Romantic Ireland

Romantic Ireland's dead and gone, 
It's with O'Leary in the grave, - W. B. Yeats

Some of the most iconic and chilling lines that I have read to date. Written over a hundred years ago by the magnificent W. B. Yeats, the sentiment is as true today as when he first penned those words. 

This year marks the hundred year anniversary of the 1916 rising but what really do we have to show for it? We were freed from our British oppressors and declared a Republic, ordinary citzens selflessly and heroically fought and died for our freedom, but is this the Ireland they fought for? Is this the Ireland Pearce and Connolly invisioned for the ordinary citizen? 

We have become a country ruled by the greedy and shortsighted and in my twenty-eight years of life so far, I have felt nothing but trapped and hopeless in this cruel and desolate country of mine. I bear witness to acts and attitudes that are so typically Irish, it makes me ashamed of my heritage and countrymen. I see the laziness, cruelty, cronyism, and dishonesty of not just large Irish institutes but in everyday life that wafts of some scent of power and money. I see a complete lack of understanding from the wealthy towards the working class and I see all power yielded by the wealthy; As hard as it may be to believe but some of us struggle to keep a balance of ten euro in our bank accounts. That is the reality of Ireland today. 

Perhaps, like O'Leary, I am a romantic and perhaps yurn for an impossible Ireland. However my basic needs should not be impossible. There is an entire generation of us, ranging from our early twenties to late thirties who have been left hung and dry by the last few terms of governance. The golden age of the celtic tiger, with Bertie the Crook at the helm and the austerical era of the recession, with Enda the Snake running the show. These governments were very much self involved and looked no further than the imidiate future; the goal - to make as much money for themselves and their buddies as quickly as possible before getting caught doing something, shall we say, underhanded. They're all set for life now. 

As a result, I, like so many others, have no hope in our future. I did everything like I was supposed to; I went to school, I worked a part time job at 16, I went to college, I continued to work part-time and pay taxes, I graduated college, worked more hours in my part-time job while I looked for proper work, couldn't find proper work, stuck working full time in my part-time job and just scraping by five years later. We are a generation of grown-up kids. Still working that "part-time" job, still living with our parents or in that tiny apartment, still attending college, still struggling, still fighting for a better life. We can't get on the property ladder and we struggle to pay for our basic needs, never mind affording such luxuries such as health or child care. 

I am not an economical expert, my education lies in the arts, however it would seem to me that by severely reducing every government members salary and expenses, you would not only create a nice sum to be put to better use but would also weed out the snakes and the crooks from the deserving and worthy and forge a trusting bond of with the Irish people. Austerity should have begun at the top, not with the most vulnerable. 

I fear to be hopeful for the next term. The future of our country is up in the air and Enda has weaseled his way back to Taoiseach. The people have spoken Enda. Step aside, we don't want you to lead us. I will continue to look at my future with uncertainty, with a faint prayer that the next four years will be kinder to me and my fellow grown-up kids. 


© Sarah O’Regan

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