Saturday 22 October 2016

Institutions that talk rubbish

Published 12/07/2015 | 02:30

'Gene Kerrigan is right when he says the media 'should talk about it' when the Taoiseach is talking rubbish'
'Gene Kerrigan is right when he says the media 'should talk about it' when the Taoiseach is talking rubbish'

Sir ‑- Gene Kerrigan is right when he says the media 'should talk about it' when the Taoiseach is talking rubbish [Soapbox, July 5].

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This point needs to be especially emphasised when we remember that the government and the financial institutions were talking rubbish during the whole decade of the boom right up to the day the Troika arrived in Merrion Street to bail out a country that could not pay its way.

Back then, apart from a very small number, neither media nor academia said anything apart from agreeing with what was happening. That should not be repeated. So congratulations to Gene Kerrigan.

A. Leavy

Sutton, Dublin 13


Michael Ring throws a canard

Sir - When Michael Ring, a minister, has to use the letters' page of Ireland's top-selling Sunday paper to get his message out, then he's clearly losing. (July 5). Throwing that much abused canard called "the Taxpayer" in front of the truck has lost its effectiveness. Most "Taxpayers" given a choice would much prefer the sites and buildings THEY saved be given to the communities by Nama. The "Taxpayer" is the last person thought of in the smoke rooms of the mega deal.

Colm O' Rourke is a man I have on occasion felt like choking due to his Sunday Game remarks about Mayo, my county. Time eventually forced me to see that Colm wasn't too far off the money in his opinions, painful though they were.

As a Mayo man living in Meath, as a "Taxpayer" can I offer apologies for the crass and ignorant remark in Mr Ring's closing sentence regarding Colm O' Rourke's private business dealings.

Mr Ring reminds us of the largesse he has lavished on sporting institutions under his watch.

Correction Mr Ring, this largesse is due entirely to the "Taxpayer", not himself.

Colm O'Rourke doesn't need the likes of me defending him - two All Ireland's won on the battlefields attest to his battling prowess. As a "Taxpayer" though, I expect a modicum of intelligence and good manners from elected politicians. Mr Ring fell short in both of those.

Some worthy, coincidently from Nama, also backed up Mr Rings assertions in a letter beneath his.

As said earlier, when government ministers and State quangos feel the need to use the letter pages of the papers to get the message across, then that message is not been conveyed at source.

During a Dáil debate, Mr Ring took umbrage at Batt O'Keeffe telling him to return to his former career delivering bread. Colm O' Rourke wasn't afforded Dáil privilege to defend himself.

John Cuffe

Dunboyne, Meath


Obligations of Nama to 1916

Sir - Martin Whelan, Head of Corporate Relations, states that Nama is 'obliged under the law to maximise the sales proceeds from its loan portfolio for the benefit of all taxpayers' (Letters July 5).

The Moore Street area, including its lanes of history, is the last extant 1916 battleground and according to the National Museum is 'the most important historic site in modern Irish history'.

It was the location of the last HQ of the 1916 Provisional Government. The O' Rahilly was killed in action here. Five signatories to the Proclamation spent their last hours of freedom in the Moore Street terrace before their surrender to British forces.

Incredibly, this site is now set to be auctioned off by Nama as part of the Chartered Land loan portfolio. The cradle of the Nation reduced to the status of a mere item of commercial exchange.

How can the disposal of this sacred ground by a publicly funded State agency possibly be seen to be 'for the benefit of all taxpayers'?

This is a 1916 Centenary scandal if ever there was one.

James Connolly Heron,

Proinsias O Rathaile,

David Ceannt,

1916 Relatives Centenary Initiative,

Ranelagh, Dublin 6


Balance in the abortion debate

Sir - Dearbhail McDonald speaks a lot of sense in calling for balance regarding the abortion debate (Abortion debate has much to learn from equality referendum July 5). It is refreshing to read a journalist offer a balanced view on such an emotive area.

