Truth be told, I was a little excited to be picking up this book, but wild things like Gini coefficients, they really float my boat. However, I got really excited when I started reading it and realised, with huge relief that this book is written with the very purpose of getting people to pick it up, read it, absorb it, and perhaps most crucially, talk about it. And not just the social policy nerds either, normal people too!
Tom has a relaxed and contemplative writing style, and in his presentation of history, facts and debate, invites the reader to ask the same questions he is asking. In his run through of how we got here, there is a freshness in how he presents the context of the present experience of Ireland, economically, and very importantly, socially also. There is an ease of how he brings the reader along to ask the bigger questions of Ireland, and also to remember the key issue is that we have to ask the big questions, it is our civic duty. Society serves us, we do not serve it. This books stands as reminder to us to act on our agency, to engage. This very firmly about opening a debate that as a nation have long abandoned.
Too often we turn off, the reasons are many, but in general my sense of the national conscious is that it is weary. The rise of cultural nationalism, Brexit, rising poverty rates, a health service on its knees, people at their limit of bad news, we are full. The beauty of this book is that it explores the issues, but gives us the tools to go and create solutions to our problems. Another reminder, that we the people are in control, it is our hands on the rudder, it is our ship to steer, and after a read of this book, it will no longer be a ship of fools. It is not merely a commentary, it is a guide.
In Tom Healy, we have found a fresh and empowering writer, ultimately, an extremely social economist. And in his book, we have a toolkit for creating the Ireland that we want, that people will do better from, it truly is time for us to go and make our own collective destiny, for it can be a bright one, we just have to remember that.
I was gifted a copy of this book for the purposes of review, it is available to purchase here: https://newisland.ie/product/an-ireland-worth-working-for/