The Non-Fighting Irish

 Posted by on March 16, 2010  Add comments
Mar 162010
 

I wonder where the Fighting Irish live, because they certainly don’t live in Ireland.

No matter how corrupt our politicians’ behaviour, we don’t protest in the streets  like the Greeks.  Instead, we re-elect them.

When bankers, crooked property developers and cosy deals with political parties destroy our economy, we don’t set up barricades and burn government offices like the French.  Instead, we pay the extra taxes required to bail them out.

When priests rape our children we don’t burn their churches.  Instead we pay their legal bills.

When petty officials close our  food shops and craft butchers due to over-zealous enforcement of regulations, we don’t ignore their interference like everyone else in Europe.  Instead, we quietly close our doors and shuffle away.

We don’t even complain in restaurants.

We are the meekest people in Europe, and the closest we ever get to fighting back is when we indulge in immature, passive-aggressive sulking.

The last couple of weeks have revealed profound things about our nature, all interconnected.

The Tallaght hospital debacle, the Seán Brady outcry and the farce of the health inspector trying to close down a garage for having a topless calendar on the wall are all part of a uniquely Irish phenomenon.

It seems to me that since the foundation of the State, and perhaps as far back as the Famine, there has been a determined effort to infantilise the entire population, to suppress people’s ability to think critically and to replace that ability with facile, childish certainties.

Expertise is not valued in this country.  Knowledge and craft are not held in high esteem.  For generations, our schools have operated an apartheid system, guiding the more academically gifted children towards theoretical subjects, and the less gifted towards hard, practical pursuits like woodwork, metalwork.

We don’t value practical skills.  We prefer prefer flashy, superficial spin-merchants, and we promote them to positions of power, which is why the health service is now run by people with no knowledge of anything at all except passing interviews.

People with deep knowledge of practical matters make us uncomfortable and that’s why we don’t like to have such people in management positions.  They might expose our own shortcomings.  It’s far safer to surround ourselves with people who know nothing but who do a great interview, who speak the jargon and know how to spin out a meeting till lunch-time.

And when we send out inspectors, we fill them with cook-book certainties to be imposed without deviation, closing good restaurants for having small kitchens, threatening to put a mechanic on the dole for having a nudie calendar on his wall, or prosecuting an islander for harvesting seaweed as his people have done for thousands of years.

In the HSE, just as in every other aspect of Irish society, there are no real managers.  There are only administrators, the Dog-Licence people, and eventually such people come to believe their own fantasies.  They come to believe that can do the job, and then they start to make decisions that ought to be made by people with genuine skills and knowledge.

Thus we had the appalling spectacle of 97 terrified women herded together to be informed whether or not they had breast cancer.  This decision was made not by a clinician but by an idiot administrator, for administrative convenience.

Thus we had the thousands of unopened referral letters.  This decision was made by an unqualified, idiot administrator in order to keep the waiting lists artificially short.

Thus we had the thousands of unread X-rays.  This was because an idiot administrator decided to save money by not employing enough radiologists.

You see, the obverse of infantilism is bullying.  Where you create an infantile, uncritical population, you also create a breeding ground for the overbearing, domineering, cleric, lawyer, official and medical consultant.

The attitude of our senior doctors to their patients is one of condescension and a sense of entitlement.  Any consultant in Britain would be appalled at the arrogance and greed of his counterpart in Ireland.  The attitudes displayed by this elite have been stamped out in Britain and the rest of Europe generations ago, and in any case were never as extreme as they are here.

Britain closed its industrial schools in the 20s, while, thanks to the war of independence, ours remained in operation for another four decades, as this country became a closed, introverted Catholic Albania.  Independence was no blessing for the children incarcerated in these institutions as they endured the trademark Irish authoritarian heartlessness bred by infantilism.

I say infantilism in relation to the abusers as much as the abused but not because I think it absolves them of anything.  It’s simply that these abusers have been subjected to the same facile certainties as the rest of society and have all their lives been discouraged from critical, mature, adult thinking.

Seán Brady, a man of influence within his sphere, and also outside it due the infantile deference of successive Irish administrations, was yet unable to exercise normal human discretion when presented with the details of a priest raping children.  Instead of acting like a man, he reverted to the passive, obedient seminarian ingrained with the need to protect his church at all costs.

And here we have the paradox, because the bully, the cynic and the manipulator is also the product of the infantilising process.

Our appalling government is packed with people who have no skills at anything at all, and yet who have facilitated the worst abuses in living memory.  They’re arrogant, overbearing and aggressive.  Their leader is well known for his combative character.  And yet, this same leader cowered and mumbled and sought to justify, when questioned on the refusal of the Papal Nuncio to meet a Dáil committee about the Murphy abuse report.

That’s because these people are us.  They’ve been subjected to the same brainwashing as everyone else, so that in the end we’re all children.

Don’t  forget, it’s only a few short years since divorce, contraception and homosexuality were legalised.  Can you imagine any other country obsessing about such things the way we did?  We still haven’t had the guts to codify our constitutional provisions on abortion.  Only recently we passed a law making it a crime to offend somebody’s beliefs.

We bowed down to a multinational energy company and gave them our gas for nothing.

We still haven’t been paid back by the religious institutions for the compensation we paid out on their behalf.

Not one of our bankers is facing jail.

We run an iniquitous two-tier health system where the wealthy have nothing to fear, the poor have everything to dread and the medical elite have it all to gain.

What is the way forward?

Here’s a  suggestion.  Let’s promote independent thinking.  Let’s teach our children to think for themselves, dispassionately and logically.  Let’s kick the churches out of our schools, with their sexual obsessions and their power-lust, and let’s provide our children with proper formation —  a grounding that doesn’t equate morality with sex, but becomes outraged at injustice and inequity.

Let’s kick the medical cliques out of our public hospitals and let them earn their crust the honest way.

Let’s replace all the dreadful non-managing administrators in the public sector with practical people who actually know something about something.

Let’s abolish the dreadful single transferable vote system that elects so many self-serving half-wits to our parliament.

Let’s teach our children that no man in a gown or a white coat or a cassock is better than them.

Let’s teach not only our children, but also ourselves, that we’re capable of better than the side-of-the-mouth stroke-pulling we’ve become so used to.

Let’s show a bit of pride for a change, let’s grow up and let’s get angry.

_____________

Also on Bock

The dog-licence people
Breast cancer scandal
Bishops can sack a teacher
Over-Zealous Enforcement of Regulations in Ireland
What has independence given us?
Why do clergy control schools?
The heart of darkness
Remove Topless Calendars Or We’ll Close Your Business, Says Health and Safety Authority
The Sisters of Mercy
Bertie Ahern

  127 Responses to “The Non-Fighting Irish”

Comments (125) Pingbacks (2)
  1.  

    Amen to that Bock. Just one thing though, how do you think we should let the so called “infantilised” people to fight back? How do we make them as militant minded as the Greeks and the French when they react to corruption and other abuses? How do we get them to be “Fighting Irish” again? Just a thought.

  2.  

    Great article Bock, and it couldnt’ come at a better time (well tomorrow, but there won’t be as many people online to read it I’m sure!). What you are saying is spot on, and as MMM says, the most important aspect of it all is what’s the first step to changing this.

  3.  

    Good post Mr. Bock.

    However I’d say it’s not a question of getting the “infantilised” to fight back, but rather to realise that they have been infantilised in the first place, and that it has been done to make them more easily controlled. The Nanny State indeed.
    Public outrage can, given the right spin, be very easily controlled and diverted if the public are not aware of how they are being “managed”.

  4.  

    Ireland – a land without moral compunction.

    We look up to sleveens and cheats.
    Tug the forelock to child rapists and their co-conspirators.
    Give State funerals to gangsters.
    Bail out corrupt bankers.
    Ah but sure we had the craic doin it lads.
    What a great little country.

    Brilliant Bock

  5.  

    Whatever, about the fighing Irish, you’ll find plenty of boxing Irish in the National Stadium as the Italians found out.

    http://www.independent.ie/sport/other-sports/childish-italians–walk-out-2100151.html

    leaving aside the contrests……

  6.  

    I think it was Leon Yuris who said when researching “Trinity”, “The only time the Irish stand together is to pray” How true.

  7.  

    Bock, this is your finest post yet.
    You have named it and shamed it.
    For my part, I am going to take every opportunity to protest.
    It may be a small insignificant ripple, but we must start somewhere.
    I am happy to report that my chidren have been raised as independent and critical thinkers, who do not judge human beings according to what comes out of their mouths, but how they behave.

  8.  

    Bock, poke a docile sleeping dog one too many times and eventually it will wake up and bite..

  9.  

    Excellent post Bock.

