What's wrong with Ireland on St Patrick's Day?


HEART BEAT:This expensive exodus is for our benefit, apparently

“It isn’t that they can’t see the solution. It is that they can’t see the problem.”(G.K. Chesterton; the Scandal of Father Brown)

IN THE midst of our troubles, with people losing jobs and homes, the boys and girls of our Government are on the road again. The Taoiseach, the Attorney General and no less than 21 other ministers are to celebrate St Patrick’s Day in various far-flung locations.

Of course, they’re doing it for us. This is to promote Ireland and persuade all sorts of foreign folk to invest here and create jobs for our growing numbers of unemployed. It sounds great, but we’ve heard it all before, in fact, on a yearly basis. I wonder if this annual exodus achieves anything worthwhile. It costs a lot of money though. Would it not impress the investing community more if we acknowledged that we have major economic problems at home this year and that we won’t be coming out to play as usual; that our Government will be staying home and working and taking our plight seriously? That’ll never happen; they’re off again with the fig leaf cover that it’s for our benefit. It’s only a jaunt of course. Their jobs and pensions will be waiting for them on their return to blight us once again.

This posturing and shallow analysis is slightly obscene against a backdrop of deprivation and real hardship-type emigration. It is, however, another manifestation of the disconnection between Government and the ordinary, increasingly irate, people. We are told there will be no first class travel or expensive hotel suites this time around. This, seemingly, is an act of belt tightening to show solidarity with the masses. They may even forsake the limousine services to transfer them between terminals. They may have to walk and hump their luggage like the rest of us. The thought of these august personages squashed into economy class is almost unbearable. Almost.

Schedules of places to be visited and important personages to be met are listed for our edification. Apart from ritualistic Washington, our selfless travellers are spread throughout the US and Canada. The Government Chief Whip will be visiting Dallas and Houston to tell the denizens how real cowboys behave. Sure be a big posse of jobs from that trip.

The Minister for Trolleys is in New Zealand leaving a very serious problem for her and the HSE behind in Tallaght. The cries go up already from the apologists. “It’s not their fault.” It appears the HSE never took their seat on the Tallaght Board, ie no watching brief. Prof Drumm says maybe there should be an inquiry into the HSE. Amen to that, I say, but it’ll never happen. Time for the Minister to cut short whatever nonsense she’s up to in New Zealand at our expense. Time for her to acknowledge that she is responsible for the state of the health service and do the honourable thing and resign.

It gets worse. Japan, Korea, China, Vietnam, Australia, Holland, Belgium, France, Italy and Germany are all favoured by the proselytising Paddies. The Attorney General is to be in Dubai and lucky Russia draws Dick Roche. I think Willie O’Dea was meant to go to South America but there were a couple of earthquakes. Eamon Ryan is to be in India, largely travelling by bicycle and bullock cart and lecturing the Indians on the merits of bull**** as an alternative fuel. He will be able to point out that between it and wind power, this country staggers along.

St Patrick in his travels eschewed the duns and manors of the chiefs and nobles as he spread his message of hope. He stayed in huts of thatch and sod. He described such a habitation as a turgiolum. It’s far from turgiolums that our latter day missionaries of Government will be staying in.

Patrick, your message of love and salvation has become diluted over the years with only traces of the original prescription discernable. While I’m talking to you might I point out with great deference, that you didn’t do that great a job in clearing the snakes out of Ireland.

This pointless expensive exodus is typical of those who claim to see the “big picture” and ignore the small little canvas that we really are. To finish as I started with the words of Chesterton; “they say that travel broadens the mind; but you must have the mind”.