Was It For This?: Why Ireland Lost the Plot
by John Waters
Ireland today stands at a defining moment. The prosperity of the Celtic Tiger years has given way to the sudden crash, the turbulence of the euro crisis, and the loss of our sovereignty to the faceless technocrats of Europe and the IMF. Our leaders seem impotent and rage, bewilderment and despair have swept through Irish society.
Was It For This…? delves into the Irish psyche to answer the questions: What happened to our hopes and dreams? What is at the heart of the sense of betrayal that we feel? In the rush to modernity, did we throw away everything of true value? Have we lost the ideals of nationhood and patriotism set out by those who dreamt of the Irish Republic?
John Waters’ remarkable new book sweeps through the pages of our recent history to get to the heart our political, social and existential identity crisis. Ranging across a vast canvas, Was It For This…? argues that the Celtic Tiger was built on a collective delusion, and that the seeds of its destruction were sown many years before it even began, when we exchanged our colonial shackles for a no-less destructive dependency for short-term gain. Ireland’s sovereignty was given up long before the IMF came to town.
Along the way, Waters ponders our love/hate relationship with Fianna Fáil; the undercurrents that ran through the 2011 presidential election; why our political leaders and commentators have clung onto the remnants of 1960s revolutionary fervour long after the revolution was won; how our denial of an authoritative father figure has led to a leaderless ‘sibling society’; the emptiness of our ‘youth culture’ and the suppression of real thought and discussion through cynicism and irony; and why we have lost the very language that once enabled us to speak of ‘Ireland’ with pride.
His honesty shines through in this work… Waters is extremely frank about how we borrowed and spent in a decade of craziness and does not spare himself…. Students of political culture will have much to engage them.
John Downing (Irish Independent)
His cultural range is highly impressive…. In a country riddled with groupthink, Waters’ writings prove that there is always another way to look at things.
Andrew Lynch (Sunday Business Post)
A vigorous lament for the once self-confident Ireland.
A fine, and occasionally brave, analysis ... Waters is a warmly eloquent and occasionally witty writer.
John Drennan (Sunday Independent)