    My own views are that everyone has a breaking point. For some that point has already been reached. I know several people who have always lived their lives by the book and carried out business in compliance with all the regulations. These people are now saying enough is enough and ignoring ridiculous laws, penal tax systems that punish success but reward incompetence, reguations for everything. They may not be taking to the streets but they are rebelling in their own quiet way.
    The jails will fill up with people unable to pay debt, houses will be re-possesed, self employed will be refused social welfare, black economy will grow.
    The system needs to collapse as it is beyond repair.
    Much has been said on this forum about our children. They are, I believe, our only hope for the future. They will inherit a country in a World reeling from the effectys of crisis. They will have to build a new more equitable society. I have every confidence they will.

  10.  

    Great article Bock, you wouldn’t find that in any newspaper.

    When the Greeks, private and public sector, marched against their government, many of them said “We’re Greeks not Irish.” Says it all.

  11.  

    Bock, this is an incredibly thoughtful post. I absolutely agree with this insight:

    You see, the obverse of infantilism is bullying. Where you create an infantile, uncritical population, you also create a breeding ground for the overbearing, domineering, official, cleric, lawyer, and medical consultant

    You’re absolutely right with the insight that infantilism and bullying feed off one another. And your call for “critical thinking” as the answer is also spot on.

    You might be interested in the writings of Hannah Arendt, a Polish Jewish woman who dated Martin Heidegger in Germany in the 1930’s, and, after fleeing the Nazis to Paris and then the US, became a philosopher and a writer who reflected deeply on the totalitarianism she had experienced. She was an observer at the trial of the Nazi Eichmann and wrote the provocatively titled “Eichmann in Jerusalem: the Banality of Evil.” She was lambasted at the time by other Jews who thought she was saying the Holocaust was banal.

    But her actual insight went deeper than that. The “banality” she was referring to was the quality she found in Eichmann himself. He wasn’t a story-book bad guy, who you can always identify in the movies by their habit of stroking white Persian cats or such while uttering maniacal laughs. He was just an “ordinary,” go to work, look after the family, look for promotion in the organisation, turn a blind eye to anything that would hurt his promotion prospects, kind of guy. Yet he had been responsible for the torture and death of tens of thousands. She wrote many more books expounding in detail her theory about this, but if I may butcher its complexity, her idea was that evil could most easily be committed and facilitated by people who fail to reflect deeply both in general, but more specifically on their own thoughts and actions. Such people can easily become the tools through which evil is committed, and the protectors who allow evildoers to flourish.

    I agree with one of your commenters that anger, without thought, can easily be channeled. That’s why anger is not enough to change this phenomenon that you’ve put your finger on. You also need thought, deep reflection – you yourself are providing this, Bock. But it is a habit that needs to be instilled widely. People who think about things are less easily swayed by any emotion, whether fear or anger (advertisers hate such people!).

    So, thanks – keep on thinking – and challenging other to join.

  12.  

    Thank you, Bock!
    I’ve been asking myself the very same questions the longer I live in Ireland – but never dared to ask being a foreigner. Years ago, before I moved here, I heard all about the fighting Irish, fighting for independence, singing endlessly songs about how they fought and won and are generally on top of the world. But the real Irish wouldn’t open their mouths if you hit them with a shovel on their heads: Ah shure, it’s not that bad… pint?
    But will they ever learn to fight against a system that keeps them infantile? I don’t think so, not yet at least. It’s easier to be stupid and infantile, being responsible is too much trouble, it seems.
    In all those years I only met one Irish person who fought back against all this stupidity, against cronyism and greed. But he was ostracised as a “troublemaker”, had to sell his house eventually and move elswhere.
    Sad, really…

  13.  

    Excellent Post. I had typed a reply but lost it, it disappeared. Very very good post.

  14.  

    Another problem with Ireland: people of Bock’s intellect and writing ability work in the corners of the internet, while acres of column inches in the Irish Indo are given over to Eoghan Harris, and his pale imitator Ian O’ doherty (a true mediocrity who recently had the gall to rail against the mediocrity of our culture”, or some bunkum). Note to Ian: try writing an original sentence, or entertaining an original thought, before you attack the mediocrity of society.

    It would be a nice start if some of the voices of reason currently occupying the digital world could find a voice on the printed pages or the airwaves, and push out the third rate time-servers and sinecurians.

    don’t hold your breath.

  15.  

    Dermot, there are avenues other than the mainstream media. I’m linking this in Facebook, in the hope it will spread. Not saying that Facebook can change the world, but the first steps happen around rallying points, and let this article be one of them.

    Good on you, Bock..

  16.  

    Quite simply superb analysis – worthy of publication.

  17.  

    The world is beginning to see what we’re really like and it’s embarrassing.
    I have to say on the other hand I was sick hearing praise – from the Finns and others saying how great/prosperous Ireland has become because the Finns are incredibly EU – USA orientated. They have that silly work ethic- “work hard and get ahead,” when we (working class) know it means that we work hard and the rich business class are the ones who get ahead and we are lucky to have a job.
    I despair I really do. If the financial crisis scam wasn’t enough to spell out to people what is going on, then they’ll never I’m afraid get the picture- even the latest regulation in Europe shoot down by the big financial powers Britain and the US and they Obama/Browne the very ones shouting to curb recklessness blatantly flying in the face of it.
    I can see the “Real IRA” making big use (an opportunity too good to be missed) of this: how to win friends and influence uncles.
    They just might be the ones to reclaim the title.

  18.  

    About time too. Excellent article Bock!

  19.  

    Where the people who become administrators come from. They and their predecessors arrived into their jobs with a letter from the parish priest in one hand and, a letter in the other from the local TD.
    Unqualified to do anything other than move forms from one tray to another, they know which side of their bread is buttered.
    In jobs for life with a pension is the limit of their ambition Just listen to them complaining about the pay cuts, but their biggest fear is if they could be made redundant.

  20.  

    I left Ireland in ’91 & came back for six years during the tiger time. During those six years I having never seen such a ‘whipped’ people as my very own race. We bow down to officialdom in all its creations and it has spawned a sub-species who will not stand up for themselves but will gladly stab their fellow man in the back.
    Anyone who displayed an ounce of ‘get up and go’ would be slowly ground down by official process, delays and rising cost.
    The strange part of all this is the type of Irish you meet abroad. Typically they work hard, play hard to a degree, support their families and will fight for what they want. They will accept no excuse or bullshit and will say it to your face.
    Having had the personal pleasure of going through the whole planning permission process in Ireland and being denied on a purely bullshit reason whereby the council did not like the owner of the land in question. This process involved meeting local politicians and the offer of funds to compensate them for their time and effort. But that’s a different story.
    After all that we decided to get the hell out of there.
    We know plenty of people who would do the same but are stuck with commitment they can neither rent or sell or burn.
    I can tell you from personal experience if this occurred in some countries there would have been a mass revolt by now.
    We need to take the head off the beast, i.e. remove the present government of vested interests and promote Irish enterprises.
    We have some the best minds in the world, be it engineering, business or financial and we should provide the incentives to foster Irish entreprenurial spirit. Remove the obstacles and provide assistance & we’ll work our way out of this mess.

  21.  

    Superb. If only.

  22.  

    Well written, interesting, and thought provoking piece, Bock.

  23.  

    Totally agree with you bock..when i see what the people in thialand are doing-spilling there own blood in front of the government houses in the hope for change, it just amazes me..we are happy to moan and complain but where is the action?what has to happen before we make a stand and say enough is enough?
    I wonder if our ancestors would stand for this?i imagine my gran is turning in her grave with what is hapening daily in this country..its a crying shame and im so sick of it..surely its time for anger and anger put into positive action…

  24.  

    Bock, in my humble opinion, this is your best post ever.

    This article could be printed and left lying around in pubs, buses, trains, coffee shops, etc, so that anyone who reads it can realise that they’re not alone in wondering what the fuck is going on with this country, and who knows, it might help to start something positive.

    Just a suggestion. I’ll volunteer to hand it out in town, if you like.

    You know, it’s just struck me that one of the things that the establishment has been very effective at doing, is keeping us fragmented as a people. We refer to Dublin, The mid-west, the south, as though they were all separate entities. We still cling to provincial delimitation. Hell, even the “You don’t choose your club, you’re born to it” GAA ads are, to me anyway, a symptom of this “fuck those other guys” attitude that has served the government so well –not that I think it’s a conspiracy or anything like that…or do I? :) But when you think about it, how are we supposed to fight back as a people when we look sideways at people from the other side of town?

  25.  

    Well written, and published. What is it about us that makes us take it up the shitter all the time? We moan in public and bully each other too. Show me a situation where power doesn’t go to a persons head please Bock? Power corrupts, absolute power corrupts etc etc

  26.  

    From the response you are getting about this piece, I’d say it is a job well done… and at the right time too!

