“Deference and obsequiousness are the basic Irish flaws” writes Eoin O’Malley in his article More Conflict Please: Reforming the Irish Political System’. It’s one of a series of hard hitting articles on ‘Reforming Irish Systems’…in the summer edition of the Jesuit quarterly Studies. The journal was one of the offertory gifts presented at the funeral mass of the late Taoiseach Dr Garrett FitzGerald and 2012 marks its one hundredth year of publication.
O’Malley claims it’s important that Irish political leaders acknowledge that Ireland’s problems are largely of our own making. And he notes that “The attempts of Bertie Ahern to internationalise the crisis have been dismissed in many quarters as without foundation”.
Writing on Markets, Bondholders and Others, professor in the Kemmy Business School, University of Limerick, Bernadette Andreosso-O’ Callaghan shows how our problems have been caused by ‘financialisation’, with an increasing disconnect between the financial and real economies.
Other articles focus on reform of our civil service, our healthcare system, education system and the Irish Catholic Church. Writers from various professions are unsparing in their critique of our present systems and forthright about what needs to done if we are to build an Ireland that works for the benefit of all citizens. Sheelagh Drudy, Emeritus Professor of Education at UCD, examines the basic inequalities in our system of education and shows what can be done, even “in a time of austerity.” Former Eurocrat Noel Coghlan says that the Civil Service needs to be ‘rethought’, rather than simply reformed.
Joachim Fischer, lecturer in German at Limerick University, gives a German view of the Irish crisis. He is critical of successive governments whose policies “treat corporations as more important than citizens”.According to Dr Fergus O’Farrell in his article ‘The Reform Challenges in Irish healthcare,’ “Ireland doesn’t have a Health Service, we have a sickness service”, and former civil servant Noel Coghlan writes that reform in the Irish civil service will only happen when it “separates policy and administration”.
Reform of the Catholic Church is the subject of scrutiny by Dr Jim Corkery, Jesuit theologian and biographer of Pope Benedict XV1who says that “no consultation and too much centralism hampers Catholic Church reform”.