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Modern Ireland, why are we so afraid?

De Facto

De Facto
Liamy MacNally

When you think about it, you wonder why the women of Ireland are not out in their thousands protesting about Cervical Check. You think a tad longer, and you wonder why all the men of Ireland are not out protesting alongside them. Or better still, a men-only protest, to show we support the women and that it is our duty to stand up. What has become of us as a people?
Cervical Check is starting to unravel like a bad dream. The buck stops with Leo Varadkar and Simon Harris. Both have to step up to the plate. Mary Harney and her successors also have a role and bear responsibility for outsourcing the smear checks.
The conspiracy theorists will claim, ‘There’s something in the water’. They might be right! There is definitely something somewhere doing irreparable damage to our willingness to stand up and be counted, to take action to highlight injustice and to walk alongside the defenceless and those who have been victimised or wronged.
Who are we so afraid of? Why? We would be quick out of the traps if the Cervical Check fiasco affected men only.
If it were a failure of the Catholic Church, blame would be fair game too. Yet we are slow to acknowledge that in that self-same damaged Church a few lights still shine ever so brightly. Despite successive government policies aiding rather than preventing homelessness, Brother Kevin and Peter McVerry never give up. Why are we not protesting about the homelessness crisis to national and local government?
Meantime, the Government is back in action passing around its usual portfolio – the Minister for Picking Low Hanging Fruit. Richard Bruton is currently in that office, with his latest wheeze to impose a broadcast tax on every home.
This was first proposed by the long-forgotten (but not fully gone) former Minister for Bluff, Pat Rabbitte. He was the boy who talked the talk and got everyone else to pay to walk the walk. He eventually rode off with bulging saddlebags into the glittering goldmine sunset of political retirement.
What has changed since the initial broadcast-tax proposal? Does the Government really believe that the populace is ready for another tax? After all the pre-election Fine Gael talk about issues like a property tax being immoral, they simply impose it when in power.  
In the meantime, they tried to impose water charges on the urbanites and failed. We country cousins have been paying for water for years because we came together to create and invest in our own group water schemes while generally ignored by the powers that be. Only when the water charges were dropped did it filter through to all, or at least most people.
Still the Irish Water quango carries on unabated spending taxpayers money on silly advertisements telling us that water is precious. It’s precious because its manipulation is paying the wages, expenses and gross pensions of those in Irish Water. And still we do nothing and say less.  
Legislation enacted in 1997 allowed increases in car tax and VAT to be ring-fenced to pay for domestic water. How could the Government ever have contemplated imposing water charges when the resource was already being paid for? Has that law been superseded by silliness, ignorance or plain stupidity that ignores what it doesn’t like?
And of course climate change is also ‘our’ fault, so we must be faced with a carbon tax. You couldn’t dream it up. Why not have an aeroplane-free day across the skies? That would save tonnes of emissions. That’s too simple of course, and it would affect the coffers of political cronies.
And throughout it all Cervical Check goes on unravelling in all its disrespectful guises. No one is taking responsibility while the incompetence is present at every level. No one will step up and admit any element of failure.
What is it about politicians that they rely so much on bluff and bluster? Where are the statesmen and stateswomen who look to the next generation rather than the next election when making decisions?
Tax everybody for the faults of the few – the new definition of democracy. And the barber kept on shaving….