People should be “proud to be Irish” as the State marks its centenary, Newstalk Breakfast presenter Ciara Kelly has said.
One hundred years ago, on 6th December 1922, Ireland left the United Kingdom and the Irish Free State was founded.
The new State was in the middle of a brutal Civil War and has weathered many further crises but Ciara said that Ireland has grown into a country we can all be proud of.
“I despise the ‘failed State’ narrative about this country because I don’t believe it for a moment,” she said.
“Certainly, what I have seen Ireland become is… something that has embraced change and that is a positive and progressive State.
“And I know we have issues but do you think there’s a country in the world that doesn’t have issues?
“I know we have issues like housing, I know we have issues with things like healthcare but if you think it is worse here than elsewhere - that’s just because you haven’t been to enough places.
“If you look at the rest of Europe, they have housing crises too.
“Absolutely as we do; expensive property prices and difficult to find places to live - all of that exists.
“And when you say this is a third world health service, I am actually one of the few people who have worked in a third world health service - I worked in Indonesia in the health service and this is a first world health service with problems.
“We have problems, we’re human beings but I am very proud of Ireland and anyone who disagrees is simply wrong.”
A hundred years ago today Ireland became an independent nation, but have we become positive and progressive state? Ciara and Shane discuss @NTBreakfast pic.twitter.com/6ZllwKPGOt
— NewstalkFM (@NewstalkFM) December 6, 2022
Speaking last week ahead of the anniversary, Taoiseach Micheál Martin said he felt similar and hit out at those who complain too much about Ireland.
“In day-to-day political debate, much of the populist rhetoric implies that Ireland has been close to a failed State for much of the last century,” he said.
“We seem to find it close to impossible to allow the successes of the State to be acknowledged – as if nothing is achieved until everything has been achieved.
“But by any measure the State managed to prove that a sovereign Irish State could, even with the economic, social and political damage of partition, prosper.”
Main image: Ciara Kelly and the Irish flag.