Ireland as a State, or the state that Ireland's in?

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Deleted member 74

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This was posted in "another place" and generated some intersting discussion, so, I thought I'd repost it here.

Ireland, we are told often enough, has one of the most hard-working and best educated work forces in the western world. On the face of it, this is a great place to live, ranking 8th in the best places in the world to live this year:

The best countries to live in - Business Insider

Great! Except, this belies the many, many problems we as a nation face:

Politically, we are pygmies. We have been governed, since the mid-twenties, by one of two parties, either alone, or in combination with labour, and some short lived minor parties – the likes of Clann na Poblachta and the PDs, themselves offshoots of SF and FF. Despite the precarious nature of the economy throughout the state’s existence, and indeed its mismanagement for most of it, the nation has survived, and - to an extent – prospered.
However, this prosperity has brought with it massive inequality, and I’m not talking about mere financial inequality. There are huge societal inequities in Ireland between not just the rich and the poor, but also between:

• Town/Country
• Educated/Uneducated
• Sick/Healthy
• Connected/Unconnected

Education and Crime


This report published by tasc, in 2015 makes very interesting reading.

In education to take one examples, it finds:
Nationally, 13 of the best-performing 20 boys’ schools and 10 of the best-performing 20 girls’ schools are fee-paying. In the relatively wealthy suburbs of South Dublin, 17 of the best-performing 20 secondary schools are fee-paying.
Access to higher education is also reinforced by expensive ‘grinds’ that most people cannot afford to buy for their children.

It would appear, that in education, having money – whilst not the be all and end all - puts you at an advantage. Ireland has traditionally held education in very high esteem, however, there are signs that this is being lost to those whose families have been educational underachievers. There is a chronic shortage of teachers, whilst many qualified teachers cannot get full time positions, and in some secondary establishments run the gauntlet of abuse and both physical and sexual assault.

One in six (17.9%) of Irish adults of working age (16–65) has a high level of difficulty reading and writing. One in four (25%) of Irish adults of working age has a high level of difficulty with numeracy. And two in five (42%) of Irish adults of working age have great difficulty using technology to find information.

So, while on the face of it, Ireland is doing well educationally, it is leaving behind a very high proportion of its population. This, logically, serves to keep the circle of inequality going. This leaving behind of a significant portion of its population educationally increases financial inequality in the form of poverty, welfare entrapment, access to quality housing and increases the likelihood of poor health and of having a criminal record.

Crime and Punishment

Despite being a relatively safe country in which to live, official Ireland has a very laissez faire attitude to crime and punishment. Consider the following:

326 (Three Hundred and Twenty Six!) previous convictions. Ask your yourself, what sort of a judicial system – even the most lenient one – has someone with hundreds of convictions walking the streets? Is it perhaps one in which the lawyers make a substantial amount of money?

These lads were complicit in the biggest financial shambles to affect this country since its formation, a shambles which has effectively saddled the country with €200bn of debt, yet are treated far more favourably than their American counterparts would be – Bernie Madoff, for example got 150 years.

It does not help, that our police – An Garda Síochána – are viewed as being at best incompetent, and at worst corrupt, as evidenced by continuing reports of Garda Scandal from Abbeylara, through the findings of the Morris Tribunal which included the following – Faked Explosive finds, the Richie Barron case, inducement to act as a witness against Frank McBrearty Snr, the attempted “fitting up” of mobile phone mast protestors in Ardara, and the planting of a Firearm in Burnfoot.

In terms of the drug gangs, whilst they are glamourised and given showbiz type names by our media, they can largely go about their business unhindered by law enforcement. Since 1994 over 220 people have lost their lives to drug related feuds or crime, not to mentioned the lives lost or ruined by addiction. Yet some in that same media would have us believe that “SF/IRA” are the biggest threat to our national security.

Talk to rank and file Gardaí, and they will tell you their biggest problems are a lack of correct equipment and vehicles, shortage of manpower (especially when there was a moratorium on overtime), and a top down management which are largely inept.

The reason, and it is the only reason I bring up the Morris Tribunal, is that it is the perfect example of how such scandalous events are typically handled, lest there is any political fallout.

