Economist Dan O’Brien: Thinking exclusively confined within the establishment stockade


By Anthony Sheridan

Chief economist at the Institute of International and European Affairs Dan O’Brien penned the following comment in last Sunday’s Sunday Independent.

The early days of the election campaign have been marked by the absence of auction politics.

The comment does very serious damage to Mr. O’Brien’s credibility as a serious commentator/analyst because even the most disinterested, most uninformed citizen knows that, apart from gangland crime, there has been nothing else but auction politics during, and for a considerable time prior, to the election campaign getting underway.

The curious thing about Mr. O’Brien’s thinking is that he knows there is something seriously wrong about the manner in which our country is governed but, in common with most establishment journalist/commentators, he is puzzled as to the exact cause.

In March last year I wrote an article in response to Mr. O’Brien’s puzzlement in the hope that it might trigger a different line of thought but, judging from his latest contribution, my efforts were in vain.

Mr. O’Brien’s thinking is exclusively confined within the establishment stockade that has just one message – old regime stability or new politics chaos.

The old regime consists of Fianna Fail, Fine Gael and Labour, the parties that, over the decades, honed political corruption to a fine art ultimately leading to the economic and social catastrophe of 2008.

New politics consists of a mass of independents, new parties like Renua, Social Democrats, Independent Alliance and the rise of Sinn Fein.

These individuals and parties exist and are becoming increasingly more popular and powerful as a direct result of the political corruption practiced by the old regime parties.

Their mission is as simple as it is crucial for the future of Ireland and its people- to remove the old corrupt regime from the levers of power and build, for the first time ever, a functional, truly democratic republic.

It is likely that Mr. O’Brien will dismiss my views out of hand so I will end by repeating my concluding comments regarding the political blindness of another establishment journalist, Alison O’Connor.

He fails to see that the people of Ireland do not see the economy as the most important issue, that they do not fear political instability if it means an end to political corruption, that they are no longer afraid of the state, of government, of change.

It is fascinating to observe commentators like Mr. O’Brien analyse the election and politics in general as if the dramatic and historic transition taking place in Irish politics since 2008 was not happening.

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Dan O’Brien