We live in a frightening time of right-wing populism, xenophobia, surveillance, violence and the resurgence of the white nationalism. While few of these problems are new, the immediacy of new media and how much smaller it makes the world seem can make bad news feel like a hopeless barrage.
Ireland as a nation is still recovering from the economic recession of 2008 and the subsequent austerity measures. A new generation is growing more politically conscious but any clear outlet or ideology.
In a climate reacting to Donald Trump and political or religious extremism, ideology can should like a curse word. But political movements without guiding principals are inherently reactionary.
Irish people have to ask ourselves what matters to us most and build a political vision that brings that issues together, not simply throw ourselves off each bridge as we come to it.
Whether it be the environment, repealing the eighth amendment, ending direction provision or combating poverty there are no shortage of things the Irish public feels strongly about.
The Right to Water campaign proved to many that mass movement can upset established political goals.
The Marriage Equality referendum brought a generation that had been labeled as apathetic to the forefront of political life. That same generation that has re-energised the call of reproductive rights in this country with ‘Repeal the 8th’. Brexit too showed many that a lot could change in an instant when the political establishment was divorced from feeling on the ground.
How can we do better still in the future?
In a republic the state is responsible for all its citizens equally but the citizen are as equally responsible for the state. Can Ireland awaken a sense of civic nationalism to take ownership over its political, social and economic future?
We can try.