Being Irish And The Gift Of The Blarney Stone:
Well, well, well, can anybody have asked for a more exciting game in the final of the Six Nations last week. It went right down to the dying second and Ireland came out triumphant. I am not going to say I told you so and I told you so before the tournament began because the Irish don’t do boasting. Instead they do something infinitely worse, they gloat. Which brings me to the next part and that’s the new mini-budget.
One thing is for sure, there is not going to be much to gloat about here. Here we have this great little country, poor for centuries, who by the grace of God somehow came into a bit of money ( well we were to proud to crawl to the British for this which in hindsight might not have been a bad move as we would have got away without having to pay any of it back; instead we heroically suffered for another odd fifty years and then got it from the EU instead.) Blimey! but we actually did do something useful and within the space of a few years we astonished the world and created our own little Celtic Tiger. What a time hey! no more silly jokes about the Irish and we gloated in this, but God save us, we ended up blowing it. Look Mammy, all gone.
But how a government took a six billion surplus and turned it into a twenty four billion deficit, remains a mystery. A gullible public was caught on the hop by this because all evidence to the contrary notwithstanding, we believed our leaders when they told us that; ‘ Ireland was in a unique position to weather the global financial crises.’ Come’s from kissing a blarney stone and all.
Interested, then read on and please leave the old rehashed jokes till last, we are still smarting a bit about this and the scapegoat hunting hasn’t quite finished yet.
So there you have it:
The gift of the gab.
The odd thing about the Irish is that very few of them have ever done this. Funnily enough, it comes natural like. Having said that it appears that politicians have managed to surpass even these norms and people think that they may have had secret journeys which were compulsory late at night during the boom years. The reasoning behind all this is because when boom went bust the gift of the gab flourished.
The amazing ‘ Celtic Tiger ‘ was largely due to the diaspora and the construction Industry which took off. Backhanders here, there and everywhere, but nobody could prove anything. Tribunal after tribunal which took years to complete and some never have been and some never will be. Lawyers, counsellors, you name it and all being paid lavish amounts of money and all at the taxpayers expense. The gravy train was unending and is perhaps why nothing was ever accomplished.
Property, property, property, all for property. The three L’s became the whole countries byword, location, location, location. Farmers jumped into the fray and agricultural land which for centuries had been unable to produce anything more than grass and that barely, was at a premium. It stands to reason that if you happened to own some land close to an expanding city then that was your good luck. Notwithstanding the fact that you were so proud of your land after finally getting it back from the British and told anyone who would listen about this and great novels were written about this. That you would never, never, never, never sell this as it was bought with Irish blood.
The Housing Boom:
Back to the land. An astonishing thing happened once the farmers were offered a bit more than the going price for agricultural land, which they would never sell unless is was to a rich farming neighbor.
Speculators came into play. Yes sir and because they were such a shrewd bunch of lads and had kissed the old blarney stone and all. They were able to turn around the farming community. I mean when you are being offered 350000 euro for half an acre that really wasn’t worth a 1000, who can really blame them?
Then of course the speculator had to slap up a great house and all, pay the lads and turn in a handy profit for himself whilst trying to pay as little tax as he could get away with as well ( wink-wink.)
Many of these great deals hinged on Planning Permission. Could you get it? Now came the hard part and great reams of books were penned on this sanctioned and written by the Planners. For example, they didn’t want to ruin the environment and the age old look of the country. So don’t build on the top of a hill, that’s ostentacious, rather put it on the bottom hidden amongst the trees and tucked away in the corner. Now when you are a bit of a flash bloke trying to show off your new house and how much money you were making, perhaps that wouldn’t sit well. So ordinary people heeded this and turned in plans aforesaid and were turned down, whereas Joe Flash got his on the top of the hill. What a time hey?
One might prefer to watch rather than read. In both cases it still remains a compelling testimony to how the Irish feel or used to feel about the land. By and large they still feel this way but were led astray by modern thinking or as my Mum always used to say, (why is unknown to me but it was never modern only) ‘ modren.’ Somewhere in there lies the answer. Which reminds me the Irish also do not say film, instead it is ‘ fillum.’
It bottomed out:
Almost inevitably the great boom bottomed out and this is a sad thing. Whether it bottomed out because people were paying Dublin prices for houses in the boondocks or all this was precipitated by the economic recession, is open to question?
Needless to say this has caused great gnashing of teeth and blame is being bandied about left, right and centre. The government, the bankers, the builders and almost anybody else one can think of. Which brings us back to the central question, who and why was this allowed to happen?
The countries greatest Taoiseach ( Prime Minister ) ever, whether because he had to or whether he had the foresight, jumped off the sinking ship. By the way Taoiseach is Gaelic and it sounds like, tea-shook. At that time all was well or so everybody thought. ‘ Ireland was in a unique position to weather the financial crisis.’
But as it turned out we weren’t. A desperate government had to think out an imprudently devised Budget to a shocked electorate. Trying to balance the books they hit at the most vulnerable, this being the old age pensioners, who previous governments had decided were entitled to a Medical Card on reaching age seventy. It means free medical care. This was denied. It’s just a small incident in a budget. What a sure way to save some money. The pensioners revolted amongst a shocked nation and went on the march, dentures and all. Quailing at the ferocity of these old tykes, the government backed down, or because they were ashamed.
Hats off to the old folk:
One needs to remember that the vast majority of the people concerned here, were the ones that never left Ireland for greener fields. Times were hard especially by todays standards but they stood firm. They saw their children and those they loved the most move on to what they considered a better world. But they stayed.
Mostly they lived through trying times but they slogged on. Perhaps a lot of modern (modren) Irish prosperity lies at the door of people like this. To turn around and deny them or to try and make this a means tested allotment strikes one as grossly unfair. It’s another case of attempting to make the weak pay the consequences of irresponsible people who continue to live the high life and get away Scot free.
As it has turned out the main budget has already bombed and a desperate government is looking for even more ways to skim a sceptical people and has come up with a new tough mini-budget to be presented on Tuesday.
Prior to this a leaders call that we are all in this together only made a disenchanted people laugh and a call to patriotism ( when flustered sounds like patrism and on second thoughts when not flustered sounds like patrism as well ) made them laugh even harder.
However, into this cauldron stepped the Irish rugby team who ended an astonishing season by making a clean sweep for the first time in sixty years and lifting a peoples spirit with their convincing championship race. The politicians jumped on this patrism and went on to show how little they know of anything by talking rugby on host shows about people who have nothing to do with the game whatsoever. Ian Botham had a lovely drop kick in 1984 didn’t he? Ha ha he he.
Slapping a 10% levy on a stunned public sector as a sap for the private sector hasn’t gone down well either. When will they ever learn that nurses and gardai ( police ) fall under the category of essential services and had next to nothing to do with the mess we are in?
Perhaps it is high time they concentrated on the real causes of this mess and left innocent people alone and brought themselves and their cronies to book? Pigs might fly
Is this necessary
I have tried to give a picture of the current mess in Ireland. It should be obvious that I’m no great lover of politicians.
However the recent exposure of some wag posting a picture he drew up of the current Irish Prime Minister in the all together is drawing the line all to far. He has a nickname of biffo and is actually a very good man who just does not have the figure of certain other political people.
Penning this article I was suddenly reminded of another article I read one day and subsequently have decided to include it as my featured article. It’s am interesting take on things.