Posted by: chiarraigrrl | February 23, 2010

We’re on our own…

It has certainly been an interesting week. Of all the people in cabinet, O’Dea’s resignation has something of the spectacularly absurd about it. Surely as unemployment in Ireland continues to rise, Coughlan would have seemed a likely suspect to resign as Minister for Trade & Employment, seeing as she’s not exactly fulfilling her brief. Or, in the midst of a recession when the Government clearly have no real plan forward and no end in sight, Minister for Finance Brian Lenihan or indeed (dare I say it?) Brian Cowen, who was in control of the purse strings when we got into this mess in the first place, might have seemed more appropriate resignations. It’s fairly clear (if it wasn’t already) that the politicians of Ireland couldn’t organise a pissup in a brewery, as the saying goes – none of them have any intention of listening to the opinions of the electorate (despite Lucinda Creighton’s claims on the Frontline last night that Fine Gael were the “listening party”- the George Lee debacle would give ample reason to doubt that) or doing anything other than protecting themselves and the wealthier people in this country. The sheer arrogance of Fianna Fail and Fine Gael, and the spinelessness of the Green Party now that they’re in government (and want to hold on to that position come what may), makes it absolutely clear that although we should expect our taxes to pay for things like roads and schools, infrastructure and public services, much of the money will likely go to help those that help the politicians, one way or another.

The Government have no respect for taxpaying citizens, no sense of fairness or equality and seemingly no plan whatsoever to get us out of this mess apart from taxing those who can least afford it. While they should be trying to stimulate job creation, they’re spending insane amounts of money to prop up the banks that got us into this mess in the first place.

I’ve been told that Ireland has long survived in spite of our political classes, not because of any assistance or planning that they provided. So with the Government dithering about and not helping the ordinary citizen, it’s up to us to each do our little bit to get things going – before there’s just tumbleweed through the streets as entire generations leave in search of better lives elsewhere.

Sure, unemployment is higher than it’s been in a while (and rising as we speak). But this could be a great opportunity for the businesspeople of tomorrow. There is finance out there for start-up businesses – you just have to figure out where to look. If you have a good business plan, but still can’t get a loan from the banks, it’s worth looking into microfinance opportunities – somewhere like First Step Limited might be able to help (plus, some of their funding comes from the EU, so we’re getting something from Brussels, and the people involved when I knew them a few years ago were Good Folks. Win-win-win, which is what we like…).

There are also grants for small export businesses (one thing, at least, that the government is doing right) to protect the jobs concerned. And of course there’s the Your Country Your Call initiative, which is a brilliant idea, if you ask me.

Even small things could make a difference in boosting spirits:

I quite like the idea of participating in a little guerrilla gardening – have developers in your neighbourhood run out of money and left an unsightly mess on the land? Why not take it over as a small garden for the community?

Another excellent idea is to participate in BookCrossing, registering books and releasing them “into the wild” to be read by others, thereby promoting reading and sharing a love of books.

And finally – it occurred to me yesterday evening that a lot of the county tourism websites in this country are hopelessly outdated. I also heard that apparently as part of a promotion, Failte Ireland are back to using ridiculous imagery like leprechauns to try to convince people to come visit Ireland. As tourist numbers to Ireland drop, I figured someone has to do something – and we cannot keep waiting around for “someone else” to do it. So, with that in mind, I’ve set up in the hope that people from around the country might be willing to spend a few minutes a week writing about their favourite places to visit in different parts of the country- without any of the top-o’-the-morning/leprechaun nonsense. If you’re willing to contribute, drop me an email at chiarraigrrl at gmail dot com and let me know your email addy (you’ll have to set up a wordpress account, if you don’t have one already) and I’ll add you to the contributors. Thanks!



  1. Signed up for BookCrossing, will send you an e-mail regarding AroundIreland which sounds like a great idea.

    • excellent stuff – thanks!!

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