What has Irish independence given us?

 Posted by on August 8, 2009  Add comments
Aug 082009
 

What would it be like if Ireland had never left the United Kingdom?  What benefits did independence bring us?  Did we use it wisely?

Let’s see now.

Maybe we should start with our language.  Free from the yoke of foreign oppression did we express our cultural individuality and restore Irish to its position as the everyday means of communication throughout the land?

Eh, no, actually.  The majority of our people leave school after 12 years tuition without a word of the language.  Since 1922, the Gaeltacht areas have steadily reduced to a tiny fraction of the area they covered under British rule.

So, no marks for us there.

What about healthcare?  Well, not that either I’m afraid.  In Ireland we pay through the nose for all medical treatment, if we can get access to it at all.  Our hospital consultants get €150,000 more than their British counterparts.  You’ll pay your GP a large amount of cash for a 30-second chat.  We pay ten times as much for prescription medicine because the government has a cosy deal with the pharmaceutical companies keeping generic medicines to a minimum.  People routinely lie, and die,  on  trolleys in hospital  corridors.

Hmm.  Not great there either, unfortunately.

What about education?

Well, most schools have inadequate staffing levels, soon to be cut further, and have primitive  sports facilities if any at all.  Many schools operate from  crumbling Portakabins and rely on parents’ donations to survive.  The education system is in crisis.

I might mention another unique feature of independence: the fact that most of our schools and many of our hospitals are owned and controlled by the Catholic church.  This is a blessing we’d have been deprived of if we had remained part of the UK.

Of course, we’d also have missed out on the rape and brutalisation inflicted on tens of thousands of children in the industrial schools, because of course those heathen British didn’t see fit to put religious orders in charge of such things, though admittedly it was a British government that gave them control of the schools in the nineteenth century.

We’d also have missed out on the wonderful Magdalene laundries, in which thousands of young Irish women were imprisoned and enslaved by nuns for committing the unspeakable crime of becoming pregnant.  We wouldn’t have had that but for independence.

We have a government that gave a billion euros of your money to protect the religious orders from the consequences of their actions in abusing children.  We’re giving another billion euros to build a children’s hospital in the wrong place, and hand it over to the Sisters of Mercy — one of the most prominent of the abusing orders.

Maybe I might just add that in all religious-owned schools and hospitals, the equality laws are suspended.  You can be sacked for holding the wrong religious views, or for being an atheist, even though the State pays all running costs and salaries.

What else did we get from independence?  Well, we got a prohibition on contraception that lasted for fifty years at the insistence of the Catholic church.  We got a ban on divorce that was only overturned in 1995.  We got a ban on almost every respected writer in the world, again taking fifty years to overturn.  Last month we got a new law making it a crime to offend somebody’s religious opinions.

We got a constitution dictated by an archbishop.  We stayed neutral in the face of unspeakable evil as the rest of Europe resisted Hitler, though thousands of our men made their own minds up and enlisted in the British and US armies.  We remained neutral in pusillanimous self-righteousness, earning the status of pariah nation, which was fiurther exacerbated by de Valera’s visit to the German embassy to express condolences on Hitler’s death.

But let’s have another look at how we are now.  What about public transport?  Oh wait.  There isn’t any. No marks there, then.

Energy resources?  Well, not that either, I’m afraid.  We’re giving our gas away free to a foreign company, and we have done little or nothing to promote wind power or wave power despite the waffle we hear from the Green Party.

Communications?  No.  We sold our national telecommunications network to an asset stripper and now have to rely on fraudband.  What’s more, we have a minister for communications who has no idea what any of it means.

We have what seems like dozens of Tribunals to inquire into political corruption, police corruption, planning corruption, and in each of these we pay lawyers €2,500 a day — A DAY!! — to ask questions or in one instance to operate a projector.

What about our electoral system, though?  Isn’t that a great thing, and much better than the British way?

Well, I suppose the single transferable vote is a great system as long as we’re happy with members of parliament who behave like county councillors.  Ministers afraid to miss a funeral in their constituencies.  Party colleagues stabbing each other in the back.  A ruling political party owned body and soul by builders and property speculators.

We have 166 members of parliament to represent 4 million people, and most of these elected representatives have no skills, educational background or specialised knowledge in any area except political survival and pulling strokes.  We elect idiots to our national parliament.  We have a prime minister in this tiny land who’s paid more than the president of the USA.

We have had a succession of people leading this country who aren’t fit to stack shelves.

Since 1922, we have had constant emigration apart from a a period in the Sixties, and more recently, over the past decade.  Apart from that, we have not been able to sustain our population, and now our young people are on the move again, thanks to the incompetence and corruption of our political leaders.

And now, in this independent Ireland, we face the prospect of our government transferring €90 billion from the taxpayer to the wealthy bondholders who took a risk on Irish banks.  Irish citizens will be forced to suffer for three generations so that a small group of  billionaires don’t lose on their bets.

Only this week, we saw the spectacle of a publicly-elected representative, Martin Ferris, greeting two killers on their release from jail, having done ten years for killing a policeman, Jerry McCabe, in the course of  robbery.  The killers are out and free, while  Jerry McCabe’s family face a life sentence.  Martin Ferris belongs to a party that supported decades of killing in pursuit of the independence ideal.

Give me something to cling to here.  Please.

But don’t tell me we regained our pride by going independent.  Pride is not a word in large supply these days.
___________________
Elsewhere

Book burning in 1924 Ireland
Gavin Sheridan

___________________

Also on Bock:

A Christian Brother’s Prayer

Shell steals Irish economy

Blasphemous libel

Eucharistic Congress for Dublin 2012

Irish government ministers

Child Abuse Commission

Catholic bishops and Irish education system

Taxpayers’ money protects clerical abusers

Eileen Flynn Dies

Brady gets red hat

  110 Responses to “What has Irish independence given us?”

Comments (109) Pingbacks (1)
  1.  

    it’s a thing i’ve been thinking about for sometime, the state is very young and maybe thats the excuse for all the errors and mismanagement – is the situation we are in a reflection on us as a whole , food for thought ….

  2.  

    Sad…… but true.

    Hopefully Nama will be the straw that breaks the camel’s back. Let the uprising begin!

  3.  

    Actually, the irony is that Ireland was one of the first modern democracies in Europe. Don’t forget that Europe up until the 1920’s was carved up amongst large empires.

  4.  

    Whitewash — Where will an uprising take us? Under the control of even worse crooks?

    John — The post isn’t about democracy. It’s about independence. Could you outline some of the the tangible benefits that improved people’s lives as a result of independence?

  5.  

    the festering pit we live in began with the murder of Collins by the catholic fundamentalist nut-job de Velera,and we’ve never been independant,never..

  6.  

    Independence takes time Bock. As Savage said, the state is very young yet. Independence isn’t just the act of declaring it, independence is earned over the decades through hard experience, enough hard experience where the population finally is forced to do something about it. No one ever knows when that point will be or how it will occur, violently, peacefully or a little of both. Usually a little of both.

    Spend a bit of time looking into the history of the Untied States and you’ll see how long it took us to get our act together and what we had to go through to do it. Our history isn’t exactly rosy to say the least. Sure, the U.S. now is fairly huge compared to Ireland but it certainly didn’t start out that way. Besides, we’ve had significantly over 200 years to get our shit together in this ever changing world and we’re still learning (and still making mistakes while we’re at it but that’s the way the learning process works most times).

