A nation disgusted and distracted – but focus must return to creating jobs

Fianna Fail in government was corrupt. Previous findings against former Taoiseach Charles Haughey have now also been applied to other party members, specifically our own Castlebar native and ex-government minister and EU commissioner, Padraig Flynn, while ex-taoiseach Bertie Ahern has been found to have been “untruthful” relating to his financial affairs.

These findings included in the 3,000-plus page report of the long-awaited 15-year €300 million Mahon Tribunal — as issued yesterday — are not only damning for the Fianna Fail party but also extremely hurtful and distressing for the Irish people.

Some who have already written the party off will no doubt assert this latest sordid affair will kill Fianna Fail off entirely and certainly, were Fianna Fail currently in power, the Government would now face utter collapse.

However Fianna Fail are not currently in power, having been thrown on the dungheap by the Irish people in February last and in the interim, despite the best efforts of the remaining representatives in opposition, the party has been unable to give the electorate any good reason for wanting them back again. The state of affairs before us instead is we have Fine Gael and Labour ruling the roost and now celebrating their first coalition Government anniversary, with a round-up of worldwide trips marketing Ireland for St Patrick's Day just completed.

With so many distractions about it is no surprise to sense that we are losing our focus. The month of March has flown by and with it we have fallen into a confused spiral of celebrating our Irishness, our St Patrick saintliness, our people, and all that makes us great, as our leaders and public figures tour around selling the message that Ireland is — and remains — the land of opportunity.

For Mayo people it is especially difficult to zone back to reality given that the man representing our country so well on the international stage right now not only hails from our county but also the capital town of Castlebar. Enda Kenny has now been forgiven and forgotten for referring to those of us back home as “mad and greedy” with his ongoing performance as an exemplary ambassador for the Emerald Isle while he mixes in circles that boast the great, the good, and the powerful.

Sadly the 'can do' attitude is sounding more and more like a platitude now in these straitened times, with official confirmation coming yesterday that Ireland has once more fallen back into recession as joblessness and unemployment remain the major blot on the landscape.

No matter how useful marketing – and talking up – of Ireland abroad may prove in the long-term, it is quite evident now that the only currency that matters is job creation in the short-term. The announcement by Allergan that it would create 200 new jobs in Westport at the beginning of this year proved transformative in the lives of up to 1,000 people, giving so many families a promising future to plan for in the process.

Similar job announcements are the only good news anyone wants to hear right now and all efforts of all Government representatives, whether feted in office or hated and hurting in opposition, are needed to ensure further such successes.


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