Budget Day

An Irish comment on Budget Day December 2010

Someone said the other day that any culture has several pillars which hold it up: political; economic; religious; cultural – and maybe one more I can’t recall. But she said (rightly) that in Ireland the first three have collapsed utterly and rapidly. Our culture is going through a profound crisis of values, of beliefs and of purpose. It is adrift. Past visions of Ireland have failed.

Catholic nationalism seemed to work for a long time but has left a very bitter taste and a sense that no-one wants to go back there

Celtic Tiger Ireland has been proved to be a horribly expensive, unjust and damaging myth. Today’s budget is going to continue to remind us, rightly or wrongly (and I think mostly wrongly)  that ordinary people are are going to be paying for that myth for a whole generation to come.

It is precisely into this context that we desperately NEED to talk about values and ethics and beliefs. Why? Because it was what we have believed and valued that has led to how we have acted. Rather than fool ourselves that such a crisis can be solved by treating symptoms of a corrupted and broken Republic, we need a civic debate about the belief, attitudes and values that can shape a renewed Republic.

I hope to try, with others, to do a wee bit of thinking from a Christian perspective on this.

Budgets alone aren’t going to solve much that’s for sure – they are only trying ineffectually, to treat the symptoms of a catasprophic societal failure.

So – what would be your key issues that have led us to today’s sorry state and need to be debated, discussed and addressed if Ireland is going to be a healthier, fairer, more stable and just society?

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