Still asleep

I think the letter below is the one you are referring to Haymoon.

I strongly agree with the views expressed but I wouldn’t be confident about the sleeping Irish electorate waking up, the bulk of them are, I think, still sound asleep.



If large corporations in the private sector adopted the same approach to selecting senior executives as our political system employs they would be bankrupted and out of business in double quick time.

The lunacy of the process becomes obvious in the first instance at local level, when candidates for county council elections are chosen. The most important attributes include being “well in” with the party suits, being related to someone in politics, or being a publican, undertaker, county footballer, token female, etc.

When electing people to make decisions that seriously affect the lives of thousands we don’t look for qualifications, experience, education, competence, references, past achievements or even an accepted level of intelligence.

This ludicrous system is replicated at government level. Take a close look at the most senior executives of our country – the Cabinet.

What qualifies them to run the largest corporation in the country, Ireland Inc? Does their training and expertise qualify them to run our lives?

How many of them would seriously be considered for an executive position in our top multinational companies?
As revealed in your edition of November 8th, the Minister of State for Education and Science, Sean Haughey, has more staff working in his constituency office (six) than he has to cover his ministerial duties (four). It is obvious where his priorities lie and this attitude is endemic across this wasteful Government.

Our chief executive, Bertie Ahern, lives in a parallel world where he is in charge of everything but responsible for nothing. He has distanced himself and his colleagues from all State responsibilities by setting up layer upon layer of insulating committees and authorities which can be conveniently blamed when things go wrong.

Here is a man who forgets about receiving extremely large sums of money while in office (strange accountant), gives contradictory testimony to a tribunal and brazenly expects us to have sympathy for his plight.

The leader of our State finds it difficult to construct even the simplest of sentences and constantly resorts to incoherent, senseless waffling – for example when speaking in the Dáil last week on hospital consultants: “The vast majority of them would form far more excessive than I would as a salary.”

Irish electors voted, with their eyes wide open, for this incompetent, arrogant, out-of-touch Government and so permitted it to continue to mismanage our affairs. The electorate must share the blame for the position we now find ourselves in. – Yours, etc,

AIDAN MULLINS, Foxcroft Street, Portarlington, Co Laois.

One thought on “Still asleep”

  1. Yes. Thanks for posting it here. I was unsure if it would be correct to do so.

    However, while it expresses a good many of the opinions I have about politicians, we have to be careful.

    The letter writer makes one central error: Ireland Inc does not exist. The reason why we vote every couple of years is precisely because we do not want business executives running our State. He compounds this error by fallaciously equating the ‘business model’ with success, clarity, forthrightness, probity etc etc. Given Northern Rock, South Midland Construction, Enron and a handful of other examples in the recent times, the ‘business’ model’ is as susceptible to human folly as anywhere else.

    The good thing about democracy is that these people we elect are, nominally, accountable to all of us, voters or not. Michael O’Leary is only to those who can afford to buy a significant stake in his company. Historically and in other ways, the development of the State and the development of the private enterprise have completely different origins, although since about 1750, they have come much closer together. I am not sure if you watched the William Martin Murphy documentary last night on RTE 1. It was informative enough about the man and his politics. Many of the same themes in his period have resonances here and now.

    We have to find some other solution to the poor quality of politician we elect.

    I think it requires a massive public education programme.

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