Dan O’Brien: Our national inferiority complex fuels the move towards angry populism

Ireland is a reasonably well-functioning country by European standards, but you wouldn’t think it to listen to the rising number of ‘failed staters’

Ireland’s immigration rate was the fourth-highest in the EU in 2019, while our attractiveness as a location for many of the world’s leading corporations has gone from strength to strength. Picture: Adam Bialek

The phrase “getting to Denmark” is shorthand among scholars for political perfection, or as near as it is possible to be to that utopian state. The Scandinavian country has long been known for its efficiency, prosperity, accountability, lack of corruption and equality. Emulating Denmark is what those who seek the magic formula of good government advocate.

Ireland, by contrast, and according to some, is a “failed state” and a “corrupt kip”. Everything is in crisis. ...