Not only in Ireland…..! Part 5: Democracy

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24 January 2012

This is the fifth and final part of a daily multi-part series of reports on Ireland derived from a single edition of the Irish Independent newspaper, that of 20 January 2012.  Today’s output consists of three unconnected items: (A), (B) and (C). Part (C) is not connected with the newspaper.


Democracy of the elite is Democracy lite.

Democracy lite is democracy without the people.

Democracy without the people is antidemocratic .


(A)  Europe is in crisis. The 27 nations of the European Union (EU) are overwhelmed by public and private debt. Unemployment is rocketing. Growth is plummeting. Austerity is the order of the day. Faced with calls from Washington, Brussels and Frankfurt to repair their finances, EU member states are cutting expenditure and raising taxes to plug their deficits.  But who is suffering as a result? Certainly not the banks, whose casino lending policies brought us to this impasse in the first place. No, it is the citizens of Europe who are bearing the brunt of the hardship – and may do for decades to come. However, what  the EU and its member states do not want under any circumstances is to consult their citizens to find out whether the people at large approve of the austerity policies that are being enacted in their name and, arguably, to their detriment. Not only in Ireland is there a blunt unwillingness to seek the views of the electorate.  To date, throughout the Europe Union, no government has dared stage a referendum on the cutbacks. They are afraid, rightly, that they might get the answer “No”.  Which is precisely what has happened in the past – not least in Ireland – on the rare occasions that member state governments have put EU policy to a plebiscite. Instead, governments prefer, naturally, to have their policies rubber-stamped by puppet parliaments in thrall to the partitocracy.


This is what Thomas Molloy wrote in this connection in the Irish Independent on 20 January 2012:


“An interesting aside to yesterday’s press conference was [Finance Minister] Michael Noonan’s open contempt for referendums….the Limerick man made it quite clear that he hopes the [eurozone bailout] agreement known as the fiscal compact due to be agreed in Brussels this month will only need Dáil [the Lower House of the Irish Parliament] approval before we sign up.


His wishes are fervently shared by all his cabinet colleagues, but none of them have ever dared to be quite so dismissive of the people’s right to vote….


How the electorate in its present mood will react to an [eurozone] ultimatum which demands agreement in return for cash is anybody’s guess, but it is clearly a test that Mr Noonan is anxious to avoid.”


As we intimated above, so much for democracy!



(B) As a further contribution to this last instalment of the current series of articles on surprising developments in Ireland, we reproduce below a report about Dublin from the Irish Independent.



by  Peter Flanagan

Ireland may have endured four years of austerity and unemployment may be topping 14 per cent, but Dublin is still one of the richest cities in the world.


A new report from the Brookings Institute in Washington [ranking the 200 biggest metropolitan areas in the world] found Dublin still has the 14th highest income per capita in the world at $55,578 (€42,960) ahead of the likes of Paris, London and Los Angeles.


That makes Dublin the fourth highest paying metropolitan area in Europe. Only Oslo, Stockholm and the banking haven of Zurich rank higher….


The report puts Hartford, Connecticut, a hedge fund mecca, as the highest earning area on the planet with per capita income of $75,086. Cairo is bottom of the table at $1,989 per annum.





(C) Finally, we end the series with a traditional goodwill toast – not taken from the Irish Independent of 20 January 2012 – that ends in the wish that the listener may be fortunate enough to die in Ireland. Death bulks large in Irish culture, as the tradition of elaborate wakes and funeral processions testifies.



Sláinte an bhradáin:

Croí folláin, gob fliuch,

agus bás in Éirinn.

Sláinte agus saol agat,

bean ar do mhian agat,

talamh gan chíos agat,

agus bás in Éirinn.


The health of the salmon:

a sound heart, a wet mouth,


and may you die in Ireland.


Health and life to you,

your choice of wife,

land without rent,


and may you die in Ireland.









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