Saturday, 20 November 2010



O God, I beg two favours from you;

let me have them before I die.
First, help me never to tell a lie.
Second, give me neither poverty nor riches!
Give me just enough to satisfy my needs.
For if I grow rich, I may deny you and say, “Who is the Lord?”
And if I am too poor, I may steal and thus insult God’s holy name.

Proverbs 30: 7-9

My friend Antoin brought these verses to my notice recently as we discussed our present woes, they are from the Book of Proverbs and would make an appropriate national prayer in this hour of uncertainty.
As the International Monetary Fund negotiate with our government as to the extent of our economic rescue package and the atmosphere of fear amongst the general population grows, truly these are uncertain times. During our Celtic Tiger feeding frenzy, Consumerism became the new Irish state religion, and by now the shopping trips to New York would have been booked as hordes of Gaels descended upon the U.S. metropolis in search of seasonal gifts. I heard that at the peak of the Boom we joined the global league for ownership of most helicopters per head of population (handy for popping off to race meetings, don’t you know). Things are different now though, as our European paymasters take control of our economic affairs ( and by extension, our sovereignty), and we wait with deep foreboding for Budget Day on December 7th. The air of gloom is real and palpable and it seems as if many will face even deeper cuts into their income or welfare allowances. There might be an upside to all of this if the coming era of austerity causes us as a nation to rediscover that life does not consist just of consumerable things but that there are qualities like truth and love which are essential to the functioning of a vibrant and healthy society. These lost gems reflect our spiritual aspect which can be smothered by the glitter and glam of the world. I would argue that as a nation we have sold our birthright for a bowl of EU subsidy pottage, and now we are beginning to reap that whirlwind.

Gerard O'Shea

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