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Plus ca change

• The Celts arrived on our shores and we partied, the Vikings came and we fell, the Normans came and became more Irish than the Irish themselves. Then the British came and we had an 800-year barney, but ultimately we straightened things out.

Throughout this turbulent history, after all the blood and water that has flowed under the bridge, we survived.

Then came a 3,000-word report yesterday confirming what many had suspected. Far from driving the snakes out of Ireland, St Patrick merely converted them into slimy politicians.

We won our independence only to sell ourselves out.

Any wonder we now must negotiate with the French and Germans to buy back our soul when those to whom we looked for leadership were so busy enriching themselves?

"What need you, being come to sense/but fumble in the greasy till/and add the halfpence to the pence/and prayer to shivering prayer until/you've dried the marrow from the bone./For men were born to pray and save./ Romantic Ireland is dead and gone/It's with O'Leary in the grave."

Were William Butler Yeats to return amongst us today he would marvel at how little has changed. All's the same, the same utterly.

Paul Kiefer
Castlecomer, Co Kilkenny

Irish Independent