Four stories this week, nominally unconnected at first, gave an interesting look into how the Irish psyche works. The first was the news that the FAI pay John Delaney €400k a year (AFTER a pay-cut, still more than President Obama) whilst cutting grants to encourage football by €377k. The second story was about a Dun Laohaire restaurateur complaining that parking fines were being enforced too toughly. The third was that Joe Higgins was spending political expenses to do political things. And the fourth was that Fine Gael senator Catherine Noone who goes on about how everyone should take their holidays in Ireland is on holidays. In France.
What can we learn from these four incidents?
1. Irish organisations exist primarily to serve the people in them, with the actual function they were set up to carry out a secondary function at best. Also, the rule “Pay the best to get the best” in Ireland translates as “Pay the best. Now shut up!”
2. As a nation, we agree with rules, provided they are not actually applied. “But I was only doing 10km over the speed limit!” or “but I only came back 10 minutes after the parking time ran out!” It never occurs to us to change rules we don’t like because politicians like calling for abstract rules (“we need to do something about parking!”) but instead want them bent for us.
3. Half our elected representatives seem to regard the idea of a legislator doing actual political things to be outrageous. As an aside, watching Joe Higgins in the mid-1980s on “Labour’s Way” (Well done RTE on the iPLayer, by the way. I’ll pay my TV licence with less anger this week) you realise that his mantra has not changed in the slightest in 25 years. Bless. Watching the former Democratic Left crowd, on the other hand, you can’t help thinking that they’ve got their Fine Gael application forms just ready in case.
4. For some bizarre reason, many of our politicians seem to be incapable of thinking beyond “I’m going to shout really loudly about X!” without pondering “wait, what happens if I have to do X?”