Let’s review some rueful episodes of Ireland’s recent past.
Irish Water. Complete disaster. The firm has failed to communicate properly with people regarding how they can pay for their water. The government has failed to communicate properly to people that they need to pay for their water. Fortunately there is time for Irish Water to get it right, with the help of conscientious journalists.
Property Tax. A fiasco. The authorities failed to communicate properly with people regarding how to fill out the forms, and how to assess the value of their homes. As a result, the public mood was inflamed by siren voices preaching mayhem, and could have taken the nation to the brink of chaos had Revenue not taken matters in hand.
Bank bailout. An outrage. The authorities failed to communicate to people that property developers racking up astronomical debts was in fact their fault, and that things such as driving down wages, or cutting budgets for health, education and social welfare, were in fact in their best interests. What is more, they failed to make people understand that a thriving financial speculation sector is an essential part of a thriving society. As a consequence, people have fallen prey to populism, endangering long term economic prosperity.
Symphisiotomy scandal. Dreadful dereliction of responsibilities. The authorities failed to communicate to the women affected by symphisiotomy that sawing through their pelvis was not only in their best interests but in the best interests of society as a whole. It is understandable that this is an emotive issue for many, but we have to see these things in the context of their time.
Magdalene Laundries. An appalling story. The authorities failed to communicate to people that these institutions really operated in the best interests of society as a whole, and were motivated largely by concern for the welfare of those who worked in them. Surely a calm debate is now needed.
Industrial schools. Shameful episode. The authorities failed to communicate to people just how much effort the religious orders actually put in to look after those in their care, and just how troublesome their charges could prove. A balanced account is urgently required.