Saturday 21 April 2018

Emer O'Kelly: Government by the people, for the people, has failed

The principles of republicanism are often hijacked by undemocratic regimes, says Emer O'Kelly


Emer O'Kelly

Most Irish people claim to be proud that their country is a Republic, and therefore a democracy. The implication is that a republic is the opposite of a monarchy, and therefore its government will be more ethical, and more righteous than the government of a monarchy. But many people, looking at our wrecked country, would now say that we have fallen at the first hurdle. Government by the people, for the people, as democracy is defined in the modern parliamentary context, has failed Ireland miserably.

Democracy works well only when the people have high ideals ... and high standards. When the basis of parliamentary power lies in making empty and impossible promises, it disgraces itself. We prate about the "most vulnerable" in our society "needing protection" but we have no intention of paying the cost of that protection. During the years of supposed prosperity, we bought into the ridiculous idea that we could have a low tax system with world-class services. We wanted our politicians to tell us this was possible, so they did, and brought the country to its knees, protecting only vested interests and cronyism.

Now that we are once again a poverty-stricken nation we are convulsing ourselves with personalised idiocies at parliamentary level. In an alarming number of cases we have elected people who have little respect for the law.

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