By Mike Faricy
I’m not quite sure where to begin, the news has been so dreadful for the past two to three years regarding the Irish economy, the government, the banks, the burst bubble and unemployment. Begin? Where does it stop? Perhaps its only fitting that the most recent budget was delivered on December 7, a day of reckoning if not infamy, to paraphrase Franklin Roosevelt. One thing is becoming obvious, finally there is someone in charge making decisions, unfortunately it is the International Monetary Fund.
One would guess that the European Union, the European Central Bank and the IMF had a look at the books, such as they were and decided enough is enough. If only the Fianna Fail government, in power for the better part of the past thirty years had done something, anything, but they didn’t. Doing something would require spine, backbone, and if not forward thinking at least some thinking. But they haven’t done a thing. Well not quite true, they’ve looted this island nation in conjunction with their banker pals and developer buddies. They’ve given themselves raises, the highest paid civil servants in the western world. Government minister’s and department heads in this island nation of 4.5 million, one third the size of Minnesota, make more than the President of the United States, substantially more. And they’re so out of touch they honestly believe they’re entitled to those salaries. Don’t get me started on expense reports that don’t require receipts, after all, who in their right mind would ever think a politician would lie?
They’ve managed to do one more thing. They’ve left a hell of bill for the next generation. That’s if the generation stays. In it’s wisdom the government has ‘encouraged’ the best and the brightest to travel abroad. And they are, to the tune of 60,000 individuals departing the country in 2009 according to figures just released. Some of those people are foreign nationals, returning home or moving on to greener pastures. But an ever growing proportion is Irish. Leaving Ireland because there simply are no jobs, and then why would you return? Emigration isn’t just an option, it’s becoming the only option for young people. It’s a return to the 1980’s or even the 1950’s, Irish children raised, educated and then forced to leave. And still no one has been charged or arrested. Anglo Irish Bank’s Sean Fitzpatrick and David Drumm, Irish Life and Permanent’s Michael Fingelton, or Fianna Fail’s Bertie Ahern and Brian Cowen, the list goes on and on and on. The shame of it all is palpable and it will be born by the ordinary Joe Soaps who had nothing to do with it, they’ll just pay the bill for twenty years. The sum they’re tagged with is triple the per capita amount placed on the heads of German citizens at the end of the First World War by the disastrous Treaty of Versailles. We all know how well that worked out. The bill will be paid by people like us who can only dust themselves off get up in the morning and go to work if they’re fortunate enough to have a job. And then dread the day and the tearful goodbyes when the next son or daughter boards the plane to anywhere else.