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I left Ireland 10 years ago today.


Kevin Parlon

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I've been back a few times over those years. I left a county wicklow unconnected to the airport with continuous motorway. A country that seemed full of potential and dynamism and optimism. On returning the changes seemed to be lots of shiny new motorways, more shopping centres, more elaborate weddings, lots of expensive cars, even more absurdly priced food, lots of decking and outdoor heaters and an eye-popping increase in the number of immigrants visible everywhere. I haven't been back since "the collapse" but the news seems to be unrelentingly grim.

I know there are other threads talkign about the "celtic tiger" etc. but what do you think are the most noteworthy changes (across the Irish milleu; not just the economy) I would do well to be aware of should I return tomorrow?

Given we're back to 2003 (?) levels of income and prosperity is the Ireland of today still better than the Ireland at the turn of 2000? But economics aside, what is the most striking difference between the Ireland I left and the one I'd find today?
 


TonyBird

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Jun 24, 2010
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Its not so bad . As long as you dont have a young family or ambition or anything , you will be fine .
 

Pauli

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You will find the natural consequences of voodoo economics.
 

FutureTaoiseach

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Well one thing is for sure - the public sector are certainly not back to 2003 levels of income. The public-sector pay-bill costs the taxpayer €20 billion a year - the size of last year's deficit. The govt took 7% of them (except higher civil-servants) for the pension-levy but that compares to an estimated 48% gap between the average public-sector v private-sector worker. We continue to have a 2008-style social-welfare system with unemployment-benefit almost quadruple that in the UK and child-benefit approximately double that of the UK. I agree with TonyBird btw. I have no children or a mortgage and in some ways I have been lucky because of the shares my mother inherited and the inheritance I'm expecting this year (it won't make me wealthy but it will make me secure).
 

MPB

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Nov 27, 2009
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You will not find much of a change. Our elected officials along with the upper echelons of the Civil Service are still using the public purse to better the lives of themselves, their families and friends, only on a much larger scale than on the day you left.

The underlings have managed to get in on the act as well, but it looks like the small fry are going to have the Gardai crawl all over them and the nice judges will probabaly throw them in jail, while managing to turn a blind eye to the thievery our elected politicians legislated for.
 

johntrenchard

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Joined
Nov 7, 2009
Messages
991
"But economics aside, what is the most striking difference between the Ireland I left and the one I'd find today?"

the Ireland you left had not signed the Lisbon Treaty. Nor had it had liabilties to foreign UK and German banks in the order of 800 billion euro.
 

President Bartlet

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Jun 17, 2006
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Yes you will find major change - the country has gone to the dogs and we are f*****d!!!!
You made a wise move 10 years ago - me thinks others will be about to join you.
 

LowIQ

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Feb 9, 2005
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I've been back a few times over those years. I left a county wicklow unconnected to the airport with continuous motorway. A country that seemed full of potential and dynamism and optimism. On returning the changes seemed to be lots of shiny new motorways, more shopping centres, more elaborate weddings, lots of expensive cars, even more absurdly priced food, lots of decking and outdoor heaters and an eye-popping increase in the number of immigrants visible everywhere. I haven't been back since "the collapse" but the news seems to be unrelentingly grim.

I know there are other threads talkign about the "celtic tiger" etc. but what do you think are the most noteworthy changes (across the Irish milleu; not just the economy) I would do well to be aware of should I return tomorrow?

Given we're back to 2003 (?) levels of income and prosperity is the Ireland of today still better than the Ireland at the turn of 2000? But economics aside, what is the most striking difference between the Ireland I left and the one I'd find today?
Interesting. I came back to Co. Wicklow in 2003 and am still here. The biggest difference is that people seem to have woken up and have started paying attention to what the government has done. Until very recently, everybody seemed to think magic money was flowing in to the country and making us all fabulously wealthy. However, there is still a large stupid/passive rump of the population holding up progress.
 

Mister men

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Once your not a PAYE worker you'll be fine.
 

Pauli

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Sep 22, 2006
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You will not find much of a change. Our elected officials along with the upper echelons of the Civil Service are still using the public purse to better the lives of themselves, their families and friends, only on a much larger scale than on the day you left.

