Ladies is your womb safe in his hands?
Given the recent record of the Irish health service the advice is stay away from anything that comes under the remit of Dr.James Reilly the Minister of Health. You have a better chance of survival with the grim reaper
Patriarchy, literally the rule by the fathers, is a social system in which the male is the primary authority figure. Daddy calls the shots in political leadership, moral authority, the control of property, and over women and children. Sound familiar?
If you haven’t noticed, patriarchy is not what it once was. In the Irish context the experience of patriarchy has played out for centuries in the empires that ruled us, the church that molded us and in the state that (most often) sent us to war or sent us packing.
Good little patriots that we were, we did what we were told too, didn’t we? We were well trained.
In life, apparently, you get one of two choices — to live in a historical age that is restrictive and repressive, or one collapsing under the weight of its own hubris. There’s no doubt about which we’re living in now, is there?
The only question is when will the principle players, the ones who had it so good for so long, quit the stage to make way for the sweeping change that is increasingly inevitable? I think it’s become clear that it’s going to take more than a little cast change to fix what’s ailing in patriarchy now.
We are in a new and uncharted situation, after all. Daddy’s not looking like the imposing authority figure he once was.
Thanks to two decades of unprecedented crisis where the deep rot in the Irish system is now in daily public view, ordinary Irish people suddenly possess something novel — a voice in their own affairs.
So what are those voices saying? In regard to the church those ordinary Irish people are saying we were abused or brutalized by religious orders who depended upon our silence. They’re saying a compliant state choose to look the other way.
They’re saying for decades Ireland had a golden circle that simply froze out the rabble to protect their own good fortune.
They’re saying what happened to me and to thousands like me was wrong.
They’re saying they want an apology, but more than that they’re saying they don’t want thus to happen to anyone else any more.
They’re not being listened to, of course. In life, where you stand determines so much of what you’re willing to see. Nothing puts the blinders on like an inchoate threat to your purse strings.
That’s why we need artists. Artists live beyond the margin of things, they stand outside the daily struggles, that can tell us what they see from their unique perspective. So far the news isn’t good.
For decades Ireland’s most distinguishing characteristic was repression. That was the signature element of our powerlessness. Daddy (the state, the church) called the shots.
But remarkably, in a moment that underlines just how far we have moved away from the repressive
certainties of even a decade ago, it was the Irish Taoiseach (Prime Minister) Enda Kenny who admitted as much last week.
“We lived with the damaging idea that what was desirable and acceptable in the eyes of the church and the state was the same and interchangeable,” Kenny told the nation last week.
“This moral subservience gave us… the compliant, obedient and lucky ‘us’ and banished the more problematic, spirited or unlucky ‘them.’”
Shocking things could happen to you in Ireland if you were one of “them.” I know this with certainty, because I was one. Figuratively and literally.
That’s what some people used to call me when I lived in Ireland. It was a badge of shame. It was the equivalent of a passport too.
Once you were called it your fate was already being parceled out. You were being stamped for rejection or export or worse.
The jig’s well and truly up now though, isn’t it? Oh, the organizers of the St. Patrick’s Day Parade on Fifth Avenue and the elder statesmen of the Republican Party and the cardinals on their way to the concave can still pretend they haven’t received the memo, but we’re in a new moment.
They know it. The whole world knows it.
The lesson of the last decade, where patriarchal hubris led us to war on false pretenses, where it sought to divide natural allies to protect itself, where it tried to cover up its own sins whilst loudly condemning others, has not been lost on us. Daddy can take a number now like the rest of us had to.
This being a largely frivolous column, we won’t dwell on the awful story that is eating up the airwaves, but, suffice to say, it doesn’t feel like a great week to be Irish.
With some justification, we have been characterised as gap-toothed half-wits whose gender politics are still stranded somewhere south of the second ice age. Those proverbial indigenous Arctic folk who abandon the elderly on ice floes seem positively civilised by comparison. I can understand why we’re being demonised. Heck, I’m demonising us.
While the international opprobrium was brewing, your correspondent was spending time at the Corona Cork Film Festival. That event is known for its promotion of short movies and, this year, it screened a very amusing, drily satirical film entitled A Kingdom Once Again. Andrew Legge’s picture lays out the wretched state of the nation and concludes (with its tongue firmly in its cheek) that the solution is to rejoin the United Kingdom. Now, there’s a thought.
It’s not such a radical idea. A one-time columnist for The Irish Times (now pontificating in another place) used to regularly make the case for re-entering the Commonwealth. If that organisation is good enough for former colonies such as India, Australia and Papua New Guinea then it’s good enough for us. After all, the Australians can’t stand the English, but they stubbornly refuse to disengage from a coalition comprising the nation’s former slave states.
Why stop there? Let’s wheel out the union flag and embrace full UK citizenship. There is precedent for such a move. In one of the less well publicised sideshows of the recent US election, the citizens of Puerto Rico voted to request full US statehood. What a weird new world. It’s as if Moctezuma II sent Hernán Cortés an invitation to invade. It’s time we got on board with the craze for colonisation.
Jedward for governor general
As Legge points out, we could end up with a proper national health service, policemen in amusing hats and – in the capital anyway – an efficient underground railway. The film-maker proposes Enda Kenny for the post of governor general. But we can almost certainly do better than that. Our new compatriots across the water voted repeatedly for Jedward and we know the boys enjoy wearing gold braid. Make it happen.
Think how less confusing life would become. Nobody would shout at Rory McIlroy for choosing the wrong squad at the Olympics. Men in berets and dark glasses have, for decades, been agitating for the annihilation of the Border. What simpler way of achieving that feat than expanding the most westerly constituent nation of the United Kingdom back to its original size?
