Every now and then I ask myself why the Irish people haven’t been in greater uproar over the devastating cutbacks in public services, teaching, and welfare benefits that have had to be made over the past few years. There have been some mass protests, but not the sort of turmoil one might find in Greece. Tom O’Connor, in today’s Irish Examiner, has a good take that’s worth reading:
What else stirs the Irish indifference to protest and uprising? The historical evidence argues that the ‘gombeen’-type ‘cute hoorism’ of Irish people has become part of the cultural makeup of many. During the Famine, the emerging middle class were more than happy to have three million starve or perish by 1870; it left more land for them.
They, along with the merchants and food producers, were not going to share during the Famine. This same class of people, the erstwhile Irish rural-landed class were and are the Irish movers and shakers.
They moved in to government and in Fine Gael/Fianna Fáil were never going to allow the class-based politics of the ‘haves and have-nots’ break out..
The sayings ‘cover your ass’ and ‘don’t rock the boat’ became national mantras.! That this is anathema to protest is obvious.