    It’s still a bitch having to live through the first several decades of it though. Ireland will come into her own if her people want it badly enough.

  7.  

    Most of what you describe was well in train before 1921. And to me that is the tragedy, that the status quo anti defined the first 80 years.
    At the moment we are back to the situation of the 1900’s in our attitudes. And where the WW 1, caused vast movements in other European countries in the social sphere, here there was a retrenchment far beyond anything except maybe a nadir to an zenith elsewhere.

  8.  

    Well, we don’t have the option of sending all our sociopathic male 20-somethings to the British Army any more, wouldn’t it be a pity if all the Collopys, Keanes, Dundons, McDonaghs and Mullanes were sent off to Helmand Provibce?
    And all our policemen are stationed twenty miles or less from where they came from, so they can take all their family friendships and social relationships into account before ‘going formal’ on anything.
    And our local government system is utterly disfunctional, and merely acts as a vehicle for self-promotion for mediocre funeral-goers who have the eye on bigger things.
    And our roads system panders to farmers who treat rural roads like farm passages, and pay derisory taxes on tractors and diesel.
    Ando our housing system panders to builders who buy golf outings for housing officials so that scumbags cane be housed alongside mortgage-payers.
    And the Bundesbank decides every Thursday morning over coffee how much we are all going to pay.
    And European politicians iin Brussels ensure that the regulatory regime is the same across Europe so that no big manufacturing concern would be bothered moving here.

    Apart from that, it’s grand

    Nuts

  9.  

    Kirk M, thank you for that flowery and somewhat condescending pep talk. You’d think I’d feel better after it but I’m afraid that you and John are mistaken. Ireland has never been a democracy. We live in a dictatorship. Our constitution is largely borrowed from the Polish one and for a long long time, successive governments got in with votes from people who had been long dead, giving rise to the phrase, everyone in the graveyard votes the same. This isn’t some conspiracy theory, this is fact. Successive Irish governments have dined and grown fat on our sweat and frustration while cultivating a respect of the wealthy. We have lived with greed and corruption since the formation of the republic so don’t labour under the misconception that we were ever a democracy.

  10.  

    Actually, Kirk, while I’m at it, the last country we should be learning from is America. For the past few decades you’ve been the most cleverly disguised police state. You’ve finally got a guy who is making the tough decisions and being quite transparent about it and his approval rating is in the toilet. Ridiculous gun laws and a history steeped in blood and violence – a history that is still being written. The Patriot Act which is unbelievably similar to Hitler’s enabling act. These things hardly scream democracy.

  11.  

    I agree with everthing you’ve said here Bock,it’s blatantly obvious,but I personally can not say I would be proud to be a subject of that ex imperial monarchy.I most certainly am proud to be Irish no matter what shower of cunts are running the show.Yes there are positives and negatives to our sovereignty and without doubt the shit that’s happened here in the last 100 years are a stain on our national consciousness and morale and the negatives are far outweighing the positives at this moment in time.We need to stop this social and political apathy that has rotted our nation to the core,if we as a people can get rid of one corrupt ruling power we can surely do it again,time for a new set of rules with an educated political party(surely that’s possible?)and about time people copped the fuck on at the ballot box.

  12.  

    I left Ireland in the mid-80s, around the time of the so-called “pro-life” amendment and the disastrous first divorce referendum. I remember feeling a bit proud of Ireland in the nineties – wow, my country seems to be getting its shit together (thanks, among other things, to the European money coming from the structural funds), who would have thought it? Visiting in recent years I became increasingly bemused at the delusions of grandeur I was meeting – a memory of a taxi-driver boasting about how he had sold a small semi-detached in Walkinstown and built a mansion somewhere in Cavan on the proceeds (with cash over to spare) and was commuting to Dublin daily comes to mind.
    Looking at it from abroad, Ireland succeeded in ridding itself of a lot of stultifying historical cultural ballast (a process still going on) since the late eighties. The problem is that it (we/they?) failed to substitute it with anything really worthwhile. The bill has now been presented and the realisation is dawning – a wonderful chance has been frittered away.

  13.  

    You answered your own question BOCK and I concur.

    We got NAMA

  14.  

    You could always ask the Brits to take you back !!

  15.  

    Bock – for the most part, a well observed post.
    But – what are you, personally, going to do to help to set Ireland on the right path? One of the worst aspects of the Irish people is a tendancy to moan and to sit back. This has to stop.

    I think we all have to do more than point things out and moan – we have to become active in society, whether that’s politically active, socially active, or active within our own communities.

  16.  

    What has Independence (Romans) ever done for us, I ask you…..

  17.  

    Tom — It’s interesting that you see it as moaning. That isn’t how I look at it.

  18.  

    Bock – I referred to it as moaning because I keep hearing the same people (referring to friends and family) being critical of something – repeatedly so – but failing to do anything. There is only criticism, no action.
    I still think my point stand – people have to do something. It’s not enough to criticise and do nothing, which is what many people I know do.

  19.  

    Fair enough. I’m only asking the question. irish independence is one of those sacred cows that deserves to be questioned, which is what I’m trying to do. We’ve been fed bullshit for too long and it’s about time we addressed reality.

  20.  

    Great post, Bock.

    I left in 93/94, and have only been back occasionally for a short holiday (last one was 1998). I stay in touch through the internet. The idiotically titled “Celtic Tiger” years missed me. Ironically, it seems that the country is heading right back to the “good old days” – so if I ever get back it’ll be almost as if nothing happened…strange.

    I used to work in the Don Bluth animation studio on Conyngham Rd, across from the Phoenix Park. That place was an emigration mill: we’d work for 100 – 200 quid a week, for a couple of years, get trained, then get out. When I won a Green card, I moved to LA and never looked back.

    There’s a decent little Irish community in LA now, many former Bluth people, who hang around Burbank/Glendale and still know one another. Occasionally, a couple will move home – but most can’t hack it and come back to the States. Most still have that emigrant dream of going home – but home changes (or doesn’t change enough) – and the return is all but impossible. In the 19th century, return was physically difficult, but for many of us it’s psychologically impossible. You can never go home…

    When I imagine a return, a few moments of logistics usually kill the idea. 2 years ago I moved to Portland Oregon – a great little city – about the size of Dubin, but without the crap. I share a house 3 miles from the city center (an old craftsman with a basement); rent: $450 a month – my total cost of living is $800 a month. Try doing that in the center of Dublin (without slumming it). I could have slummed it and got even closer to town, but the neighbourhood is nice.

    The Rip off mentality of Irish businesses is disgusting. That hasn’t changed a whit in 15 years. They’ll never learn, will they?

    Watching the clowns in the Irish political sphere (all parties) is sickening. “Nobody could have known….”; “We are where we are…”; “It’s all about the optics….”; “Ireland, Inc……”

    The whole cabal need to be rolled or dragged offstage. Gurriers, shysters and tricksters – incompetence on a scale that would be comic if it weren’t killing people in hospitals. Biffo Cowen making more money than Obama? WTF? This is a country with the population of Manchester, play-acting at being a nation state, and failing.

    The coallition system is obscene. I still expect FF to rule after the next election. If they can make just over 50 seats, and Labour 30ish, they’ll be close enough to stitch something together. It never, never ends.

    Ireland needs some kind of list system – that way, parties can select candidates that won’t have to spend their time kissing babies and attending funerals. What a ghastly, ghoulish system. A nation ruled by zombies indeed (harney, lenihan, gormley, coughlan, et al).

