An anti-hero up against 'the suits'
Published 05/07/2015 | 02:30
Sir - There surely is a talent in correctly reading Everyman's take on the TV series True Detective as Declan Lynch did in last Sunday's Sunday Independent. It made me smile to read my own exact response to the opening episode so accurately described by Lynch, hitting the nail on the head and well summed up in the cartoon, "I haven't a clue what's going on, but I think I enjoyed it." And I think that's how many of us feel about the carry-on re Greece versus the Rest in Europe. If this was True Detective, or a film, I think we would all be rooting for the dashing Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis as a sort of anti-hero fighting the "suits". Declan Lynch's article on Greece versus Europe makes a certain sense in that "Paddy" could indeed be perceived as "The bullied becoming the bully" although Eoghan Harris also has a point in his column stating that the status quo in Greece needs to change drastically.
However, I think a point being missed by many in this debate is that the economic or "fiscal" risks are not necessarily the most important of those involved. I think the most important one is the geo-political risk. We have seen the atrocities committed in Tunisia, France and Kuwait last week. We have seen the incursion of Russian forces in Eastern Ukraine and the annexation of Crimea by Russia. We have seen Putin's courting of Greece and the supply route for Russian gas being routed through Greece and there have been suggestions that Russian financial aid might be forthcoming were Europe to abandon Greece. We have seen how the political vacuum in Libya has resulted in thousands of immigrants coming through there as a starting point across the Mediterranean. Right now Europe needs to keep all the friends it has to its east. That geo-political consideration will, in the long run, prove more important than the money concerns which seem to overshadow all discussions re Greece versus Europe in the last number of months.
Mallow, Co Cork
Worst way to a united Europe
Sir- The article "Europeans are authors of their own weakness", by Dan O'Brien (June 28) tells of a Europe on the way to marginalisation and plunged into a dwindling spiral of loss of influence and credibility.
Let me say this: We Europeans are not Europeans. Yes, we live in the old continent but each country is in its own way historically characterised by differences. Hence, the worst way to try to achieve a United Europe was to establish its foundations on economic and monetary ground.
Unity of a country or of several countries under one flag cannot be achieved durably under the flag of financial powers. The Europe which is weakening is that of the banks and of the financial powers, not the Europe of the ordinary people who, if you observe carefully, have never become Europeans, beyond some market regulations.
Furthermore, the leaders of this Europe have abdicated their independence in favour of the American Empire: how to explain otherwise the war against Libya, certainly not in the interest of a prosperous and pacific Europe! The thousands and thousands of immigrants are simply the first direct consequence of the war aiming at the destabilization of the Mediterranean. And what to say about the policy adopted by European leaders against Russia? Is this creating a better Europe or a more enslaved one? Third and last example: Greece has been doomed to bankruptcy for some years now, this process did not start this month, but years ago. Greece appears to be the first falling piece in a domino effect.
There will never be a really united Europe until the people of this continent take responsibility for their own cultural, political and historical autonomy. There is no future for a united Europe simply because the Europe that we have in front of us is united in a currency and not in common ideals guiding common politics. Furthermore, Europe has never been a superpower but its countries, individually, have achieved influence over the world at various epochs.
So, my conclusion is that we, the ordinary Europeans, don't need a super-State whose aim is to subjugate us unto another super-power by financial and monetary tactics. I would exhort then the people of Greece to show the way, once again, to a future oriented toward justice, democracy and truth.
Kenmare, Co Kerry
Slipping into the language mire
Sir - It is with great regret than I am writing this mail.
The headline (June 28) on Joe Brolly's column was "Just sh#t defending".
I find this language an abusive intrusion on my Sunday reading time. I don't expect this type of gutter press from Ireland's leading broadsheet. There are numerous other adjectives which the author/editor could have used to describe his point.
With the inclusion of such derisive language in your paper, what message does it present to the younger generation?
I hope to see less of it in the future.
