Mar 29, 2006

Not everyone is happy

A reader's letter to the Irish Examiner gives a good summary of the major moans and groans about life in Ireland today.
The joys of living in modern Ireland

IRELAND has progressed in leaps and bounds over the past 20 years, so much so that it's a wonder our young people want to leave our shores. Let's stop whinging and appreciate what we have.

We are fortunate enough to have the dearest cars in Europe, paying massive excise on each one we purchase. We have the privilege of driving on some of the worst roads in the EU, causing damage which costs us a fortune to repair. We shouldn't complain because we are also lucky enough to be paying top rates of road tax to ensure roads are maintained to an acceptably low standard while also paying top dollar for fuel.

We are also still driving with alcohol in our systems which is a pure mystery given its cost and the amount of excise duty we pay on it. A litre of Jameson whiskey costs €11 in Spain while the same bottle costs €33 in Cork, where it is produced.

Drink-driving is partly the reason we have so many accidents, which is a pity because we can't get into the A&E departments in hospitals to have ourselves mended. This is also dangerous: if you are too drunk to drive a car, how are you supposed to balance on a trolley?

We could complain and send emails to our politicians but we can't get broadband. We could ring them on our mobiles but that's expensive, even if you can get a signal. Sometimes you can get a signal but, depending on the time of year, you can't get a politician, because they could be either on holiday or on Patrick's Day duty in Fiji or the Bahamas.

Another advantage of living in our modern Ireland is that we are in the middle of a housing boom, with more houses being built now than ever before at very affordable prices, if 30 or 40 people club together for a three-bed semi.

So let's be thankful for what we have and let's congratulate our political icons for getting us where we are. Not many could have achieved what they have over such a short period. If Churchill were alive today, he may well have said: "Never in the field of Irish politics was so little owed to so many by so many more."


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