How can we create a new vision and value system for this country?

The values many might aspire to promote – values of cooperation, team-playing, treading lightly on the earth, a ‘fair deal’, outlining vision and leadership are constrained by the systems we have put in place and by the systems powerful vested interests resist at all costs.

Our senior politicians by their actions reduce themselves to game play and fighting battles rather than outlining clear vision and leadership while our senior civil service is ivory-towered, protected and totally risk adverse.

We have allowed those in positions of power to venerate the sacredness of institutions and to hide behind them – examples of this are clerical sex abuse and the Government compensation ‘deal’ allowing immunity and anonymity, the Government’s present reaction to the distasteful, unethical and grossly criminal behaviour of the financial institutions and their ‘leaders’ and the most recent Ceann Comhairle debacle, are all symptoms of a deeper malaise. Social partnership anyone?

It may make us uncomfortable to think so but we are a tiny country with a vested interest mentality and with an electoral system that promulgates this culture .  Of course,  we  eventually plotted our own downfall when we engaged in hubris and started to believe our own Celtic Tiger hype.  Many but not all have been guilty.

Identifying a suitable channel for this ‘values’ debate in Ireland is perplexing. There are numerous media outlets hosting programmes which engage in crass debate, point scoring and moan fests where vested interest opinions are proffered yet a complete dearth of channels for any rigorous adn in-depth analysis and explanation.

A new value system will involve a dismantling and restructuring of our institutions but right now our senior politicians and our institutions are engaged in a cosmetic mopping up exercise. We have a vacuum where politicians, public servants and key institutions are shorn of any vestige of moral authority. Nobody appears to have the will, the leadership nor the sheer guts to turn off the tap and re-shape this country with values and vision.

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