Thursday 25 December 2014

Government can’t go on blaming Fianna Fail

Published 10/04/2013 | 05:00

• There has been a subtle change in rhetoric from both government backbenchers and ministers in recent weeks. In both print and broadcast media, we have been reminded – yet again – of the role Fianna Fail played in the state of our economy. Phrases such as "the mess we inherited" and the "legacy of the the previous government" have been bandied about more often than at any time in the last two years.

The citizens of Ireland are painfully aware of the mess that Fianna Fail left us in. Whether it's emigration of loved ones, the struggle to pay bills and mortgages or the raft of new taxes that family homes have to pay out of shrinking pay packets, we have constant reminders of Fianna Fail's legacy and gave that party the appropriate message in the last general election.

The Fine Gael-Labour Government, however, has been in power for over two years now. It has passed two budgets, three referendums and many other pieces of legislation, including the 'promissory note deal'.

Yet we still have government TDs trying to pin our current economic situation on a party that hasn't been in power for over two years.

This 'Pontius Pilate' response to the ever-increasing dole queues and emigration lines is nothing short of an admission of failure. Government policies over the past two years have significantly contributed to the state we find ourselves in today.

The fact that the Government can't accept responsibility for its own actions demonstrates a lack of integrity and indicates another broken promise – the new brand of politics that was trumpeted before the last general election.

Simon O'Connor

Crumlin, Dublin 12

Mrs Thatcher

• I have been shocked by the vitriolic tripe spouted by some people since Margaret Thatcher's death. It is clear that many people still feel for those people affected by her policies all those years ago, but I'd never have imagined it to have erupted into such venom and hatred today.

Margaret Thatcher was not prime minister when she died. She was an old lady with Alzheimer's. I did not agree with her politics at all but for someone of her intellect and personal acumen the manner and cause of her passing is quite sad. A modicum of decorum is called for!

Killian Brennan

Malahide Road, Dublin 17

• It may not seem appropriate just now to examine the late Mrs Thatcher's motives in signing the 1985 Anglo-Irish Agreement that so upset unionists, but it is essential to understanding her psyche.

She later said she regretted signing the agreement, which effectively gave equal status to the nationalist tradition in Northern Ireland.

What is concealed in this public dialogue is Mrs Thatcher's response after the Brighton bomb in 1984 when she was almost killed by the IRA.

We must ask if any political leader could live with that threat hanging over them and we must fill in the gaps by saying that there can be little doubt that she signed the Anglo-Irish Agreement as a means of addressing this threat.

So did she bow to the IRA? Did she make an arrangement to sign such an agreement through the IRA back channels operating with her consent at that time? Why was she never attacked again?

The truth will come out eventually, but was her secret dealings with back channels the reason why the IRA used the big bomb strategy in the 1990s to demoralise her successor John Major?

Rev Ian Paisley can call Mrs Thatcher "great" all he likes, but was she the first prime minister to effectively destroy the unionist position?

John O'Connell

Derry

• Gerry Adams has vehemently condemned Mrs Thatcher for collusion, militarism and causing hurt. The cats must be laughing somewhere.

Cyril Gillen

Drogheda, Co Louth

• In the case of the death of Margaret Thatcher, that well-worn cliche that says "we'll never see his/her like again" scarcely applies, given that we have had almost 35 years of clones slavishly following her disreputable creed, including our own, home-grown, gone-but-not-forgotten PDs.

JD Mangan

Stillorgan, Co Dublin

Tax dodging is immoral

• Your newspaper reported (April 3) on the difficulties the French president, Francois Hollande, finds himself in after revelations about fraud by his chief tax collector.

The fraud was uncovered as part of a major research project by the Washington-based International Consortium of Investigative Journalists. This project revealed deliberate tax dodging by a wide range of wealthy individuals, using the same tactics as a large number of global companies.

A former chief economist at McKinsey has estimated that wealthy individuals and multinationals may have kept as much as $32trn (€24.5trn) from tax collectors globally.

This deprives countries around the world of crucial revenue and leads to the impoverishment of hundreds of millions of people in developing countries.

We estimate that each year tax dodging denies developing countries $900bn (€690bn) worth of income, leaving them needlessly dependent on foreign aid .

The secrecy on which tax dodging relies must end. It is time that Ireland put its full weight behind EU efforts to improve international standards of corporate transparency.

Hans Zomer

Director, Dochas Ireland

Troika godfathers

• The Cypriots came very close recently to sleeping with the fishes. The troika, it would appear, made Cyprus an offer it could not refuse. Cyprus can surely attest to the validity of the infamous Mario Puzo line from the 'Godfather Part III'. "Finance is a gun. Politics is knowing when to pull the trigger."

On April 4 last year, a 77-year-old pensioner resolutely entered Syntagma Square in the heart of Athens and shot himself.

His final words will continue to echo around the square, for an eternity: "I don't want to leave my debts to my children." This was a woebegone old man's "cry of awakening".

One's twilight years are hard earned and dearly paid for and should surely not be snuffed out abruptly by pinching fiscal rectitude and austerity.

One year has passed and nothing much has changed. Well, nothing but the tragic location has changed, from Greece to Cyprus.

The power base of the three families, aka the troika, remains intact. The big question on everyone's lips, of course, is who is the capo di tutti capi?

Donnacha O Dubhghaill

Bray, Co Wicklow

A strange religion?

• Tom Cruise is being complimented on his charming behaviour while mingling with VIPs and fans during his recent visit, yet Irish journalists can't resist referring to his "strange religion of Scientology".

It makes me wonder, would a visitor from another planet consider a religion based on an unmarried virgin's birth of a boy child, conceived without human intercourse, identified by wise men following a star in the sky as the Son of God, who subsequently arose from the dead after his crucifixion, and who, during his lifetime, walked on water, healed lepers and turned water into wine, as "a strange religion" too?

Jeanette F Huber

Kinsale, Co Cork

Irish Independent

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