  27.  

    This article has made me realize that this is everything I have been feeling and thinking for a long time but could not put into words. Well done Bock, I think this could be the Kick Start people need!

    As a start I will post this on my Facebook too and hope that it will be linked to from all my other friends. I actually saw this from a link in facebook, so I guess its working. I wish that everyone will read this and hope it will strum up the passion that is needed to make a change. I’m not sure what that change could be, as the current protests don’t seem to be doing anything since they are usually one sided for a particular view point.

    We need to get up and take back our country for the people, the real people. How though?

    I don’t want to become one of the moaners that has no suggestion for improvement either. I think we all want to do something, but what can we do? Any real suggestions? WHAT CAN WE DO?

    As a suggestion, maybe start with a 5 point plan, and process it 1 by 1. Then when that has been achieved start again with another 5 point plan, and keep going till we live in a society that we can be truly proud of.
    e.g.
    1. Remove church domination\ discrimination from schools and state laws (children not accepted into schools without baptism certs, and good friday drink ban, etc.).
    2. Prosecute and JAIL bankers who fiddled the books (the Allied Irish Bank\Irish Life Permanent bank funds transfer http://tiny.cc/uuflE )
    3. etc… start with 5 points, and protest\process each 1 individually until a result is achieved… I dunno… just thinking aloud. But whatever it is, it needs to be structured and directional. So what can we do and how can we do it?

    I think we all hoping and crying out for a leader, with your mindset Bock, that can stand up and lead the people into directional and structured action without having any individual or group allegiance. Who can that be?

  28.  

    Anthony, I have the feeling that you are the typical non-fighting Irishman as described here by bock. You come up with facebook and you come up with a 5-point-plan where someone else has to do something. Who is going to remove church domination? Prosecute & jail bankers etc.? If not you by your own behaviour? Eventually.

    No, you don’t need a leader. It’s actually quite dangerous to call for a “strong man” as history showed. It will infantilize you even further, because you still sit put and hope that someone else does the dirty work.

    Better is you just start in your own little environment. For example: Complain when the food in a restaurant is crap and overprized. Question the decisions of the ones in power, officials, your local politician, your boss, your whoever. Go to your local priest (if you are into religion) and ask him questions or openly refuse to quietly acknowledge is fairy tales.
    You simply think for yourself and do as you think. And not be afraid of the consequences. All ignorants will hate you, sure. But do you really want to be loved by ignorants?

    That’s how (in my opinion) maturity starts. Not with petitions and facebook-links and twiddling thumbs in the hope SOMEONE might do something about it.

    No personal offence, Anthony.Just to give you an idea what I think is “doing something about it”.

    Infantility and ignorance and laziness is a mindset after all. And only the individual can change their mind and with it their social/political environment.

  29.  

    Hi Carrig, no offence taken.
    Maybe you are correct. Maybe I am like that and maybe thats why the article hit home.
    I do complain a lot and want to do something, but I feel the issues are so big that I do not know where to start. Maybe thats how a lot of people feel.

    Well I guess that statement just proved your point! I am one of those who do nothing.

    Like you said, it does start with oneself, even with the small things. And maybe, eventually, our society will change over time. But I was talking about what do now, about the big things. What do you suggest?

    By the way, I just mentioned facebook so as to spread the knowledge of this article. I don’t believe in petitions or facebook groups as a way to get things done, they are just a way of highlighting an issue.

  30.  

    I suppose a start is to write and complain and give possible suggestions for improvement to the different Government Depts. But will that really help to change the policies our government/civil servants make? Its better than doing nothing I guess. I still feel that nothing will be done without having someone in the media of the masses intimating thoughts like Boch has brought up here in his excellent article. It definitely made me think and look more deeply into myself.

  31.  

    This post deservers so many plaudits, I read it at least 10 times….amazing.
    Armageddon was yesterday,………Today we have a serious problem ( small clue as to what fiction writer i am reading to switch off presently )
    There are times that I indulge my secret penchant for ” Reeling in the years ” What never ceases to amaze me was that it was’nt really that long ago when the people of this Country took to the streets with a vengence.
    What has happened to our social and psychological development ?
    I am most definitly a ” complainer ” I have sometimes paid a very high price for wading in to gain justice where nothing but ludicrous mind sets and ideas of power and arrogance pervailed, I ask myself now though, did I ever execute positive change in my environment ? No I don’t think so.
    I have reared my children to be strong and independent, devoid of all religious imposition and influence, to think freely and never stop questioning themselves and the environment they inhabit, To be brave, loyal and always conscious of their impact on others.
    I have refused to obey many rules, I have spoken my mind, I have maintained rationale in situations of madness, I have tried at all times to reasonably take no shit from those who viewed their positions as powerful or those whose arrogance thought they could manipulate or crush me and sometimes i just walked away…………I ask careful pointed questions and don’t accept inappropriate answers but still no difference to my environment.
    My children are all self employed, with the exception of the youngest, still in college, But now i berate myself for bringing them up in a country which everyday they find themselves doing battle with complete and utter bullshit, Now i’m thinking of my grandchildren who will be saddled with the debt and mockery of people who probably won’t even be alive by the time they are working adults.
    I have thought well into the night what difference i can make, but i always come back to none, outside of my direct family.
    Carrig is right, it’s up to everyone now, but personally I would’nt know where to start.

  32.  

    norma & anthony
    it’s really small things. I’ve learned it the hard way by starting to try ro change the world at large (the little armchair-revolutionary …), but now living in Ballygonowhere of Ireland and trying to survive in a set and settled society taught me another thing.

    One example: The county council decided to provide our village with a sewerage scheme. Fine. Every connected (!) house was supposed to pay 1500 euros. Fine, too. Only our little cluster of 7 houses just outside of the village got only one common connection, but every house still has to pay the 1500 euros. I refused to pay. One connection is 1500 euros. Full stop.

    That was two years ago. The connection still doesn’t work (and always pay when the work is done, not in advance – like for everyone else who has a job), but my neighbour was appalled that I didn’t pay yet, because … the council said so and we have to do as the council says. So the other day I had a cup of tea with my neighbour and explained the silly logic of the council. Eventually (I can be very persuasive) he saw the light and stormed off to tackle the local council guy.

    Which might lead to nothing because the local council guy, ah, well you know. ..one of those …

    But at least I put the seed of doubt in someone’s mind. That’s a start.
    And if it comes head to head with the council I’ll speak my mind no end and fight. Tackled the local guards already, and the odd farmer for some reason or other. I’m not the most popular girl around… So what?

    Or: I finally managed to refuse to pay a handyman a bill which was unaccounted for and not according to agreement – without any extra work or expenses from his side. Was a bit of a shouting match. But I won :-)))

    You see, revolution starts with simply saying NO! ENOUGH!

    It might sound like petty things. But it’s something called civil courage in my country.

  33.  

    Carrig, All due respect but personally I’ve taken on so much for so long, Hospitals, Doctors, Schools, County Councillors, Thugs, Ignoramus’s, Gardai,I’m tired, very tired, I wonder how many feel like me?
    I’m beyond pissed off, I’m dissapointed, I despair for the future but it has to be so much more than our personal connections, This is a Country to be saved, There simply isn’t time to take one Co Councillor at the time to task.
    The rot which has embedded needs to be dragged out and dispensed with.
    I’m not interested in the mandates or policies of any present or future Government, I want to hear what the people want, What the people need, I want any future Government to provide whats needed, as prescribed by people skilled enough to define those needs, I don’t care what they decide they might provide.
    Look fair play for fighting your corner but thats what we are all doing, trying to fight our corner, Its the much bigger issue that needs to be hammered home, by the people en masse placing their demands in the public domaine as a united entity.

  34.  

    @ Thar Farraige:

    “I left Ireland in ‘91 & came back for six years during the tiger time. During those six years I having never seen such a ‘whipped’ people as my very own race. We bow down to officialdom in all its creations and it has spawned a sub-species who will not stand up for themselves but will gladly stab their fellow man in the back.”

    I’m in the States, and can vouch for this. Moved here in 93, and during that time many friends here tried to move back. In all cases, the result was disastrous. Most realised their mistake and returned here; the one guy who stayed in ireland now drinks, as it’s the only way he can stand the place.

    “Anyone who displayed an ounce of ‘get up and go’ would be slowly ground down by official process, delays and rising cost.”

    This virus was passed to Australia (by the Irish convict, I suspect) as the “tall poppy” syndrome. The triumph of mediocrity. This would be fine in a tribal society, but not in a civilised one. It combines the worst attributes of both systems.

    “The strange part of all this is the type of Irish you meet abroad. Typically they work hard, play hard to a degree, support their families and will fight for what they want. They will accept no excuse or bullshit and will say it to your face.”

