When did life become complex? I suppose it began when the greed for money descended upon us. It descended upon some more than others. It fuelled the most basic instincts in us.
Some were greedier than others. Greed was good, as Gordon Gekko said in the film Wall Street. Here is a suitable quotation from that film and is as applicable to bankers and financial crooks in Ireland as in America.
"Mr. Cromwell, Teldar Paper has 33 different vice presidents each earning over 200 thousand dollars a year. Now, I have spent the last two months analysing what all these guys do, and I still can't figure it out. One thing I do know is that our paper company lost 110 million dollars last year, and I'll bet that half of that was spent in all the paperwork going back and forth between all these vice presidents.
"The new law of evolution in corporate America seems to be survival of the unfittest. Well, in my book you either do it right or you get eliminated. In the last seven deals that I've been involved with, there were 2.5 million stockholders who have made a pre-tax profit of 12 billion dollars. Thank you. I am not a destroyer of companies.
"I am a liberator of them! The point is, ladies and gentleman, that greed, for lack of a better word, is good. Greed is right, greed works. Greed clarifies, cuts through, and captures the essence of the evolutionary spirit. Greed, in all of its forms; greed for life, for money, for love, knowledge, has marked the upward surge of mankind. And greed, you mark my words, will not only save Teldar Paper, but that other malfunctioning corporation called the USA. Thank you very much.
That was the basic tenet, the great commandment, not only of Wall Street but of the rich and the powerful who ruled and influenced Ireland during the Celtic Tiger. It was greed which brought down Wall Street during the first crash and it was at Wall Street that Bertie Ahern and Mary O'Rourke ripped us off with the Eircom shares launch.
Charlie Haughey often wondered how history would judge him? I have my own opinions and they are confused. When Sean Lemass died the last connection with the Easter Rebellion was broken.
Michael Collins was a young man when the Rising itself took place on Easter Monday, 1916. He fought alongside Patrick Pearse and others in the General Post Office in Dublin. He became our first Finance Minister and was noble of mind.
In this Catholic country the speculators and the greedy asked: 'What has morals to do with it?' The answer according to them was that morals had nothing to do with it.
However, morals has everything to do with it. Without morals everything falls apart. That is why Moses went up the mountain and returned with two tablets of stone carrying Ten Commandments. Fortunately, he was not able to carry the other five tables or we would be surrounded by 70 commandments.
Moses saved the Israelites and it is a simile for everyone who leads his or her people to freedom. We need some Moses now to lead us through divided waters.
Nine-year-old Padraig was asked by his mother what he had learned in school.
"Well, Mom, our teacher told us how God sent Moses behind enemy lines on a rescue mission to lead the Israelites out of Egypt. When he got to the Red Sea, he had his engineers build a pontoon bridge and all the people walked across safely. Then he used his walkie-talkie to radio headquarters for reinforcements. They sent bombers to blow up the bridge and all the Israelites were saved."
"Now, is that really what your teacher taught you?" his mother asked.
"Well, no, Mom. But if I told it the way the teacher did, you'd never believe it!"
Every civilization lives by rules. We can begin with the Sumerians and run right down to the rules of the GAA. There is such a thing as natural law and if we do not follow it misery and confusion will follow. We do not need a synod of bishops to tell us that.
The Church has to return to this simplicity and discover its roots again. The grand processions at the Vatican, with golden chasubles and ornate crosiers, in a way is very satisfying to the eye but it is not the centre of the message. The centre of the message is based on charity and you cannot get away from that.
Now the Archbishop of Canterbury has come out in criticism of the bishops of Ireland.
"I was speaking to an Irish friend recently who was saying that it's quite difficult in some parts of Ireland to go down the street wearing a clerical collar now.
"And an institution so deeply bound into the life of a society, suddenly becoming, suddenly losing all credibility - that's not just a problem for the Church, it is a problem for everybody in Ireland."
He had to retract it and admit that it was an ill-advised remark but how true is it?
The Church survives because simple people kneel down and pray in small churches, try to live decent lives. They will be the ones to save the church in the same manner as the small saver, battered and bleeding, will save the finances of this country.
We will all have to begin again. This is the third time we have to begin again in this sate and some day, when honesty prevails, we might get it right.
At Easter time some of the Government members take the parade outside the GPO and lay flowers at the graves at Arbor Hill. I hope that they recall the sacrifice these men made that we might live in a free and noble country. The proclamation is a noble document. Once it hung upon the wall of every classroom in the country. In many places it was taken down as if we were ashamed of its contents.
This is the Easter season and a time of daffodils. At this moment all members of the Dáil have returned to their home base and I do not object to their holidays. If they do their calling nobly I have nothing against their basic pay.
The small group of bankers who wrecked this country may perhaps be enjoying their last expensive meals and ordering the last expensive bottles of wine. The ordinary Paddy who saved his money, who trusted the banks, who invested his lump sum in bank shares, will have to do with bacon and cabbage and next year he may just have cabbage and potatoes.
I admire many of the young politicians in the Dáil and none do I admire at present more than Brian Lenihan junior. He could have chosen an easier life for he was a bright young man and had a great legal future ahead of him. He began lecturing in law at Trinity College, Dublin, in 1984 and in the same year was called to the Irish Bar. From 1992 to 1995 he was a member of the Criminal Injuries Compensation Tribunal and the Garda Síochana Complaints Appeal Board, and in 1997 appointed a Senior Counsel.
He became ill and this was reported sordidly in the media. In a personal statement on January 4, 2010, detailing the precise nature of his illness, Lenihan said he underwent tests prior to Christmas, which identified a obstruction at the entrance to his pancreas.
He said cancerous tissue was identified in the material that had caused this, and he intended commencing treatment for cancer later that week. Having discussed the matter with his doctors and the Taoiseach, he said he would continue on in the finance portfolio and 'to fulfill the essential functions of my office'.
He is a decent man who deserves a rest from it all close to the noble Shannon and close to the sacred site of Clonmacnoise.
Trust not your experts for they don't seem to know what is going on. Some of these economists have been trained in the Harvard School of economics and yet they directed us into this mess we are in. Members of the Government knew what was happening and they too led us into the mess we are in.
The bankers knew what was happening and they led us on. All the balance sheets were wrong and the builders continued to pour cement and build houses, which may have to be knocked down. It would have been as efficient if they had dumped the cement into Clew Bay and created a new island as great as Clew Bay for at least that amount of cement has been uselessly poured.
I don't know if we can ever return to a simple life. Perhaps the possibility of a simple life is a figment of my imagination.
But it is not a figment of my imagination that the plain people of this country were badly done by leaders in all fields.
The rest is silence for the moment. Some day it may all explode.