    I don’t know how you stand looking at them.

  21.  

    Well there you go. Where do you think all this is heading?

  22.  

    We’ve been fed bullshit for too long and it’s about time we addressed reality.

    I agree. So what, on a personal level, are you going to do about it? :-)

  23.  

    Well, to be optimistic, it gives us a starting point. Your fairly depressing list of our failures (and they are OURS, we elect the clowns who we all give out about), hold a mirror up to us. We can see our own failings if we choose, and try and change, as opposed to seeing a country ruled by force from a foreign invader.

    The fools who vote for the status quo, because they get a few crumbs from the table, while not realising they could have a fair slice of the loaf if they voted wisely, are the people who need their eyes opened, they are the ones with the mentality that gives rise to most of the failings you write about. They are the root of the problem. How to change them? Well thats the hard bit. Reading Dermot above, I think returning emigrants would be a great way of killing off or at least diluting the mentality I’m talking about. Better again, if we gave emigrants the vote, like a lot of countries do, we’d probably solve our problems fairly quickly.

  24.  

    This is what I’m doing about it , Tom. This thing that you’re reading right now where I try to put issues in front of anyone who’ll listen. Now, if you’d like me to stop doing this and do something else instead, you’ll have to tell me what you think I’d be better at.

  25.  

    Bock – thanks for the post, and I think this kind of straight shooting is actually ‘doing something’ about it. Too long we have hidden behind mammy’s apron and not calling things for what they are… Incite some level of realisation among the ordinary people of Ireland, and you never know, it might even spark a little bit of outrage come election time, or when they pass around the donation plate on a Sunday…

    To Savage & Kirk, with all due respect ot your suggestions that Ireland is still only young and learning, I have lived in Singapore for the past 10 years on and off, and while it is considerably younger than Ireland (44 years old yesterday), with zero natural resources, it is an economic powerhouse, one of the least corrupt places to conduct business – sure you feel like you live someplace where there is a high level of rules and enforcement, but you know something? I would take it over where Ireland is heading to, any day of the week, and twice on Sundays… and believe it or not, it saddens me to have to say that about Ireland.

  26.  

    Irish independence has enabled us to choose to have our country run by a vary large crowd of overpaid incompetents with a constitution dictated by clergy many of whom are no better than the devil they claim to save us from. Maybe we should hand the country back to the Queen and apologize for the mess we made of it.

  27.  

    I do not think the british would take it back.The delusion in Ireland is that they were driven out by military force which is utter baloney they only lost a few hundred soldiers in the troubles here.Which is probably what they would have lost on a quiet morning in Flanders a few years previous.They packed up and left here out of a sense of frustration at ever being able to make anything of a country so backward, corrupt, priest ridden,and given to gombeen politics and business practices .I wonder how long it will be before the EU comes to the same conclusion

  28.  

    Atleast we dont have those British, to oppress / control our ugly, inbred, stupid runt

  29.  

    Bock, well, I hate to say it, but sitting at a PC and blogging about it doesn’t get very far with changing the status quo. I’ve done it for long enough myself. Getting involved offline is the best way to try and do something. You’re intelligent and articulate, so how about some form of activism? Political activism, voluntary or social activism with a charity, something like that.

  30.  

    Tom– If you’d like to express an opinion on the contents of this post, I’d appreciate it.

  31.  

    Hey Tom, what exactly are you doing about it, besides berating someone who is doing something about it?

  32.  

    @ Bock”: “Well there you go. Where do you think all this is heading?”

    Be careful what you ask for – how long do you have? Seriously, I can tap out a very long screed if you’re interested…

  33.  

    You don’t need to. I can see exactly where it’s heading.

  34.  

    Bock, I already commented on the post – I said it was well observed for the most part, and it is. I would draw the line at the bit where the Constitution was dicatated by an Archbishop. It wasn’t. The vast majority of it was written by Dev and a group of civil servants well before McQuaid got his hands on it. The innately conservative aspects of it came from them – not from McQuaid, although certainly he agreed with it! You can see more by reading this book – The Making of the Irish Constitution, published in 2007. Great book, and it has the original documents included.
    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Making-Irish-Constitution-1937/dp/1856355616/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1249948582&sr=8-2

    But as I said, aside from that, I do agree with the post. I was actually present as an employee when Telecome was asset stripped, and it was so obvious that was what was happening at the time. Equipment and staff there one week, and then they were gone.

    Cap’n P –
    I’m active in my local Labour Party working to get honest and hard working councillors elected to change the local community. And so far, it’s going okay – the councillor for whom I acted as agent got elected in June, and is now working to address housing issues within the community – there are plenty of empty houses, and yet the councils social housing list is over-subscribed, so that’s what he’s working on at the moment..

    I’m also involved with the wider Labour Party in terms of policy – giving my views, debating on how best to change the society that we live in for the better – namely, getting control of it away from cozy cliques of politicians and developers, making sure that policies keep health and education services are well funded – and well provided for – we’re focusing on policy that puts unemployed members of the construction industry to work on public projects such as schools and hospitals.

    You don’t have to like the Labour Party, that’s grand – but at least I’m trying to do something to change a political system I despise.

    I’m also involved on a personal level trying to get dodgy rogue crises pregnancy-councelling agencies closed down, and the group I’m involved with are scheduled to make an appearance before a Dáil committee on healthcare before too much longer. We’re also working on doing a PR stunt to try and raise awareness about the morning after pill and contraceptives in general, which the group believes needs to be highlighted more.

    You don’t have to agree with my views on reproductive issues – but at least I’m trying to do something to change something I don’t like.

    What about you?

  35.  

    Given that the Labour Party is not currently in power, how are you changing things?

  36.  

    Putting it in a position to be in power. Or would that not be obvious?

  37.  

    No. It isn’t obvious. What are you doing to achieve that?

  38.  

    Well so far, I’ve helped to get a councillor elected for Labour, where one had never been elected before. Labour are governing that council now, which they never did before. FG and FF dominance over planning in the council area is finished now, which is only a good thing. The councillors that lost out on their seats did nothing for the area – local services were not done often enough when they were there – street cleaning, grass cutting, even garbage collection.

    As for Labour in general
    Gilmore gave a speech recently. Much of it is based on Labour policy. Education, banking, public sector reform – http://www.labour.ie/press/listing/12482039161784126.html

    Well, here’s Quinn calling for changes to the school patronage system. I’d be surprised if at least some of it isn’t done if / when Labour get elected to office. Isn’t that the sort of thing you talk about in your post?
    http://www.independent.ie/opinion/analysis/primary-school-system-has-to-change-with-the-times-1820297.html

    This is the kind of stuff I debate about within the party. When we decide on the policy that whatever the group think will work best, it goes to the Party Conference and becomes policy.
    http://www.labour.ie/conference2009/motions/

    I knew that saying I was active in Labour was going to get me some flak – grand. Not everyone is going to agree with it. You can take the piss or criticise if you want to, but I said it because I wanted to show that I was doing something beyond giving out on a weblog about “what are you doing apart from giving out”. Doing something is better than blogging about what should be done. Take the piss out of me (or Labour) if you wish, I don’t mind, but the point stands, at least I am doing something.

    What are you doing, other than blogging? Are you involved in an organsation – a political party, a sports organisation, a charity, anything? If you are, great – you’re doing something. If you’re not, I think you’d be an asset to whatever it was you were doing.