    This applies, I think, to all or most immigrant groups – you’re seeing a self-selected group who just can’t/won’t accept being ground down any more. They end up, in a sense, stateless. Never quite accepted in their new home, and resented in the old one if they go home – witness the vitriol to people of my generation “Yiz fecked off and didn’t tough it out, and now yiz want to come home when times are good”, etc. Vicious little biddies.

    “We know plenty of people who would do the same but are stuck with commitment they can neither rent or sell or burn.”

    I also, to be fair, know friends here (LA) who made the catastrophic error of buying a house. I tried to warn one friend in 2005, who nevertheless went ahead and bought at the top of the market. He lost his place last year. Another (an Irish guy, very talented animator) is even worse off in a sense – his house is 150,000 less than the price he paid for it, but if he sells now, he’ll pay capital gains ON THE LOSS.
    Beware the real estate “industry” – SCUMBAGS TO THE LAST, ON ANY CONTINENT.

    “I can tell you from personal experience if this occurred in some countries there would have been a mass revolt by now.”

    Funny how the Frence have been branded by the US right as “surrender monkeys”, yet they’re the first to riot when things turn nasty. They’re doing something right; makes me wish I could speak the language – it might be fun to live there for a couple of years.

    “We need to take the head off the beast, i.e. remove the present government of vested interests and promote Irish enterprises.”

    Problem is the “Animal Farm” syndrome. While I agree that anything would be better than the semi-literate bogmen currently in charge, in a few years any alternative will slide down into the same cesspit. As one of my favourite commentators, Mike Ruppert says: “UNTIL YOU CHANGE THE WAY MONEY WORKS, YOU CHANGE NOTHING”.
    It’s a systemic problem, more than a party political one.

    “We have some the best minds in the world, be it engineering, business or financial and we should provide the incentives to foster Irish entreprenurial spirit. Remove the obstacles and provide assistance & we’ll work our way out of this mess.”

    I had the great fortune to meet Tomm Moore and the guys from Brown Bag at an Oscar party in Hollywood on the night of the Oscars (Dillon’s pub, a few blocks from the Kodak theatre). Not having been home since 1998, it was great not just to meet them, but their friends and family. Great people – class all the way – and they have nothing but my total admiration for making a go of it in a country that seems to delight in putting obstacles in the way of innovation and creativity – special pleasure in making life hard for people who work, as I do, in the visual arts.

    The Irish are, and always have been, their own worst enemy.

  35.  

    Like all the others here I believe this is an insightful and timely piece. I would disagree, however, that critical thought should be equated with rationality and logic. What we’re missing is passion. Critical thought with passion will make fighters of us again!

  36.  

    We are fed the myth of individualism and “every man for himself” (sexism and all) so we can be kept at each others’ throats like the worst degenerate case of sociopathic animal behaviour. Yet this passes for normality!

    Fighting only plays into the hands of those who already own the resources and political structure, since they control the rules of the game and will always win. This game is rigged!

    What is essential instead is empathy and a willingness to work together for common good. This is a longer and more difficult road, but is the only way to re-sensitize the individual, harmonise our relationship to our environment and create a society of conviviality. It happens from the ground up, by standing outside the system and by doing little things for ourselves and each other.

    So, while I applaud this article in general, I think some aspects rather quaint and misguided, a nineteenth-century response to a twenty-first-century world.

  37.  

    I, like most people here, have been truly touched by this article. Its as if you took all the jumbled hatred, anger, confusion and disgust and put it on paper for me. I will also volunteer to print it out and pass it out to people.Take a look at the Community take overs in Argentina. Thats what we need. Locally run businesses with out the big banks and local corporations charging us through the nose just to open the doors to some place, with all tax forms and the visa cards, that charge €5 to be used on websites, or grow locally, and not have the cheek to impose a carbon tax on us when your flying our meat every which way but Laois!!!!

    I’m delighted to see that I’m not the only half woken sheep. I do shout and i do give out, but i need to do more,I want to do something, but as many have said, THEY are so big, and powerful, all the private school shites patting each other on the back, you don’t know how to get these people to listen. They won’t listen and its time to do it our own way! I’ve posted this on Facebook where i found it, and i will repost every now and again. Its a truly inspiring article. Facebook i agree is a great way to highlight ideals etc but there must be a follow.

    “We will meet at parliament buildings at 6.am” ” Na bud, that waaay tooo early.”

  38.  

    Interesting article by UCD Professor Declan Kiberd from the March 13th edition of the Irish times:

    http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/weekend/2010/0313/1224266184020.html

  39.  

    Robin — Could you point out the quaint bits, and also the misguided bits so that I can correct them?

  40.  

    Bock, I rather thought I already did so in my previous response. I am not sure it is worth locking horns when we are on the same basic side against the oppression of the bureaucrats against the people. I have seen too much time wasted in factionalism of this order.

    Let me simply say that my reading of your thesis is that more complaint and protest will help matters. But it won’t, as history shows. Rather than rail against the inevitable injustices of the current system, we should instead be working towards building a new system, one beside the other, without recrimination.

    (Oh yeah, and throw the bastard thieves in jail. Because they did wrong and must pay the price.)

  41.  

    Robin; Whereas I agree with almost everything in your comment @ 41, It cannot be sustainable to ” build a new system beside the old one ” The workings of the new system would be totally flawed by setting a precedent of acceptance with the ” old system ”
    The people who have manipulated and abused the existing system cannot go unchecked, admonished or punished as that would completly weaken the new system, To go forward the already crumbling system as to be noticably rejected so as to avoid any potential of reoccurance.

  42.  

    Norma, you’re right, people are worn out.
    I have been very straight and forthright during my life, and like you I have received plenty of kicks for my trouble – even from people I stood up for! (Maybe especially them!)
    A bit of age has taught me to pick my battles, but it has given me an absolute determination also.
    If I start something, I will not stop until I achieve what I want to achieve.
    I know that you’re the same, Norma.

    Robin, I completely disagree with you that History proves that complaint and protest does not help.
    In fact, the reverse is true – French Revolution; Irish War of Independence; Michael Collins; Bob Geldof; Nelson Mandela etc… etc…
    We can’t live side by side this putrification, it will rot us all.
    We need a clear out. We need a few clear outs.

  43.  

    Mairead; I have reached a total crossroads, weary does’nt describe it !
    I may not have picked my battles in the past as judiciously as I do now, Your comment ” Even people I stood up for ” rings very close for me.
    I’m not only beyond fraustrated and scared for my Grandaughter and her life long condition, I am scared for everyone, because we seem so defeated.
    I do believe though that we harbour a very destructive mind set, A combination of self limiting beliefs and extraordinairy learnt behaviour which seem’s to have manifested now in a very cynical approach to the future of this Country.
    I have lived in many Countries and I have never come across the sense of bitterness and blame that I find here, not even amongst the most impoverished and deprived people.
    We all know the facts, we all know the detail, Whether it makes a difference or not, We need to display our contempt for the extreme mismanagement of our efforts, Let all the Political Parties know exactly what a vote equates to, That if we are not safe, neither are they, Its at least worth the risk.
    We will find no way forward unless we ditch the attitude and for me that includes all elements of snobbery both inverted and extroverted, Thats my tuppence worth for tonight.

  44.  

    I had an administrator for tea last night……. You made me do it Mr Bock. ..You are an inspirational hero.

    Mammy says that I`ll be shittin in triplicate for the rest of me life and its going to cost a fortune in nappies.
    And she can`t wait to get her hands on you.

    Are you really my daddy?

  45.  

    Norma, I do not disagree with you when you write “The people who have manipulated and abused the existing system cannot go unchecked, admonished or punished as that would completely weaken the new system.” Any political system must have moral authority or it is built on quicksand. That is why I wrote “throw the bastard thieves in jail. Because they did wrong and must pay the price.” However, I should point out that sometimes it is best to move on “without recrimination”, as in South Africa, or else the hatred continues back and forth. Dare I point out Israel as a prime example of a nation built on hatred and guilt?

    Mairead: You are correct to question my statement that “more complaint and protest” won’t help. I was oversimplifying a complicated matter. First, some of your examples from history are irrelevant in the world of global capital and transnational agendas. It is not so simple as to overthrow the land-owners, for example, since then we just become what we previously hated. Besides, ownership of property is no longer the issue; the violence of domination through space and containment has long given way to the violence of dominance through time and instantaneity.

    Consider that if a banker steals a great amount of money, perhaps through unsecured loans and back-room deals. What have they stolen exactly? Money no longer stands in for so many sheep. It no longer even stands in for so much gold which stands for so many sheep. It used to be, when things were simple, that when the central bank needed more money they could simply print it. They have this right, which no-one else has. (Thus it is immoral.) But now they need not even print money, since everything has been reduced to flickers of light on the screen. Billion euro debts can be forgotten (we say “forgiven”, which has an intriguing religious connotation) in a flick of a switch, because they are not real.

