Thursday, 26 January 2012


How often in our humdrum lives do we get an opportunity to become heroes? To throw ourselves in front of the bullet meant for someone else, to dive in front of the oncoming bus and fling a child to safety, or even just to make the long walk to kick the winning point from distance to win an All-Ireland title for your team, or to take the winning pressure-kick in another Heineken Cup game?

The past 15 months have seen many such moments presented to our TDs, those who supposedly represent in Dáil Eireann our best interests.

The vote in December 2010 on accepting the terms of the troika 'bailout' was a pivotal moment in Irish history. If a couple of Fianna Fáil TDs or a couple of Green Party TDs had crossed the line that motion would have been defeated, the bank bondholders would have had to pay the cost of their own mistakes. The government would have fallen, yes, but instead of sinking us all ever deeper in the mire – as they have been doing - the EU and the ECB would have been forced to face the reality of a rapidly deteriorating situation. 

Not a one of those Fianna Fáil/Green TDs had the kind of selflessness needed to take that step, however, not a single one would challenge the whip.

Over a year on and we have a new government, but the same old situation exists. Last year we paid out over €7bn in what are failed private bank bonds; this month we're set to pay a further €3bn, next month in excess of another €1bn, €19bn in total this year, €55bn over the next four years. In March, and for the next 15 years and more, we'll be taking €3.1bn from the Irish Exchequer, turning it over to our own Central Bank, who will then destroy it - the infamous 'promissory notes'.

It is crushing us, this additional burden, killing us. Is there a single government TD who will stand up now and say - 'No! Enough!'? In this time of massive national crisis, a time when heroes are needed, do we have anyone on those government benches, front or back, with the courage to sacrifice themselves for their people? Anyone?

Diarmuid O'Flynn.