More than a decade ago I applied for and was granted Irish citizenship. Some of my friends have heard the story: I applied through the Irish language, had my interview with the gardaí in Irish, and took my oath in Irish, to the evident delight of the barristers in the back of the courtroom, who were waiting for citizenship formalities to finish so the day’s court proceedings could begin.
In Ireland, as in most countries, one makes a verbal declaration using a prescribed formula when one is in court being granted citizenship. According to Acht Náisiúntachta agus Saoránachta Éireann 1986 (Irish Nationality and Citizenship Act, 1986), clause 4.15.e, one makes
dearbhú sa tslí fhorordaithe go mbeidh sé dílis don náisiún agus tairiseach don Stát.
a declaration in the prescribed manner, of fidelity to the nation and loyalty to the State.
And so I did. And so I have tried to act in the decade since: I have been faithful to our nation in representing her in International Standardization meetings, by supporting linguistic minorities of all kinds. I have expressed my loyalty to the State by ensuring that I vote regularly, by encouraging my fellows to do so, by carrying my passport proudly, and recently by joining a political party so I could try to make a difference, in a small way, to bettering life here for everyone fortunate enough to live in this beautiful country.
How gutted I am that “our” Taoiseach (Prime Minister) has expressed nothing but contempt for our nation and for our State. Knowing that 80% of the electorate and half the parliament has called for a General Election so that the people can give a government a mandate to help us out of the economic crisis we are in, he has nevertheless expressed nothing but the highest arrogance and selfishness, a grubby and cynical clinging on to power at all costs. Despite his obvious incompetence and the obvious incompetence of all his cabinet, he has slimpered through financial negotiations with the EU and IMF, gaining nothing for us but a debt that we will doubtless one day be forced to default on, not to save our country, but to bolster and protect German investors who put their money in a bank they doubtless knew was behaving recklessly. I thought that capitalism meant that investors were expected to bear the risk of their investments failing. Not that the populace of a free country should be made to pay for such failures.
“Slimper” is a portmanteau word. It is a little like simpering, and a little like slinking, accompanied with a bit of a pathetic whine.
We have been made like unto serfs to a handful of German investor-lords.
By slimpering Brian Cowan and Brian Lenihan and their “Republican” comrades. People who were born here. People who did not have to make a promise or take an oath to be worthy to live here. People who ran our republic into the ground and then kept on digging. To save their faces. To save their friends at Anglo. To save their arses from whatever secrets their friends at Anglo knew.
These people have committed what can only be called treason. Even if it was inevitable that we take some sort of help (it is a high-interest LOAN, not a BAIL-OUT), these spineless cretinous cowards could not even allow the Irish people a general election to give a mandate to a government to lead them through these dark times. Their reckless and craven egotism beggars belief. Their ministerial pensions should be stripped from them and they should be tried and offered exile or prison.
It is difficult to think of adjectives sufficient to describe their villainy. All we can hope for is for every single one of them to lose their seats in the election, and for this to be a sea-change in Irish politics, and that we look back on this time as the time when we learned to put parochial, tribal, civil-war cronyism behind us.
So very many people will emigrate now. They will have no choice. Young people in their twenties and thirties have already begun doing it. I’ve made some comments on Facebook about how I’m considering Iceland. And I do like Iceland. And Icelandic. A lot. But I have chosen to be dílis don náisiún and tairiseach don Stát, and I hope that I can find the strength and honour to stay here and try still to make Ireland a better place for myself and my fellow citizens.
And hope that one day Fianna Fáil will be nothing more a bogeyman name to frighten children with.