Wednesday, November 21, 2007

A True Low

It has been a dark few months for Irish politics, I cannot imagine a time where a government was so openly arrogant and unaccountable to its people. Our Dail and its Ministers now operate without any accountability, with statements and reports deflecting blame and events have now reached a true nadir where for the second time in recent history a group of women have had their lives put at risk due to intolerable management and resourcing of our health system. Obligations to act in the interests of our citizens and their welfare are forgotten, with any action being delayed or no response coming at all.

In 2002 a phone call was made from Bobby Molloys office, entirely inappropriately making contact with a judge prior to sentencing in a rape trial. Whether the call was made by a member of staff or Molloy is unknown, what did happen is the TD took responsibility for the actions of his office and resigned. Now however we live in a State where Ministers can have knowledge of years of mishandling the nursing home fees of the elderly, can preside over a health system that misdiagnoses people and operate within a department where a business decision made by a state asset is never discussed, without ever considering their obligations and the integrity of the portfolios they represent. So too the leader of the State can openly lie to the nation, presenting half baked stories and have the audacity to take a tone with questioners at a Tribunal as he cobbles together pathetic snap shots.

Our country has inaccurate electoral registers, with an infeasibly high turn out in our last general election. Every imaginable social problem riddles our streets stemming from poor access to education and an imbalance in opportunities for all. The gap between the rich and poor is cavernous and all the while huge infrastructural projects and budget overspends have squandered the reserves of an ageing populace. To use the term waste management is a farce, so too our most beautiful country is being ripped apart by an insatiable need to build properties that we can't afford, with planning lumbered by bureaucracy and localism and economic management and the lowest rate of corporate tax in Europe failing to sustain industry, escalating inflation and diminshing tourism, our greatest asset.

Who are we to look to for a true alternative? Ideas are lost to our politicians. The opposition parties have essentially never led the State in a time of prosperity and have failed to capitalise on open goals such as our Taoiseachs lecherous behaviour - therefore neither good at spin or substance. Writing this piece has been a deflating experience, whatever the perspective, taking a large scale view of the state of the nation or looking to the quality of life of individuals, relaity paints a sorry picture.

4 comments:

Simon said...

To use the term waste management is a farce, so too our most beautiful country is being ripped apart by an insatiable need to build properties that we can't afford,

So where are people going to live. We are still in the time when Ireland's baby boomers are settling down. Where are they going to live? We have the highest population since the mid-19 hundreds so there is not a supply of housing waiting to be inherited and we have 410 units of housing per 1000 which is below the EU average of 465 per 1000. Where do you think people should live two families to a room? We need more houses simple as.

capitalise on open goals such as our Taoiseachs lecherous behaviour
They went for it and even Pat Rabbitte said it backfired on them the reason being people did not think the same way as you do that the behaviour was bad. They voted Bertie back in. That is what a democracy is. In the words of Mick Jagger, You can't always get what you want.

diminshing tourism,
Where you getting that one from. Tourist numbers increased by about 4% last year.

the reserves of an ageing populace
We have the youngest population in Europe and the only country in Europe approaching the birthrate that stabilities population growth. So if you think we are bad you must think the rest of Europe are all zombies

capitalise on open goals such as our Taoiseachs lecherous behaviour
They went for it and even Pat Rabbitte said it backfired on them the reason being people did not think the same way as you do that the behaviour was bad. They voted Bertie back in. That is what a democracy is. In the words of Mick Jagger, You can't always get what you want.

Tuathal said...

You're absolutely right CK, it's the Greens fault.

As you point out, as recently as 2002, aptly demonstrated by the Molloy case, our political landscape was a model of dignity, integrity and accountability.And what's the difference between then and now?

That's right, the Greens have moved from opposition and into power and in doing so sparked a typhoon of mismanagement, arrogance and unaccountability.

And as for our venerable leader! Bertie Ahern is the most dishonest, corrupt and arrogant leader this country has had this century.

I thank God that my parents raised their family in the 80's and escaped all the arrogance and general hardship we put up with today.

CK said...

Tuathal I will take the one half coherent point you made first. Yes we had arrogant leadership in the 80s, the benchmark in arrogant abuse of power, that Tribunals have been investigating for 10 years now. Why should I tolerate and not make more demands of public officials with this corruption exposed and moves to improve political ethics.

Simon, I wrote without basis that tourism figures are being diminished, though I do contend the increasing cost of living in Ireland and regional imbalance in development and decisions not to intervene in Shannon does not bode well for safeguarding tourism in areas in the West where it is vital.

As for the property issue, my point was there is poor planning, the insatiable construction is not coupled with proper infrastructure, and housing is expensive, 1/6 of private dwellings are empty and only today the Irish Times reported there are 10, 000 empty apartments in Dublin.

Bertie Ahern gave a version of events in an interview with Brian Dobson that were clearly contradicted in his Tribunal testimony, one which was not heard until the election and his popularity has dropped since. I feel the one man promotion machine he was for his party would not be as successful now.

Tuathal said...

Ck,

I take it then that you also spoke without basis when you said that "I cannot imagine a time where a government was so openly arrogant and unaccountable to its people."?

"Why should I tolerate and not make more demands of public officials with this corruption exposed and moves to improve political ethics."

By all means demand more of our elected public officials. However our public officials are little more than a mirror image of the people who gave them the job, us, so whilst your at it demand more of the Irish people too.

The Irish public are an arrogant, lazy bunch who accept no accountability for anything, so why should our elected officials be any different?

We sit back and moan without ever bothering to take a little responsibility on ourselves. We pass the buck, we ring Joe Duffy, we complain.

We have it easier now than we ever have had it. And are we happier? Of course not, we're miserable. Each of us is caught up in a "Me Fein" mentality where everything is about me and my lot and to hell with the bigger picture (see the hoo haw over the closer of local hospitals to make way for centres of excellence). As your post aptly demonstrates, we think the country is falling down around our ears and its all our (3 times in a row now) elected Governments fault.

There has never been a better time to live in this country...ever.

Your post was hastily written and clearly your own gut feeling was mistaken for fact (something of an epidemic in Ireland today.) It was an exercise in High-Horsedom.