    So what does that stolen money mean to us? Has it made us any poorer? (I pose these as real open questions, in case anyone think I am simply being rhetorical.)

    Perhaps I should more accurately have said that “more complaint and protest”, while perhaps necessary, are not sufficient conditions for change. There is no final revolution; life itself must be made revolutionary. The first place a disruption must occur is within the individual if it is to have any lasting impact.

    This is why I moved from the world of business and politics to being a practitioner of aesthetic disruptions, which some label being “an artist”, a much abused term.

  46.  

    “We’re Greeks not Irish.

    From a CNN article on the Greek strikes –
    “It is not often discussed, but many government workers enjoy preferential tax rates, can retire at the age of 54 (in some cases earlier) and enjoy 14 months of pay for 12 months worked.” (cnn.com)

    No matter what else – at least this country has a decent chance of getting back on its feet within a generation – getting back to a 1990’s level of prosperity.

    The same wont be said of Greece – who are probably going to go from being one of the richest countries in the Balkans to being one of the poorest.

  47.  

    Robin —

    The first place a disruption must occur is within the individual if it is to have any lasting impact.

    You have summarised exactly what this post is about.

  48.  

    I said we were on the same side! :-)

    Good post and great dialogue generated.

  49.  

    Robin,

    So what does that stolen money mean to us? Has it made us any poorer? (I pose these as real open questions, in case anyone think I am simply being rhetorical.)

    The answer is yes, we are poorer. Our government has made a choice, and that is to rob money out of our schools, our hospitals, our infrastructure, our actual trading economy (especially the small, family-run business sector) in order to keep filling up the black hole that is the banks. This is not theoretical money, it is a real robbery out of our common purse. The robbers are the banks in collusion with the government and their “right-hand-ignorant-of-left-hand” quangos (NAMA, NTMA). The “gun” they held to our heads is the “perceptions of the international bond markets.” Apparently the needs of the international bond markets trump those of citizens.

    And while I agree with another commenter above (sorry, couldn’t find you again after reading on down) that you need passion along with critical thought, I think Bock’s stress on critical thought is essential. The tricks of the advertising/PR/spin trade are many, but what they boil down to is directing our choices by the manipulation of our emotions. When someone has succeeded in making you either very angry or very frightened – ask yourself why? They probably either want you to buy something or support a particular political candidate or platform. Either way, they are hoping the stirring of strong emotion will shut down your critical faculties, because they probably don’t have an argument that can stand actual scrutiny.

  50.  

    Of course we are poorer. I am almost 20% poorer personally, and society’s resources are several billion euro poorer. That’s only this last 12 months.

  51.  

    “Our government has made a choice, and that is to rob money out of our schools, our hospitals, our infrastructure, our actual trading economy (especially the small, family-run business sector) in order to keep filling up the black hole that is the banks.”

    If we see these events as aberrations in an otherwise decent system then we are being duped. That is exactly what we are supposed to believe, because it stops us going any further into making systematic inquiries. In fact it is the very existence of banks that is the problem. Furthermore, corporate law in its entirety is immoral. (Because a) it sidesteps personal responsibility for actions taken and b) grants rights and privileges to non-human entities that supersede humans.)

    If this one instance of (weasel phrase) “fiscal irresponsibility” demonstrates that fact then, perversely, it has actually done some good.

  52.  

    Big Dave – I’m glad your aspirations are so high, 1990’s prosperity within a generation. My point is that the Greeks are at least united, and aren’t tearing each other apart. They are fully aware, it seems, of who is responsible for their plight and don’t resort to fighting over scraps. Retirement at 54, a collapsed economy does not make. And who knows, as a result of their unity, what they could be capable of. And who knows how this country will be divided again to detract us from the real issues. Will it be smokers versus non-smokers, smokers accusing non-smokers of “not digging in to save the country” by supporting retailers and paying tax on cigarettes to help public finances. Smokers can also claim that they are acting in the best interests of the country and aren’t smoking for the good of their health. Such is the way this country has gone it’s pathetic. I cringe every time our beloved President speaks of our “intelligence and resilience” as I’m seeing little evidence of either these days.

  53.  

    Greeks are united? no they arent what gives you this idea? that is a myth, the country is rife with recriminations and finger pointing. Do you think Greek taxpayers are going out demonstrating in support of
    public sector. Not a chance. They are demonstrating against tax hikes – with the unsaid implication that they should decimate the public sector.

    The strikes – and also the bomb attacks – are destroying investor confidence in Greece.
    Greece borrows at twice the interest rate that Germany does ( 6% v 3% – a HUGE gap)
    This debt servicing is an extra burden for the already undermined economy

    While you can laud these greeks strikes- be mindful of the fact that it is comes with a heavy price.

    Lets not look to Greece for any ideas on how we should do things.

  54.  

    Robin:

    If we see these events as aberrations in an otherwise decent system then we are being duped. That is exactly what we are supposed to believe, because it stops us going any further into making systematic inquiries. In fact it is the very existence of banks that is the problem. Furthermore, corporate law in its entirety is immoral. (Because a) it sidesteps personal responsibility for actions taken and b) grants rights and privileges to non-human entities that supersede humans.)

    To some extent I do agree – the fact that we are being duped, or that someone wishes to “dupe” us, and will succeed unless we can apply critical thinking to the matter – is certainly correct. However, I’m not so sure where you are going with the rest of this statement. My starting point is that we cannot exist as discrete individuals – we are a social species and are interdependent on one another. There are certain aspects of common good that are completely inaccessible to us as individuals and can only become so when we band together.

    For example, I may spend my whole life not needing to have a fire put out in my house, but the day it does start to burn, if I live in a society that has foreseen and provided for this eventuality, then a fully equipped and trained fire crew will appear and, hopefully, save both lives and property, or at least prevent the damage from being as extensive as it might be.

    For that reason, I personally am not unhappy to pay my taxes, as my contribution towards those “common good” goods and services that can best be organised collectively. But I see it as my duty to fight any government that neglects its responsibility to spend such funds as they should be spent – on the common good of its citizen – not on bankrolling a particular sector of society that just happens to be rich, powerful and influential.

    I’m not certain, but it appears to me that you may be advocating a more libertarian, individualistic view, which I would have profound disagreements with.

  55.  

    I agree with you completely and am in no way a Libertarian in the political sense. It’s blinkered thinking that achieves “efficiency” only by completely ignoring the social dimension of life — the most important dimension without which we would not be human.

    Neither do I believe in conspiracies. All the information we need is in plain sight. (Sure there are attempts at cover-ups but they are minor.)

  56.  

    [Ug. I was editing my post and some timer elapsed. This is a really crap system. Here’s more of what I was writing.]

    The fact that I believe that corporate law should go the way of slavery (they are directly related) does not mean we should return to frontier individualism. There is a lot of room in between those poles. To be simplistic I can say that I believe in strong social organisation and networked structures at group through municipal levels.

    But these sustainable systems do not scale up. Centralise too much political or economic power and the result is inevitable: domination of the many by the few. This is true no matter what political system — fascism, democracy, etc. (pretending for a moment that these terms have meaning) which is why those fixated on stupid left/right divisions will never get near the truth. Left and right are the same thing.

  57.  

    Jesus Robin, it’s only a comment system like any other, not a desktop publishing suite.

  58.  

    “Jesus Robin, it’s only a comment system like any other…”

    Wrong, not like any other. You need to get out more. Other sites don’t have a brain-dead time-out system that lets you type in three paragraphs and then tells you it’s all lost work. Not even other WordPress sites.

    “…not a desktop publishing suite.”

    I’m glad you’ve at least got that all figured out.

  59.  

    Robin, you really were doing great. Do you behave like this with everyone you’ve just met?

  60.  

    Robin; I’m no computer whiz but it can’t be the fault of this site that you got timed out, Trust me I’ve commented complete diatribes.

  61.  

    “Robin, you really were doing great. Do you behave like this with everyone you’ve just met?”

    Well, you were 20% more offensive to me, so I’m trying to be 20% more offensive to you. Really just responding in kind, which is not always the best approach, but hey it seems to be the local ethos.

    Oh, for the record, commenting on a website is in no way like meeting someone.

    “Robin; I’m no computer whiz but it can’t be the fault of this site that you got timed out, Trust me I’ve commented complete diatribes.”

    Completing a post gives a countdown timer that starts at something like five minutes. It ticks off seconds as it goes. But then apparently this timer still exists (unseen) when one is editing a post as well. Anything written after that time is lost, even though there is no indication this will happen.

    Trust me, this is a function of the site.

