With elections approaching, Ireland’s leaders need to put the blame-game for the Celtic Tiger's downfall in the attic for now, and get on with the business of recovery. A debt-laden Ireland – and the European countries that bailed it out – require it.
In a 1973 commentary piece entitled “The Great Forgetting,” New York Times columnist Russell Baker made a startling suggestion. “What the country needs now at the end of the Vietnam War is not amnesty,” he wrote, “but amnesia. It is time to put the whole thing up in the attic.” Mr. Baker went on to say: “Nobody knows what to make of Vietnam right now, and it is in our way…Politicians keep shoving it into our shins. People with axes to grind keep using it to win this argument or clinch that.”
Baker’s words might well apply here in Ireland to the bickering and point-scoring that ensues whenever the property frenzy of the Celtic Tiger era is discussed. The talk can get downright demoralizing. Opposition lawmakers insist their policies would have minimized the subsequent meltdown, while those in power at the time cast themselves as unwitting victims of the global economy. Ordinary citizens, meanwhile, say they were bamboozled by it all.
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