Riddle me this: how do you know if something is located in Dublin?
Simple: it’ll have the word National at the start of its name.
The National Gallery.
The National Aquatic Centre.
The national broadcasting station.
The National College of Art and Design.
The National Museum.
The National Theatre.
The National Maternity Hospital.
The National Botanic Gardens.
The National Library.
The National Rehabilitation Hospital.
The National Concert Hall.
Then, of course, there are the International Financial Services Centre, the Central Bank, the headquarters of the GAA, the IRFU and the FAI.
Is anything national located anywhere else in the nation?
Well, at a rough approximation, no. There isn’t
Now, people will tell you there’s a very good reason for locating every significant public facility, every significant medical, academic and sporting facility in Dublin. A third of the population lives there, you’ll be told. (Which of course means that two thirds don’t, but we’ll leave that to one side for a minute.) Every day, more and more people are piling into Dublin, placing more and more strain on resources, and that’s why we have to locate everything in Dublin.
But of course, if you build it, they will come. And if you insist on having a spatial strategy that places all the nations’s resources in one single urban area, it’s bound to swell up like a rotten pumpkin, isn’t it? Dublin now occupies the same land area as Los Angeles, if you can believe that, and this sprawl has eaten up more than half of the entire budget for Ireland’s transport needs for the next five years. More, in fact, when you see that all of the motorways are also laid out so as to service Dublin by radiating out from it to the other towns and cities of the nation. In addition to that, all the railway lines do the same thing.
Is this insane or what?
Combine this with a dangerously parochial and condescending attitude towards the rest of us, among Dublin-based politicians, journalists, judiciary and all the usual smuggorati of any capital city, and you have a very worrying recipe for social exclusion.
It’s obvious that the government couldn’t give a toss about any Irish citizen who lives in the Western half of this country. We exist solely to provide votes and taxes. Our local infrastructure and industry are irrelevant to central government, as is the quality of our lives, and the current Shannon debacle is only a single example among many.
We don’t matter: it’s that simple as you can see by reading any of the dismissive comments on any of the discussion boards.
So where does that leave us?
Well, I have a suggestion.
For years, we’ve seen in Ireland how a single-issue candidate is courted by governments, fawned and scraped over. Placated and bribed. Despised, maybe, but nevertheless indulged.
Good. If it can work for one, it can work for many.
Since the Dublin establishment offer us a big, cheery Fuck You!! let’s offer them one back.
Let’s establish a Mid-West party and let’s fling out all of the miserable self-serving crooked government-party politicians who offered us that cheery Fuck You!! as they headed off to shove their snouts into the Dublin gravy trough. The same miserable fuckers who are too cowardly now to stand up and say no, on behalf of their constituents. Who, if they had the slightest hint of guts, would make Shannon Airport a general election issue and vote against their own slithery leader if necessary.
For years, we’ve had crooked Fianna Fail governments propped up by every sort of goose-milker and heron-strangler. I wonder what they’d do if they saw half a dozen of their precious local representatives flung out of office for their feebleness, and replaced by half a dozen angry people? Let’s establish a shamelessly selfish Mid-West Party, dedicated to bringing home as much of the cash as we can force from the government, for infrastructural, health, cultural and educational projects here.
If they want a new East-West repartitioning of Ireland, let’s give it to them.
If naked political greed can bring so much benefit to the East coast, well, two can play that game.