    Bock, I am not sure why you are so offended I called it a “really crap system”. It’s not like I insulted your mother.

  62.  

    You know , Robin, there are probably plenty of idiots out there who could serve as a foil for your brilliance, and I’d offer to do it myself, but my village needs me.

    Now, on your more specific point, the countdown feature can be modified to provide as much (or as little) time as desired. Generally speaking, people have managed to write extraordinarily detailed comments without difficulty, and in this regard, by way of example, I’d draw your attention to the scientific discussions here.

    However, since you ask, it’s a simple matter to increase the time available, and I have done so, to facilitate your typing skills.

  63.  

    “However, since you ask, it’s a simple matter to increase the time available, and I have done so, to facilitate your typing skills.”

    I am glad that I could help you debug your interface. But the issue is not the amount of time, per se, but the fact that there is no indicator that there is a time limit.

    “Generally speaking, people have managed to write extraordinarily detailed comments without difficulty”

    But not to edit them with ease, if some of those posts are anything to go by.

    “You know , Robin, there are probably plenty of idiots out there who could serve as a foil for your brilliance, and I’d offer to do it myself, but my village needs me.”

    My brilliance is a relative thing; in other company I am dull as coal.

  64.  

    The original post is very interesting, pertinent and thought provoking.
    I hope it won’t go off the rails on a side issue.
    I look forward to reading other peoples input on this weighty subject.

  65.  

    I think Robin has finished complaining about the comments system now, so I hope we can get the thread back on track.

  66.  

    “I think Robin has finished complaining about the comments system now, so I hope we can get the thread back on track.”

    But I was on track, Bock. I thought complaining is what this article was calling for? I was merely putting into practice what you proposed. It is odd you cannot see that and close to hypocritical that you should slag me for it.

  67.  

    Robin — The post is about a mindset, and my example of complaining in a restaurant is where we receive poor service.

    This site is not a service to you.

  68.  

    OK., my mistake, I thought the article had more to do with politics than ordering food. I thought you were interested in changing the system, not perpetuating it. Now that you’ve so clearly indicated the limits of your goals I think your last comment can be rewritten as:

    “This site is not of service to you.”

    I’ll see you round then, out in the real world. Which, I dare say, you will have zero possibility of changing until you learn to deal with criticism in a way that is less passive-aggressive. Such behaviour, though so very Irish, accomplishes absolutely nothing of worth. It stems from a deep feeling of insecurity and inferiority that is the internal representation of external oppression — and as such is far more effective at countering dissent.

    I will leave you to celebrate the expunging of the intruder from your territory, exactly like those bank managers, property owners, generals and nationalists that create the problems in the first place. If you ever decide to admit to self-examination and improvement you will realise that such a victory is hollow indeed. I suggest starting with Aristotle, but rather doubt you have ever been open to suggestions.

  69.  

    P.S. Kinski wants his picture back.

  70.  

    You forgot to say Harumph. Good day to you sir!

  71.  

    I think that we need to stop talking and start doing. Too many people spend their time politely putting their opinions across to corrupt politicians who file it under, “fruitcake” and move on without heeding a single word. I’m sick of being polite with pricks who think that, if we could all just hold hands and sing kumbaya until everything rights itself again, we can get the country back on a paying basis. Fuck that.
    Let me start this era of impoliteness by saying, Robin; you’re a gowl!

    Great post, Bock.

  72.  

    Cap’n P, that’s not very nice now is it. A bit infantile don’t you think.
    I would suggest some candles and a doobie maybe along with holding hands and singing kumbaya and everything would be right as rain.

  73.  

    Considering the infantile nature of recent comments, he seems to fit right in.

    Can we now revert to the substance of the post?

  74.  

    FME: Yes, I agree my comment was infantile but so is the suggestion that we just sit back, and “do things” ourselves so that the country becomes a better place. No need to bring down the governement. Oh no, what good would that do? No need to get out there and let them know in no uncertain terms that we are not happy with the status quo and we will not go quietly into the night while they continue to line their own filthy pockets with our money. I mean what good would any of that do. No, we should just sit quietly and let the country fix itself.

  75.  

    Cap N’ P, I understand your sentiment.. but what good would bringing down the government do when there is only another shower of dopes waiting in line to do the same thing as their predecessors.

  76.  

    I haven’t had a chance to read the Fine Gael document yet, but from what I’ve heard, it seems to be a fundamental rethink of our political system. If the dopes waiting in the wings are willing to reconstruct themselves, I’ll consider voting for them.

  77.  

    Big Dave – I don’t think you realise Bock was criticising not endorsing “the Non-Fighting Irish”…..

  78.  

    I realise exactly what he means….

    While I dont propose anybody should stand idly, and watch their futures go up in smoke, the one example we should not follow, at all costs, are the Greeks.
    Striking to retain civil service Perks? NO WAY!!..and these strikes have sent the interest spread through the roof for Greece.
    These Greek strikes are dramatic and newsworthy – but havent achieved a damn thing. In fact they made a bad situation worse.

    There has to be cuts there in Greece, just as there has to be cuts here. The difference between both is that here – the unions actually recognize that reality, or at least they dont dismiss it as nonsense.

  79.  

    My point about the Greeks might be misunderstood.

    I’m not saying they’re right to strike. I’m saying they have the balls to go out and protest, unlike the docile Irish who will take anyting thrown at them by priests, politicians and bankers.

  80.  

    There was a fashion in 2009 to set up political parties and movements , using the web.

    Irish people’s union and the FB No to NAMA group to name two.

    These political groups didnt take off, because the approach in building and developing was wrong – , not because it was a bad idea to do it.
    They made a mistake of setting up the FB group or webpage page first – and try build the movement from there. Unfortuantely that doesnt work.
    You need the movement first – and have actual meetings etc – then you get the FB page to consolidate it .

    Here is the rub – people want these new political groups to take off – as an alternative to the choices they have now – but they want someone else to do the work in building these groups.
    Too many indians – not enough chiefs.

  81.  

    This post is not about setting up a political grouping. or movement.

  82.  

    fair enough – but it is about taking action.

    we are both agreed that too many are being passive in what is going on in Ireland .

    I think that Greek style strikes are the worst way to go – so i am putting out some alternatives. you might like them – yoyu might not.

  83.  

    It’s mainly about growing up.

  84.  

    Some more reasons to feel the RAGE to-day, thought i might share……………
    1. The Minister has decided to increase the wages of the Nama board members to ” reflect ” the heavy workload they face in the coming year, ie Chairman Frank Daly 100k by 70% to 170k, the other 6 members get a 32% increase.
    2 Landlords in some parts are increasing rents by 50% which will close businesses but will increase their Nama valuation.
    3. The 5 layers of Nama valuation is likely to treble the value of commercial development sites, Now only worth agricultural price.
    4. The financial regulator Matthew Enderfield was severly rebuffed when making enquiries regarding loans and mortages belonging to Senators and TD’s being transferred to Nama., Lest i forget the public will have little or no right to any information as to who they will be bailing out.
    5. Eight Teacher/TD’s who are ammassing a combined pension of 3.2 million in pensions are refusing to quit their teaching posts.
    An example…………Mary Hanafin.
    Ministerial Salary 191,417 k
    Ministerial pension 60k
    Teaching pension 415,800, based on an annual teachers salary of 63k incl prevailing int rates.
    As Minister Lenihan himself is quoted as saying ” If this was France, there would be blood on the streets “

  85.  

    Well done, the bocks, a very good post. Worth dropping back in and finding that.

    (Thought for a moment I saw something happening between yourself and Robin. A little twinkle here, a gentle nudge there. A match made in heaven, it seemed, after all these years… our Bock was growing up, getting interested in outsiders.
    Just as well I didn’t send the suit off for cleaning, though, it got a bit wordy, a little bit “short”, then robin disappeared.
    Ah, well, there’ll be someone else along sometime. Maybe…)

  86.  

    It is so frustrating!! We ran a campaign last year asking people to join us against cuts to child benefit and the apathy and ‘downtrodden’ sentiment was everywhere. We were bombarded with ‘well sure what can we do anyway’, ‘ why bother’ and ‘what difference will it make.’

    Is it the constant drive of the endless rain that has us bowed in submission? Is that we are still a baby Republic, not yet 100 years old, that makes us so gullible and pliable? Is that we are used to being occupied and crave that hand holding? Are we as a nation suffering from a form of Stockholm Syndrome, where we pledge our child-like trust to authority figures, no matter how corrupt? We widen our eyes when they fail us but we are unable to do anything.

    Why are we still so unsure of our own footing, so untrusting in our own thoughts? When will we learn that we are entitled to question authority, entitled to express dissatisfaction, anger and we have a right to our opinions and thoughts. Will we carry everything to our graves and regret not standing up for our children’s safety, education, future? Will another generation be brought up to ‘never complain’ and never question authority. What example are we setting for them ?