The underlings have managed to get in on the act as well, but it looks like the small fry are going to have the Gardai crawl all over them and the nice judges will probabaly throw them in jail, while managing to turn a blind eye to the thievery our elected politicians legislated for.
I would disagree that the abuse of the public purse is on a much larger scale. It may be on a slightly larger scale but it is on a much more known scale than before. The enormity of the waste and pilfering and, let's call a spade a shovel here, theft by the political classes, particularly in the government, is to a much greater extent in the public domain. We saw a tipping point in the last couple of years when the sheer scale of the maladministration and the trousering of public funds could literally not be hidden any more. In civilised countries, some of the worst perpetrators would be facing criminal charges but in Ireland, we enforce the law selectively so the worst political miscreants walk , as usual, scot free.
 

johntrenchard

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I would disagree that the abuse of the public purse is on a much larger scale. It may be on a slightly larger scale but it is on a much more known scale than before. The enormity of the waste and pilfering and, let's call a spade a shovel here, theft by the political classes, particularly in the government, is to a much greater extent in the public domain. We saw a tipping point in the last couple of years when the sheer scale of the maladministration and the trousering of public funds could literally not be hidden any more. In civilised countries, some of the worst perpetrators would be facing criminal charges but in Ireland, we enforce the law selectively so the worst political miscreants walk , as usual, scot free.
based on that, i think i'm not the only one who has finally begun to understand the Unionists.

Paisley & co. are fcking saints compared to Fianna Fail.

Thats how low we've gone. And I hate saying this.
 

Keith-M

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Optimism has been replaced by resentment. Immigration replaced by emigration. Giant cranes replaced by ghost estates. Optimism has been replaced by cycicism. But more depresssing than all that; Westlife have been replaced by Jedward.
 
Last edited:

Pauli

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Optimism has been replaced by resentment. Immigration replaced by emigration. Giant cranes replaced by ghost estates. Optimism has been replaced by cycicism. But more depresssing that all that; Westlife have been replaced by Jedward.
We probably don't agree on much but I am with you 100% on Jedward. The musical equivalent of recycled toilet paper
 

Pauli

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based on that, i think i'm not the only one who has finally begun to understand the Unionists.

Paisley & co. are fcking saints compared to Fianna Fail.

Thats how low we've gone. And I hate saying this.
I understand the Unionists totally. Have done since the early 80s. I wouldn't want to be governed by these gombeens. They don't really need this but who does?
 

johntrenchard

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We probably don't agree on much but I am with you 100% on Jedward. The musical equivalent of recycled toilet paper
thats an insult to the makers of toilet paper.

jedward are actually what comes out of Louis Walshes arse after a heavy weekend session.

THATS jedward.
 

This Country

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Jul 11, 2010
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As you can tell from the posts above, the biggest change is the outlook of the people. Pessimism has become the national pastime du jour. I've been in and out of the country on business a number of times over the last couple of years, and it never ceases to amaze me how negative public discourse is here compared to overseas. I think the reason for this is the following:

We don't have a large population, so we feel like we can have some input on govt. policy.

But our population isn't small enough for citizens to actually have such an effect (compared to Iceland, say).

Also, because of the openness of our economy, we're hugely influenced by external forces, over which we have little to no control.

These were also the reasons for the hubris of the tiger years. In other words, the country is predisposed to a kind of collective manic depression, in mood as well as economic terms. I think people are just realising this now, and are blaming the govt., who acted as our dealer when they should have been our pharmacist.
 

fonzie

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I might counter some of the more pessimistic comments on this thread with a quick anecdote:-

I attended both Dublin's Culture Night and Parisian's Nuit Blanche over the past few weeks.

Dublin Culture night was incredibly well run, had amazing atmosphere was well supported in terms of public amenities (buses etc) and had a brilliant interactive atmosphere. People were getting involved, joking with each other and the culture itself was of the highest quality - of special note was the Sean Nos workshops in Filmbase, and the live music all around the city.

Parisian culture night was a total dud by comparison. Long queues of the rudest people I have ever met, a metro service that shut down at midnight despite the event running for 24 hours, so called art installations that looked like they were thrown together by a chimpazee with a blowtorch. There was some good stuff, but the amount of pretentious twaddle on offer and the general rudeness of the people, pushing skipping queues etc tarnished the whole night.

One of the Parisians in my group commented to me something along the lines of 'you must be amazed to see a culture night done properly, not like Dublin's' She hadnt been here, she just assumed Paris would have been better. I had to wait 30 seconds before I could respond. I felt the stirring of national pride that I hadnt felt in while. Despite all the crap that has gone on in this country, we still managed to showcase our art and culture and created a fantastic night. In in the battle of culture nights, we kicked Parisian butt.

I had to level with her and said that despite the beauty of Paris, I felt Dublin's was better run and offered much more to those participating in it. I've lived in Temple Bar for 6 years and I have to say Culture Night 2010 was one of the best nights we have ever had there and despite cultural stereotypes, there were far more drunken idiots in Paris than Dublin.

The past 10 years we tried to be something we arent and now are starting to appreciate the things we have have. So what's changed in Ireland in 10 years? Lots. Biggest change is we have learnt a massive lesson in humility. But I think the changes are just beginning. Regardless of the outcome of the economic crisis I think there is a massive amount of soul searching going on, we are looking to define ourselves again as a nation.

