Ireland this St Patrick’s Day: A report

Instead of Tuam babies, can we call it state genocide of the infants of single mothers from the early 20s to the 1990s? 

Something that doesn’t make us sound like we still talk about shockin’ holy saints and raise funds for the Knights of Columbanus Biafran Blight appeal for the big-bellied black babbies while we feed potato peels to the piglets under our arms.

And don’t we show a great deal more agreement with the centre right internationally than we need to? We’re a small country, with the reputation of a banana republic.

Start acting like it!

We should be more like Iceland. It’s not all rosy in Iceland right now. But do they have a homelessness crisis? No. How is their healthcare? It’s still all better than ours. 

Point out the articles about how people are poverty-stricken in Iceland, with their cars that they still own, their healthcare, education and housing. Poverty is relative. 5000 homeless in Iceland out of a quarter or third of a million would be passed off elsewhere as a margin-of-error glitch.
Taxes are crazy-high in Iceland. But they’re still better off. If they are made redundant, they are cushioned by the system.

We’re small enough to do stuff on our own, to show some initiative, and not to be disgracing ourselves in the process. If we do disgrace ourselves – if we had stood up to bondholders and it all went to shit, for instance – we try something else. And we do it quickly, because we can.

Even if it’s mimicking whatever Dutch model or Swedish model or pilfering whatever policies can be found across the world that work. Maintaining of the status quo from this government is disappointing.
Look at how FG coalitions reacted to Veronica Guerin (setting up CAB) or their economic policy (lowering corporate tax) in previous governments. They were culture-changing measures.
And look at the government in these last two Dails, waiting for the boat to upright itself. Setting up portokabins for €80,000 a unit when it had been €5000 the previous week, or whatever it is.
The last six months, Minister Coveney has simply rattled off the same old stats on RTE tv at ten pm every couple of weeks. 
“Things are coming on stream!” 
He’ll be there saying “The crisis is nearly as bad in Cork.” 
But what did you do the day AFTER you told us that, Simon?
You’re in the process of introducing a scheme that might encourage a landlord to reduce the number of farts from his tenants? It’s been sent for independent review to the Dail committee and a mandarin ordinge.
Why DIDN’T you tax the fallow zoned land two or five or ten years ago?
Why can’t you do it tomorrow?
Why did you let the Irish banks keep interest rates high when they were low in Frankfurt? Coz they needed the money?
There are houses available NOW. You basically OWN them. The banks OWE the government. Let people INTO the houses. 
The toilets won’t flush? Pay someone €15 an hour to pour water into the cistern. Set up some kind of generator. 
It will cost less than the hotel accommodation.
Markets dictates XY and Z. Well, the market was artificially inflated by corporate tax rates that the EU and US suggested were anti-competitive and turned us into a tax haven and a bunch of gangster economists and worse. 
Back in the day, it took a few hours to set up a hedge fund at the IFSC. 
It took days in The City or on Wall Street. It wasn’t because the Irish government had streamlined the whole process with amazing mathematical skills and prowess. 

It was coz in Ireland, under a No Smoking sign at the DART station, you’re often likely to find a second little message that says “Keep it to yourself.” 

The late Terry Wogan talked about how somebody from the Irish embassy phoned his agent and asked him to attend an event at the embassy. He asked if he could be there at 7pm. The agent said “No. You bring a car to pick up Mr. Wogan at the BBC. Because that’s how it works.”
They ask if Mr. Wogan can be outside the tv centre at 6.30. The agent says “No. The driver parks the car and goes in and asks for Mr. Wogan at the front desk.”
Terry goes to the event. As he’s entering the building, he’s handed a programme, where it says that the event is being compered by Terry Wogan.
That’s the culture we have, and to sit and do nothing when we can do something even on-the-fly, seat-of-the-pants, with a nudge and a wink IN A GOOD WAY – coz it can be GOOD as well as BAD – is no more than silly lip service to broader centrist dogma.

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