    When are we going to stop this charade and realise the buck stops with us, ordinary individuals who can and are entitled to make a difference. We need to raise our voices and make sure we are heard.

  87.  

    We as a people will never rise up because we are infested with cutehoorism and méféinism. “Let others do the uprising, I’ll pick up the scraps and come out shining”. Jim Larkin must look down agast, union leaders on 6 figure salaries with all the trappings of capitalism, where is their appetite for a scrap?

  88.  

    While I broadly agree – consider this:

    What if getting into a “scrap” is counter-productive.

    What if the end result of a “scrap” is more jobs in the firing line than before – going out to protect 10,000 just to end up endangering the jobs of 10,000 more.

    At the end of the day , the unions have admitted that the current situation cant continue, that we cant borrow 20 billion a year indefinitely.

  89.  

    Don’t be fooled by sensational headlines about pensions.
    A pension might be “worth” 400K, but that doesn’t mean that a person will ever get it.
    That is 400k over your entire retirement – if you live long enough!!
    I am no fan of Mary Hanafin, I dislike her quite a lot.
    However, she will only receive a pension from the teaching service that she has completed.
    She is not gaining service as a teacher while she is a TD., it has stopped, as far as I know.
    She has paid in to her pension for many years, and will only get back a pension according to how many years she has paid in.
    The headlines were very misleading in that they mixed up two things (1) the fact that she has not resigned her teaching job and (2) the fact that she has paid in to a pension as a teacher for many years and will get a contributary pension when she is 60 / 65, depending on her teaching service.
    Point one needs to be debated, point two is no-one’s business. She has paid in to this pension and won’t get credit for years she has not worked as a teacher.
    Point one isn’t even as bad as it might look. She is not being paid for being a teacher if that’s what people think? The only problem that I see with it is that the teacher replacing her has a temporary job, rather than a permanent one.
    Many people think that teachers get a free pension from the tax payer. That is not so. Teachers pay 8.5% into their own pension every week. The Govt take it and don’t even invest it, instead they use it for day-to-day expenses. A recent INTO examination found that teachers’ pensions are completely self-funding.
    Let’s fight this Govt, yes, but on real issues, not ones presented by the media to drive us mad and to sell newspapers.

  90.  

    Big Dave I don’t think I made myself clear. I have no time for unions (past experience). Trade unionism at local level is about Little Napoleons. My point re their leaders salaries is that they have become as corporate as the very companies that they traditionally opposed. They will rarely oppose the government, they are infact part of the establishment. I am not looking for militant trade unionism but there is no alternative thinking being offered by trade unions, most of that is coming from the private sector which is being strangled by red tape and “this is how we do things around here” syndrome.

  91.  

    @No.8 – you are bringing this debate in the right direction.

    I agree with your “little napoleon” comparison. The Passports office thing proves that point.

    [This work-to-rule actually wasn’t sparked by anything – the local branch just decided to go on “work to rule”….quotation marks being meant to convey sarcasm because they aren’t even doing that . ]

    @Mairead – great point well made . I didnt know any of that stuff at all. And you are right – I find that quite a journalists are far from being the sharpest tools in the shed.[ The UL presidents house was another of these “scandal” where some important facts were ignored – in effort to maximise “public outrage” ]

  92.  

    Mairead; I’m more than willing to stand corrected but confused as to why Teachers who enter Politics as a full time job don’t resign their teaching posts, Surely their role in Politics is all consuming so why not create a full time post for someone dedicated to the role of full time Teaching ?
    If she won’t benefit from a pension beyond her service years, then i’m confused as to why there is any questions about it, if she has nothing to gain from it by further contributions made then there is no issue., So is that all total sensation making ?
    If the 8 ex Teachers have no financial gain to make, Why are they refusing to resign at all ?
    Can they return to said Teaching posts at will ? Lets say if they lose their seat in the Dail , Then does the part time Teacher lose their job ?

  93.  

    “So is that all total sensation making ?” – very likely

    “Lets say if they lose their seat in the Dail , Then does the part time Teacher lose their job ?”

    on the balance of probabilities other teachers would have retired in the mean time, with the replacement teacher taking those permanent positions. ( well – it might be a different story at the moment ) .

    I wonder if INTO / ASTI / TUI officials get these same conditions – very likely.

  94.  

    Maybe it would be as well to wait until we know the precise details of the scheme before presuming that the temporary teachers get anything. What do you think?

  95.  

    It is only a presumption of the current situation because of the recruitment freeze.

  96.  

    Mairéad might have the facts on this.

  97.  

    Will wait for the fact’s, But I think the system is crazy and it’s making me wonder now is this why there are so many Teachers/ ex Teachers in Politics and is this another strand of the problem of mind set.
    It’s fairly secure then ,if one is a Politician loses their seat, There is always the other job to fall back on ? very confusing.
    I think it was the very fact that it was Mary Hanafin that made me grind my teeth, I did’nt hear all of it but i’m fairly sure she said on The Rt Hook that she was not keeping a Teacher out of a full time position.

  98.  

    It’s probably a more appropriate discussion for the cabinet reshufffle thread anyway.

  99.  

    The facts: Teachers retire at 65. Some take early retirement. Other teachers are hired to replace them.

    The current recruitment freeze has stopped that for the time being.

    but this debate is nothing to do with the current recruitment freeze. it is about being able to go back to your job if you lose your seat.

  100.  

    Let’s be clear. This debate is about people learning a new way to look at things.

    We’ll leave the teacher argument to another day.

    From now on, all teacher comments wil be either deleted or transferred to the appropriate thread.

    Keep it pure guys.

  101.  

    Hold on -I agree about not going OT but why couldnt we “keep it pure ” on the Croke Park thread?

    You didnt threaten anybody with deletion there, did you?.

    That is called a “double standard” in my part of the world.

  102.  

    What are you talking about?

  103.  

    “I’m not saying they’re right to strike. I’m saying they have the balls to go out and protest, unlike the docile Irish who will take anyting thrown at them by priests, politicians and bankers.”

    Thanks Bock, that was the point I was trying to make to big Dave. I wasn’t advocating bombing the country.

    “Let’s fight this Govt, yes, but on real issues, not ones presented by the media to drive us mad and to sell newspapers.”

    About time someone said it Mairead. I don’t buy newspapers anymore. The journalists are becoming incredibly frivolous in their approach to issues these days. Facts don’t seem to come in the way of a big story.

  104.  

    I’ll reply on the reshuffle thread, Norma and all.

  105.  

    Here, here. Fantastic stuff.

    IIRC a Greek trade unionist made a brilliant comment about not taking it lying down like the Irish.

  106.  

    I have not time for Greek unions – or their ill advised remarks about the Irish

    not matter how bad things get here – Greek is going to come out of this much worse…and their unions ar only going to make it worse.

  107.  

    The Non-Fighting Irish—the “Beaten Docket”?
    Your post demands answers as to why we behave in the way we do.
    Let me suggest a few historical truths that helped shape the Irish of to-day:
    a) The tribal irish chieftain governance never allowed us to educate ourselves, to build towns,roads,bridges or anything useful. Irish peasants were at the beck and call of their “Kings” or “Chiefs”, especially for fighting over territory or the honour of some despot.
    When the chance came for basic Human Rghts in AD 1217 with Magna Carta (Hibernica), our Chiefs and our Popes condemmned it ; thus it was never introduced into Ireland, so peasants could be murdered, injured or punished in other ways, willy-nilly by their leaders. There being no system of justice for the little people!
    b) Following the great Protestant Reformation in AD 1517, the treacherous Irish Chiefs saw the Popes as a way of restoring their power over the people;equally, the Popes saw the Irish Chiefs as a way to perhaps defeat the English and return Englant to the Roman Faith.
    Thus the wretched Irish,aided by Indulgences and Cash granted by the terminally corrupt Papacy, fought and lost every war they engaged in; not knowing they were fighting for despotism and against freedom.

    c) By AD 1801, the Irish were a Beaten Docket; but by now they had a dream of a Roman Catholic government just for themselves,and all would be well!

    d) By AD 1852 they had suffered at least three famines and were on the move. Roman Catholics alone were deserting at the rate of 70000 per year for the next seventy years.
    It was the enterprising and healthy 15-35 year olds who were leaving. Those weaker in mind and body stayed at home,and,as there was no immigration into Ireland, our gene pool was severely depleted.
    e) By AD 1922, with 5 million of our people gone, The Roman Catholic part of Ireland was now a “Free State” , with 50000 per year Free to Emigrate!
    In his book “Ireland and the Vatican” , Prof. Dermot Keogh reveals how our “Leaders” slavishly turned the Free State into a Papal Principality, declaring that the Irish were the most Catholic Nation on Earth.
    The successive Irish Governments spent most of their energies consolidating their position with the “Holy See”, not in managing the collapsing economy or the highest infant mortality rate in Europe. In AD 1948, they offered to Pope Pius XII ( Hitler’s Pope ) Ireland as the home for the Holy See if the Communists took power in Italy.
    The Government of a tiny poverty stricken statelet of less than 3 million people had also attempted to thwart the wishes of the people of Italy (population 40 Million) by using the Legion of Mary and thousands of £ cash from the Gullible irish to help the Papacy — little Ireland had become the bulwark of Catholic Europe against Communism.
    f) Its all downhill from now on; the Peoples Papal Principality ,ruled for so long by the saintly Archbishop McQuaid, gave the peasants a more vicious time than the English ever did,and we never complained, why could we ? we got what we always wanted, didn’t we ?

