Ireland, the Venn Diagram of Error, Intersectionality and Repeating your mistakes ad infinitum

hollandia

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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

Over the next few posts, I propose to demonstrate the intersectionality of issues which are holding us back as a nation.
 


hollandia

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Education and Crime

Education

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

http://www.tasc.ie/download/pdf/tasc_cherishing_all_equally_web.pdf

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:

https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/courts/brothers-with-326-convictions-get-10-years-for-offences-35972404.html

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?

https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/disgraced-bankers-spent-christmas-in-open-prison-35342956.html

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:

https://www.irishtimes.com/news/judge-blames-long-day-s-work-for-calling-tyrone-people-thick-1.1214324

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?
 
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hollandia

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Health and Planning

Health

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

https://www.inmo.ie/Trolley_Ward_Watch

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:

https://www.rte.ie/news/2016/1204/836436-tusla-hse-this-week/

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.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Health_Service_Executive

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.

Planning

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.
 

hollandia

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"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.

EU

Ireland, as it stands is a current member of the EU. Despite what the denizens of P.ie 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....
 

Half Nelson

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Where's the chunk that has almost a quarter of Ireland (NI) as a drain on our resources, a recurring wellspring of criminality, and a dragging anchor to our economic development?
 

Deadlock

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GDPR

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Perfection is always something to try for, but taking into account, as any reasonable non agenda driven person would have to, the starting place, the resources, natural and otherwise, the time scale and so on, to have achieved the very high world ranking we have, you'd have to conclude we must be doing a very great deal right as it is.

Least that be forgotten.
 

hollandia

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Perfection is always something to try for, but taking into account, as any reasonable non agenda driven person would have to, the starting place, the resources, natural and otherwise, the time scale and so on, to have achieved the very high world ranking we have, you'd have to conclude we must be doing a very great deal right as it is.
For sure. But I'm convinced more by accident than design.
 

Deadlock

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For sure. But I'm convinced more by accident than design.
... or indeed the sense that the UK/EU/Council of Europe/NATO/UN were watching and tut-tutting disapproval at senior mandarins 'coaxing and coaching' as they went.
 

Disillusioned democrat

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Ireland has been hijacked by gombeens who use incompetent politicians and genuinely trusting and mostly decent citizens as fodder.

That we haven't really changed government since our supposed "independence" says a lot - that our politicians felt free to pay themselves better than any other European country as we went down the toilet says even more.

That no-one has ever served time for corruption, insider trading or white collar is all you need to know to understand this country.
 

Accidental sock

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As a result of the "educational failure" referenced in the Venn Diagram, I am incapable of understanding it.

Furthermore, as a result of the also referenced "white collar crime", whilst you've been busy typing a long OP, I've siphoned all the money out of your bank account and invested in parachute pants (they're coming back, I just know it)
 

GDPR

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... or indeed the sense that the UK/EU/Council of Europe/NATO/UN were watching and tut-tutting disapproval at senior mandarins 'coaxing and coaching' as they went.
:D, The torch holders of low self esteem, you don't have to love them, but you do need to be aware of them.
 

Disillusioned democrat

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... or indeed the sense that the UK/EU/Council of Europe/NATO/UN were watching and tut-tutting disapproval at senior mandarins 'coaxing and coaching' as they went.
The more I see of the EU the more I think the virus of Irish gombeen politics is working its way across Europe....Phil Hogan's honouring as a "hero of Austria" seems to be reminiscent of the kind of politics that got big Phil into the council chambers initially.
 

Deadlock

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:D, The torch holders of low self esteem, you don't have to love them, but you do need to be aware of them.
Perhaps.

Perhaps also the streetlamps to illuminate another, if not better, then different way?

Perhaps even both?
 

hollandia

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... or indeed the sense that the UK/EU/Council of Europe/NATO/UN were watching and tut-tutting disapproval at senior mandarins 'coaxing and coaching' as they went.
Indeed. Most advances made in the last thirty to forty years have come as a result of our membership of the European Union - not through the genius of our locally elected custodians. Last week's news regarding the spilling of untreated effluent into the sea at 44 locations - some 26 years after the 1991 European Wastewater Directive- shows that we need a little kick in the behind every now and then, as a nation.
 

hollandia

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Yours is a mindset that is not amenable to reality or reason, so I'll just leave it there.
Please do tonic, please do. This is intended to spark a discussion, not be a forum for your passive aggressive nonsense.
 

Deadlock

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The more I see of the EU the more I think the virus of Irish gombeen politics is working its way across Europe....Phil Hogan's honouring as a "hero of Austria" seems to be reminiscent of the kind of politics that got big Phil into the council chambers initially.
An instance of reverse schadenfreude, perhaps? Austrians have a sense of humour too.
 


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