  39.  

    Well, first of all, this isn’t about me, but I think I’m doing the same thing as you: talking.

  40.  

    The Labour Party? Oh come on now, Tom, an amoeba has more spine than the Labour Party. They’ll get into bed with either Fianna Fail or Fine Gael. They’re about as fussy as Jordan. How are you changing things? I mean, after all, people working for Fine Gael think they’re changing things but they aren’t.

  41.  

    I knew this was going to happen. Snipe if you wish, hey, it’s better than sitting about giving out and sniping at others who try. That’s Ireland’s real problem – all talk and no action. Good luck to ye. If i fail in everything i do politically, at least i made the effoet. You just bitched and moaned.

  42.  

    Tom — You’re not getting it, are you? There’s only one person bitching and moaning here.

    I reveal precisely as much on this site about my private life as I choose to. No more than that, and certainly no information on demand.

    Have a good time changing the world.

  43.  

    I’m not sniping, Tom, I’m merely stating a fact, Labour will be part of a future coalition and nothing will change. If you’re trying to make a difference, that’s grand but you’re the one sniping that the rest of us are doing nothing. How completely obnoxious of you. I don’t know what your view of contraception is so I’m not going to comment about that but you seemed to have used some cause you’re involved with to somehow prove that you’re a political activist. Nora Bennis was a political activist but she was also a blabbering, right wing moron.
    Working with the Labour Party, isn’t necessarily trying to change anything. What have they done when they were in power? They did what they will continue to do when they return as part of a coalition; sit there and reap the benefits until they’ve strangled the last out of us.

  44.  

    The point i am trying to make is that it is better to try in whatever way you think is best to take some sort of action to change what you don’t like instead of just sitting around talking.

    What are you doing to change what you don’t like about the society we live in?
    I got into political activism because i see the political system as the most relevant thing when it comes to how society functions. Not everybody will agree with me and that’s fine. So go do sonething else make things better! Just stop sitting about complaining about how awful it all is and take some action.

    Do you see the point i’m trying to make?

  45.  

    No. I don’t.

    There are 2,500 readers a day visiting this site, and some of them are possibly provoked or occasionally informed by what they might read here.

    How many people are you reaching?

  46.  

    Exactly. Tom, what you’re doing here is tub-thumping and you’re doing it as part of a party who have a long line of tub thumpers who rattled on about equality and rights for workers and then bravely lay down and did what they were told when they actually got into a position of power. The labour party is a joke. The party system is a joke and, if you’re part of it, you’re simply perpetuating an ongoing problem. The constitution’s a joke. Our national infrastructure is a joke. We need something new and you, Tom, have all but admitted that you’re doing nothing to bring about real change through your admission of party allegiance. Bock is reaching more people than you possibly could.

  47.  

    Admittedly, the readership figures are probably small compared to the giants of Irish blogging who visit here now and then, but they’re better than the Labour Party’s website. A lot better.

  48.  

    The inly reason i brought up the labour party, folks is because i was asked what i was doing to change society.
    If need something new, CapN, then off you go and try to bring it about. No use comenting on a weblog and leaving it at that!

    If ye want to have a go, that’s grand. If you think you can do better then i wish you luck in doing it.

  49.  

    Thanks.

    Can we now please get back on topic?

  50.  

    Labour, Fine Gael, Greens, Sinn Fein etc…. They are all parties with members who want only one thing, and that is to be elected to the gravy train and hang on as long as possible.

    We need to cut the dail and senate by 50%, bring in laws to prevent members of the Dail from having any role or interfering with local matters (their job is to serve the national interest only!)

    No profession including teachers and solicitors should get priveleges when running for election. Get rid of the career politicians and put a cap on service in the Dail. However with the current breed of politician; these steps wont get through because our TDs wont vote themselves out of a job even if it is for the greater good.

    So to this end I think;

    We need a new political party;
    a party that represents the people by being derived from the people not just solicitors and teachers;
    a party that nominates experts only for election;
    a party untainted by current politicians corrupt practices;
    a party whose members are not interested in a political career;
    a party who will clean up politics and vested interests and then leave when the job is done;

    Maybe the so called “Grey Alliance” who aren’t interested in a long political career but merely want to do some good. I don’t know, but things have to change…

  51.  

    Fairly obvious (to me anyway) is that to change the ‘system’ policies and rules need to be updated.

    This can only come from some form of objective political change, which of course is driven by the people – although in my lifetime, looking at repeated governments overflowing with abject failure, I am more inclined to refer to us voters as ‘sheeple’…. I say objective, because it’s apparent that the leaders this country has seen in the past couple of decades are driven by personal vested interests, be they financial, religious, egotistical or otherwise…

    Right now, the frightening fact is that – although it would be obvious to a blind man that the current regime are a bunch of muppets who I wouldn’t trust to skin a banana – what is the alternative?

    Is there a viable opposition; or even the makings of a decent political party with whats out there today? I am struggling to see the talent. Even a spark… anyone?

  52.  

    We deserve everything we get. The electorate repeatedly put FF back in power despite knowing about Haughey, Ahearne, Bourke etc. We are for the most part mé feiners.. We tell ourselves that the world loves the Irish, I think we’re cunts. Successive governments have assett stripped our country and we did fuck all about it. Our silence was bought by tax cuts and cheap credit. It is time to rid this country of the cancer of FF, the GAA and the Catholic Church. This triumphlate have retarded our development for too long. It’s time to tear up the plans and start again, cunts need not apply.

  53.  

    In times of trouble and impending doom, the Romans used to appoint a dictator. This man was given complete and utter control of the Empire’s resources.

    After 6 months, he had to step down. And then he faced “the mob” as he walked down the steps from the Senate. If he had done a good job, he was hailed by the crowd and showered with gifts. If he fucked up…

    Now THAT is how it should be done.

  54.  

    the only problem here Steve is that if he had fucked up there would be a load of brain dead cunts running up to him patting his back and shaking his hand.And as No8 points out the people here keep relecting those cunts when they know they are crooked.Indeed Fianna Fails support increased at the last election when allegations of corruption were made against them.I do not know of one TD who ever lost an election here because he was known to be corrupt.Yeah and good point about the Irish always telling themselves that everyone loves them.Where the fuck have they got that idea from.Anybody ask the foreigners used and abused during the “celtic tiger” years here what they think of the Irish

  55.  

    Can’t see how any thinking person could follow party politics in Ireland presently.
    The constitution when written was imbued by the uneducated, unworldly, narrow minded clergy fear obsessed people.
    We were and are a nation of primarily ” Families ” The constitution states the ” Family ” consists of a married couple, much later came the ” childrens protection act ” weak and ill defined, This bollocks constitution leachs its way into Irish life in all capacities and to challenge it is impossible.
    Sliding doors scenario, what if Michael Collins had not been murdered ? We might have had a shot at some real independence ? We have no independence.
    @ Bolted Nut Many farmers were delighted to recieve their lazy EU money, but it decimated farming, We were largely a farming country, it was not supported by the Irish Gov and it sunk but those farmers still willing to work 24/7 are more than entitled to plod along in their tractors on rural roads, even more so than the fucking artics delivering fake food to our villages and towns.
    We are basically too lazy too self obessed too self righteous too judging too ignorant and too attatched to our comfort zones to execute any real change, its been said that ” if the dutch had Ireland they would feed the world, if the Irish had Holland we would all drown ” its true we reap what we sew.

