An Occasional Guide to Irish Politics: The Anatomy of an Irish Issue.

An issue arises that catches the attention of the nation. Reviews are ordered. Followed by other reviews of the reviews. NGOs demand resources*. The relevant minister, or even the Taoiseach, pledges that the issue will be addressed, and that the govt will work towards ensuring that the issue never occurs again.

No one wishes to address the core issue: That an issue needs resources to resolve, that resources cost money, that money means taxes, and that no one (including the NGO involved, which does not wish to muddy itself with the reality of actually paying for what it wants) is willing to advocate either a specific tax to pay for these resources, or direct the funds for these resources from other areas of spending, thus affecting other NGOs and interest groups.

Instead, the issue is made a priority. Alongside the other priorities helping the old, those with disabilities, the unemployed, the farmers, low paid workers, the mentally ill, the GAA, the banks, the car dealers, the inner cities, the west of Ireland, rural areas, publicans, unemployment blackspots, any constituency with an Independent TD, and anyone who can get organised enough to get a delegation together to visit their TD. All these groups are deemed to be priorities worthy of extra resources*.

There is talk amongst government backbenchers of appointing a minister of state for priorities to take responsibility for making priorities a priority. Backbenchers call for the decision to appoint a minister of state for priorities to be made a priority. 

Due to legal reasons, the Attorney General advises that no one can be blamed for the issue. However, early retirement or reassignment to another well remunerated state position would be “appropriate”. Tasty pensions all around for everyone concerned.

The country sits back, to prepare itself for the next issue to erupt.   

*Resources: Money raised by taxing other people (certainly not the recipient of the additional resources) more.

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