Ireland has a priceless Government of Ireland website. On it, there’s a link to the aptly named “Central Decentralisation Policy Unit “. Is that a mistake or a joke? Sadly, it is neither. The DECENTRALISATION IMPLEMENTAION GROUP (DIG) run the decentralisation programme – for moving civil servants out of Dublin and into the rest of the country. Is this a “dig”-out or are they hinting at the large hole they are digging with this decentalisation malarky?
Interestingly, they refer to: “a purpose-built, interim office situated on O’Brien Road, Carlow” in a report about the move to Carlow of the Department of Enterprise, Trade & Employment and follow that with a description of the building of permanent offices. How can you purpose build an interim office?
There is also a link to that other fine joke being played out on the Irish public: The National Spatial Strategy. And, no, this is not Ireland’s answer to the Chinese moon programme. It is, rather, a lame attempt to develop Ireland in a more sane and rational manner. Which would be fine in theory, were it not for the fact that the strategy, such as it is, has been completely ignored by the very government that sponsored it.
Looking at the map of the spatial strategy makes it almost sound like a poster campaign for a new Power Rangers movie. Every area has a keyword: Revitalising!, Strengthening!, Reinforcing!, Consolidating!!!, Co-Operating!!!!! These are words to stir the heart of any proud Irishman or Irishwoman, alongside the poetry of Pearse and the rolling rhetoric of Dev.
Maybe I wouldn’t be so nonplussed if I wasn’t living in the promised “Consolidating” area. It sounds like a doctor talking about a terminally-ill patient being in a “stable condition”. Or a reply to the question, how are your stools?
Thankfully, the NSS bears no resemblance to reality. Indeed, it bears no resemblance to the towns selected for the government’s own decentralisation programme. You would have thought that the least they could have done was to match them, in some kind of mutually-supportive embrace.
Muppets. All of them. The most highly-paid muppets in the world. Jeez.