  56.  

    If it had just decimated farming, that wouldn’t have been too bad, but it did a lot more than simply destroying one-tenth of it.

  57.  

    William, I see your point but in the case of the dictator, everyone posting here would be in the crowd as well, with sharp implements. That’s the important thing; not necessarily that the power to run the country in in the hands of the people, but the accountability and the meting out of justice to those who do run it IS in their hands.

  58.  

    Cap’n Pee,
    Go back to sitting at your laptop with your pants around your ankles looking at Bock.

  59.  

    Jonijoe — Do me a favour and read the comments policy.

  60.  

    Jonijoe, that really hurts. You had to bring up my unrequited love of Bock.

  61.  

    I definitely agree with the idea that TDs should be there to legislate – not represent a geographic area. The Senate should go. The most common defence I’ve gotten of it from party hacks I know is that it helps someone who lost their seat re-build their career. Rubbish. The models here are designed with the best interests of the political class in mind and not the people or their wallets.

    The Constitution needs less Thomas Aquinas and more John Locke – get rid of all this rubbish about the ‘common good’, capital ‘S’ Society and capital ‘F’ Family. Protect the smallest, most vulnerable minority – the individual. Essentially, adopt an American style Constitution which includes a provision that prevents law makers from creating barriers or obstacles to trade.

    As for farming – right now, subsidies are keeping small, unprofitable and inefficient farms going due to the fact that farmers seem totally disproportionately influential. Imagine all small shops and greengrocers getting government subsidies so that there would be no Tesco. Farming needs to fall into the hands of fewer capitalists to produce larger and better enterprises that can better stand on their feet.

  62.  

    I’m an American who married an Irish man who convinced me to move here. In all truth, I didn’t need all that much convincing. My frequent visits here left me truly loving the country; particularly the people whom I found to be intelligent, polite, and friendly.
    Of course, there is a big difference between visiting a place and living in it.
    Now that I have lived here for over a year, I am pretty convinced that I will go back to the United States. Ireland is a beautiful place and has some definite attributes that are appealing to a person born and bred in New York. The pace is far more tolerable and the quality of housing is far superior. Although I have often heard Irish adults complaining about the behavior of children, I find them far more respectful to adults than their peers in the states.
    Unfortunately, however, there are some things about Ireland that I find very difficult to handle and which will eventually cause me to head back home. My husband became ill when we came over, thus introducing me to the health care system. As a fairly young person, I had not expected to experience the system so quickly and intimately, but now that I have, I am pretty horrified.
    Watching my husband forced to lie in pain on a trolley waiting 24 hours for assistance and dealing with doctors who seemed too proud to admit that they had no idea how to help him frightened me completely. Their arrogance and quite frankly, ignorance was truly horrifying. Had I listened to them, my husband would probably be dead. Luckily, I searched the Internet, looking for specialists and found someone who could help us, but had I listened to the doctors, I would be going home a widow. The thought of growing old here and needing medical assistance frightens the hell out of me.
    At the risk of offending my fellow Americans, I think that I can safely say that we have a tendency to be a bit overzealous about “knowing our rights” and demanding quality when it comes to making purchases and dealing with services both private and public. However, I find the complete opposite to be true here. Customer service seems nonexistent and when one finds that a service they pay for to be lacking, the general attitude seems to be “tough shit.” A polite tough shit, but tough shit nonetheless.
    I’ve grown to accept the fact that my Internet service periodically knocks off, that I will be charged for customer service calls which are a result of a service company’s ineptitude and be forced to overpay for services which we take for granted in the U.S.
    Generally speaking, the overall feeling here is that the social and private institutions have you over the proverbial “barrel” and there is little one can do to change it. Perhaps it has to do with less competition. In the states, if we are dissatisfied with doctors or utility services, we have many options to switch. Whatever the reason, I am very uncomfortable with being forced to settle for “whatever I get” so to speak.
    In short, I will return to the U.S with a renewed respect for its dysfunctions, overcrowding, and political corruption, which, in retrospect, seems far more manageable than the said same over here.

  63.  

    Lisa. can’t say i blame you. I had little to do with health service, hospitals etc until relativly recently and i was not just appalled but truly frightened.
    In Limericks mid west regional hospital, which services a very large area, there is 1 paediatric senior consultant, the funds were put in place in 2007 for two more, It will be dec 09 before the HSE will place 1 more senior consultant there, in the past couple of months the HSE have filled 2 executive posts in their organisation at an annual salary of 150 k each.
    In a Dublin hospital last week a suspected swine flu patient was placed in a ward next to a patient with Cystic Fibrosis, even though the previous week a CF adult had died from swine flu, this was due to ward closures, There is no way that degree of ineptitude would be tolerated in any other country.
    The staff in hospitals are demoralised, The Minister, Mary Harney, does’nt give a fuck, She would’nt get a job in burger king in any other country, so this is what Independence gave us, total dependence on a bunch of ignorant arrogant, overweight, overpaid numfucks, I’m so angry, i have to stop.
    Good luck with your move and i hope you and your husband enjoy good health.

  64.  

    Lisa and Norma I agree that the health service is in a sorry state, but that can’t all be blamed on Mary Harney. Successive governments have cowed to Pharmasists, Consultants and Administrators and made the entire sysytem unmanagable. At least Harney stood up to be counted and demanded accountability, sure she made mistake, but at least she made an effort, unlike any of her predecessors. And no I have never voted PD / FF. I am well aware of the failings of this country but I firmly believe in its future. Lisa, the health service in the US is hardly a shining example of American achievement since independence.

  65.  

    no 8 with all due respect, “mary harney demanded accountability ” Only when the country was screaming and people dying because of the moronic systemic arrogance and ignorance perpetrated on them by cutbacks, closures and waiting lists not to mention the total fuckwits who can’t read pathology and basically count files not people.
    The buck begins and stops with Mary Harney and she is neither qualified or equipped to execute the countrys health system.
    You can’t walk forward by looking backward, So if there was accountability, why is it even worse now.

  66.  

    “The buck begins and stops with Mary Harney and she is neither qualified or equipped to execute the countrys health system.”

    Perhaps you’ll tell us all just what needs to be done and how you will carry it out.
    One thing that kinda pisses me off a tad is when people hide behind anonimity and “advise” all and sundry of what they should do. Norma, with all due respect, the floor is yours.

  67.  

    This subject is way to serious for me to enter an arguement of any kind, however im not sure if this is your floor to give, neither do i care whether i am anonymous or not, you want to speak with me directly ask bock for my e-mail, im fine with that.
    I don’t claim to be qualified to wade in and sort out the Health system, but what I would do is attempt to implement basic human practices which are sadly lacking and would increase accountability and efficiency.
    One would have to pull apart the appalling waste of taxpayers money with extreme but simple revamping of the administrative system within e.g. the centralisation of supplies to hospitals is a disgraceful squandering of funds, in the past local suppliers were contracted by tender, this all changed to one central depot, sounds good ? no, what it meant was that several depots and administrative staff were created to service centralisation, warehouses, offices in prime locations commanding the highest rents, supplies were distributed to the various depots and then redistributed to various hospitals, in theory it might have looked good, in practice it costs millions.
    To the basic practice of skills within a hospital, Junior Doctors, nurses, administrators need instruction on how to monitor and assess and respond to individual needs of a patient, they are often too saturated by RULES which no longer apply, very very basic commonsense is sadly lacking, looking at the bigger picture is not part of their work ethic, I could call it a horrifying lack of awareness but would that be adequate.
    It seems to me that the executive and administrative areas should be run in very strict business terms, if the HSE is running at a loss, and it is, then it has to be overhauled because the job isn’t being done.
    If the people on the shop floor, as in Hospital staff are not shown how to stretch their bounderies and instill the necessary skills and direction to the individual healthcare required by a patient, then this system will continue to collapse in on itself.
    when i said the buck stops and starts with mary harney, it does, she needs to get off her ampleness and walk among the people she is responsible for, but i wonder whats the point, will she have the balls and sincerity and insight to change anything ?
    Now if there is anything else specific i can answer for you no 8 just ask.
    If this is anyway vague to you, i will most certainly run the risk of sacrificing my anonymity to give you examples and alternatives.
    I have to apologise to Bock because i am diverting off topic.

