I like Ireland. I like living here. I like being Irish. It’s a great country.
But there are many, many people living here who seem to despise the place.
Some are politicians doing so in the hope of getting elected to a very well paid job.
Others are commentators who peddle the populist line and bitch and moan because that’s easier than actually working.
And then there are the people who Tweet and text television and radio shows – if they’re real people in the first place as opposed to political bots.
(I’m not the world’s biggest Liveline fan but at least Joe has dispensed with the reading of comments texted or Tweeted in I would guess precisely because their legitimacy is almost impossible to establish.)
Yes I know Ireland is far from perfect. I know we have problems. I know we’ve made a balls of a few things if you’ll excuse the terminology.
I get a bit irritated when people describe the current housing crisis – and I accept that it’s a crisis – as the worst ever. It’s not even close. In the fifties and into the sixties we had families crammed into tenements without running water or toilets or basic facilities of any kind. Indeed, it was in 1963 that the collapse of a tenement on Fenian Street in Dublin with the loss of seven lives, finally got politicians and officialdom to take action.
And yes we have a health crisis. But the health service, compared with that of 50 years ago, is vastly improved. It certainly isn’t “Third World” and the people who trot out that particular nonsense insult not only the people who work in our health service but the unfortunate people in the Third World who would give anything to have a health service like ours, even with its problems.
And while students complain about the price they pay for accommodation (and they’re not wrong) there are eight or nine times the number at third level than there was in the sixties when even secondary education wasn’t free.
And I get a bit irked when the haters tell us how much better things are elsewhere.
Why can’t we be more like the NHS is one question regularly asked.
Like the NHS? They’re 11,500 doctors short, 42,000 nurses.
As for waiting lists, it’s reckoned 30,000 people in the UK died in 2018 while waiting for treatment.
And some people want us to be like them?
Indeed I could go through countries one by one and pick out problems they have worse than our own.
That’s no excuse for our own failures.
But the simple fact is that Ireland is rated the sixth most democratic country in the world.
Believe it or not, our health service is among the top twenty. So is our educational system.
And I really think that, rather than knocking everything as those on the left and those who pull on the green jersey (and the occasional balaclava) do, we should build on what we have.
We have no idea who will form the next government.
But there are a few things they need to do from day one.
- Build houses.
- Fix the HSE. Over administered and under staffed in vital areas. (This might involve a confrontation with unions.)
- Sort out transport and have the guts to build an underground to Dublin’s south west.
- Slash Oireachtas expenses and sort out the over generous guaranteed pensions politicians receive.
- Take action on climate change. Now.
It’s a great country.
And it could be greater still if the politicians and commentators who hate the place actually did something.
Apart from moaning.