The Judiciary do not escape scot free from this either. Whilst many are in their positions on merit, many are not, and we did witness the political appointment of certain “favoured” lawyers to the High Court as recently as this year.
Then there’s also the complete loons who somehow make the bench, like this guy:
A DISTRICT Court judge has apologised for comments he made about the “typical thickness” of Tyrone people.
Judge Seán McBride said his comments were “totally inappropriate” and had been made during a long day’s work.
That matter arose during a hearing at Monaghan District Court last week. A 22-year-old woman from Co Tyrone, Sarah McGrath, had been wrongly summonsed to court because her details matched those of another woman from Co Monaghan.
Judge McBride told her that she could only have the case against her dismissed in the Circuit Court, and she needed €50 to do so. She told the judge that neither she nor her father had €50 with them, as they only had sterling.
He replied: “Yes, you are showing the typical thickness from Tyrone people. I am well used to it through football, growing up in Donegal and different things”.
If that's the standard, what hope is there?

Health and Planning

The issues in the Health Service are extremely well covered at this stage:

ED Trolley Watch/Ward Watch Figures below for 31st August 2016

At the time of writing this, there were 330 patients on trolleys waiting admittance, with a monthly high of 549 on the 11th October 2017.

Not a day goes by it seems, when we are not confronted with another failure from Tusla:

The HSE itself – the brainchild of FF (Mícheál Martin being particularly instrumental in its setting up) and the PDs has been an unmitigated disaster – a quick perusal of the HSE wiki states the following:
The HSE is the subject of daily news reporting. The HSE is working to modernise and improve how healthcare is delivered in Ireland, through the extension of the amount of care provided in the community, rather than in hospital, and also through the initiation of a wide range of clinical programmes. These clinical programme are led by hospital consultants, and are going to standardise the approach to our most grave and common healthcare challenges, like heart disease, diabetes and others.
Health Service Executive - Wikipedia

Medical Cards have been withdrawn from people who are entitled to them. In 2013, 45,000 people lost their medical cards, in some cases, people who were chronically ill. This has had the effect of increasing costs for people who would not have otherwise had to bear them.

So - we can see how failings in the medical system are contributing to the financial inequalities that I highlighted earlier, and – as we saw earlier – financial inequality can contribute to poor health. The very beginning of the vicious circle as government policy.


Long Term planning, is something successive Irish Governments have either failed miserably at in the attempting, or ignored completely. Since the foundation of the state, governments have failed miserably to modernise the educational and health systems, preferring to abrogate its responsibility for these areas to the Churches for long periods of the state’s existence.

In terms of infrastructure, there were some early successes – Ardnacrusha Hydroelectric Power springs to mind. Today, it is shocking to realise that, despite this Country’s obligations to mitigate Climate Change, we still operate two peat burning power stations. There has been quite the focus on renewables however this is piecemeal and disorganised, and the mere discussion of nuclear power never got off the ground here, thanks in part to mismanagement elsewhere.

This inability to plan properly manifests itself in several ways. Take public transport infrastructure – Dublin Airport does not yet have a rail link (this will cost some €300m to install), and it has taken ten years for someone to come up with the bright idea of linking the city’s two luas lines. Rail in general is in decline, whilst intercity bus routes are under threat – because we insist on profitability rather than providing a service.

The cutting back of Public Transport routes further deepen the divide between town and country, meaning you must have access to a car or face paying more for your local services, if those services are available.

The failure to provide adequate social housing is an abject failure on two fronts:

Firstly, it has manifested itself in the current housing crisis, with private rentals, particularly in the large urban centres financially out of reach of a huge sector of society, and secondly, it deprives the government of an income stream. The myth is perpetuated that those living in social housing are “the dole class”, the “can’t work/won’t work” types, when in fact those people who are in social housing pay rent directly to the local authorities, generating an income stream that would be very valuable in the provision of services and in the remaining absence of rates.
"Foreign" Affairs
The North

The North remains largely at peace, though unresolved. Many in the south, and with sound moral reasoning, baulk at the prospect of SF TDs who were highly involved with republicanism during the troubles being potentially in power. But, and it is a huge “but”, it is the stated aim of all the major parties in Dail Eireann to facilitate reunification in respect of the wishes of the majority of people in NI, as laid out in the principle of consent underpinning the GFA. But in terms of equality of the law, the north lags behind – way behind – the rest of these islands, largely (though not entirely) due to recalcitrant unionism.

