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Why do we always get things wrong? I know, it's the Brits, the Brits, the Brits

As this State flounders towards collapse again, let's ask: why do we always get things wrong? Sure, I know three reliable answers: the Brits, the Brits and the Brits again.

Indeed, entire university faculties are given over to discourses on Hibernian victimhood, with self-pity intellectualised through the impenetrable verbal mud of Foucault, Derrida and Fanon.

This whingeing school of thought has an academic brand name, Field Day, and a caste of articulate laureates who specialise in the plaints of our woebegone Irish identity. Yet no one considers the possibility that there might be something genetically askew with too many Irish people for us to create an ordered, predictable society that does not fall apart every 15 years or so.

So, has our still-small population been cursed with some genetic fault from our founding population which came from Spain 4,000 years ago? A baleful genetic legacy need not be very large. Any teacher will testify to the impossibly disruptive influence of a minority of pupils. What if the same were true of an entire society?

The enduring success of Fianna Fail, founded by yet another Spaniard, has been the main story of independent Ireland.

Yet this is the party that did its violent best to destroy the State at its outset, and did so again in the 1930s by waging a ruinous economic war with the world's mightiest empire, and our only trading partner. It did bring the State to its knees in the 1950s, attempting to create a Catholic Gaelic paradise, and courted ruin again in 1970 when it turned a blind eye to the formation of the Provisional IRA.

Lo, come the 1980s, and insane Fianna Fail borrowings took us to the brink of penury. And finally, here we are again in the 2000s, now facing Armageddon.

Yet at this very nadir, the Fianna Fail vote of 25pc in Euro elections suggests that a quarter of the population is clinically insane. We don't need psephologists to explain Irish elections. We need psychiatrists. Take Donegal, where the electorate in the 1990s returned one TD who demanded free, universal British television, and another who demanded Brits out: transfers from one got the other elected.

Irrationality is a defining feature of Irish life, yet even to draw attention to this is to attract comparably irrational cries of "anti-Irish". Thus the mental disorder even has its own antibodies which prevent any enquiry into it. "We are victims: we cannot be authors of our many misfortunes, and anyone who says we are is a bigoted anti-national Hibernophobe".

Fine. But why have outbursts of killing been a consistent characteristic of Irish life down the centuries? Why do we have the highest rates of alcoholism, schizophrenia and mental illness in Europe? Why did Ireland have legislation (1817) for public asylums before France (1838) and England (1845)? Why are we so often incapable of planning anything?

Half-cocked, unorganised rebellions have entered Irish mythology as glorious -- though doomed -- blows for freedom. From Silken Thomas's idiotic insurrection through to 1916, it is as if the iron law of consequence does not exist. Historical events almost become almost like a blight of bungalows littered across the countryside. They are all intellectually disconnected; nothing is learnt.

Translate that pathological disregard for the inevitable into the management of a modern society, and you get Anglo-Irish Bank and Sean FitzPatrick, and tiny terraced cottages in Drimnagh being sold in 2007 for €700,000 each.

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It took us 20 years to build a few hundred miles of motorway, but without service stations or rest areas; yet Paddy in Britain in the 1950s was building one mile of motorway, complete with service stations, every eight days. In the 1980s, the main Galway-Clifden bus would leave Galway railway station for Clifden five minutes before the train from Dublin arrived. Conversely, the Clifden-Galway bus arrived back at the railway station five minutes after the Dublin-bound train had departed.

In Cork they managed things just a little better. The bus for West Cork left five minutes after the train from Dublin arrived -- however, not from the railway station, but from a bus-terminus half a mile away.

Eamon Coughlan could catch it. Everyone else, tottering with their bags, would collapse, wheezing in its wake, just as it drew away.

Dysfunctionalism is central to this society. Lateness is not seen for what it is, arrogant selfishness, but as a charming eccentricity.

We have the shortest academic year in the EU, yet still allow teachers annually take a further six weeks uncertificated sick leave. So unsurprisingly, we have the highest rate of illiteracy among school-leavers in Europe.

We give gardai special holiday allowances when they're getting pink in Ibiza, to compensate for the tax-free perks they're missing at work. John Lonergan, the governor of Mountjoy prison, probably the worst and most violent jail in Europe, is a darling of the liberal media.

The best-paid presenter on RTE television, Pat Kenny, attempted to obtain, by "adverse possession", a neighbour's land for free, but ended up in court. The state broadcaster is now giving him a TV weekly special on politics, no doubt with searing insights into ethical improbity in high places.

So -- is this what the aboriginal Iberian gene pool did to us? Gratias España - but let's bring on the Poles.


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