29/05/2013. Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Mr. Leo Varadkar, An Taoiseach and Enda Kenny T.D. to officially open Irish Sport HQ On behalf of the National Sports Campus. Pictured is An Taoiseach and Enda Kenny T.D, the Chairman of the National Sports Campus Development Authority, Sean Benton, and the chief executive Barry OÕBrien at the official opening of Irish Sport HQ at Blanchardstown. Photo: Sasko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland

“Well, it’s not about water, is it?”

Enda Kenny, November 2014

Martin McMahon writes:

‘It’ is etched on the worried face of a young mother walking from Cork to Dublin.

‘It’ is CF sufferers huddled and masked in protest outside a newly refurbished Leinster House. ‘

It’ is Grace betrayed by unaccountable shadows.

It’ is Megan’s twisted spine, her publicly promised operation cancelled when the camera is turned off

‘It’ is whistleblowers criminalised.

‘It’ is the tears in tissues beside the computer after the weekly Skype to older children and grandchildren who may never be seen again toiling in far flung corners of Australia or America.

‘It’ is Dublin Airport Christmas week where broken hearts will brim with joy once again reunited, squeezed half to death with years of missed embraces condensed into minutes only for those hearts to be ripped asunder weeks or even days later as loved ones leave a country that has failed most of us.

‘It’ is the fear of never seeing elderly parents again save to bury their bodies in graves that will never be tended or prayed over by the generation they raised.

‘It’ is skipping meals to pay bills that were never ours.

‘It’ lies freezing on unwelcoming streets, in Georgian doorways or crammed in hostel hotels with no dignity, forever destined to live in the margins.’

It’ is newspapers advertising thousand euro coats ripped up to cover holes in the soles of shabby shoes.

‘It’ lies dying on hospital waiting lists. ‘It’ is social immobility denied yet propagated by the same affluent few generation after generation.

‘It’ is protesters criminalised in courts at the behest of billionaires who will enjoy immunity from criminalisation in rich men’s tribunals.

‘It’ is a Dail that fails to hold government to account.

‘It’ is in the breaking of a people forced to protect banks and bondholders who will never be stooped by the burden of ‘it’.

‘It’ is a hundred years of right wing government, of broken promises, of pandering to a privileged elite.

‘It’ is a tale telling Taoiseach.

‘It’ is a country divided by wealth and influence. ‘It’ is knowing there is a better way sold out for petty political positioning.

‘It’ was never just about water.

Martin blogs at RamshornRepublic


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76 thoughts on “What It Is

    1. Sheik Yahbouti

      Absolutely excellent post and makes sobering reading. Elsewhere sages ponder as to why it could be that ‘people have lost faith in our institutions’ and in our Dail self righteous Committaaaay members band together to try and prevent us ungrateful slobs from criticising them. What a time to be alive.

      1. 15p

        “Committaaaay” hahahaha .. this has been bugging me for so long, why do they ALL say it like that in government? It’s like it’s the first thing you have to learn when becoming an irish politician. it really aggrivates me, i think partly because it comes across as they don’t have a fuppin clue what they’re doing so they try to fancy up that word to give creedence to it, oh man, im so glad others picked up on it, i thought i was going insane.


    kenny suffers from whatever that inexplicable mind set that is beyond the traditional ‘neck like a jockeys rollox’.

    it’s a tony blair esque psychopathic delusion

  2. martco

    bravo, that is one fab post!

    if I had the dough I’d take out a full page in the usual rags on Sunday and land that in

  3. Zeno

    Begs the question if it was never just about water why didn’t the country turn out in their thousands about all the other more important issues listed? They didn’t they turned about about water because it means they’d have to pay. Why did many people turn to Fianna Fail again in the last election? Romanticised poo poo.

    1. Rob_G

      Imagine how much more money we would have for homeless services and CF drugs if we didn’t focus instead on providing limitless free water for everyone…

      1. Kieran NYC

        Shhh. Stop pointing out the inconvenient consequences of populist politics.

        Everything would be magically fixed if only people voted AAA/PBP!

        1. jusayinlike

          Oh look it’s the right wing corner, let’s all urinate on any civic action that’s not govt/cult sponsored..

      2. mildred st. meadowlark

        Imagine how much more money we would have if Enda&Co had burned the bondholders, as promised.

        Imagine how much money we would have if we didn’t have so many effing committees, and our government were actually qualified to do their jobs.

