JUST like most citizens of this State, I am in a state of shock following the events of the past week or so.
This period has been possibly the most traumatic in the history of our nation, as we fluctuated between high drama and low farce. We had the unedifying spectacle of elected ministers of the government coming on the national airwaves prevaricating and telling lies to the people of this country over the IMF-ECB bailout.
We had government ministers, senior people like Dermot Ahern, saying that "there is nothing going on" as the world's media, well briefed, trumpeted about the imminent bailout. The whole thing degenerated to the extent that I didn't know whether to laugh or cry.
After two and a half years of this incredibly incompetent government, we were forced to hang our heads in shame before the eyes of the world.
This mess was arrived at by a combination of the Galway Tent and Golden Circle mindsets, combined with the insane greed of runaway bankers.
The bankers are nothing short of economic terrorists, and their pals in the Dail are guilty of financial treason, for allowing them do it.
As we head into Christmas, many citizens are facing an appaling vista, with billions of euros worth of cuts coming down the line in the Budget.
Let no one be in any doubt -- the IMF and the ECB are not staffed by benevolent people. These hard-nosed bankers will cut and strip until their way is enforced. They will exact the pound of flesh they deem necessary.
This pathetic Government has condemned future generations to a massive burden of debt.
We are now faced with the twin evils of mass unemployment and emigration -- our traditional curse has returned.
And so to the newest traitors in our midst.
The Green Party had an opportunity to support a rainbow government in 2007, but instead chose to lay down with Fianna Fail.
Despite the calls for a general election, John 'Gormless' Gormley stood by Fianna Fail as the country sank deeper and deeper into the mire. They could have cried 'halt' at any point. They did not.
In doing so they compromised every principle they held dear. Their behaviour has tainted and discredited them, compromised as they are by their partners in Government. In a cynical and desperate last ditch effort, a forlorn hope to save his political skin, Gormley called this week for a general election after the Budget.
Unfortunately the public can see this ploy for what it is -- rats deserting a sinking vessel that is already doomed.
This empty gesture was nothing short of self-serving and hypocritical. Gormley has sacrificed every principle and tenet of his party to cling to power.
The Greens will be condemned to political oblivion as a result, where they belong.
But there's a wider malaise here. It is a sad indictment of our nation that Gormley's call now barely registers on the wider scale of Irish political ineptitude.
Our nation is in a crisis for lack of leadership. We're enduring dark hours unseen since the Civil War.
The country is crying out for a statesman, a person of vision and leadership. Instead, Taoiseach-in-waiting Enda Kenny effectively goes awol.
Meanwhile, the thugs in Sinn Fein responded by rushing through a gate in a hooligan-type manoeuvre.
Across the board there appears to be no one we can turn to for leadership. I have scanned the political horizon in vain and there is no saviour.
No Sean Lemass, no John A Costello, no Noel Browne.
It's a grim vista.
We pray that cometh the hour cometh the man -- or woman.
Until we do this agony will continue.
THE WHINING of armchair republicans over the wearing of a poppy by X Factor's Mary Byrne is nauseating.
This working-class girl has been giving a great lift to Ireland in these dark days and should be supported.
Instead, anonymous posters on her website have criticised her for wearing the poppy and singing on an X Factor single to support British troops.
Such opinions are a gross insult to soldiers who gave their lives in those conflicts -- many of them Irishmen.
There was hardly a village or town that didn't have their menfolk fight in World War One, often at the urging of the Church, I might add.
I am proud to say that my own father went off as a boy soldier to serve in the trenches of Ypres, where he was shot and gassed.
It wasn't for any king's shilling that he faced bullets on a daily basis, he went to serve for an ideal.
For me the poppy is a proud symbol of sacrifice and dedication for the rights of our fellow man. It is a travesty that some diehard republicans attack those who wear this symbol.
I REMEMBER working in Rathfarnham as a young guard in 1971, when Una Lynskey's body was found in the Dublin Mountains.
It was a shocking case, and even after four decades it has still stayed with me.
The 19-year-old was apparently abducted, but there was no official cause of death. It remains a bizarre and unusual case. One suspect was killed. Two other men were convicted, but both have now been cleared on appeal -- most recently Martin Conmey this week.
The Lynskey family have never achieved justice. This case is now one that should be examined by the Garda Serious Crime Review Team.