Taking charge of the country
THIS morning, for the first time in years, the people of this country can climb out of bed in a frame of mind that may be clouded by many doubts and anxieties but is lightened by the knowledge that, at last, somebody is in charge.
Unfortunately, "somebody" consists of teams from the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund, here to negotiate the terms of a bailout on a truly staggering scale for Ireland's rocky banks.
Their presence denotes a failure in our management of our own affairs. It is therefore to some extent a failure for all of us. It is a failure for the banks, which behaved recklessly, misled the Government and raided our pockets. It is most of all a humiliating failure for a Government which did not show the most rudimentary form of leadership until forced to do so by outside powers. Even worse, its acknowledgment of its deficiencies is at best partial. Yesterday Finance Minister Brian Lenihan reluctantly admitted that his policy had failed. Taoiseach Brian Cowen clearly has not brought himself to believe the reality.