Facts and Escapism

Bertie Ahern’s interview on his final day in Dáil Eireann typifies the man. He was gratuitously offensive to a member of the public with legitimate complaints when he sarcastically stated that some people would do anything to get on TV. The fact that she might have a point about his having more than a little responsibility for the current economic crises completely escaped him.

The man who wins money on horses said that he wished that someone had told him about the issues with the economy and the financial exposure of the banks. He felt no responsibility whatsoever because nobody told him that there might be a problem coming down the tracks. The fact that it was his responsibility to ensure he was told about the economic fundamentals of the nation escapes him. The fact that he was responsible for appointing competent people to advise him of economic matters escapes him. The fact that the management of the economy rests with the Taoiseach as the minister of last resort also escapes him. His delusion and self-pity knows no bounds.

Unbelievably when asked if he had any regrets he said that he had just one. That regret was that we did not build the national sports centre. The Bertie bowl to you and me. He cited the oil rich nations of Qatar and Kuwait as examples of small nations that have multiple stadiums. The fact that his actions were the single most important contributory factor in requiring the IMF to visit our shores escapes him. The fact that we have over half a million people unemployed because of his greed escapes him. The fact that over a quarter of a million people cannot meet their mortgage responsibilities escapes him. The fact that our health service is in tatters escapes him. The fact that he bankrupted this country escapes him. He wants his monument.

The fact that he is an incompetent, greedy, lying self-serving spoofer certainly escapes him but not us. We all know exactly what the man who wins money on horses is. In the fullness of time history will record his legacy and it will not be kind to the lucky gambler.

Brian Cowen is also a master in escapism. He never could apologise for his actions. The fact that he was minister of finance when the real damage was done escapes him. The fact that he increased exchequer spending by 60 per cent in one year escapes him. The fact that the Bank guarantee is a non-sense escapes him. The fact that NAMA has failed escapes him. The fact that the Anglo bailout was a foolish and expensive fiasco escapes him. The fact the IMF are in Ireland escapes him. The fact that he too bankrupted this country escapes him.

His replacement Micheál Martin is another master at escapism. That fact that his record in Government over the last fifteen years is one of abject failure escapes him. The fact that he presided as Minister over employment creation when we saw a substantial net decrease in employment outside of the retail, construction and public sectors escapes him. The fact that he is responsible for foisting the monster that is the HSE upon us escapes him not to mention the nursing homes scandal. The fact his integrity is severely compromised over his support of Bertie Ahern during Ahern’s personal finances fiasco escapes him. The fact that he sat at cabinet and supported all of the crazy decisions that created this sorry mess and is thus culpable for the damage escapes him. The fact that he lacks any credibility also escapes him.

The reality is that the luck gambler, Brian Cowen and Micheál Martin all have an equally flawed pedigree and a legacy of spectacular failure. Martin makes an apology of sorts and hopes that their catastrophic ineptitude will be considered water under the bridge. Only it is not under the bridge because the suffering is real and happening now. This is what he simply does not realise. This is more escapism and is precisely why Micheál Martins appointment changes absolutely nothing. They are indulging in escapism on a massive scale and are simply not in touch with reality.

They haven’t gone away you know.

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