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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