Saturday, July 13, 2013

13/7/2013: Work Ethic? Just Don't Try the Dail

Outside my weekend links on Arts and Sciences - the WLASze posts (the current ones are here), I rarely write about things that are outside economics. One recent example was a post on the conscience of voting (here).

In the wake of this week's debacle in the Dail, here are some links summarising the very nature of the legislative practice we have - the nature which highlights why true change is so hard to either design of implement in Ireland.

Choice quotes:
"Barry himself has already admitted he was in the Dáil Private Members’ Bar but told the Irish Independent he “wasn’t drinking excessively”. Another government TD, who did not wish to be named, admitted he had “a couple of pints”."

Background for those not living in Ireland: it is illegal to drive a car after consuming 1-2 drinks (depending on person, obviously). It is, apparently, completely legal to legislate on the matters of importance to the entire country while being on a 'couple of pints'.

"Fianna Fáil TD Dara Calleary said he had “one or two” at around 11pm on Wednesday along with a number of party colleagues but said he “stuck to tea and coffee after that”. His party colleague, Barry Cowen, also said he had “one or two” drinks but said there was nothing “out of the ordinary”."

In other words, there is an accepted and completely 'ordinary' proposition that a TD can drink 'one or two' drinks before taking a vote.

"Most TDs contacted by this week played down the level of drinking on Wednesday night and early Thursday, pointing out that there were higher levels of intoxication on the night that IBRC was liquidated in February. “The IBRC night was f**king mayhem,” one TD, who declined to be named, said. Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams has previously told this website that there were at least two TDs in his vicinity who were intoxicated on the night the former Anglo Irish Bank was liquidated."

Aside from confirming that alcohol abuse is at least occasionally present and completely tolerated, there is an issue of the language deployed by some of the Irish parliamentarians in conversing with the media.

And about 'perceptions' - Ireland is perhaps the most self-conscious country I ever been to. Our leaders and civil service and public sector elites, our business elites go to extraordinary lengths to promote Ireland in the 'right light' internationally. Now:

Note: I have never once encountered a work colleague - Irish or foreign - in Ireland who was intoxicated at work. Then again, I never worked in a place where there is working, taxpayers-subsidised bar that stays open during all-night working sessions and where there is seemingly no work ethic present other than a mindless and ethics-light obedience to the whip.

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