Recently I took part in an EU funded survey on different generations. The survey asked some pretty basic questions, like if you are a male or female, age and if you live in or outside Ireland. The fact I was being asked if I am still residing in Ireland was enough of a hint to come to the realization that this survey was going to be depressing.
The survey gave me the typical 1-5 rating from totally agree to totally disagree, as if I was taking a personality test. For the most part my answers reflected my own bleak outlook of the Irish landscape. I have no faith in Irish politics to address social issues that plague us. For starters, the only minister in the Fine Gael and Labour Coalition that was qualified for their position was Leo Varadkar. He has a medical degree, which helps as he was the Minister of Health after a reshuffle of the cabinet in 2014. Before that, he was appointed the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport in 2011, a position he himself was skeptical of having.
Imagine it this way, a recruiter wouldn’t hire an engineer to be the head of a HR department. Experience is key when it comes to performing in any position, and as such, politicians who are leading our country are mostly inexperienced in the ministerial postings they hold. Joe McHugh was a Minister of State (Not a minister) for Gaeltacht Affairs and Natural Resources at the Departments of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht and Communications, Energy and Natural Resources. I think they should use an acronym, maybe GANRAHGCENR, it sounds Gaelic at least. What made this episode in Irish politics so hilarious was that Joe McHugh couldn’t speak Gaelic. He was a Minister of State for Gaeltacht Affairs that couldn’t communicate effectively in Gaelic. It is no wonder that the the Balance of Payments for Ireland is as messed up as it is, our ministers are either completely incompetent or are competent, but not for their position.
At the end of the survey, I was invited to write one word to describe my generation. I wrote ‘Recession’. For most people it would appear, ‘Lost’ was the best adjective to describe the Ireland they see.
Youth unemployment is still around the 20% mark and with improving conditions in the economy, that figure will drop. Though, I am skeptical as what type of job creation we will see. It is already clear that anyone coming into an organization today will be on a lower wage than someone who started a few years ago, and without the added benefits. Apparently low wages make our country more competitive, but let’s face it, if we are on wages with little to no benefits that we can barely live or save off, we aren’t winning. If we were following capitalism in it’s true form, we would have let the banks fail and set in motion a standard that banks would follow. Instead we rescued the banks and paid the buck. The bail-out, I admit, was necessary, but so is making sure everyone is on a livable wage and that our taxes are being spent effectively. Public healthcare in Ireland is the sick man of Europe. It is appalling and there is no level of reform that will save the system because it is inherently doomed to fail.
The word ‘Lost’ is apt for the situation we live in today. My father’s generation had jobs for life. Today we have no such luxury and torture, depending on how you view it. As of today I have applied for a scholarship to return to Asia this coming September to pursue a Masters in Journalism. I am not sure if my future will be in Ireland, but I know for the next few years, I will more than likely be abroad. I look forward to returning back to Asia and upskilling for my future. Living abroad isn’t the sign of giving up, but rather looking elsewhere for opportunities that aren’t readily visible in Ireland. I will not end up like someone from an Irish Times article complaining about how great life is elsewhere, but hating it at the same time.