The shameless misuse of our nation’s finances is evident particularly in the exorbitant pensions and golden handshakes enjoyed by, for example, the Justice Minister and Bertie Ahern who has been outlandishly rewarded for leading the country into near destitution. Ireland’s enemy is no longer England but the enemy in our midst — those politicians and bankers who have been driven by blind ambition and greed, operating in a world of crass acquisitiveness. Though there is enough amiss in Ireland to fire a revolution, the ordinary decent citizens of Ireland are tolerant beyond belief. They can only hope that the next generation will redeem our country from the darkness that has descended on their lives.
The decline in public morality began when Charles Haughey came amongst us. Here was a man who almost made a virtue of appropriating the countries resources through every available means of chicanery in order to feed his vanity. He was followed by a series of leaders who seemed to have taken Haughey as a role model and like him nurtured their worst instincts, vying with one another in feathering their own nests at the expense of the country. Cronyism, and sheer brass neck are at the heart of the country’s present woes. Yet there is not a single apologetic voice nor the vaguest acknowledgement that we have experienced a generation of politicians who have failed to honour the trust placed in them.
Who can we trust? The banks, once the symbol of security and trust, were up to their ears in dubious practices and played a leading role in the current debacle. The leaders of the church had betrayed the trust of our children and only when pressurised admitted that they had failed in their duty of care.
One can only hope that the preoccupation with the restoration of the economy will not distract us from the equally urgent task of restoring our people’s trust in those who lead them.