I see the UN’s 2005 Human Development report says that Ireland is the second richest country in the world, after Japan.
I see. The second richest country in the world. Isn’t that amazing? Richer than the US. Richer than Australia. Richer than Canada. Richer than Germany. Denmark. Sweden. France.
Wonderful. I felt a lot better about myself after hearing that Ireland is the world’s second wealthiest country. In fact, I felt so good that I started listing out the areas where we’re wealthier than everybody else.
I suppose in such a wealthy country, you’d expect to see a comprehensive and universally available healthcare system. Wouldn’t that be reasonable? Of course, and don’t you know, we have the second best healthcare system in the world, too, don’t we? Better than France, Germany, Australia, Sweden and Canada. Of course we do. Nobody is on a waiting list to get onto a waiting list and nobody ever has to wait on a trolley for treatment. There’s universal access to care for the elderly, if they need it, and ability to pay is never an issue in such a wealthy country.
Good. Now we’re on a roll. Education, I suppose would have to be up there too. In such a rich country, you’d expect to see the best of facilities: high-quality school buildings, sports facilities, a swimming-pool in every school, with a high emphasis on physical fitness. Yep! That would be Ireland right enough. Now, I know the report says Ireland has 22.6% illiteracy, but that must be some mistake, so we’ll just skip over it.
What about infrastructure? Well, I was in Prague recently, the capital of one of Europe’s less affluent countries, and they had a simply wonderful public transport system that runs on time and costs very little. And you would imagine that a country like Ireland, so much richer than them, would have a public transport system beyond compare. And we have, don’t we? Well, don’t we?
Roads? Oh don’t talk to me about the super-highways that link our magnificent cities. Proof, if any was needed, of our incredible wealth.
Childcare is simply the best in the world. Everyone has access to affordable and well-run pre-school childcare, funded by a far-seeing government that understands the value of early education. That’s also the reason why we have no criminals, no violence and no anti-social behaviour in Ireland.
Then there are all those community facilities, like municipal sports centres to promote health and wellbeing among the people. There’s our tradition of high-quality cuisine, which is why we have so many open-air markets where our discerning people select their fresh vegetables daily.
And of course, the greatest wealth-indicator of all: time. I see how much spare time people have these days, so much freedom to look after their families because, as you know, there’s almost no commuting in Ireland: it just isn’t necessary in such a wealthy country.
And then I wondered, what exactly is this wealth? Well, it seems to be based on a massive growth in the value of former Council houses. Now this is obviously a lot better than stupid old deposits of copper and gold like the impoverished Australians have, and I can easily see how that would make us wealthier than them. After all, isn’t a former corpo house for half a million in Raheny a lot more desirable than a villa for half the price, with a swimming pool, in Australia or California?
Course it is!!
See us? Wealthy!