When I was a young boy in primary school in the Christian Brothers, Templemore, County Tipperary some fifty years ago, we always railed against the tragic and hapless plight of the Irish whenever we decided to make a bid for independence, or even maintain it. First, there was the lamentable performance of the various petty kings during the time of Diarmuid Mac Murrough of Leinster when faced with the prospect of a Norman invasion. Then, there was the inability of the Irish chieftains to band together in solidarity against the Tudors. Come 1798 and the multiple ill-fated French invasion attempts, compounded by a total lack of coordination among the United Irishmen, we once again displayed our predilection for local and selfish interests. Let us not speak of Parnell and all of that lamentable carry-on. And, lest we forget, 1916 wasn’t exactly a shining example of solidarity either. So it is with his background that I read with interest Justin O’Brien’s recent article in the November 24th Irish Times, commenting on the total failure of the Irish political elite, the chattering classes and the academic analysts to provide any kind of a united front either during the Celtic Tiger years or in the present sorry state in which we find ourselves.
It is time for some hard thinking. It is time for a full and frank admission of abject political, corporate, regulatory, and academic failure. This centres not in the handling of the boom but in the increasingly pathetic attempts by each sector to advance solutions. These, in fact, serve only to enhance the self-interest of each specific community of experts rather than the collective good.