  68.  

    Was just wondering what we are to celebrate at easter 2016, What worries me is I can,t think of anything to celebrate. Should we approach London and reapply for a reunifation?. Would that be in the best interests of Ireland?. A century of gombeen culture has brought us to where we are, what would a further century of gombeenism do with us?.

  69.  

    Norma — It’s not off-topic. All of these issues are relevant to the question asked. If I think it’s becoming a debate about the health service to the exclusion of other considerations, I’ll just post a gentle reminder.

  70.  

    Thanks Bock

  71.  

    As for Ireland being a young country well so is Finland and Norway and jaysus they are so far advanced compared to Ireland that even if you begin running now you will still not be there in time for the 2016 celebrations. And not to mention Denmark and all three have gone through devastating occupations. Take Iceland and you begin to drown, As for Sweden well I live there and you know that guy Bolt at 9,58 ? well that,s the comparision. Why is that so?. and why is that not so in Ireland?. Are these countries dominated by The roman church ?. just a thought.

  72.  

    Charles — It’s hard to think of much we’ve done well since 1916.

  73.  

    Charles. Maybe if we could suggest being invaded by Sweden or Norway and have them impose on us their advanced Laws and tolerance, We could meekly submit to some intelligent governing and complain about in generations to come.

  74.  

    We could have had 800 years of tolerant, mature, logical, socially-aware oppression.

    Brian Boru has a lot to answer for.

  75.  

    So all the suffering we Irish love to relish in, to what purpose? We are great at producing tragedies right up to the Ryan Report. We relish in martyrdom and gladly starve to death, we go before firing squads at dawn, We emigrate by the millions, We produce fine writers whom we silence, We hunt dissidents out of the country, We are mentally amputated by a mix of catholisim and gombeenism that makes us appear in Europe as something spiritually disfigured. We cultivate a myth of ourselves and then attempt to live that myth. Meanwhile in the rest of Europe development takes place steadily and quietly.

  76.  

    Well Norma if you want us to invade you and bring some tolerance and advanced social legislation then I will have to arrange a meeting with my Skandinavien friends, We would of course be made up of men and women and some old people and a few teenagers plus some from africa a few gays and the odd trans. Then there would have to be a person with a handicapp, a few atheists and the odd nutcase. Its called consensus and it takes time but we get there. On arrival on your shores ( not Clontarf) we would like to meet a delegation of your people to agree to the invasion. That done and every body happy we would gladly invade you with your consent. First we close the pubs.

  77.  

    You were doing fine till the last sentence. I’ll fight you on the beaches and then we’ll get the Danes to invade us instead.

  78.  

    Our greatest natural resource guilt, the protracted myth is that our drinkin, ridin and great craic dispels the sodden depths of our beings of the irrelevant emotion, funny that though, once someone is elected to office the guilt is magically lifted or transmogrified back into the unelected, but sure a trip to the dark confines that is termed a confessional by the lords of torture and abuse can again magically dispel the guilt for a week or two, wow, what a system.
    Europe was never laughing with us.

  79.  

    No not the danes, the Finns are better.

  80.  

    The Finns are miserable and crazy. And they’re not Scandinavian. And they have a ridiculous language that nobody but Estonians can understand.

  81.  

    I’m still on for the invasion, sorry Bock but fuck the pubs, they’re robbing everyone anyway, think of sipping delicious nectar of the gods, surrounded by your friends, no annoying mind draining bastards to invade your serenity, invite only, no closing or opening times, your own comfy seat, your own choice of music, no garda raids, come on it would be great.

  82.  

    Bock ,I,m amazed by your knowledge , yes the are miserable and crazy and even worse they do the tango so watch out riverdance, (another gombeen institution). Jaysus I love that word.

  83.  

    Anyway we are no good att invasions and no good at wars, mind you we do sell a lot of weaponry to fuel the other wars around the globe. Then we do have this thing about equality and human rights and most definitly childrens rights and womens rights and animal rights and now we are not allowed to use live worms as bait when fishing. So bringing enlightment to Ireland would be tricky. How about you invading us instead?.

  84.  

    Well, it’s true that Sweden does have a huge armaments industry, including Bofors and SAAB, but those weapons are exclusively for the purpose of killing black people and Muslims, so that’s different. Within your own borders, you’re extremely tolerant and that’s the main thing.

    Likewise the Norwegians who participate in the theft of Irish natural gas in a crooked deal done by Ray Burke and Bertie Ahern. Very upstanding people the Norwegians, I believe, within their own borders.

  85.  

    Yes Bock, all is rosy within the garden walls, looks like the invasion is cancelled.

  86.  

    Norma, I agree that the HSE must be run in a business manner, as should every Gov department. That is what Brendan Drumm is trying to achieve against some formidable opposition. Every facet of the HSE is overstaffed and inefficient, but that is the fault of the unions and succesive governments of every hue and cannot be singularly dumped on the present incumbant. Is Batt O’Keefe the cause of the state of Irish in our schools?
    Harney may not have all the answers and it may just be time for her to go, But she at least stood up to the self interest groups and got the ball rolling in the direction of streamlining and accountability. If she achieves any thing at Health it may be that. Her predecessors did absolutely nothing. This may not suit your obvious high standards, but it’s the truth. Why don’t you run for office and get your Health reforms enshrined as policy? Common sense would flow through the system and everything would be ok. I think you’ll find that the head in the sand approach is endemic is most government departments. Then again who am I to tell you anyrthing.