        I could go on, but I reckon you get the point.

        1. jusayinlike

          Oh but Kierans a liberal and he “doubts” he’ll vote for fine gael, but he’ll still jump to his defence at every turn..

          Such lamentable disingenuous posturing..

        2. Rob_G

          Paying back the bondholders – you’re right, that sucked. But I don’t think you are taking into account how serious it is to go into default: Argentina defaulted in 2014, and they have 40% inflation (they defaulted this time around partially due to their economy still having not recovered from their previous default in 2001).

          Burning the bondholders would save us only about €3bn per year in interest payments, and would effectively mean that we would never be able to borrow money again (and we were borrowing money to meet current expenditure until very recently).

          1. jusayinlike

            Iceland are doing fine last I checked, they burnt their bondholders and locked up the bankers, try again Rob..

          2. mildred st. meadowlark

            Not having any kind of head for economics (basic maths makes me want to cry), I really wouldn’t understand the full implications of burning the bondholders, but the point I was trying to make wasn’t that.

            FG promised they would burn the bondholders. Once in office they didn’t even bother. We’re stuck paying the consequences of that for who knows how long, and at the cost of the most vulnerable in society, and we’re seeing just how high that cost is now. And it’s hard to stomach.

            Water charges were the catalyst. That’s all it is, and rubbing in how much more money we may or may not have because of water charges is rubbing salt in the wound, so to speak.

          3. jusayinlike

            Rob and his scare mongering about repaying bondholders..

            Bondholders get burnt all the time, France, Italy, Spain and Portugal to name but a few absolutely fried bondholders and got a really good deal out of it, Ireland and its cult regime wilted to trichet and paid back every little cent, than absolutely swallowed the first rubbish deal that was handed to them without even bothering to negotiate..

          4. mildred st. meadowlark

            Thanks for the link jusayin

            I remember reading this story (but again not understanding it as well as I ought) at the time.

            It’s good to see other countries were willing to put the welfare of the people, long-term, over a short-term gain, so to speak.

            You have to wonder would life have been that much harder had we burnt the bondholders, rather than taking the course our government chose.

          5. Rob_G

            @ Mildred

            – If we had have burned the bondholders in 2011, 2012, we would have had no-one to borrow money from. And we needed to borrow money until we were earning enough revenue to meet current expenditure again (which was some time in 2015, I think).

            The only reason we were able to keep hospitals open, keep paying teachers, keep paying the old-age pension, etc, during those years was through borrowing more money; if we had have taken the unilateral decision to burn the bondholders, this money would not have been available to us.

          6. Rob_G

            @ jusayin – it’s true that Iceland are doing well now. But they had inflation of 20%

            But it was easier for them – they weren’t part of a monetary union like we are; a better example of what would have happened to us would probably be Greece.

          7. jusayinlike

            Italy burnt bondholders and continue to trade, as does France, your full of bs Rob, scaremongering about hospital closures and road building, you’re like a broken record..

          8. Yep

            @ Rob_G

            Total nonsense. Comparison to Argentina is as frivolous as the Icelandic hypothesis. The idea we would “never be able to borrow money again” is ridiculous. As entrenched and indebted as we were at the time our survival was key to the Union surviving.

          9. Rob_G

            @ Yep – yes we could borrow money – but at punitive rates of interest.

            As to the ‘survival of the Union’ – look how well the game-theory gambit worked for Greece; they threatened to leave the euro, and were told to go and whistle.

          10. Yep

            @ Rob

            And that was long after we had our hands on a corner of the rug. I’m glad we didn’t pull but a comparison to the Greek dip doesn’t make sense.

            Yeah, “punitive rates of interest.”…Who were we borrowing from/for? It’s not tin foil hat stuff. It’s 3 to 4 steps.

          11. Rob_G

            @ Yep –

            we were borrowing to keep the lights on – while a very small proportion of what we borrowed went to service the bailout debt, the majority went on current expenditure (public sector salaries, social protection, etc).

            While it is true that we would have saved a few billion a year in interest if we burnt the bondholders, it would have cost us a lot more in interest on the billions that we were borrowing to keep the country treading water.

  4. Devine

    Of course, one should balance this by looking at all the mistakes the Irish Left have made, of which there are many.

    By the way, I have never met a poor member of (a) The Labour Party (b) Sinn Fein (c) The Workers Party (d) People Before Profit (e) The Socialist Workers party

    They are all hypocrites, especially Sinn Fein.

