Ireland’s Covid amnesia

That’s the title of a piece I wrote for the brilliant UK website Spiked – a voice of sanity in a mad world – which you can read here:

It’s basically a lamentation about our depressing non-reaction here, one year after restrictions etc. ended, to the whole shit-show. Covid has been probably the worst thing to happen in Ireland in my lifetime, and I obviously don’t mean the virus itself. I mean everything else: the hysteria, spitefulness, stupidity, blind obedience and all the rest. And there has been ZERO reckoning with the dire consequences. Irish people are acting as if it never happened; like it was all a dream. Nobody has been held accountable for any of the horrors inflicted, especially on children.

As one of the (apparently few) Irish sceptics, I must confess that I don’t see this place in the same way anymore, feel hardly any connection or loyalty or responsibility towards Ireland (which I used to, strongly), and have more-or-less zero respect for most people now. I don’t wish them ill or anything, in fact on an individual level I’m fond of lots of them; but I don’t respect most of them anymore. Sure, they probably don’t respect me either, so it’s all fine on either side.

Anyway, thanks to Spiked for giving me the platform to vent on this. I want to add one important note: my original piece, which was cut for reasons of length etc., went in much harder on the general public than the published version, which focuses more on Official Ireland. So I’m reprinting a few relevant paragraphs here, because for me this is a crucial point: the people are as much to blame as the ruling classes.

The iniquities of the powerful are impossible without the mindless compliance of the public. They have no power only whatever we give them. Please stop handing your power over to these clowns.

Anyway, here it is:

On a personal level, I’d like to see Irish people stop doing the typical Irish thing of “keep the head down and pretend it’s not real and hopefully it’ll just go away”. Goddamn, we give ostriches a bad name.

Keeping the head down, my fellow citizens, is what allowed this to happen in the first place. The aforementioned rat’s nest dwellers drove the bus, yes – but you jumped onboard and cheered them on to step on the gas.

It would have been impossible without your hysteria, conformity and compliance, lack of backbone, vindictiveness, double-think, illogicality, inanity, insanity. Don’t blame the ruling classes – only a simpleton or child believes these people ever have anything but their own interests at heart.

No, blame yourselves. I know I certainly blame you.

It’s time for Irish people to ‘fess up and say it loud (if not quite proud): I got played. I allowed myself to be sold a pup, through my own cowardice and stupidity and selfishness. I was an idiot. I’m pathetic.

It’s okay – we’ve all done things we’re ashamed of. That’s what grown-ups do: they say sorry and promise it won’t happen again. Do you want to be grown-ups, to take public ownership of your life and mistakes?


2 responses to “Ireland’s Covid amnesia

  • Emma

    Hi, I really enjoyed your article in spiked this week and I almost totally agree. I suppose the bit I have trouble believing is that Irish people know they have been sold a pup. I’m not sure honestly. I feel people have signed up wholesale and still believe ‘sure what else could they do but lock us all up, it was an unknown virus and if things had got out of hand the government would be persecuted so caution was the best way’. There is no reckoning, no questions to be answered, no enquiry. I have lost faith also in Irish people. When I moved here in 2008 I remember listening to Gerry Ryan on the radio talking of the fighting Irish who would stand up to any crap thrown their way. What happened?

    I work with children in a disability service and we are still required to wear masks even though the whole of hiqa have abandoned them. It’s virtue signalling at it’s worse. But time and time again I hear ‘its no big deal really, it’s just a mask’. The children need to see our faces ffs, it’s inhumane at this stage when covid is clearly no more than a cold for the majority.

    I have few close friends who didn’t lose their minds during the last few years but they are in the minority. It’s really sad to me how the fire has gone out of the Irish bellies and it’s now just left people soft and malleable, terrified of their own shadows. I don’t think the HSE covid signs or the masks will ever leave us but more importantly I don’t think the consequences of this madness will either.

  • Darragh McManus

    Emma, thanks a mill for your thoughtful reply. Totally agree with everything you say, especially about children: what was done to them, to make neurotic and cowardly adults feel “safer”, is beyond contemptible and shameful. They will not thank their parents’ generation for it. In fact I hope they come looking for payback!
    Keep fighting the good fight,

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