If you think the change from 10 years ago is stark, you ain't seen nothing yet. I predict that the political, cultural and economic landscape of our great little nation will be completely different from what we have now.

Despite the politicians, civil servants, bankers, unions, quango-nomics and bull crap, this is a great country. We shouldnt lose sight of that fact.

but yeah, Jedward are toilet
 

grafter1

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This is a fascinating thread for me as i and my family are leaving after Christmas. I wonder if i'll be posting a similar thread in 2020/21 or will i have returned in the meantime.

Focusing on the OP i think the biggest problem in Ireland at the moment (leaving aside the obvious) is that her people now don't know what it is they stand for anymore. We spent 80 years coming together based on some pathetic hatred towards the Brits. Over the last couple of decades it has gradually dawned on us that the Brits are grand and it is now clear that a united Ireland is on the way as the British want rid of NI.

We went through the Celtic Tiger and got carried away in all that went with it. Now that we're in the midst of a depression i believe that people dont know who they are or what being Irish means anymore.

Take the americans for example. People on this site ridicule the Tea Party movement as a bunch of loons. There is a great political debate raging in the U.S. at the moment but at least the Americans know what its about. Its about freedom, liberty and the right to be free of big government etc.

In Ireland we stand for nothing. We collectively gasp at the shocking behaviour of politicians, trade unionists, bankers, etc etc but that's all we have.

Ireland is lost and is about to lose her independence
 

Twin Towers

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The past 10 years we tried to be something we arent and now are starting to appreciate the things we have have. So what's changed in Ireland in 10 years? Lots. Biggest change is we have learnt a massive lesson in humility. But I think the changes are just beginning. Regardless of the outcome of the economic crisis I think there is a massive amount of soul searching going on, we are looking to define ourselves again as a nation.
Absolute excellent post fonzie.

The past 10 years we tried to be something we arent and now are starting to appreciate the things we have have. So what's changed in Ireland in 10 years? Lots. Biggest change is we have learnt a massive lesson in humility. But I think the changes are just beginning. Regardless of the outcome of the economic crisis I think there is a massive amount of soul searching going on, we are looking to define ourselves again as a nation.
 

The Preacher

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I might counter some of the more pessimistic comments on this thread with a quick anecdote:-

I attended both Dublin's Culture Night and Parisian's Nuit Blanche over the past few weeks.

Dublin Culture night was incredibly well run, had amazing atmosphere was well supported in terms of public amenities (buses etc) and had a brilliant interactive atmosphere. People were getting involved, joking with each other and the culture itself was of the highest quality - of special note was the Sean Nos workshops in Filmbase, and the live music all around the city.

Parisian culture night was a total dud by comparison. Long queues of the rudest people I have ever met, a metro service that shut down at midnight despite the event running for 24 hours, so called art installations that looked like they were thrown together by a chimpazee with a blowtorch. There was some good stuff, but the amount of pretentious twaddle on offer and the general rudeness of the people, pushing skipping queues etc tarnished the whole night.

One of the Parisians in my group commented to me something along the lines of 'you must be amazed to see a culture night done properly, not like Dublin's' She hadnt been here, she just assumed Paris would have been better. I had to wait 30 seconds before I could respond. I felt the stirring of national pride that I hadnt felt in while. Despite all the crap that has gone on in this country, we still managed to showcase our art and culture and created a fantastic night. In in the battle of culture nights, we kicked Parisian butt.

I had to level with her and said that despite the beauty of Paris, I felt Dublin's was better run and offered much more to those participating in it. I've lived in Temple Bar for 6 years and I have to say Culture Night 2010 was one of the best nights we have ever had there and despite cultural stereotypes, there were far more drunken idiots in Paris than Dublin.

The past 10 years we tried to be something we arent and now are starting to appreciate the things we have have. So what's changed in Ireland in 10 years? Lots. Biggest change is we have learnt a massive lesson in humility. But I think the changes are just beginning. Regardless of the outcome of the economic crisis I think there is a massive amount of soul searching going on, we are looking to define ourselves again as a nation.

If you think the change from 10 years ago is stark, you ain't seen nothing yet. I predict that the political, cultural and economic landscape of our great little nation will be completely different from what we have now.

Despite the politicians, civil servants, bankers, unions, quango-nomics and bull crap, this is a great country. We shouldnt lose sight of that fact.

but yeah, Jedward are toilet
Excellent post. I just spent a weekend in Paris recently. Didn't encounter any rudeness but I would have gone along with the assumption that Europeans do most things better than us.

When you look at things we do well, like the cultural achievements mentioned in Fonzie's post, you can't help but wonder why there's such a disconnect between the talent, imagination and ingenuity displayed there and the depressing mediocrity of our political system.
 

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