The year gone by and the year ahead
As we end one year and look forward to the next, it is time to take stock. In the round, it was a good year for Ireland relative to the year before and the year before that again.
This shows that the country is moving in the right direction, albeit with a certain uneven trajectory, with some sections of society performing better than others but with most, if not all, somewhat better than they were this time last year. At an international level, however, there is cause for greater concern 12 months on, related to events in the European Union and specifically the manner in which the UK seems determined to execute a maximum disruptive departure; and also related to the unorthodox US Presidency of Donald Trump, whose leadership has lived up to the most grim predictions in 2017, the effect of which has been to diminish the status of a once great nation.
We should submit to neither the most optimistic nor pessimistic analyses, however, either domestically or on a broader level. It was always thus. The performance of various systems of governance is never smooth. For Ireland though, and western democracies in general, the most reassuring point at year's end is that the centre has continued to hold and that we move forward in expectation, more in hope than with anxiety.