Brian Cowen gets the blame but Irish people need to look in the mirror too


Brian Cowen is not the only person responsible for the downfall of the Irish economy.

That will come as a surprise to many who have followed the Irish media over the past few months.

Reading the media you would think he personally ordered the collapse of the Celtic Tiger all on his own.

He has been vilified from pillar to post and now limps from office no doubt a deeply disappointed man.

But the Irish should really begin to look somewhere else for somebody to blame

Like looking in the mirror at themselves.

Brian Cowen did not come from outer space.

Neither did the financial crisis he inherited when he took office a little over two years ago.

The cozy cartel of corruption that built up in Ireland was fueled by essentially one party government.

For twenty two of the last 24 years, Fianna Fail has been in power. They were voted in time and again.

It had become obvious for decades that re-electing Fianna Fail in every election was having a corrosive impact on Irish politics

Back in the 1980s former Prime Minister Charles Haughey was deeply corrupt a fact that was suspected if not outright known by voters when they continued to re-elect him.

Planning scandals, pay offs, so called brown envelopes were a feauture of his time in office.

By the time of the Celtic Tiger a golden circle of cronies in business and politics was in place.

Prime Minster Bertie Ahern was clearly caught up in it all as well.

Several inquiries found a vast trove of evidence that secret deals were part and parcel of the way the government operated.

Yet voters continued to elect him and Fianna Fail won the last election in 2007 when there was widespread knowledge that corruption was rampant and banks were completely foolhardy in their behavior.

Still 44 per cent of the Irish electorate voted for Fianna Fail.

Brian Cowen inherited all of that.

Sure he was Minister for Finance and must share the blame.

He was personally honest but that hardly mattered as the system he inherited and served was deeply flawed to begin with and he had no reformer's zeal.

Now he is carrying the can for all that went before as well as his own sins.

But voters knew well that Fianna Fail for decades even were carrying on in a corrupt fashion and a charmed circle of insiders were benefiting greatly.

So they can blame themselves as well for all that has happened.

People get the government they deserve after all.

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