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Letters from Ireland IV

Irland steckt in einer tiefen Krise. Nicht nur wirtschaftlich geht es bergab, auch politisch steht das Land an der Abbruchkante. Der seit vielen Jahren in Nordrhein-Westfalen lebende Ire Hugh Murphy reist in seine Heimat zurück und schreibt über das, was er sieht. Hier ist der vierte Brief unseres Gastautors.

“Hello there,

The weather has now joined in the rush to distract the Irish from brooding about the EU-IMF bailout deal. The coldest November/December for 25 years hit Dublin city (appropriately) and the eastern coast areas with a temperature drop to near minus ten. Snow accumulated everywhere. Passes in the Dublin mountains and schools were closed and questions were asked in parliament. In the senate actually.

A senator called to a house in darkness and when she was let in she found a family who had been without food or electricity for two days because they had had to pay their mortgage instalment. “The IMF and the ECB protect the elite of Europe and this family was the reality facing us as a consequence,” she announced to the almost empty chamber. “The bail out deal must be renegotiated,” she demanded.

The theme was taken up in the Dail (the other House). Again it was a woman TD (member of parliament) who made the point, “now that an election is in the offing Ministers and other Members are retiring in droves. They will get huge pensions and golden handshakes. But a man who has worked 47 years on a building site will be lucky to get 30 euro a month from the Construction Industry Federation.”

It is such crass contrasts in Irish society that turn people away from politics and why their despair of a change is so profound. There is no ‘Moses’ in sight. The bad weather and the on-rushing Christmas ruckus are lousy Golden Calves, but they’ll do for now. There is always a seeming-Moses lurking in Dublin 4 or 6, which are the areas of south Dublin city where the well-off and ‘intellectuals’ live. The likes of Vincent Brown and Finton O’Toole know nothing but they can explain everything. Finton O’Toole is a columnist and the author of “Stern critic of Irish politics”; Vincent Browne is a political pundit with his own TV show.

Suppose there was a real movement, let’s just call it that and not a revolution, in Ireland, what might it look like? Suppose the Irish government took a page from the Icelanders book and refused to take responsibility for the bankers debts? Yes! Renege on the September 08 promise to guarantee them! Immoral? Yes! Justifiable? Every country tears up treaties when national interests are at stake and surely the bail out is and will be a threat to Irish national interests for a generation!

Or is it all shadow boxing? In the not too distant future will a clown jump out of a box, maybe still with Cowan’s face, and announce an end to the crisis? Dreams? Of course! But that’s the state of mind in Ireland today! Some wish the clown will be Michael O’Leary, the highly successful boss of Ryanair!

If an Irish government choose to go down that road, even if it means pulling the plug on the Euro, they would and should pay the debts that occurred through their own excesses. Then the Irish debt becomes manageable. Pensions do not have to be double that of the UK. Rates get paid; water is paid for; many pensioners get by without free travel.

Impose a reasonable wage cap for civil servants, especially at the top, and politicians; lock up as many developers as you can lay hands on and you’d be making a good start. The biggest task of course, would be to attract enough intelligent, honest and capable people into politics to see off the present lot of cement heads and their self-serving culture.

What was it again what Garret Fitzgerald Fine Gael politician and one time Taoiseach (prime minister) said about Oliver Flannigan (flamboyant politician who used his position to get ‘jobs for the boys’.)?

Politics is not about jobbery, said Garret. Garret knows nothing about politics, said Oliver. Seemingly Oliver is alive and well in Irish politics.

Hugh Murphy”

Nachtrag: Die irische Regierung hat heute das umfassende Sparprogramm beschlossen. Viele Ökonomen sehen die Zukunft Irlands durch die immensen Einsparungen gefährdet, wie Spiegel Online trefflich zusammenfasst.

Vorherige Briefe:

Letters from Ireland I

Letters from Ireland II

Letters from Ireland III

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