    1. martco

      “Of course, one should balance this by looking at all the mistakes the Irish Left have made, of which there are many”

      Who are the Irish Left?
      And what’s about all the mistakes they’ve made, please inform me?

      Not attacking you here, just interested in your viewpoint…thanks

    2. Sheik Yahbouti

      Looking forward to hearing all about these mistakes. Also I was not aware that you had to be poor to have a Social conscience (or indeed a conscience). Vows of poverty and chastity for Politicians?? Well I never.

        1. Kippy Wippy

          I find that if one gives a damn about those who are struggling, the apologists have two responses.

          1. If you have money, you must be a champagne socialist”, or
          2. If you don’t have money, “It’s the politics of envy.”

  5. realPolithicks

    “Of course, one should balance this by looking at all the mistakes the Irish Left have made, of which there are many.”

    First off, the Irish Labour party is not a member of the left, they’ve propped up so many right wing governments its hard to tell them and FF/FG apart on most issues. Second, can you provide us with a similar list to the one above which outlines these “mistakes” made by the left.

    1. pok

      Yea good one -just like 1977 and the legacy of that manifesto is still alive and kicking – time and again FF have ruined this country -I often wonder how Brian Lenehan (younger) was with them and how the FFers must hate the fact that they can’t jump on that bandwagon and knock him

  6. Yep

    “It’ is Megan’s twisted spine, her publicly promised operation cancelled when the camera is turned off”

    Postponed, to be fair…

      1. Sheik Yahbouti

        Yep and Kieran, it isn’t funny lads. The situation has real effects on real people. Trying to score minor points on an internet forum, on someone else’s distress and pain, should be beneath you.

        1. Kieran NYC

          And doing nothing but posting a histrionic list, wailing and gnashing teeth in an effort to look the most outraged and concerned instead of actually figuring out solutions/working to fix the issue isn’t funny either.

          Call/meet your TD instead of engaging in misery porn.

          1. Sheik Yahbouti

            Am I the author of this article? Strange, I never noticed. I can assure you, dear friend, that I personally will do all in my power to change the situation in this country – although I’m only an ordinary working stiff. What will you do?

        2. Yep

          @ Sheik Yahbouti

          I’m not going to wade into this hysteria but there was no intended humour in my post. Her surgery was was pushed back due to a more urgent case. It happens.

          I wasn’t trolling or trying to negate the sentiment of the piece. It’s genuine and I was actually touched by it.

          Facts are our friends though …to be fair.

          1. Sheik Yahbouti

            Indeed, facts ARE our friends. How is it then that when the ‘facts’ are inconvenient the FG Fanboys wade in to rubbish anyone who is pointing to the facts?

          2. Yep

            I presume you’re not tarring me with that brush. I did ask Kieran would he vote FG. He said no. Seems like an affable young lad from an upper middle class family in Cork and lives abroad. He’s not out to get you or I. He’s just spewing opinion on the internet anonymously like ourselves.

          3. mildred st. meadowlark

            I don’t get most of the vitriol sent Kieran’s way, if i’m being honest.

            He’s far from the most offensive on this site.

          4. jusayinlike

            “pretty much bullying”

            Lol, I didn’t hear you defend me Harry when he labelled me an impotent troll last week..
            He gives as good as he gets..

          5. mildred st. meadowlark

            Oh I don’t know that I’d agree with that either.

            I have my own opinions on that but (for once) I’m going to keep them to myself.

            I think we all react and read things differently on the internet. There’s no sarcasm font, which is a major oversight, if you ask me. But because we do, we’ll all spark off someone in different ways.

          6. Sheik Yahbouti

            Did I mention Kieran specifically in that remark? No I did not. It was a general comment directed at a number of people. Don’t put words in my mouth.

          7. And Social Justice For All

            The fact is Sheikh yabouti in your online persona you’re a horrid little man. Bitter, nasty and genuinely awful and insulting to people. You know it all and it’s all misery- everything is bad and your contributions are mostly negative and worthless.

          8. Kieran NYC

            Cheers all :) Tis grand! I’m no snowflake ;)

            I’ll keep pointing out that while Ireland has its faults, overall it’s not a bad aul spot, and it’s getting better. Sometimes you have to look from afar to see past the constant negativity beloved by some.

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