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'The dream of the men of 1916 is coming to an end'

That's it. I'm voting for Lisbon next time. Not because I like the EU. I don't. I despise its corruption, its moral laziness, its military torpor, its great glutinous bureaucracy and its fundamental disrespect for democracy. Its many failings will, in due course, spell the end of European civilisation.

But at least if we vote for Lisbon, we shall be further drawn into the great maw of the EU, and for all its loathsome vices, this means we will be spared another layer of self-government.

In time, we might become a directly administered province of Brussels, with a governor general in the Phoenix Park. It'll be horrible, of course, but it won't be as horrible as what we've got.

The equation is simple. All things being equal, the Irish people will elect Fianna Fail to office. And Fianna Fail will, in office, revert to tribal type. This tribe has two addictions. One is a wretched reverence for the men of 1916. The other is to do a deal, regardless of the financial price.

For Fianna Fail is like an alcoholic. No matter how much it disavows violence and corruption, hidden all over the Fianna Fail house there are little bottles marked '1916' and 'cute hoorism'. We got a perfect example of the former the other day, when President McAleese, quite gratuitously, hailed the role of the Irish Transport and General Workers Union in the 1916 Rising.

This is an utter fairytale. The union had nothing to do with 1916. In fact, the ITGWU had expelled James Connolly from its premises 10 days before the Rising because he was abusing union facilities for illegal, paramilitary purposes.

However, subsequently, it became an agreeable myth, for all concerned, that the trade union movement, as a movement, was involved in the Rising. It wasn't. That's a historical fact.

What individual members of the union might have done as members of the Citizen Army, or even (and in far greater numbers) the British army, is neither here nor there.

So why does the President present us with a myth as a fact? Why, because that's the Fianna Fail way. Indeed, their myth becomes agreeably foggy at this point, embracing the labour movement also, with everyone also remembering fondly the banner outside Liberty Hall, 'For Neither King Nor Kaiser'.

The banner is a lie. James Connolly sent out untrained boys to kill their fellow countrymen, even commissioning his 14- year-old son for this criminal task, after hailing the Kaiser's Germany as "our gallant allies".

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Better still, James Larkin has also been conscripted into the Fianna Fail myth. This fine fellow was found with his hand in the union till, and having been charged with embezzlement, fled to the US, where he was when the Rising occurred.

He was not, mind you, completely without principle. He once refused to share a platform with a divorcee. You can find a statue of Larkin outside the GPO, as if he had taken part in the Rising. In other words, statuary as a lie.

Parallel with Fianna Fail's devotion to the historical falsehoods of 1916 is its compulsion to do lazy, populist deals, regardless of consequence. Our finances have thus been debauched by misgovernment. We have a vast and almost parasitic public service, in which no-one seems answerable for anything, and failure is never punished.

The regulator who for 10 months failed to tell his minister about the financial horror story of Anglo Irish Bank, with nearly €90m missing from the books, was not sacked, but in due course retired, on full pension.

Our teachers are paid 37pc more than teachers in the North: 23pc of our school-leavers are illiterate.

In the middle of the greatest financial crisis in the State's history, our entire (and vastly overpaid) political class is still on holiday. We have thousands of unoccupied houses across the country, as part of a government-sponsored wheeze to avoid taxes.

The State spent billions on an unused tunnel in the centre of Dublin, even as traffic congestion chokes the capital.

While the private-sector bleeds jobs by the thousand, the public sector, made arrogant and bloated by years of Fianna Fail capitulations, swears it will fight against cuts, to the death. The dream of a sovereign republic of the men of 1916 is finally coming to an end, slain by the very people who still acclaim their insane actions.

So roll on Lisbon! Roll on rule from Brussels! Yes, I know that our political establishment want it also, but what logic can you expect from them? Hasten the day when a gauleiter or apparatchik of the EU administers our affairs, for we clearly are not capable of doing so ourselves.

And in 2026, when Leinster House is a museum, the relics of Fianna Fail will still be gathering at Bodenstown and the GPO to hear sanctimonious sermons about the gallant men of '98 and of 1916. Fine.

Let them have their fantasies. Just so long as no-one lets them anywhere near the levers of government.

kmyers@independent.ie


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