I have been reading Fintan O'Toole's powerful study, Ship of Fools: How Stupidity and Corruption Sank the Celtic Tiger (Faber and Faber, 2009). It is a devastating radiography of Irish culture. The diagnosis is that Ireland moved too quickly from premodern to postmodern without ever acquiring the civic virtues of modernity. Those who stood for those virtues during the Celtic Tiger years were ridiculed and sidelined. The Government missed a historic chance to use the wealth to lay the basis of a renewed Irish society, with stable structures of justice and a solid infrastructure. Instead, Cinderella finds herself back in the ashes. Fintan O'Toole believes we can have a renewal of the Irish Republic based on drawing the bitter lessons of this failure. Alas, I fear he is too optimistic. I think those with gumption will emigrate and the rest will wallow in self-pity in their nightly drinking rituals.
While O'Toole attacks the Sunday Independent he is silent about the Irish Times. He offers no mea culpa for the remissness of his own newspaper in not warning the Irish people that the property boom was insanely over-heated. And why was the Irish Times so silent? Because its Property Supplement, read throughout the world, was a major organ of the property speculation and a source of considerable earnings to the newspaper. Other papers were under a similar bind.The former editor of the Irish TImes has some reflections on this: http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/opinion/2010/0306/1224265703246.html