  108.  

    “By AD 1852 they had suffered at least three famines and were on the move. Roman Catholics alone were deserting at the rate of 70000 per year for the next seventy years.
    It was the enterprising and healthy 15-35 year olds who were leaving. Those weaker in mind and body stayed at home,and,as there was no immigration into Ireland, our gene pool was severely depleted.”
    Oh that explains everything, it’s our gene pool. I always thought nurture had more of an influence than nature myself.

  109.  

    Hubert’s comment wins the prize for the most defeatist, depressing, negative and unhelpful contribution ever made to a discussion on this site.

    I’m deeply suspicious of his motives.

  110.  

    I am too – has a very propagandist tone to it…”historical truths” my eye

    Brehon Law was a very complex legal system for its time..so I am dubious about this “no system of justice” remark immediately.

    I cant find any mention of Magna Carta (Hibernica) anywhere else. -what is this Magna Carta (Hibernica)? is it related to Magna Carta?
    Ireland was a governed by a “Lordship” until 1541. Our various monarchies were considered vassals of the King of England – but he wasnt the actual King of Ireland.

  111.  

    Post 110 FME April 7th.
    You didn’t like my comment “By AD 1852 — ” Well you are about 119 years late! You can read the first version in the Nationalist Weekly Freeman of 2nd July 1881: http://multitext.ucc.ie/d/Image_Supplement_to_the_Weekly_Freeman_entitled_A_Terrible_Record.

    You are also about 100 years too late! You can read a similar statement under “Statistic” in the Catholic Encyclopedia:– “The saddest feature of this exodus (to 1901) is that 82% of the emigrants were between 15 and 35 years of age. The healthy and enterprising have gone, leaving the weaker in mind and body at home”
    http://www.newAdvent.org/cathen/08098b.htm.
    This is the organ of the Roman Catholic Church,originally written about 1910 but now posted on the internet for all those millions of RC’s who want to know the “truth” about Ireland.
    Nowadays, we don’t use the words “Gene Pool”, we say “Brain Drain” as it is more PC, but I agree with you that nurture dominates the development of the intellect, as my great great grandparents stayed at home in the west of Ireland.
    You have not answered my hypothesis : we never complained, why could we, we got what we always wanted, didn’t we?

    post 112 Big Dave April 7th.

    Magna Carta Hiberniae was applied to Ireland about AD 1216. There are several web sites about this. You can read: http://ua_tuathal.tripod.com/magna.html.
    I didn’t know it existed either until a few years ago. One reason it well below the radar in irish history for schools is that the rotten Pope Innocent III opposed it tooth and nail. You can look up the goings on of this human terror machine,as seen by the Vatican (New Advent) and by Wikipedia —– theres a little matter of the extermination 150000 Cathars in Southern France that the Vatican forgot to mention!

    You also did not reply to my question We got what we always wanted,didn’t we ?

    Post to Bock.

    I can’t argue with your 5 point plan : The Way Forward. “Lets promote ——- etc
    Its the implementation that requires an acceptance of our history,most especially after the famine.
    Ireland emerged as as a stable and socially conservative country that did not suffer excessive upheaval during its period of change. The country had, however, on;y achieved this through high levels of emigration. The removal of potentially “discontented elements “within irish society allowed it to develop in a manner that was stable but not innovative. In fact, emigration ensured that “modernised” Ireland was very conservative.

    We are those conservative people to-day, as emigration continued at the same pace for the last 140 years and was not counterbalanced by immigration as with other European Countries.
    We are all less “Bolshy” than citizens of other countries; our successive governments have been only too pleased that we were educated in RC “Madrashes” up to the age of 18, thus ensuring a mono religious, mono cultural society with little or no deviations permitted in Beliefs and Politics — not death, but excommunication or dismissal were the common punishments for the outspoken or the mildly irreligious
    citizen.
    However, we are now part of the EU. The EU will make al the decisions that you suggest in the “Way Forward”, first by economic dictats, then religious dictats.
    I am not sure if they have already started in Killarney,with the removal of a statue from the roof of a small hospital !

  112.  

    I dont accept references from Tripod !! Find a proper reference.

  113.  

    Hubert.. No I did not like you comment and don’t like your most recent one either.

    However you seem to agree with me – Nowadays, we don’t use the words “Gene Pool”, we say “Brain Drain” as it is more PC, but I agree with you that nurture dominates the development of the intellect, as my great great grandparents stayed at home in the west of Ireland.

    Is that you way of saying you think you’re a smart lad huh? In any case I don’t think you prove any nurture theory with that one. Those statements you are reproducing, that I do not like are not facts but opinions. There isn’t a depletion of the gene pool (or your PC version – “brain drain’) with emigration. Emigration out of Ireland is a real shame and shouldn’t be happening (have happened) as we are losing talented, well educated young people whose families want them around.. but they got their brains from somewhere didn’t they?
    The facts are that historically there was mass emigration out of Ireland, to say it cause a depletion in the gene pool is NOT fact. I’m about 119 years too late huh? Well Hubert it’s never too late to start thinking for yourself and stop reproducing opinions verbatim.

    (and by the way thank god for the mass emigration out of Ireland to places like the US, who would have fought their wars, built their bridges, buildings etc. otherwise?!)

    Also where you say We are those conservative people to-day, as emigration continued at the same pace for the last 140 years. I don’t know if you’re aware of this or not but the average age of a person living in Ireland today is approximately 35 years and I would disagree also that conservativeness is directly correlated to old age.

    And in response to: You also did not reply to my question We got what we always wanted,didn’t we?. What are you on about – we? I must have missed the vote on that one did I?
    Is the “we’ the billion or so RC’s in the world? Such a stupid question really. People cannot help which society they are born into.. but some are trying to change it and actually have the ability to think for themselves.

  114.  

    Lets face the Irish will let any fucker in a Louise Copeland suit shit on them.

  115.  

    That article is A1 Bock. Just A1.

  116.  

    Nurture without the right nature is a waste of effort.You can nurture a donkey all you like but you will never get him to win the grand national.Sorry to say but all people are not born equal in terms of intelligence and talent and that is just a hard fact of life.I agree with a lot of what Hubert has written.And if you keep draining a gene pool (as with any pool) you eventually end up with just the mud at the bottom.

  117.  

    I suppose we mud-people will just have to keep struggling on as best we can in our stupidity.

  118.  

    I said thats what you eventually end up with.I did not say we had got there yet.The brightest and most competent people being forced to leave a country can only have a negative effect long term.And as you know mass emigration has started again and they are not navvies that are leaving now.Sorry if you took it as an offence but it was intended to highlight a long term consequence.

  119.  

    I can emigrate if I want to William.. I’m staying put though.. I guess I must be a navvie then.
    Here’s a balanced article on nurture versus nature..
    http://wilderdom.com/personality/L4-1IntelligenceNatureVsNurture.html
    Twins separated at birth have even been studied.. not one of them turned out to be a donkey.
    I wonder is arrogance an innate characteristic or is it just nurtured. And as far as I’m aware emigration doesn’t affect anyone’s genes. I guess if enough of the brightest and best leave.. eventually I won’t be able to tie my shoe laces. :)

  120.  

    ha?

  121.  

    what the fuck did i do now?

  122.  

    Nothing. I thought I had already explained this.

    Have you been drinking again?

  123.  

    Bock, you’re turning me into the fightin kind.. :)

    Nah Bock I’m just high on life.. :) Still recovering from Friday night.. see my nice comment I left Saturday morning.. I’m usually a happy drunk and mean sober.. :)

    Do you know when people come online.. it’s eerie how some people comment at the same time.. or else you’re seasick..

  124.  

    Excellent article, although just one point: we do have schools where the church is not the patron, where children of all beliefs and none are respected and the children are taught to become critical thinkers. These schools are under the patronage of Educate Together.

  125.  

    That’s true, but the vast majority of our primary schools are under the control of a bishop.

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