Abortion, a hot topic on these pages, has been available in the Great Britain part of the UK since the late sixties, courtesy of 1967 Abortion Act. Same Sex Marriage, passed by referendum in the South, has been law in the UK since 2014, but despite repeated attempts to legislate for it (with a majority of members in favour) it was scuppered by a “petition of concern”. Attempts to pass an Irish Language Act have also foundered on the rocks, due what appears to be bad negotiating skills on the part of SF or duplicity on the part of the DUP/British Government at St Andrews* (Delete as appropriate). Similar language Acts are in place in Wales and Scotland with little or no fuss, whilst Irish is afforded some protection as the first official language of Ireland.


Ireland, as it stands is a current member of the EU. Despite what the denizens of would have you believe, Ireland’s attitude toward the EU is largely positive, it being responsible in large part for lifting whole swathes of the country out of abject poverty and a prospect of emigration or little to no work.

But what about immigration, I hear you all cry? What about it, indeed. Immigration has been a good thing for Ireland, a place once described by an American comedian as being “pitch white”. Immigrants, particularly those from Poland and Lithuania, have made a huge impression on Ireland, financially, socially and economically. Yeah, but its driving down local wages, you say. No it isn’t. Its people doing a job for money that few Irish people will do it for – which is why they are here in the first place. That’s before we even get to the recent immigrants who are professionals - the Engineers, the IT guys, the medical people, who are making important and very real contributions to our wider society.

Sure, the EU imposed stringent terms on us during the bailout. I say, “good”. Because regardless of the reasons for why we need a bailout in the first place, it is readily apparent that the banks – as evidenced by the tracker scandal – are quite keen, not only to repeat the mistakes they’ve made, but to continue to fail to own up and redress people for those previous mistakes. But they have been “admonished”. That'll show them.

Ireland - where repeating the mistakes of the past is a sure fire winner....


PI Member
Oct 30, 2015
As a starting point for reform, I'd suggest we need a full overhaul of Bunreacht to make it fit for the 21st century, with a lot more emphasis on the need for the organs of the state to nurture and protect the rights of citizens. The corollary of this would be a much better, more developed sense of citizenship among the people, who need to learn that the health of the state institutions we all depend on requires active involvement beyond, at most, voting every so often.

Tadhg Gaelach

Premium Account
PI Member
Jan 14, 2016
We're told by the media every day that Ireland is one of the richest countries in the world, but if you go to any really advanced country you will quickly understand that we are very underdeveloped. Of course, we have no end of housing estates filled with immigrants, but we have no advanced infrastructure.

Deleted member 74

Non Registered Member
The OP is pro 3rd World migration to Ireland. How in all seriousness can a guy like that start such a thread?
No doubt you'll have some evidence to that effect, otherwise please stop trolling, Myles.

Deleted member 74

Non Registered Member
As a starting point for reform, I'd suggest we need a full overhaul of Bunreacht to make it fit for the 21st century, with a lot more emphasis on the need for the organs of the state to nurture and protect the rights of citizens. The corollary of this would be a much better, more developed sense of citizenship among the people, who need to learn that the health of the state institutions we all depend on requires active involvement beyond, at most, voting every so often.
One of the main problems is that of "acceptance". We take it. And then dutifully vote (although there is evidence that this is changing) the way we've always done.

The first place I'd start is that in every rung of the public service and private enterprise, is with the enactment of meaningful fair employment legislation. For too long, PS appointments (this also happens in the private sector, but we aren't paying for that) are in the hands of a clique, be it a school board of management at one end, or, at the other end, the appointment of Irish Water's first CEO, despite a track record that included the Eyre Square debacle and the Ringsend Incinerator.

This legislation would permit the public scrutiny of the interview process, have a proper redress system and would prioritise track record and qualifications.

Secondly, reform of the judicial system is needed. Whilst I accept there needs to be costs in order to prohibit vexatious prosecutions, the law courts should not be beyond the remit of the ordinary working man or woman. Particularly when so many ill deserving cases get free legal aid.

Deleted member 74

Non Registered Member
That is evidence. You did do that didn't you?
No, I didn't, unless you're posting as someone else over there. Top tip, just because SwordofStCatherine says something, it doesn't mean it's true. In fact, it's more likely to be the opposite. Now do you wish to comment on the OP, or should I just stick you on ignore?
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