Irish Times columnist, Elaine Byrne, asks the question: Are there any lessons Ireland can learn from what happened in Iceland at the end of 2008? (Prime Time).
Very briefly, here’s what happened.
As a result of corruption and political irresponsibility the Icelandic economy collapsed resulting in severe hardship for the majority of the population.
There was an immediate angry reaction from the people which resulted in the outing of the government and an election.
One citizen said:
It’s not about the banks anymore, people need to stand up and fight for themselves, their families and for the future of their country.
An investigation into the banks, headed by an outside expert, was also initiated and is now complete. The investigation named people and they in turn accepted responsibility.
The former Icelandic Prime Minister said:
Those of us who were in power and had responsibility did too little too late, that is something I will have to live with for the rest of my life.
Ms. Byrne completed the report with the following comment:
I wonder then should we even bother having an inquiry at all. Having a proper inquiry means naming the people responsible and bringing them to account.
Nothing will happen in Ireland unless we learn from the mistakes of the past. Only then can we get to the next stage of the recovery.
Rebuilding trust is crucial for that next stage.
Allow me to answer that question.
The Irish banking inquiry is a farce; it is specifically designed to protect the guilty, there will be no accountability. I can say this with confidence because I am aware that I live in a state in which the political and administrative systems are intrinsically corrupt.
These systems are corrupt because the majority of Irish people are politically ignorant and are therefore incapable of taking unified anger against the government like the people of Iceland did against their government.
It is only with the emergence of a courageous and visionary leader(ship) that is capable of stepping outside the narrow, parochial mindset of politicians that the Irish people will see real justice and accountability.
Tragically, there is no sign whatsoever that such a leader(ship) is even on the horizon and therefore the disintegration of our corrupt republic will continue on its leaderless and therefore dangerous road to total collapse.