'too little too late' Pier D. He'll never have to use it.

Did you ever notice, that when a factory or big new company opens up, there's always a politician on hand to do the official ribbon cutting and to, essentially, take the credit?
Did you ever notice, that when a new piece of infrastructure is opened, there's always a politician right at the front of the photograph to, essentially, take the credit?
Did you ever notice, that when a new school or hospital is opened, there's always a politician there, grinning at everyone and shaking hands and, essentially, taking the credit?
But if you noticed all that, did you also noticed, that when a factory or big employer closes down, the politicians aren't to be seen?

Did you notice that, when a new road ends up being a disaster, jammed with traffic morning, noon and night, the politicians have disappeared?
And did you notice that, when the new school becomes overcrowded and when the A&E in the new hospital becomes full of patients on trolleys, the politician is elsewhere?
Right now, things are pretty much going down the toilet in Ireland.
While I never, ever, liked those who talked the economy down when things were a bit better than they are now, the huge rise in unemployment cannot be denied.
The virtual collapse of the housing market is there for all to see.
The lack of money is apparent everywhere.
And there is an undeniable sense of foreboding.
So. What are the politicians doing?
Essentially, shag all. Not a thing. Diddly squat. Nada. Rien. Faic.
Well, that's not quite right.
What they're doing is telling the rest of us that everything's fine and dandy. It's not as bad as it looks. Our 'essentials' (sounds like underwear to me) are strong. We're still outperforming Burkina Faso and Chad, or something. And that makes it all grand.
And, in fairness to them, from where they're sitting, on the fat backsides earning vast sums of money, claiming enormous unjustifiable expenses, getting chauffeured around the place at our expense and going home in the evening in the full knowledge that, unlike everyone else in the country, they qualify for a pension after not too many weeks in the job, things are fine and dandy.
You know, we studied history in school and often wondered what it was that prompted people to start revolutions.
I hope, that in a hundred years time, someone reads this, so they'll know why ours began.

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