Sunday, January 26, 2014

A culture of bullying in Ireland

This is a subject I am really passionate about. Unfortunately, there is a strong culture of bullying in Ireland. This is true for both children and adults. I have heard so many stories of children being bullied in school and when parents try to do something about it, they are bullied into keeping quiet and not rocking the boat. I have been bullied many times in my life, both as a child and adult.

When Aja Teehan took a case to the high court in order to secure the right to be individually assessed for the right to have a home birth, what did the Irish government do? They sought costs against her saying there was no issue of public interest in the case she had brought. Is this a bad joke? The right for a woman to make a decision on where and how she gives birth is not a matter of public interest??

In addition, the Irish state has recently urged the high court to seek costs against TD Joan Collins. She courageously, and behalf of all people living in Ireland, questioned the legality of the promissory notes for Anglo Irish Bank at a cost of 31 billion euro to the Irish state. In my view, by seeking costs in these cases, the Irish state is sending out a message to try and frighten people into not questioning the system. Bully boy tactics, plain and simple. The message is don't stand up for your rights, don't question the system or try to better it or make it more honest, equitable and accountable. Accept the fact that billions of our money has gone into bailing out banks and bondholders while our rights to autonomy are being trampled on, while our pay is cut again and again, while taxes and charges rise or are newly invented, while gas and electricity costs become prohibitive for the average family in mortgage arrears. It is an absolute disgrace what is happening in Ireland today.

Why don't Irish people stand up and say no to all the cuts, tax hikes, extra charges, jobs being lost, the scandals with various different organisations and on and on and on? The Irish government, by their own actions, do not have the best interests of people living in Ireland at heart.

I'm interested in why we put up with it. Why are we so obedient? Why is it so difficult for Irish people to stand up for themselves? It is most definitely a cultural issue and it can be changed. What are we really afraid of? What is the worst that can happen? These are the sort of questions that we need to ask ourselves when we come up against these challenges. We can tap for the strength and the courage to do what we know is right. Making a decision out of fear doesn't serve us in the long run. Taking back your power is one of the most healing things you can do. I believe it is essential, both as individuals, and collectively, it is the only way we can really change things, for the better.

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