Saturday 24 February 2018

A 'rebel' president won't save us from financial doom

Politicians must get a handle on the worst crisis since the Second World War, writes James Fitzsimons

FOR decades the country has been run down by bad government policies. It created a world-class civil service to run the country. For a decade it overstaffed and overpaid it. It never envisaged a financial crisis like the one we have.

If you have the money you can buy a Formula One racing car, but without a driver and team to maintain it you won't win any races. That's what happened in Ireland. When we had the money, the government wasted it. The party ended a long time ago. But nobody has cleaned up the mess. While the global economy is hanging over the edge, and nobody knows whether or not it will recover, we are expected to believe that our problems are behind us. That is like comforting the children with a bedtime story, on the brink of a nuclear holocaust. We are no safer now than we were three years ago. The only difference now is we know the strike is imminent. An elite few have their own bomb shelters. The Government has built one around the public sector. Everyone else will have to take his or her chances.

Shortly we will elect a new President. We have seven candidates to choose from, and that might be Hobson's choice. The winner is likely to succeed because of what he or she hasn't done more than anything they have achieved. The likelihood of public crucifixion has frightened off those who might have made a difference. Candidates have to distance themselves from the establishment if they are to be popular. Those who have the least connection with government are portrayed as the most suitable candidates. Surely this makes them less presidential. It's an indictment of the Government's failure to serve the people. But an interfering President would be worse than a figurehead.

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