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Public v Private - The argumental epitome of the Irish psyche

I read an article in todays Journal by a recruitment consultant based in Wicklow. The article makes the point for the need for change in the public service. In my opinion some of the article is absolute nonsense whilst other parts of it are extremely sensible. But in this case, the article itself is inconsequential. It is the peoples reaction to the article and the wider argument is what interests me in this instance.

Why are we, a modern, advanced and intelligent society, constantly bound to defending the indefensible, whilst attacking what we don't understand. I am not washing my own hands of this trait, far from it in fact, I am probably the worst offender. I often criticise the Public service, banks, politicians and the media for what I believe are their wrong doings, especially now, more than before our current set of difficulties. But is this fair ? Do I know enough about the bodies I complain about? My information comes from two main sources, the first being the more responsible media sources and the second being friends and family that either work within the respective body or sector or have knowledge of what goes on inside those bodies or sectors.

Nevertheless, Ireland now resembles a boxing ring. The Public sector, backed by the left wing parties and the unions in one corner versus the Private sector backed by the centre and right of centre parties in the other. Since 2008 we have all stood by and watched round after round of sneaky uppercuts and dodgy body blows, of the argumentative type, with neither fighter coming out with a real knockout blow.

What the last four years have thought me however, is that the majority of us all want the same thing. I don't buy into the argument from certain sections of society that it's the governments fault, that they are somehow putting something into the water to ensure we all fight amongst ourselves. What I do believe though is that, the vast majority on both sides engage in the fight with the best of intentions, believing in their cause, or fighter, if you will. However, the fight is pitched all wrong. Whilst both contestants tire each other out, engaging in round after round, we are all missing the point, due to arrogance, intolerance or perhaps a flaw of the Irish psyche.

What the majority on both sides want is a fair, just, safe and healthy society for us all to live in. However, we are too unwilling to listen to the other side to find a resolution. Now, I am not for a second proposing some ludicrous and corrupt fallacy like Social Partnership, in fact, in my opinion, the unions, as they exist today, have absolutely no interest in the greater good or the effective delivery of public services, the Croke Park Agreement being testament to that fact. But whilst I don't believe in the motives of the unions, I have great faith in the vast majority of the public service. Yes, I often do my very best to highlight the wrong doing and what I believe to be the major flaws within them, but surely weeding out the quangos and inefficiency is for the benefit of the grafters and good public servants. However, this message never gets the opportunity to be conveyed to the public service, as inevitably the "voice of the worker", a union rep or top civil servant on a six figure salary steps in, to protect their interest and selfish motive. I have no doubt either that the same exists in the other direction. No doubt some business lobbyist or capitalist nut is too quick to criticise, and, unwilling to listen so to protect their own interest. 

So today, following my reading of that article I wish that the influence of the well paid lobbyists on both sides could be drowned out by those of us just looking for some equality and fairness in this new Ireland of ours. When I request change in the public service, I wish every public servant wouldn't jump on my case, and recognise that in fact it is for the benefit and greater rewarding of the good public servants that I want this change, as well as of course a greater, better working public service for all our people. However, I am sad to reflect on what I believe to be the reality. As a society we are a knee-jerk people, a people too unwilling to listen and compromise for the greater good, a society epitomised by the current battle between our two great fighters, two fighters in fact, that come from the same corner, wear the same colours with coaches who have equally selfish motives, battling each other for no prize, but for the supposed pleasure of injuring the other fighter more. It's very sad when you really think about it...


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