Rotten to the core


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This is my editorial from 28 October.

What must WT Cosgrave think now of his errant grandson?

Allegedly backhanding a few bob to pollute the state his grandfather helped

create, and shamed, almost twenty years later, with the ignominy of a corruption charge.

What must deValera think of his grandson the minister?

Éamon Ó Cuív, Minister for ‘Social Protection’ at a time when there is everything on the agenda but protection, and nothing on the horizon for so many but pain and deprivation.

What, now, would Michael Collins – one of Ireland’s greatest, we deigned to admit last week – think of the country he founded and its descent into corruption, bile and depression?

The bitter pill we are swallowing now is a sore lesson to a young country. For we are, still, a young country, in the scheme of things.

That our rulers today are a mere two generations from our founding fathers, but so many aeons away in nobility – perceived, at least – and patriotism, is a testament to the youth and immaturity of this country.

The rot at the core of this adolescent country is not confined to one party or to one political colour.

Cosgrave, with his eagerness for a brown envelope in the bar of Buswells, is only shades away from our Celtic Tiger hero Bertie, another gleeful envelope recipient who now spits schadenfreude from a kitchen storage facility, showcasing a distinct lack of statesmanlike qualities.

And how far, again, is either of these two from the pandering of any of our idea-less and ideology-less politicians, who can see no further than their own election?

The Labour Party, which has vowed to protect the middle classes if it reaches Government. Fine Gael, which has distanced itself from talk of a property tax which might affect those who at least have the benefit of a roof over their heads. Fianna Fáil, whose profligacy with the fruits of the country’s labours has landed us in the mire.

And us, because you get what you vote for.

Election promises are never really any more than that, but when election promises from a candidate seeking a national post include fixing the light outside your front door, and ensuring that homeless shelter won’t be built near your home, something should sound a warning note.

Even the lies display no ideology, no nobility, no vision. But you play to your audience.

The national interest is all our interest, and it’s not just the politicians who don’t see it that way. If only they’d listened a bit harder to their grandparents’ old war stories.

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2 comments

  1. It’s a sad state of affairs. I suppose to the heroes of yesteryear while we’ve made a lot of mistakes, they are all our own mistakes. As they go in the aftermath of turbulence in founding a country, while we could have done much better, particularly in terms of social justice and watching Northern Ireland implode, we could also have done much worse too.

    Time for an overhaul of the system perhaps. We both know it’s not Johnny TD’s job to fix potholes, but that’s how people get elected.

  2. I think it’s definitely time for a system overhaul – I just hope that whichever party is the next Government can have the guts to do just that.
    There was a very interesting discussion on the radio on Friday about overhauling our parliamentary & executive systems to allow proper checks & balances rather than concentrating all power in the Cabinet, but I don’t see any party mad to do it as it would reduce the power of whoever brought it in. Subject of another blog post I think!

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