Saturday 18 November 2017

We must discard futile Delay and Pray strategy

We're over-optimistic, overpaid and in denial. It's time to face facts and act now to effect radical change, writes Paul Sommerville

EARLY in 2009, in a debate with Alan Ahearne -- the Minister for Finance's economic adviser -- I described Ireland as "sleepwalking into financial Armageddon", and in late 2010 it is sad to say there is no change in that assessment. While we content ourselves with the laughable "we've turned the corner" and "the worst is over" issued by our politicians and our ever bullish stockbroking community, the pressures on Ireland are intensifying.

What is clear is that the Irish people are in an abusive relationship with their political and protected elite of kingmakers. They can't worry about the nation when they spend all their time worrying about self-preservation. So many people rely on the current corrupt system staying in place that they refuse to see what is happening, as they have their vested interests to protect. Ireland needs to put itself on emergency footing, but those in positions to influence the future of the nation have gone missing in action -- not only our politicians but the entire media seems to have taken the summer off.

While the suicide numbers hit record levels, parents weep at airports, waving goodbye to another generation off to far-flung places to start a new life. Around 460,000 people are looking for work, doctors' surgeries are inundated with over-stressed customers, and we have not had one credible policy idea or plan to get us out of this mess. There is a vacuum and paralysis at the heart of the leadership of this country, in the place it is needed most. The hidden misery behind every statistic is a shameful indictment of how recklessly the economy has been managed.

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