What is truth?

Letter in Saturday’s Irish Times…

A chara,

I write to voice my concern about the future of this country. I am sitting on the steps of the Department of Justice & Law Reform, the sun is beating down on my shoulders and I write to expel a dark thought from my mind. What is to become of the disenfranchised generation of Irish citizens whose future happiness and prosperity in this country has been cast in great black shadows by the criminal activities of our financial institutions and the gross mismanagement of our national affairs by our trusted Government?

Like so many other young Irishmen and women, my partner and I have decided to leave Ireland to live and work in another country. I came to the city today to prepare some things for our trip and to say goodbye to the capital for a while, to soak in some of her unique flavour before departing for Perth in Australia. What is it that makes Ireland a special country? What are the deepest moral values that are the foundations of Irish society? As I walk, thinking about Minister for Finance Brian Lenihan’s recent announcement of the country’s national debt (death?) I was deeply concerned not that I no longer knew what this core moral value might be, but saddened to find that I no longer care.

Seemingly, the woeful economic state we find ourselves in is merely a symptom of a far more threatening problem – a spiritual or existential crisis at play in Irish society. My own sense of moral apathy makes me think a deep wound has been inflicted by the bankers’ greed and it is not in our pockets but sadly in the collective heart of the Irish people. We can endure the toxic financial wreck that is Nama’s balance sheet, the grossly unfair debt saddled so abruptly on honest, hard-working tax-payers.

We cannot endure however, the sheer sense of injustice and the total loss of moral law at the filthy hands of these so-called rogues and sleeveens (it is equally disheartening to see we have had cause over the years to establish a colloquialism to best describe such recurrent characters in Irish society).

An example has been set by the leaders of this country that their selfish and cynical behavior is an acceptable discourse in modern Ireland. Our potential to act meaningfully and righteously in this society has been shrouded in this cynicism by the greedy, ignorant brutes that head our banks and by the lackluster unimaginative politicians that sit in our Government offices.

As a young able man I am ashamed that my chosen course of action is not violent protest (there should be rioting in the streets outside Dáil Eireann and Anglo Irish Bank); rather I choose to leave the wreckage – feeling as if a bully has just entered the playing field, burst the ball and walked away.

Sitting outside the Department of Justice Law Reform, whose steps feel like empty totems of the now laughable notion of justice, I think that the task at hand is not to set the country’s financial institutions back on track. It is to inspire an entire generation of skilled workers leaving our shores to return at some point to rebuild Ireland in the spirit of honesty and hard work, with a belief in our ability to live for the prosperity of others as well as ourselves. – Yours, etc,

BEN MULLEN,

Raheen Park,

Bray, Co Wicklow.

Comment:

The sad fact is we are losing the very best of our people to the rest of the world and I believe it is a policy of our current government to encourage this state of affairs. They keep the unemployment figures down and they don’t need to worry that new people will challenge the status quo at the next elections and they can carry on screwing the rest of us !

As a family man it is not possible for me to abandon Ireland nor do I wish to do so I will stand and fight for what I believe is right. We have a beautiful country with one of Europe’s oldest cultures, a proud tradition of rebellion against ternary

The fact it is we are been betrayed by people calling themselves Irishmen is an insult to the past generations of patriots who died for Ireland

Where are the modern patriots of to-day who will stand up against the crooks infesting the Dail and the gangsters that have taken control of the financial resources of our country thus rendering our independence worthless? We are no more independent than we were at the height of English rule!

If you don’t control your own finances you are not in control of your own life the same rules apply for countries. I just feel so “mad” and nobody is responsible, the lunatics are running the asylum somebody has got to do something !

Remember This?

Howard Beale: I don’t have to tell you things are bad. Everybody knows things are bad. It’s a depression. Everybody’s out of work or scared of losing their job., banks are going bust, Punks are running wild in the street and there’s nobody anywhere who seems to know what to do, and there’s no end to it. We know the air is unfit to breathe and our food is unfit to eat, and we sit watching our TV’s while some local newscaster tells us that today we had fifteen homicides and sixty-three violent crimes, as if that’s the way it’s supposed to be. We know things are bad – worse than bad. They’re crazy. It’s like everything everywhere is going crazy, so we don’t go out anymore. We sit in the house, and slowly the world we are living in is getting smaller, and all we say is, ‘Please, at least leave us alone in our living rooms. Let me have my toaster and my TV and my steel-belted radials and I won’t say anything. Just leave us alone.’ Well, I’m not gonna leave you alone. I want you to get mad! I don’t want you to protest. I don’t want you to riot – I don’t want you to write to your congressman because I wouldn’t know what to tell you to write. I don’t know what to do about the depression and the inflation and the Russians and the crime in the street.

All I know is that first you’ve got to get mad.

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