Tuesday 23 January 2018

Ruck 'n' rollover for once-proud nation

The Irish public has become a soft touch, handing out money to everybody, writes Eamon Delaney

The rugby World Cup will soon be under way and we'll hear a lot of talk about our fighting spirit and our stubborn 'never say die' attitude. But, as a metaphor for our national attitude, forget about it. Rebel nation, my hat.

We are in fact a pathetic soft touch who have allowed ourselves to be rolled over like a collapsed scrum. Just for a depressing summary, let us look at examples of the Irish public letting itself be milked. It is an eclectic list but the damning examples are all linked by the same lazy attitude, the same ignorance and unwillingness to challenge the status quo. And, in recent bitter years, the same supine acceptance that we must pay for the sins of the previous political/civil service/fat-cat regime, which ran us into the ground.

Let's look at the big one. We are bailing out the banks, and underwriting the bank guarantee, when we should have penalised them and let Anglo Irish Bank go to the wall. We're bailing out Quinn Insurance, and effectively underwriting the gambling debts of Sean Quinn, by levying every insurance holder in the State. Amazing. But there are other examples of being a soft touch that are rarely highlighted.

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