#soapBox: Mood of the Nation.

In Blogby Fedayn18 Comments


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.


  1. I dare anyone, Mother or Father to drop a little baby at a creche facility because two incomes are needed to keep a roof over your head in this so called economy.

  2. You can only push us so far before we snap. This country is at breaking point. I haven’t had a raise in 7 years and yet my out goings have increased almost every year. Listen up you bunch of idiots, you cannot do this. THE PEOPLE SAY NO. And just like in any other situation. No Means NO. Do not rape your own country. I’m so angry.

  3. Is it a life worth living, when the crooks take everything that’s worth taking? Enough of these games that hurt our children! When the gloves are off, representative democracy shows it true nature –a tool to fool us into thinking we’re in control, whilst the elites shamelessly exploit us. Time for a radical clear-out, for there are far superior ways of organising our lives within wholesome communities. It doesn’t matter where we live, let us build our own inclusive communities that naturally thrive on a supportive egalitarian and libertarian ethos.

  4. These FG Traitors know full well that under EU law once a market for a resource has been established, that market has to be opened to competition, equalling Privatisation. Watch the bills rise then!

    No billionaire will ever profit from the water my kids use. We will NEVER interact with ‘Irish Water’.

  5. I sympathise completely with this person and the situaiton he and his family is in, but where does he expect the money to come from?

    The sad thing is, that the actual finances don’t care about our families. Someone has to pay, one way or another, it’s foolish to pretend otherwise. If Irish Water doesn’t happen, then we we’ll pay anyway through general taxation (and continue to waste considerably more water than the european average)

    We can reflect on the legacy of our mess all we want, but what’s done is done, we have no choice any more but to honestly look at the hands we’ve been dealt and fight our way out of this mess, not wallow in it.

  6. This letter made me very sad. I feel for all those young couples coping with very stressful lives .

  7. Kevin C writes we have no choice to pay up, where will the money come from? Well Kevin I for one would agree to pay 1/2 percent in income tax to fund the water wastage as you say. Funny that their is far more water wasted by leakage than by people being careless. Millions have gone into taxes charged for water but and it is a big But , it was Never spent or the majority of it was never Spent on Our Water Pipes and infrastructures. As I said earlier I am willing to pay extra taxation to fund a water system, but not like the entity that they are trying to push onto us. I would gladly pay for water if the money from my taxes is ring fenced into water and water alone. I would gladly pay taxes if we could all see that the charge is reasonable and will not just be a con to get it into law so some future shareholder will drive up the price year on year. We all know about the cons and stunts that have been pulled in the name of IrishWater. The politicians have wasted too much of our money already and to say it has already gone past 200 million euro is not an exaggeration. That type of money could well have fixed many leaking pipes. But no our government has handed it over for Consultants and outrageous bonuses. Overpaid bosses and media propaganda. That’s where our money has gone. The people will have their say, we already have 6 county councils across the country that have had motions against the water tax. These Councils are listening to their electorate, Let’s hope others are as brave as the 6 who are listening to their constituents. This is a revolution, this is peaceful, this is Demorcracy. This is the end of that Debacle called IrishWater.

  8. Work 5 days a week get paid an pay a ransoms in tax work an extra 8 hours get cleaned . That’s if your lucky enough to have a job . Why don’t Yas tax my balls too while your at it . It’s a great wee country to live in If yA won the lotto .if not your just working for the tax man .” Come live in Ireland we tax your tax ” .

  9. I said it on another thread,its the women(especially mother’s) of Ireland who have borne the brunt of this crippling austerity,they are the ones who have to make every penny stretch,deal with the barrage of bills,see that their children are properly clothed and fed and their educational needs are met,and against a backdrop of rising price’s,ongoing wage cuts.
    I am proud to see so many women now standing up and fighting back,its notable how many,who never protested nor engaged in politics are now finding their voíce’s,leading the way on many of the march’s,its a great sign for the future.

  10. Been there, done that, worn the t-shirt. Women have always worked, kids have always been out of the house all day. Nothing new if we want to pay the bills.

  11. Pingback: Demophobia and Letters to the Editor | Cunning Hired Knaves

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