Saturday 18 November 2017

Eilis O'Hanlon: We cannot let ourselves be reeled in by another rogue

Wallace is no different from the other high rollers, but they jumped ship before the collapse, writes Eilis O'Hanlon

Mick Wallace recently appeared on a BBC programme called The Great Euro Crash, where he declared that the country collapsed because the Irish were, at heart, "gamblers"; an analysis that was intercut with footage of racehorses just to add to the cliche.

Watching at home at the time, I remember thinking: speak for yourself, Mick. Most of us aren't reckless by nature. We're too cautious, scared.

The minority may have been out there, borrowing millions, buying up property overseas, turning rural fields into suburban estates within driving distance of Dublin (as long as you didn't mind driving two hours there and two hours back each day), but the biggest gamble most Irish people ever took was buying a house, and we didn't even realise that was a gamble until it was too late; we thought we were simply doing the right thing, to secure a future for ourselves and our children. All Mick Wallace was doing on the BBC was externalising his own failings into national characteristics in order to make himself feel better.

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