The hoo-ha about the CRC payoff (and indeed Irish Water) is probably a welcome diversion for James Reilly and the government.
After all, it keeps the focus off the real source of the problem – that the Ireland we have created is designed for the benefit of a few while consistently failing the vast majority its citizens.
For all their talk about change, would Ireland really be that different if Fine Gael and Labour once again ceded power to the greedy spivs of Fianna Fáil?
The point is not that the CRC does great work. It is not that the CRC board are inept at best and downright devious in their dealings with the state at worst.
It’s not even about the fact that that the chairman of that board received a massive payoff when he finally stepped down.
The point is that, in a civil, developed, well-functioning democratic society, the CRC should not exist at all.
In a well-functioning, democratic society there would be a health service available to those who need it – in particular those who need it most.
In a well-functioning democratic society, those families and others who support them wouldn’t have to go out and beg for support, fundraising to ensure that the services which give their loved ones a better of quality of life are maintained, only to see their money pocketed by those who feel more entitled than the ostensibly less well-off.
In a well-functioning democracy, the staff and management would be well looked after by the state – and held accountable to it when things are not as they should be.
Instead, we have a professional class that sits on boards, claiming huge salaries for themselves while seeing children go without wheelchairs for months on end.
And then, when they’re found out, we have deals done for them to go quietly and prosperously into the night.
Not for a moment do I fault them, by the way – that they accept huge amounts of money for little or no work and at no risk to themselves is not their fault. It is the fault of those offering it. On your behalf.
The spoofing has already started, James Reilly intoning gravely that the government “will use all available options open to it, including corporate enforcement, the gardaí and civil courts” to get the CRC payoff money back.
The truth? That money is gone. That payoff was mandated in a legally-binding contract, and it had to happen. No amount of Reilly’s spoofing will change that fact. The money is gone, and it’s not coming back.
It’s just another milestone in a long litany of failures that seem to be occurring more and more regularly in recent years.
Almost since the foundation of the state, Ireland has abdicated its responsibility to its citizens.
It abandoned the health and education sectors to the clutches of the Catholic church, which indoctrinated its misery into the country’s youth for generations, physically and sexually abusing them with impunity, and then sullenly refusing to make restitution when they were eventually found out.
And now, with the church thankfully on the slippery slope to terminal irrelevance, Ireland has instead embraced capitalism as its new savior, outsourcing everything except the accountability for services, which remains curiously unassigned.
Ireland has become the perfect example of what Naomi Klein described in the Shock Doctrine – a society sacrificed on the altar of the most savage kind of capitalism.
(Anyone considering refuting that might want to have a look at where the €50 million on “consultant’s fees” for Irish water went before calming down.)
But the state is a product of its democracy, and the real blame lies with those who continue to elect fools and gombeens to government, regardless of their ineptitude.
The reason Ireland is a failure as a state is not because of the bankers or the fat cats or the spiv politicians.
It’s because, when confronted with injustice on a staggering scale, voters take one look out the window and rather than revolt, they call Joe Duffy instead.
There’s a bit of Twitter outrage, the odd headline in the papers, and then … nothing.
Nothing changes. Nothing happens. The kleptomania carries on, and the Irish people just watch as their money is pissed away on them.
The barricades remain unbuilt and unmanned.
The failure continues.