Posted by: whatkindofweekhasitbeen | March 31, 2010

26th November, 2009

“And I looked and I beheld a pale horse, and the name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him.” This was a week full of Apocalyptic revelations.

Dante maintained that there’s a special place in hell for those who say nothing in times of moral crisis, and if that is the case, the hierarchy of the Irish clergy will have to pray very hard to whatever God it is they claim to represent in staying out of there. Today’s report from the Commission of Investigation into the Archdiocese of Dublin was horrifying, and yet, perversely enough, not remotely shocking. The report highlighted the extent to which cover ups of abuse and an above-and-beyond relationship with the state authorities were endemic in Church behaviour up until at least the mid 1990’s, and unsurprisingly even a synopsis is tough reading. In the short time since the story broke, practically all the world’s media is leading with it, and the government are pledging to bring abusers to justice while the Church publicly acknowledge their maxima culpa. But, in the midst of today’s details, any retroactive attempt at redemption or justice for victims seems hopelessly piecemeal. In fact, most things do.

In London, the uncomfortable truths are just beginning. The Iraq inquiry has, just a few days in, discovered already that Britain knew full well that Saddam’s WMDs, such as they were, would’ve likely been as effective as super soakers before the invasion, and that President Bush got Tony Blair drunk to soften him up in respect to going ahead with the coalition. Politically speaking, that is. Blair will likely be a witness himself in January or February, though given the lack of any compulsion to tell the truth (there is neither an oath involved nor any judges on the panel) and Tony’s own powerful, some might say insane, convictions on the matter, it’s unlikely we’ll find just how much Mind Scotch he was given before he took to doing God’s work in Baghdad and Basra.

While the British defence forces still struggle with the mounting pressure in Afghanistan and Iraq, the Irish army have been doing what they do best this week: picking up the pieces when things go the way of the vertical tit, and the army and local councils have been at the vanguard of sorting out what is fast becoming a humanitarian situation. The flooding that has affected the south, west and midlands of the country has been genuinely jaw dropping, and the damage that has been done to homes and businesses with Christmas approaching has been genuinely heartbreaking, to say nothing of another brick in the economic wall that far too many find themselves up against.

It’s under this backdrop of chastened economic woe that the first of pre-budget strikes took place on Tuesday, with thousands picketing and thousands more heading up to Newry to sort their Christmas shopping. Grim as the state of the public sector undoubtedly is, and as much sympathy as I have for the teachers, nurses and other civil servants, it’s unlikely the strikes will have the desired effect. For the workers, that is. For the union leaders it’s mission accomplished.

Like any lobby group or sectoral interest, the main objective for the unions is the furthering of their own cause first and foremost, and so this kind of strike action is the perfect method for them to beat their chests, act important and chastise The Man for their lack of compassion, foresight, oversight and general largesse. Because, of course, union leaders are blameless. I mean, none of them negotiated previous pay deals in close quarters with the government, thus having any access to economic indicators that something ominous may be coming round the bend, or have directorates in any kind of Central Bank, or earn sums of money of, say, in and around the €124,895 mark and as recently as last month gave an interview in an Independent Irish newspaper that “a pay cut is not being considered”. Nope, not a one

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