'Ireland is a disaster . . . leave now and enjoy your life'
Mon, Nov 02, 2009
On these pages last week, Shane Fitzgerald, a young graduate of University College Dublin, wrote about the Government’s failure to deliver on its promise of a bright future in Ireland for him and his generation. Rather than draw the dole here, he left recession Ireland behind him – departing “these bankrupt shores” for London. His experience rang true for many online readers, some of whom reacted with strong antipathy towards our politicians. Here is an edited selection of how they see Ireland and its politicians.
JAY: BORN and educated in Dublin, I emigrated to Canada in my 20s after working around the British Isles for a few years after graduation. My best advice, based on my very varied, interesting and relatively successful life filled with rich experiences and career choices, is to leave now and enjoy your life.
Ireland is a disaster. It is sorely mismanaged and misruled and destroyed by its own absurdity. There is corruption in the Government, banks, business, police, law, and even the Catholic Church (Home Rule was certainly Rome rule).
And it seems we learn nothing. The UK is also in dire economic straits and offers nothing much different from Ireland (how could it?), only with less corruption. North America, New Zealand and Australia (where I now live) are all beautiful, and are happy to welcome people from our islands, their ancestral home.
It’s all out there for you. Go now while you are young.
Chris: I signed out of the country in the late 1970s. And stayed out until the 1990s. In many ways I regret coming back. This is a very difficult country to try to survive in. Everything seems stacked against the ordinary person. We are expected to pay, pay, pay and get very little in return.
There seems to be one law for certain groups in society and a very different law for ordinary taxpayers.
At the moment I am looking down a very long, dark tunnel as I see no chance of Ireland being able to pull herself up by her bootstraps because we have an absolutely incompetent Government and a public sector which, in the main, is extremely selfish. Worse than that, there are many in public sector who are willing to abuse their power to punish the private sector or those who have become unemployed.
I don’t blame young people for leaving; what incentive is there to stay? Even if they work hard all their lives and pay their taxes they will never attain the security or standard of living of the Nordic countries. Waving goodbye to our young will become increasingly normal. And once they experience the good life they most likely will not want to come back. It seems to be Ireland’s tragedy and her fate.
Pocaifolmha: Welcome to the diaspora, Shane, you have done just what the Brian Lenihans of this world wanted you to do: reduced the unemployment register and become a potential source of external revenue.
You are now a nonentity in the eyes of the Irish Government. You do not have the right to vote and will be considered as a tourist in your own country. This situation is not your fault but your parents and relatives may not have not helped by their complacency in voting for the crooks that run Ireland and not demanding change.
A country that continually loses its brightest and best will never make progress. You and your friends should really be rioting in the streets like the French would but the Irish have been put down for so long there is no fight left in them. Don’t think that things will change in near future because if Nama floats it will at least 10 years before things improve.
Eamon3: If it is any consolation to the class of 2009, graduating earlier would not have been a panacea. My son graduated in 2003 and spent over five years in excellent well-paid jobs, buying an apartment during the boom. After spending the first two months of 2009 on the dole, he secured employment on the Continent.
Returning to Ireland is now something he hopes never to have to consider. This is how our leaders can assert that the growth in unemployment is slowing down.
Catherine P: I am currently making plans to leave this country, with no hope of ever returning to live here. I did not take part in any of the insanity of the last few years when I was working full time; I have no debts or mortgage. But I am one of the many that is paying the price.
I have seen precious little indication that the current Government or Civil Service have the interests of the country at heart. All I have seen in the last 12 months is the usual self-involved behaviour that has become more endemic in this country.
There are people out there who genuinely want to make this a better country to live in, but there are more people in all sectors of our society who are so obsessed about their entitlements that any sense of social responsibility has long gone.
Paddy Behan: I left Irish shores two months ago now, along with my wife and five-month-old son. I left a permanent teaching job in the heart of Kilkenny. I was very happy and content, my wife sadly was not. So, here I am now, no more that one mile from the beach, earning €80,000 tax free a year. My wife has a good job and is being treated with respect.
My son has his own nanny, at a fraction of the cost in Ireland. Good, Catholic Ireland, eh? My advice is get out while you can. The metaphor of rats leaving a sinking ship invades my mind every time I think of home. Sorry, but that’s the truth. I wish you all the very best of Irish luck, whatever that means nowadays.
Penguin: What about those who voted these criminals into a position of power? Two years ago the electorate bought into the “greed is good” philosophy (as in all recent Dáil elections) and this is the result. While I strongly sympathise with Shane, enjoyed his article, and might consider doing the same (head for foreign shores) were I his age, sometimes you just have to make a stand and say “this has gone far enough”.
Joe: I’m planning on leaving soon. Many of my friends have left already. Australia, the US, parts of continental Europe. Even Irish friends of mine are working in Eastern Europe. All of them are having the time of their lives.
Ireland is a very complex country, regulated by a rigid, mostly unspoken ideology; an ideology that looks confusing, contradictory and even idiotic to those who don’t benefit from it, and as natural and as just as the holy law of God to those who do.
Ireland’s future does not look very bright – but for myself and many others it’s not our future, it’s not our concern.
Sean Reynolds: The economy is in the toilet in my view, and will be for some time yet. I graduated in 2008 and after a short part-time contract, Government cuts led to my peanuts job being cut while the “higher-ups” were insulated from cutbacks.
The Government has completely blown the benefits of the Celtic Tiger, and put nothing away for a rainy day.
I have zero faith in the Government, they do not understand the problems ordinary folk have and just don’t seem to care. While I wouldn’t find it easy to move abroad, it is something I am actively contemplating because this economy is wrecked.
Robert Browne: I have every sympathy with Shane Fitzgerald and the shame is clearly on our useless and utterly corrupt Government, aided and abetted by the likes of Ictu.
Lshields: Funny that Shane can’t say anything good about Ireland, but is still happy enough to take Irish Times money though.
Bobs: What a bunch of whingers, none of ye were crying when the money was coming in. Nobody asked where it was coming from or how long it would last because in reality ye didn’t want to know.
Now it’s all somebody else’s fault – collective schizophrenia.
I don’t think that I would agree with some of the very gloomy assessments that are expressed here by some of those interviewed but it is, nevertheless, enlightening to hear different views on the current state of the Irish economy. Their economy, to be sure, has suffered some heavy blows since the glory days of the now non-existent “Celtic Tiger” and it will, most likely, take a long period of time to recover. However, I have always admired the resiliency and resourcefulness of the Irish people and I have no doubt that, in due time, they will recover and prosper once again.