  87.  

    no 8 High standards, yes, i suppose i have, run for office ? no why ? because mr no 8 i’m too damn busy and involved with my little grand daughters life long illness, a little baby who presented 3 times in a row recently with the classic symptoms of a very rare life threatening complication of her existing disease, without getting into the details of the completly avoidable massive blunder that occured, we nearly lost her, we did’nt, but having to remain positive practical and real while carrying the very real burden of an all encompassing fear that a mere human blunder could occur again, This coupled with the extreme management of the illness is an unnecessary burden, this is not just for our family, who are very strong and willing but for all families coping with life long illness.
    There were three very simple steps that had they been put in place., which would have cost nothing more than the installation in the minds of hospital staff of some basic evaluation and questioning of the situation, also the appropriate passing on of vital information through the chain of command.
    My children and i have enjoyed excellent health, which i never took for granted, however this reatively recent diagnosis of my grandchild tested many facets of our life and values, We all agree that to-day, going forward we would not change a thing because the diagnosis has brought into sharp focus what really matters to us, so we don’t sweat the small stuff any longer.
    I thought prior to this that i had the capacity to be detatched and dispassionate about what was not in my power to change, however my beliefs in myself and the country i live in have been uprooted and i no longer feel its ok to live that life, i am formulating a long and short term plan to raise necessary funds to provide greater facilities for this illness, because Ireland has the highest rate per capita of same and provides 3rd world care of same, so if i come across as angry and fraustrated, thats only a very small part of what i’m feeling and apologies to anyone who may have been offended by my rantings here, it may sound strange to say but this blog has been a source of comfort, don’t know why, but we don’t discuss the illness irrelevantly because we don’t want our minds flooded with irrelevant info or stories, we are very focused in sticking to the facts and dealing with the reality, short and long term.
    As i said, i won’t be running for office because it would be no advantage and nobody would vote for me because i’m a fucker but change in this system will occur before my grand dauighter reaches 16 and about that i have no doubts.
    I don’t know who you are to tell me anything but i would only listen to what was relevant, if it makes you feel better, to state the obvious or let me know that i think i know too much, thats fine, i know that i know nothing but i am seeking knowledge, and thats pretty much all i am asking of the people i referred to here, take your heads out of the sand, ditch the complacency, seek the rounded knowledge.

  88.  

    Norma, my sincere best wishes to your grand daughter, family and you in what must be a horrific time. My family and I have also had to use the HSE in a serious incident, which happily turned out ok. I couldn’t fault the treatment and care that my son received. That is not to say that there isn’t huge wasteage but I believe that the demarcation of duties has been driven by snobbery and unions, two of the great gifts of independence. “Help quick, my son the engineer is drowning” says alot.

  89.  

    There is little i dispised more than the hypocritical society of the old boys club, however you have to laugh really at the delusions these people continue to labour under, as Groucho Marks said about clubs……………………
    Nobody cares any more, but to see them on occasion trapped in their own web of bullshit is comical, irrelevant and superfluous, my new words for most things.
    There is every variety of snobbery here not even with as sophisticated a pattern as apes.

  90.  

    Norma, sorry to hear about the troubles you and your family have been having.

    Warning: Looooong post.

    I personally have only once been in dire need of the HSE’s service, when I had to have my appendix urgently removed a couple of years back – and I had no problems there either, I arrived in the hospital at 11:30 and was out of surgery at 18:30, no fuss or waiting.

    But in my job I have had to deal with the actual organisation itself and it is as sprawling, monolithic and badly run an entity as you could ever find. The bureaucracy is staggering. Simple administrative changes can take months to be signed off, often because they are simply left lying on a table somewhere as the manager in question was too “busy” attending this or that corporate love affair. Do you know for example that in the regional hospital in Limerick, it costs the HSE about EUR 90 to place an order with any supplier? The reason is because they have at least 4 people whose sole “job” it is to pass on purchase orders through one stage of a convoluted purchasing process to the next. The “work” they do adds in total 0 value to the process and exists solely to satisfy the union-infested bureaucracy.
    Each one of these people gets paid about 60 K per year. So already there’s a quarter of a million euros wasted per annum to achieve nothing except to delay an already lengthy process.
    (I know this situation for fact, but I can’t explain how I know)…when we tried to bring in a new system that would cut their purchasing costs by over 90% as well as streamlining their process, it was very quickly and very quietly buried…the guy from the HSE who was spearheading the drive to find a new system was all of a sudden “promoted” out of his department where he could not longer make any noise. Not that I personally care that our system wasn’t taken – I wouldn’t have made any benefit from it as we were actually giving it away for free, and it wasn’t just us who were trying to help the HSE – lots of companies like us have had their suggestions ignored. Because it doesn’t suit the Unions.

    I’m all for the unions in principle, when a worker’s rights need defending, let them loose. But slowly over the years they have grown cancerous to the point where they infest almost every area of public (and private) service. And you can’t get rid of them, like dry rot….there is a mentality in this country that your job is yours and yours by some kind of right, that if you get lucky to land a “cushy number” you have the right to sit in your ass and do fuck all and get paid (and a raise next year!) for it. In the above example, getting rid of the 4 unnecessary desk jockeys means, yes, 4 people out of work – but how many more benefit from the extra 250,000 per year that’s now available to the hospital? Besides, in a healthy economy (i.e not one that’s broke like us) there are always plenty of jobs for them to move into.

    Now imagine how many more pointless wastes of space are taking home their 60K+ per year (all paid for by you) all over the country and you start to see why this island is going down the drain. Forget the developers, or the banks, or NAMA or whatever the fuck. My dad would kill me, but it’s time to destroy the unions. Tear them down, and make them start all over again, like in the good old days when they existed to protect the workers, NOT fleece the employers.

    Think about it for a second. When the gardai, or the teachers, or the firemen, or whoever is next, go on strike looking for more money, who benefits? Who pays for it?
    We do.
    When the country was staring over the precipice of ruination, did we hear the Unions step up the plate and show us their patriotism, that they’d happily support the government’s pay cuts, anything it took to help save the country? No, we heard them slither up to the plate and fight over the last scraps before the gravy train derailed.

    SO, to answer the original question: What has Irish independence given us? – Nothing. Unless you’re a pinko commie bastard in a Union, in which case, Everything.

  91.  

    Norma: ”Maybe if we could suggest being invaded by Sweden or Norway and have them impose on us their advanced Laws and tolerance…”

    Progressive Sweden has made its mistakes too, they introduced sterilization for undesirables in the 1920s, considered ‘progressive’ policy back then The forced sterilization of the disabled and feeble minded (or of those with ‘gypsy features’) continued until the 1970s. Tens of thousands in Sweden were sterilized against their will or of their family. Some merely for having ‘gypsy features’.

  92.  

    Steve. I am sincerely very grateful for your indepth post. I would have been very influenced by my late Father in regard to Unions, he was’nt involved personally, but his brother in law, my Uncle was head of a section of the ITGWU as it was then, now he was a fat cigar smoking priest worshipping hypocritical corrupt greedy prick, it’s just an Animal Farm scenario.
    5 dialysis machines lie idle in Tullamore hospital, patients in locality are ambulanced, taxied and bused to Beaumont because the HSE won’t pay dialysis nurses in Tullamore.
    Prior to centralisation of supplies, the storeman in each hospital called the local appointed supplier, goods were delivered direct from supplier to hospital doors, now its so roundabout, its costing millions and supplies are interrupted.
    There is a disgraceful situation at present regarding fund raising for very advanced critical equipment aquired by a charity involving Bruff rfc, their efforts are being thwarted by a 60 k vat bill, now a charitable trust can be vat exempt but the red tape is unbelievable, Margaret Thatcher tried to charge VAT to the recording Bob Geldof et al made for Ethiopia, way back when, it was only the massive reaction from people that prevented it.
    For all of us presently we are trying to raise ,money also for a very specific piece of equipment, it needs to be in place by dec 09, i’m really battling with the red tape and losing patience, however we have recieved some great support and that keeps the ball rolling.
    I think my daughter is actually suffering some kind of post traumatic stress disorder, not from the diagnosis but from what happened later and how it happened, it just tears me apart that it was so avoidable, the lack of awareness when dealing with the very vulnerable, the stretching to breaking point of their capacity and resources is not a consideration it seems, my daughter is strong , determined focused and very loving, her plate is overflowing and a little awareness would have made such a difference, she now won’t leave the house with her baby, except to come here…..home, and this girl was the most driven, most sociable of all of us, never stood still, but having said that, her little baby girl is just doing great at the moment……so gorgeous !
    I don’t know what will happen in the future for this country, my fear is that it will get a lot worse before it gets better, thanks again.
    System; smile for fucks sake, i was being ironic, China dispensed with most of its drug addicts and introduced appalling population control measures and we could traverse the globe for human rights offences, but this post is about Irish indepence and i have probably diverted enough, my own conclusion is that the only independence we gained was to be ruled by a bunch of ignorant arseholes which encouraged the use of our own language in limitation, instead of being ruled by a bunch of ignorant arseholes who forbade use of our own language, so have we ended up with a bit of Gaelige and a load of shite ?

