It was truly ironic to read that Irish students will protest near the replica Famine ship the Jeanne Johnston to make a point about the role of enforced emigration in Irish life for the last 175 years.

As another generation gets ready to leave we really have to face facts about the country of Ireland.

As we witness another huge exodus of people, driven by economic malfeasance we have to embrace the notion that after 90 years of independence it is not a very well run country.

During that ninety years we have had maybe 15 of outright prosperity, seven or eight with the Celtic Tiger and a similar phase in the late 1970s, early 1980s.

In between were decades of hard times, emigrant boats and ships and perhaps, saddest of all, a grim realization that Ireland was unable to keep many of its best and brightest.

All in all, as another generation takes to the boats and planes the extent of the failure in Ireland has become evident .

What we have to realize is that, in almost every sector of Irish life, a privileged elite, a crony class has grown up and that has stunted Irish growth in a permanent fashion.

Politics and business are just two examples. In politics, Ireland has the highest ratio of politicians being elected because they are family members of a departing office holder in all of Europe.

That inevitably lessens the gene pool of talented people who wish to enter politics.

Brian Cowen, current leader,and Enda Kenny,opposition leader are just two examples of leaders who made it initially through family connections and they would be two of the far more talented examples.

That same tendency is rampant in areas of Irish life such as law, medicine and much of business.

It is not a meritocracy in the way that American is at its best.

And it hurts Ireland deeply.

When the business and political cronyism worlds intersect we have the worst of both worlds colliding.

That was what happened during the Celtic Tiger when business tycoons won sweetheart deals from a government that has now been in power for eighteen of the last twenty years.

Other countries, such as Australia and Canada had systems in place to prevent such looting of the public purse. Ireland has never safeguarded its future generations in the same way.

Aside from the Celtic Tiger collapse, the church has also effectively collapsed as well, leaving Ireland with no moral leadership at a time it desperately needs it.

The institutions of the state have failed the Irish people. It truly is a most distressful nation at this moment.