BBC TV news would become that bit less depressing. The rush to change the channel before the Northern Irish local bulletin – generally involving some sewage leak in a grey corner of Craigavon – would no longer be necessary. BBC local reporters (no doubt, current RTÉ staff could cross the floor with ease) would be dispatched to investigate less depressingly northern events in Galway, Cork or Waterford.
With some relief, we could reinstate the honours system. No longer would men wearing starry robes and stags’ heads – after dancing crazily round a burning wicker figure – feel it necessary to induct implausibly obscure Irish-language poets into the sacred brotherhood of Aosdána.
(I may have got the details wrong. But I believe the meetings progress along these lines.) We could then say hello to Sir Roddy Doyle and Lord Bono of Bigmouth Valley.
Rather than scrabbling around for cash to support arts projects, we could appeal to English guilt and, as the Scottish have done for years, enjoy disproportionate degrees of subsidy for ethnically specific cultural activities. Think of all those jobs in the Ireland Fund, the Fund for Irish Irishness and Celebrate Ireland.
We wouldn’t even need to say goodbye to our football team or our rugby squad. Distant Liverpudlian descendants of Irish immigrants could still lose to Turkmenistan with their Celtic heads held proudly high.
All right, all right. Lest the diaspora conclude that The Irish Times has returned to its historical unionist affiliations, we should clarify that, like Legge, we are not offering this as a serious solution to the current lapse in national esteem.
Independence has had its downsides. But it remains a preferable condition to any that allows Morris dancing in public places and the election of old Etonians to high office. Too many British people still regard Ireland as a larger version of the Isle of Man. Let’s not do anything to turn their postcolonial error into a freshly minted statement of fact.
It’s all academic anyway. After the events of the last week, it seems unlikely that the British would want us back. Come to think of it, the Vandals or the Huns might have thought twice before inviting the current State into their pillaging hordes.
What a mess.
Ireland’s economic struggles have created a generation of “involuntary non-returns” who have been forced out and are unable to go home.
This is according to leading academic on the Irish in Britain, Professor Mary Hickman , who describes reality of this latest wave of emigration out of Ireland as “depressing”. A long-term researcher on the community in Britain and founder of the Centre for Irish Studies at London’s Metropolitan University, Professor Hickman is preparing to document the new wave of emigration from her new position as Professorial Research Fellow at the Irish studies centre based in St Mary’s University, Twickenham.
“Since the fall of the Celtic tiger we see the proportion of people leaving Ireland, who are Irish born, rising each year, successively,” she said. “I do think there might be an expectation that there is more done for these citizens by the Irish government in the coming years. There may be a feeling that they are owed something more, due to the calamitous catastrophe in Ireland.”
She added: “The issue is even if these people think they are making a positive decision to leave, that they are leaving voluntarily, that becomes involuntary as they can’t go back because there are no opportunities. This is an issue potentially facing quite a number of people – I would call it involuntary non-return. It’s a really difficult situation to be in and it’s important that this is documented.”
In leaving her 25-year role at London Metropolitan University last month Ms Hickman gains the opportunity to do more research while based at St Mary’s – who recently began investing in and expanding their Irish studies centre. “I would be more than happy if this hadn’t happened to Ireland and no one was emigrating unless they really wanted to,” she said.
“Its a bit depressing. We had all that emigration in middle of the 19th century, then in the 1950s, then in the 1980s and here it is again. I think people during the Celtic tiger thought it would not happen again, but it has.” She added: “It will of course inform the work I will be doing over the coming years and my recent move has allowed me the flexibility to do that.”
Regarding the move between universities, she added: “Lots of things fuelled the move, some personal but ultimately I had been at London Metropolitan since wet up the Irish studies centre in 1986. I felt 25 years was enough at any one institution. What is great about St Marys is they are self-evidently investing in Irish studies. There has been a centre there for some years, but it was recently reconfigured and re-launched, it was fortuitous for me at a time when I decided I had done my stint at London Met that they were expanding and approached me to offer the position.
“I held a high profile management job previously, but with this new professorial fellowship the prime axis of what you are doing swings back to research rather than management. This post releases me from all that, which is great as I want to draw together all the research I have done on the Irish in Britain over the past 25 years and this gives me the time to do it.”
via Land of no return.
via Land of no return.
Can you imagine working for a company that has just 226 employees, which includes fraudsters, liars, alcoholics, bankrupts, expense cheats, etc.?
As a group, last year alone, they have cost the Irish taxpayer €113 million. Which organization is this?
It is the 226 members TDs and Senators of the HOUSES of the OIREACHTAS. A group that manages to churn out countless new laws each year very few that are of benefit whatsoever to the normal citizen. Moreover, they award themselves with the very best ‘corporate’ pension scheme in the country! If you feel that this is an abysmal state of affairs, please pass it on to everyone you know.
THE GOVERNMENT is expected to announce reductions in allowances for staff in the Civil Service who previously served as private secretaries to Ministers. There are 800 allowances paid across the public service and this looks likely to be one of the few targeted.
Up to now staff who served as private secretaries to Ministers have been able to keep 50 per cent of the allowance once they had been in the post for more than one year.
A total of 6.6 million visits to Ireland by overseas residents were recorded in 2011, an increase of 500,000 on the previous year.
The number of nights spent in Ireland by foreign travellers also rose by 6.1 per cent, from 48 million in 2010 to 50.9 million last year. Hotel bed nights were up 13 per cent, while nights spent with friends and relatives were down.