  93.  

    Speaking Irish wasn’t forbidden for very long in historical terms.

    The language isn’t exactly flourishing now, is it? The Irish deliberately abandoned their language because they saw no advantage in speaking it. Look at the decline in Gaeltacht areas since 1922.

    Compare that with the strength of Welsh.

  94.  

    The decline of the Gaeltacht areas since ’22 hinges more on the forced migration to cities in the UK by an active policy. While in the Highlands and Islands, also in the marginal areas of Wales, the Westminster parliament was establishing crofting rights and cottage industry policy with initives like the Harris tweed and Fairisle knitware. We were destroying what little remained of the indigenous culture.

  95.  

    It’s typical Irish self-pity blaming others for the fact that we stopped speaking our language. You can’t stop an entire people speaking their language unless the people want to do so.

  96.  

    The point Bock is that those who were left in the Irish speaking areas always spoke English or Norman French as their first lingo. Irish was saved for the cottagers and the training of the maids.

  97.  

    In the Philippines they speak their native language and english,in Hong Kong they speak english and Chinese and same in many other places,it is perfectly possible to be bi-lingual if people want to speak english and their own native tongue.The Irish do not want to speak irish and thats an obvious fact.They just want to whinge and whine and wallow in victimhood and blame someone else for their lack of interest in it.If they want to speak it there is nobody stopping them now.

  98.  

    If we banned the Irish language, we would all be fluent in a generation. Irish problem, Irish solution.

  99.  

    I found myself speaking quite fluent Irish to my daughter in the metro in Paris, couple of years ago, when faced with a mugging by 4 Algerians, was surprised at myself, is it the irishness in me that my back had to be to the wall to pull that out of the bag ? Also surprised at how fast i could run !

  100.  

    No 8: The US is most certainly not a shining example of U.S. independence, in fact, I am rather ashamed of the state it is in. The lobbying efforts of health insurance companies have deeply influenced and harmed the system. In addition, I find the general lack of compassion among Americans in regards to the desire to provide all Americans with access to health care to be truly appalling. However, what I have seen here compared to what I experienced in the U.S. makes me truly afraid to be admitted here for anything other than a broken bone.
    In Ennis hospital, I saw dried blood which was never bothered to be cleaned up on the floor in my husband’s room as well as on the curtains that separate patients. His roommate had just undergone surgey for a ruptured appendix, and was served a full Irish breakfast.
    In Mayo General, the doctors left him screaming in pain until I interceded. The “specialist” admitted that he didn’t “know all that much” about my husband’s condition and told me that he needed to focus on conditions that he “understands.”
    I could go on and on.
    I’ve experienced hospitals in the U.S. far too many times, and I am very aware of their shortcomings, however, they are nothing like I have seen here.

  101.  

    Lisa what you describe is 3rd world. I hope your husband is ok.

  102.  

    Lisa, sounds like you had really shitty luck, my condolences. Seems like our health system is a mixed bag – as I’ve mentioned my experiences have been fine, and my sister is going into the regional today to have a cancerous lump removed from one of her boobs tomorrow. She was diagnosed less than 2 weeks ago, in fact from the time she noticed the lump, to the initial referral, examination, biopsy and arrangment of the operation has taken less than a month, and it would have been faster but for a delay in the post….so I suppose what I’m saying is that the people actually doing the work in the health services are, as far as I am concerned, top notch. She’s been handled with nothing but courtesy and professionalism this whole time….But the system seems to have these huge holes in it whereby if you slip through, you’re fucked.

    By the way, my sis doesn’t have VHI or Bupa or anything like that. I doubt you’d get that kind of treatment in the US unless you had insurance.

    Hopefully you will have better luck the next time, or better yet never have cause to use the services again! In the meantime we can all fix this – society just has to say enough is enough, and force the HSE to reform itself. And we can play our part as well by keeping out of A&E – and start demanding that GP’s make themselves available outside of “office” hours like they do in pretty much every other country.

  103.  

    independence,,ha ha,,her majesty washed her royal hands of it, set up a puppet regime,ie De valera and his cronies,and now nearly 77 years later we are now living off the EU hand outs, this country would be third word status if it were not for european money, check out the signs on any new road ,,, EU FUNDED we would be still walking on cobbles or muddy byways and as for the hse well you only have to look at the UK and see the bigger picture, our country is being used and abused by every TD that has got their chance to soak what they can, just look at smart arse Bertie got out before the floor fell through

  104.  

    vh…well said and totally accurate.And even with a benevolent continent pouring billions into it it still stays a shiteheap.Compare that with China for example a nation that had nothing going for it 20 years,Nothing but huge seemingly insurmountable problems.But still transformed itself into the most dynamic nation on earth with no help from anybody.

  105.  

    Should read 20 years ago.(my great celtic tiger broadband service disconnected as usual before I could edit)

  106.  

    Sorry to have missed this post last August.
    So – what the Hell have we gained from Independence?
    1. Swopped London-rule for Rome rule.
    2. Left our schools and roads disintegrate.
    3. Swopped foreign tyrants for home-grown incompetents.

    Compare NI to us, not all hunky dory of course, but compare the services.

  107.  

    I wonder if we had Home Rule instead and remained part of Britain, would we have been better off? Would the Troubles have kicked off? Would Catholics have had to go on civil rights marches in Ulster?

    Would Catholics have had to go on civil rights marches full stop in an Ireland as part of Britian?

    Maybe emigration might not have depleted Gaeltacht areas, and the language could be on a par to that of Welsh today?

    Emigration wouldn’t have been part of our economic policy.

    We would probably be more multicultural, that’s for sure.

    We would have had a decent soccer team, and maybe a professional league.

    Hurling might have taken off on “the mainland”, or Limerick might be the county cricket champions right now? Though the rain surely would have delayed any test cricket match along the western seaboard.

    Would the Protestant population south of the border have bolted in as many numbers as they did?

    Would we still have 12th of July parades?

    We might have had better roads and public transport. That would have been a dead cert.
    Our population might be a lot more than it is.

    We might have a few big cities in Connacht? Who knows, Ballybunion could have been like Blackpool.

    The constitutional question needs to be resolved in NI. It’s the only way it can move forward. They need to take a leap into the unknown.

    Fair to say that the idea of “post nationalism” results in us looking back on our history and think “was it really worth it?”

  108.  

    This Bock fellow is a whinging malcontent, suffering badly from cognitive bias, with personal issues about the deeper wonders of life. Cannot soak it up – what it is to be Irish. He can keep his fragile, secular anglo-saxon outlook, foreign to us here. An créatúr bocht.

  109.  

    So, tell us. How are things over there in Irish Central? (You fucking clown, as I’m allowed to say here).

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