You can’t blame him for emigrating. There was no work here, he had financial responsibilities, and it is a huge deal to uproot your life and travel across the Earth, leaving people you care about behind.
It’s just that…when you hear him talk about it, and he gives the reasons that really aggravated him and pushed him out…
Ireland, he says, is a kip! How so? Well, the weather, for one. Which is true. If you don’t like rain, don’t live here. But it did rain during the Celtic Tiger too. Property tax! He blurts out, showing his teeth. They have a property tax in Australia, you know. F**king water tax! He declares. You pay for domestic water in Australia too. What about our two tier health system, then? What, where the state provides a basic level of care and loads of people take out private health insurance? You mean, like in Australia?
But deep down, there is one difference why he rates Australia or Canada as a better country which offers him an opportunity, and it’s this: it is a proper country. What does that mean? Well, for a start, it’s not run by Irish people happy to constantly re-elect a stale self-serving political establishment. The sort of people that he, in all likelihood, used to vote for when he lived in Ireland.
There’s the funny thing about him. What happens after he has settled in elsewhere, and made a life and perhaps even become a citizen? Does he demand that the Australian or Canadian or American politicians become more like Irish politicians? Does he demand they get rid of their water taxes and property taxes, and make their countries more like Ireland? Of course not, because he will get laughed at. Without saying, he reveals the great secret at the heart of the Irish political psyche. He wants to live in a country run properly too, by talented world class leaders and with institutions that work. But first, he had to find someone else to vote for them, because we don’t do that sort of thing. That’s not our way.