Friday, 26 November 2010

Why I'm Staying

A couple of nights or so ago I watched His And Hers again, one of the best Irish films you’ll ever see. It’s a beautifully made documentary, crafted from the simple premise of Irish women talking about the men in their lives. These are good, honest, warm, articulate, hardworking people, from those starting out in life to those looking back on theirs. Here’s the trailer to give you an idea if you’ve not seen it:

I watched the film while still digesting the Irish government’s ‘four year plan’ designed to help get the country back on its feet. Minutes after it had finished I saw Ireland’s Minister for Finance tell a television interviewer while trying to justify the measures, “let’s face it, we all partied”.

I didn’t. I wasn’t here for the boom years: with characteristic timing I reached the platform just in time to watch the tail lights of the gravy train trundling into the distance.

My partner didn’t either. She didn’t take on any of the stupid credit being practically forced on her and didn’t take on a mortgage she’d have no chance of repaying. She has no debts despite being made redundant and now only working part-time. She was sensible. Still is. Well, apart from her questionable taste in men, obviously.

The women in His And Hers were most likely sensible too. Good people. Honest people. People not involved in shamelessly reckless finance and nod-and-a-wink brown envelope cronyism. Yet these are the people being forced to clean up the financial mess in a way that those most responsible for it patently and wilfully aren’t.

The Irish government should be made to sit down and watch this film in an attempt to restore at least a smidgen of reality to their cloud cuckoo land detachment from Ireland and make them see the kind of people their actions are vigorously and unfairly ruining.

They keep talking about the ‘national interest’ but with their ridiculous salaries – Brian Cowen earns [sic] more than Barack Obama – and chauffeured limousines they no longer have any idea what the nation is. Even I have more of an idea of what the nation is than they do and I’ve only been here a couple of years. If there’s anyone utterly lacking a mandate to speculate upon the nature of the national interest it’s them.

One conclusion drawn from the measures is that it will force people out of the country and we’ll see the kind of mass emigration of the eighties and beyond all over again. Some people wonder whether perhaps that's even the intention.

Well, I’m not leaving. I love it here. I love the fantastic friends I’ve made and I’m proud to live here. The actions of the corrupt and greed-riddled few who are wriggling off the hook of responsibility thanks to a complicit, spineless and breathtakingly inept government don’t represent me and they’re not going to push me around, let alone push me out of the country.

I’m staying.

I’m staying for the people who’ve made me so welcome, I’m staying because Ireland is better than this and I’m staying because my ancestors were forced to leave and I’m buggered if I’m letting that happen again.

I’m staying because I’m proud to live in a country alongside the kinds of people you see in His And Hers and the kinds of people who can make films like His And Hers.

I’m staying because I’m angry and I’m staying because I’m determined not to let the country I call home remain in the hands of incompetent goggle-eyed hayseeds so dizzy with spin they have no idea what’s true and what isn’t any more, let alone how to fix their legacy of destruction.

I’m staying because I have faith that there are people far better equipped to fix the country than someone so ignorant, so crassly out of touch that he can look the nation in the eye and say, “let’s face it, we all partied”.

I’m staying.

Anyway, ‘party’ isn’t a verb.


  1. Good on yer Charlie! I am proud of you.

  2. We need people like you to stay - too many good folks will leave and this place will be the worse for it. The elite want to drag us back to Thatcherite "values" and we all need to stand up and be counted. We're all proud to have you and Jude as part of our country.

  3. Well said. Just moved back here to start my own business in February. Was in England for seven years so I never knew the boom years here. But I'll be damned if I came back to watch other people leave. I see small businesses everyday (I started a new magazine for SMEs) and I know this country is better than what 'they' have made us all feel it is. We will get through this I'm sure, safe in the knowledge that Cowen and Co. will be rediculed by the one thing they can't lie to... History.

  4. Aw Charlie, Ireland is lucky to have you! What a lovely post. I love Ireland and love being Irish but hate that our government has let us down so badly. But I have faith in the Irish people. We will survive this, as ol' Gloria once said.

    Even if you did try to leave, we'd be hanging on to your trouser legs...

  5. Nice blog post - totally agree with you.
    I didn't get on that train although I seemed to have ended up at it's destination - how'd that happen?

  6. I'm staying too - I'll be dammed if an inept bunch of idiots (nicest thing I can say about them) force me to leave. I belong to the group who believe this is what the Government want - and I think it's factored into that 4 yr plan. Thanks for this excellent post. I am reposting on my facebook page - my friends need to read this too - hope that's OK.

  7. Excellent piece. Truly emotive.
    -BP Fallon

  8. Like yourselves, we refused credit being foisted on us and always lived within our means. Now my husband (a nurse) faces further wages cuts, and my youngest son (who is autistic) lives in danger of losing out on the services, education and support that helps him achieve his full potential.
    We are furious.
    But who on earth do we vote for??? I am unable to name a single person I could trust to improve things.
    I really enjoyed the post. I love Ireland too!

  9. You give me hope,if anyone out there did not get to see this wonderful heartwarming movie, you can get it online for EU 14.99 free P&P within Ireland!! I am not affilitaed with this movie. Stay strong, I miss my mess of a home because the people are second to none.I love that you are hopeful amidst the confusion and chaos. Hugs!!

  10. Well said - I absolutely agree with everything that you have said and applaud your decision to stay. This country is good because the people here are good. If all of the good folk go what will this country be reduced to. Thanks again for posting - Keep the faith PK

  11. Charlie, a little anecdote and I hope Ken (Wardrop) won't mind me sharing. Last week, I saw him quite upset at the disastrous ineptitude of our political representatives and he was despairing about what he, as an individual, could do. When I read your article tonight, I welled up and I realised that he had already done it. I phoned him in Cologne where he is showing the film to let him know about your blog. He was most grateful. I won't say anymore as I'm sure he'll want to communicate this to you himself. Your positivity is so appreciated. All best, Will O'C

  12. Thanks all for the kind comments. Will, Ken's done more than he could possibly know just by making that film. It sums up perfectly why I love living here and why I'm sticking around to work for a better future.

  13. Fair play to you Charlie, I wish I'd stayed when I left two recessions ago, I played into the plans of another gangster who drove thousands out of the country, then got sucked into returning buying a house in Dublin again in the eighties,lost that and my shirt , dipped my toe in the waters of "Celtic Tiger" Ireland decided it did not smell right (once burned) and had to much to lose in exile., so I gave it a skip. In many ways I envy you Charlie you have a passion for the place I lost somewhere along the way, the old songs do not pull at my heartstrings the way they once did, I still look forward to visits but have long since stopped calling the place home. At least with people like you there we know the auld sod is in good hands.