Fintan O’Toole: Why is Ireland unable to solve basic problems?

The Republic is a rich, young, stable country. So why is it so dysfunctional?

Why do we spend enough money to have a first-class health service but end up with waiting lists that will top a million patients this year? Photograph: Pierre Andrieu/AFP/Getty Images

Why do we spend enough money to have a first-class health service but end up with waiting lists that will top a million patients this year? Photograph: Pierre Andrieu/AFP/Getty Images

Why does the State not work? Why is it chronically unable to produce effective, timely and fair responses to social crises? Why can it not tackle a crisis of homelessness that has been building up for years?

Why is housing provision so chaotic? Why do we spend enough money to have a first-class health service but end up with waiting lists that will top a million patients this year? Why are we unable to meet even modest targets to cut carbon emissions, making us by far the worst performer among comparable countries?

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