The idea that Ireland is a failed state is “ridiculous and ludicrous” according to Newstalk Breakfast presenter Shane Coleman.
Shane and Ciara debated the issue this morning after speaking to economist Dan O’Brien who wrote an article over the weekend criticising the narrative that Ireland is failing.
In his article he notes that, despite claims in the media and online more Irish people have returned to Ireland than left in the past five years and “strong employment figures suggest the economy can weather any storm.”
Shane said Ireland is not without its problems, but we’re far from failure.
Some people have said Ireland is a ‘failed state’ - but how realistic is that statement? @NTBreakfast pic.twitter.com/W3JY6dAEgE
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“I just think the idea that we are a failed state is ridiculous and ludicrous,” he said.
“I would say however, that we do have problems. Now every country has problems, they’re not unique to us, but we are really good at a lot of things – we’re very good at bringing in investment and foreign investment - but we’re not so good at other things.
“As long as I’ve been working in journalism there have been problems in the health service that have never been tackled. There are problems with infrastructure and in the last ten years, we’ve had problems in housing.
“Now they are not easy issues to solve, any of these issues, and we’re not unique in having them, but we’re not very good at solving those and we are very slow to tackle them.”
He rejected the online narrative that the Government is failing to tackle systemic problems because politicians only look after themselves.
“I don’t buy that at all,” he said. “What I do fear is that we have vested interests here that are incredibly strong and our electoral system makes it very difficult to make tough decisions and I suspect that is at the root of a lot of our problems.
“We’re not a failed state but we could certainly do better in a lot of areas.”
Ciara said she would go a little bit further in response.
“I hate hearing that we’re a failed state,” she said. “I hate hearing people saying Ireland is a kip because Ireland is country that, personally as someone who lives here and as someone who is Irish, I am very proud of.
“Dan’s piece is all about the fact that we have net inward migration and that we have very good employment but there are much more reasons than that why Ireland is a great country.
“We are generally a lawful country; we’re generally a well-educated country - there is access to education for all of us – and you’re exactly right about housing being a difficulty but I’ve been in two cities in the last six months - I was in Nice and I was in New York - and the amount of rough sleepers you would see in both of those cities, everywhere, would … well, first of all, it’s sad and awful to see but you would see nothing like that here.
“Most of our homeless people are actually in some kind of accommodation and rightly so and that is a good thing, but we don’t have the same issue with rough sleepers.
“There is no utopia”
“There is no utopia and what I would ask people out there who do say that this country is a kip, where would you rather live? Where is the better country? Where is the country that has fixed all these problems?
“Because life has problems, and I don’t think it is right and I don’t think it is fair [to say we’re a failed state].”