Book Review September 2023

Ship of Fools by Fintan O’Toole

As I began to read this book I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry or just stand open mouthed in astonishment. It is subtitled “How stupidity and Corruption sank the Celtic Tiger” and it appears to be true.

If you are not one for finance or politics then this is not a book for you but if you like a bit of modern history tinged with all the malevolence of any good TV period drama then it is perfect. The author goes through various aspects the Celtic tiger and I was amazed at the corruption and the bare-faced cheek of many senior Irish politicians and alleged businessmen (and yes, it would appear to be men). How the electorate seem to have tolerated the abuse and even embrace it astounds me. I thought Trump had it when every time he faced a new charge he went up in the polls little realising that this wasn’t new and here in Ireland people who had been convicted and gone to gaol were allowed to stand again and were re-elected with even bigger majorities (including one in Sligo).

The lack of control and the turning of many a blind eye was quite unbelievable to me and actually made Boris Johnson look relatively modest. What I really found interesting was that having shed the shackles of British colonial landlords the Irish willing allowed a few wealthy (with your money apparently) to effectively do the same.

This was a very scary book and I hope that the appropriate lessons have been learned because if they haven’t the future looks bleak.

A very good read.

Church of Ireland parishes in Collooney, Ballymote and Ballisodare