The belittling of teaching vocation
Sir -Your belittling of the teaching profession (LIFE, June 28) both sickens and irritates me. I am a reader of your paper for a long number of years and have read the snide anti-public sector comments and in particular the anti-teacher articles and I continued to be an reader but today is different. Today you brought it to a whole new level and today is the day our relationship ends. How dare you belittle a profession that is ultimately a vocation and I challenge any member of your staff especially Pat Fitzpatrick to a day in the classroom and see how he copes!
Bet this won't be published.
I am a primary teacher for 14 years and proud.
Kilmacow, Co Kilkenny
Have we become a cowboy state?
Sir - Once muted, Ireland could become the 51st. State of USA, with recent happenings one wonders - has it? Possibly a subsidiary of Texas, the Wild West, that was made famous by John Wayne, Roy Rodgers and many other renowned cowboy film stars of the past.
It's grotesque to imagine in Ireland of today, rustlers were able overnight to steal 100 animals, 75 cattle and 25 sheep valued at €100,000, from the lands of a 35-year-old farmer and his wife outside Kilbeggan, Co Westmeath. Yet, it's real. Recalling the film of John B Keane's The Field, the hollering and roaring of man and beast to get just 25 animals over the cliff, makes one wonder at the fuss that must be created to get 100 cattle and sheep on to haulage trucks, without a sound, in the dead of night. It must surely call into question Department of Agriculture safeguards in tagging identification, accountability and traceability - believed to give such credibility to the livestock trade.
The theft was a major blow to this unfortunate farming family's livelihood. The fact that over 200 cattle have similarly vanished since January 2014 suggests the sheriff and his posse may have to come back!
Thurles, Co Tipperary
Impartial financial advice by brokers
Sir- Your opinion piece last Sunday (Business, June 28) entitled: 'How to ensure you are not over-insured' unfairly tarnishes the reputation of financial brokers who provide impartial financial advice to consumers.
Their success is typically maintained on the basis of recommendations from satisfied clients. They are also legally compelled to act in the best interest of clients under regulations by the Central Bank. I seriously question the thesis that over insurance is an issue. Having advised roughly 2,000 clients on life cover, I can recall only once meeting someone who was ostensibly over covered. I advised him accordingly but he chose not to reduce his cover.
The rationale used to support the contention was the commission payment system. Our 890 member firms generally offer a choice of paying the broker by way of fee or commission or a combination of both. The consumer decides. We are of the view that the payment method is not the key issue but that it is transparent and, crucially, the quality of the advice. In the UK where commission was banned, roughly one third of people who previously used brokers have not been able to afford up-front fees for advice.
The piece questioned if Royal London's gain in market share was not directly linked to commission. I would suggest rather that it has more to do with their offer of a price pledge to the lowest market price plus a 5pc discount on premium for the life of a contract.
Brokers advising clients to place business (mortgage protection and term) with them would be acting in their best interest, as long as they believe there is nothing defective with the policy terms or claims history, which I have no reason to believe there is.
An independent study PIBA commissioned with Standard Life in 2013 found, mirroring international research, that those who use a financial broker have nearly double the savings and investments of those who don't and are more than twice as likely to have a pension.
Professional Insurance Brokers Association
While I agree with Eilis O'Hanlon (Sunday Independent, June 28) that
it's up to the Irish people, not the United Nations, to decide what to
do about abortion, I do not agree with the holding of a referendum to
repeal the Eighth Amendment.
As a written Constitution should enshrine and protect the basic rights
of the people, and as the right to life is the most important human
right, it is just and equitable that the right to life of all human
beings, born and unborn, be recognised in the Constitution.
The 2013 abortion law, which permitted 26 abortions to take place in
Irish hospitals last year, three on the grounds of threatened suicide,
was forced through the Dail and Seanad by this Government, despite the
fact that expert witnesses at the 2013 Oireachtas hearings on abortion
stated that abortion was not a suitable treatment for suicidal
Any referendum on abortion must be one that gives the people the
opportunity to reject induced abortion on the grounds permitted in the
2013 abortion legislation. The holding of a referendum which does not
give the people the opportunity to reverse this legislation, but
instead intents only to permit the repeal of the Eighth Amendment,
would be a betrayal of the principles of equality we claim to value,
and an abandonment of the promise of the 1916 Proclamation to cherish
all the children of the nation equally.