Ireland, I love you, but you’re bringing me down…

So I have returned to the Motherland for an extended break, arriving last Friday morning to a freezing cold Dublin Airport and a general sense of things just being not quite right. All the time i was working in Phnom Penh, I read the Irish Times and The Independent every day. I read the journal.ie, kept up with friends having difficulty with jobs and mortgages and felt I was prepared to come home and be informed on the whole situation.

People are so, so angry. And sad. And lost. And muted by the abuses of those who have run the country for so many years. My Dad is terrified for the future of his still very small grandchildren. How will they be ok? They won’t have the same wonderful chances my generation has had. Will they see the inside of a lecture theatre? What if they have no choice in how they earn their daily bread? He is worried and afraid and unsettled. But nobody talks about this. People are angry. They are vicious. They have been lied to and robbed from and left in an utterly fucked situation where banks are protected and people are not. But nobody really cares. Not really. The abuse is continuing and it is accepted.

I came home expecting to find a solidarity, a will to change things. I’m a slight idealist, I’ll admit, but for Jesus’ sake, the country has been beaten and pissed on by those we elected as leaders and I don’t think it’s wildly left-wing to expect some mild form of protest or continued open debate about how utterly fucked we might possibly be.

Since I’ve come home, family and friends have told me of the hardships, the injustice, the fear and pressure that has entered their life. And then they go for dinner. Or watch X Factor. Or go to Penneys and buy a top. I’m losing patience. I’m not expecting a storming of the Bastille, but a bit of longevity in your sense of being slighted wouldn’t go astray, fellow countrymen.

We have been ruined. Can somebody stand up and call bullshit on this? Anyone? I love my country, and in a week where we saw a poet, philosopher and all-round wonderful man become our president, how can we be so apathetic about how shit we’ve become?

Fight. Fight with intelligence and informed ideas. Create a new party. Use the Occupy movement to genuinely good effect. Read the paper. Watch the news. Understand what the bailout actually means. Understand what happens if Greece falls out of the Euro. It’s not rocket science and it is your fucking life so make an effort.

From afar, I was saddened by Ireland’s demise. Now I am here, I feel it is partly deserved from an utter lack of anyone giving an actual shit about anything.

Michael D, our new King, said this in his inauguration speech: “The ideal Ireland that we would have, the Ireland that we dreamed of, would be the home of a people who valued material wealth only as a basis for right living, of a people who, satisfied with frugal comfort, devoted their leisure to the things of the spirit.”

Fight for the things you have lost. Fight for the loss of people like me who will struggle to call Ireland home for a very long time. Fight for financial equality and the punishment of those who abuse those below them. Fight to maintain the pride of Ireland. For the time being, it is sorely lacking.

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6 thoughts on “Ireland, I love you, but you’re bringing me down…

  1. That’s exactly how I feel, living in Ireland. I’m not Irish, but have lived here almost four years, and in that time, I’ve been shocked by the apparent apathy. An apathy not borne out of of lack of care, but impassiveness borne out of a disbelief in being able to make a difference – it’s heartbreaking to see.

    I have grown to love this country and it pains me to see people either giving up and just accepting all of the rot and status quo, or in the case of many people I know and care about, feeling that they have no choice but to leave.

    Can’t help but feel that Ireland deserves better really.

  2. I think the problem is people are afraid.
    They are angry and they want change – but they are terrified of what would come next. (This is due, in no small part, to the media and their horror-film style presentation of what might happen…..the ATMS will run dry..words like ‘collapse’ ‘chaos’)

    The narrative we have been sold is -” if we reject the bailout (which is essentially the alternative we are speaking of here) then chaos will ensue.. As bad as you have it now, the few comforts you have left will be gone and you will be in mortal danger.”
    Convincing people otherwise is the fight. Then they’ll join you.

    I don’t think people “don’t give a shit”. I think people are afraid. And I don’t blame them.

  3. You seem to be spouting a lot of broad platitudes and catchphrases with no clue as to what to do:

    “Fight for the things you have lost. Fight for the loss of people like me who will struggle to call Ireland home for a very long time. Fight for financial equality and the punishment of those who abuse those below them”

    Uhh..yeah…but what exactly does that mean? What exactly do you want the people to do?

    The problem in Ireland is that too many people fancied themselves as expert investors, leading to gross overpricing of houses from the turn of the century onwards.

    The government was taking in tax revenue from property deals and spending it to essentially buy elections, a cosy cartel of estate agents and banks all making huge profits and our collective obsession to own our own houses allowed prices to continually inflate to insane amounts. You have to admit there is a huge amount of personal debt in the country, which is creating a huge hole in itself. It wasn’t just all developers and bankers creating the debt, it was regular people too. I don’t think its apathy I think its people acknowledging that everyone had a part to play in this mess and they whatever decisions were made we were in for a few years of hardship. The fact is, despite what the doom mongers are saying, our austerity plan and we should be in relatively reasonably shape by 2015.

    When we come out of this mess, and we will, if we are still only blaming the bankers for it then we will have missed a great opportunity for some maturity as a nation.

    • Thanks for your comment Danny. And yes, I agree that I have no clue what to do. This piece was not intended as a political analysis or a suggestion on what step to take next. It was me, sitting in my parents’ house a week into my return home and honestly writing what I was feeling at the time. When I used the word “fight”, I did not mean for people to pick up a bayonet and poke a banker in the eye. It was more of a call for people to speak out and inform themselves of the situation, and also to take responsibility for personal debt. It’s difficult for people like me to maintain a sense of positivity when a return home to Ireland offers you a spot in the dole queue until you maybe find a job or have to emigrate again. I fully agree with your last paragraph, well put.

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