Remember The Celtic Tiger? – The Tiger’s Twilight – – Our News, Your Views

Remember The Celtic Tiger? – The Tiger’s Twilight


Night falls on the Emerald Island, the Celtic haven. The land of Kells, and Tir na Nog. Though mercilessly lashed by wild Atlantic weather fronts, battered and bruised by hail and thick shrouds of winter rain, the homeland of Stoker, Yeats, O’Connell, and so many more authors and statesmen once stood proud of its long heritage. Pearse, Connolly, and many more, sacrificed themselves to ensure that being Irish meant much more than a mere gentilitial. The rising, ensuing struggle, and the eventual victory over foreign oppressors signified that Irishness was borne with pride and a deeply rooted sense of hard fought nationalist freedom.

The so called Celtic Tiger blithely laid waste to all that was achieved upon the blood of many. A new generation of profligate Irish bourgeoisie engaged in a high-stakes gamble, fuelled by a never-before-seen egocentric recklessness dangerously bordering on megalomania. Nationalist freedom became national greed of biblical proportions. The nation for which so many gave their lives turned into a property developer’s own gigantic Monopoly board, where big name hotels, public houses, and dwellings with an over-inflated price tag sprung everywhere. Ireland became a totemic house of cards made out of brick and mortar. A Titanic laden with real estate, and by God, the Lehman Brothers jagged iceberg loomed large in the distance, ready to rip apart this grotesque and corrupted version of a once proud republic.

A much hyped (and hoped for, no doubt, clutching straws as it may have been) ‘soft landing‘ turned into a Hindenburg-style catastrophe. The house of cards not only fell, but spectacularly crashed and burned in a deafening din of shattered personal egos. Once equilibrium was lost, the property crash gained momentum, spawning a ravenous monster that exponentially snowballed and steamrolled all over the country, flattening the thick wallets of those who built for the sake of building; those who played that Monopoly game nationwide, and lost big.

The money went up in smoke. The cash cow of property development turned into nothing more than a sacrificial lamb about to have its day. The Tiger whimpered and cowered from the relentless maw of a monumental hecatomb. Here, the plethora of cranes rising above the windy shores all over the country shuddered to a stop. There, an army of construction workers woke up to the reality of watching their livelihoods suddenly terminated.

The megalomaniac dreams of many at the top tier of society perilously teetered on the brink of collapse. The Tiger cubs stood at the very precipice of madness. Real estate messiahs lost their prayer books and turned pariahs. All fell silent around them as the Celtic Tiger hurriedly packed its bags and alighted via the back door.

Yet, there was worse to come.

Once the game was up and the sirens of apocalypse blared, it was survival of the richest. The status quo must be preserved at all cost, to the expense of those who matter less, those who dwell at the lowest rungs of society.

‘All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.’ George Orwell once said. Well, that maxim could very well be a footnote to the government’s self-righteousmagnificence. Two successive ruling parties have worked steadfastly to ensure that the rich remain so, sparing no effort whatsoever to feather their own indignities. While TDs merrily drink the night away at the heavily subsidized bar right at the heart of the Leinster House inner sanctum, another small business closes its shutters for the last time elsewhere in Ireland. While local politicians wearing thick sheepskins vigorously shake their peers’ hands around the parish pump, two more flights full of emigrants depart from Terminal 2.

So it goes on unabated to this day, the government’s meek and subservient pandering to the Troika, lest they incur the wrath of their European paymasters. Just like the Emperor in The Emperor’s New Clothes, the Troika paraded before the Taoiseach and the cheering townsfolk of the Irish political body. A household charge for our people, you say? Sure. Property tax? I bow down to thee. Water charges?  Time to ration their manna, sire.

Thus a nation was sold, that very same nation which Pearse and Connolly helped to shape and rise against a common foe. The country became wracked with treachery, and though the first cabinet ultimately fell under the weight of its own deceit and sheer incompetence, the next one purported to herald salvation and retribution against our foreign owners, only to strike another deal with the devil as soon as they held the scepter of power and sank a dagger deep into the country’s throat. Ireland’s populace were nothing more than a ready-made stock pig to be bled dry with fees, taxes, and charges, all in the name of the Great Common Good. We’re all in this together. Aren’t we?

The difference between a democracy and a dictatorship is that in a democracy you vote first and take orders later; in a dictatorship you don’t have to waste your time voting.’ Charles Bukowski.

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