Crisis could see us become a colony again
If Ireland does not help herself out of this economic crisis she is doomed to revert to being a colony after, if we are lucky, a century of independence.
The country is currently locked into a vicious cycle: ridden with debt; deprived of political autonomy; and with an ever-increasing rate of emigration of the best of the talented youth, leaving her poorer every year.
If the Irish people are not able to prevent this from happening with their own efforts, there will be no other option but to become a protectorate of the larger European powers, or perhaps even, as has been suggested in this paper recently, the United States.
There is precedent for this.
During the Great Depression of the 1930s, Newfoundland, a self-governing British colony, found itself so inept at handling an economic crisis that the people of the colony surrendered all their political autonomy to the mother country.
It is absolutely critical that the Irish people demand of their government that spending cuts on excessive salaries, pensions and bonuses are implemented immediately, as well as taxes raised from those who can afford it. It is criminal to reduce spending on schools and hospitals to maintain a high standard of living for a few elites in the public sector when the whole country must tighten its belt.
It is good that Ireland is not being wracked by rioting based on anger against the Government like France is, but an attitude of defeatism, as seems to have permeated the government, is just as bad, if not worse.
Given that the Fianna Fail coalition is still governing Ireland with a pre-financial crisis mandate from 2007, the Irish people should follow California's example and provide for special election ballot initiatives to recall irresponsible and unpopular governments from power in times of national calamity.
This recall system works well in California.
If Fine Gael and Labour want to earn their populist stripes, they should recognise that such petition-driven ballot initiatives would help to provide the accountability, efficiency and flexibility that Ireland's political system sorely lacks.
Kevin James O'Mahony
San Jose, California