The “mood of a nation” is sometimes caught by an unexpected voice, sometimes shaped by a moment that strikes a chord.
When former Cllr. Michael O’Brien (see video above) of Clonmel attended the RTÉ panel show, Q&A, in May 2009 something extraordinary happened. Following a discussion on the Ryan Commission Report into Child Abuse and the words of Minister Noel Dempsey (FF minister for Transport who sponsored the report) the Chair, John Bowman turned to the audience.
The words of Michael O’Brien captured a hard to express mood, it wasn’t just about child abuse, about the horrors of ‘the past’ but it shaped an anger with the powers that be and how they were attending to the revelations of our shared history. Perhaps because Irish people distrust the actors on the political stage they rally behind the unknown, the everyman, when they speak to power.
In today’s Irish Independent, itself a major cog in the machine that rolls out the austerity asphalt flattening our country, a letter from one woman has again caught the moment.
Donna Hartnett from Cork writes:
“No one will ever stand over my grave and say “wasn’t she great at paying her water tax” but it will be at that exact moment that my children will evaluate the quality of the years I gave them.
The legacy of Bertie Ahern and Brian Cowen has resulted in our two children being raised in childcare centres like hens.
Meanwhile, we work, breaking our necks and our children’s hearts trying to keep up with tax after tax, with nothing left by the end of the month. We never financially over extended ourselves or left a bill unpaid, but still my two very young children are out of their home every day for longer hours than the average industrial worker…as we work to meet another tax on our income.
Our reasons for not protesting before were exhaustion, anxiety, fear and not a minute to spare, but this is where it ends.
As the Irish Government has chosen to protect those responsible for the financial crash and has seen many pensioned off, I’m choosing to protect my children.
To do this, I will do whatever it takes to give my children back their childhood … they will be at home, collected from school by me, and enjoy security of a home life that should be an option afforded to every child. This will obviously mean a reduction to our income, resulting in overdue bills and unpaid taxes but that stress will be a holiday compared to the exhausting days we currently endure, dragging the children from their beds at 6.30am, starting and ending the day in a house filled with children’s tears of frustration and confusion as we pay for others’ greed.
So you see, this Government has pushed an exhausted family one step too far. Let’s see who picks up the tab in the long run, Mr Kenny.”
From the Independent’s letter page.