I think she is right in calling for both sides to acknowledge that most people currently have a position somewhere in the middle between wanting to respect all life, avoiding the de-facto abortion on demand laws of Britain while wanting to show compassion to women who may be suicidal, a victim of rape or pregnant with a baby diagnosed with fatal foetal abnormality.

Unlike Amnesty International and some other pro-choice lobby groups, she outlines the importance of any proposed legislation offering assurances to those with concerns on time limits, as well as he conscientious objections of health professionals that might be required to administer an abortion.

While I am of a pro-life position, I would welcome debate that is respectful and allows everyone to be able to consider calmly both the rights of mothers and their unborn, and the health and well being of women as far as possible.

Frank Browne

Templeogue, Dublin 16


Burke's view of democracy

Sir - Reading Eoghan Harris's article (July 5), his mention of Aristotle reminded me that Socrates/Plato suggested (in The Republic, I think) that 'the verdict of a majority is a verdict of ignorance'. Add to that the speed of the referendum and one has a perfect recipe for democracy perverted. How wise was Edmund Burke when he said that democracy was a bad form of government?

Cal Hyland,

Rosscarbery, West Cork


The failures of the Greek government

Sir - The problems in the Greek economy came to a head because of failure by successive governments there to collect taxes and a reluctance on the part of the electorate to contribute towards austerity measures. Why should other EU countries bail out any members state engaging in this sort of consistent default and mismanagement of its affairs?

Events in Greece have all the hallmarks of history repeating itself there. The glory days of ancient Greece, according to the historian Edward Gibbon, "ground to a halt when Athens wanted, not to give to society, but for society to give to them. When the freedom they wished for was freedom from responsibility, then Athens ceased to be free".

Like every other system of government, democracy can be used by both the electorate and its public representatives in a constructive manner or it can be employed to blow everybody's house down. The Greeks choose the latter course and while we too have a socialist party in power here, credit must go to Eamon Gilmore, Pat Rabbitte and Joan Burton for putting the country and its people before party political considerations. For this my vote will go to Labour next time round.

Pat Daly

Midleton, Co. Cork


Cowen, the rabbit

Sir - Brian Cowen's testimony during the Oireachtas Banking Inquiry revealed little more than what every man and his dog already knew. With the assistance of former finance minister Brian Lenihan, another man out of his depth, the former Taoiseach was little more than an arthritic rabbit staring into the headlights of an advancing vehicle, perplexed, bewildered and bemused at what to do next.

The gravity and enormity of the banking collapse was way beyond his and Brian Lenihan's ability and competence.

Vincent O'ConnellNew Ross, Co. Wexford


€40k to retrieve loan letters

Sir - I read with disbelief a report in the Sunday Independent of July 5 regarding a reply by Michael Noonan to Michael McGrath who was enquiring about IBRC loan facility letters.

Mr. Noonan said with a straight face, that it would cost €40,000 to retrieve these letters as "they were not in electronic format" and it would take six to eight weeks. To put that in context, that is €6,600 per week! Who do these people think they are fooling?

In an organisation such as this erstwhile bank, one would assume that there would be filing cabinets that would be in place specifically to store that kind of information and one would only need to send an office boy (or girl) down to the basement for a day or two and retrieve the relevant documents. Unless of course even these employees are on similarly inflated salaries (see above).

No, I think the real reason is that the Minister and this ghost bank, which we own, does not see fit to be open and transparent with the taxpayers who are funding it.

So much for the promises made by the parties now in government about being up front with the people.

Larry Parsons.

Rathdrum, Co. Wicklow


Sir - I was looking through the sports section of the Sunday Independent (July 5) and was struck by how under-represented women's sports are. In 14 pages of sports the first mention of womens sports is a story about Danish tennis player Caroline Wozniacki on page 13.

In total, 36 stories were written in the sports section, with one about women's sport. Under this story in the results section is a small picture of a Wexford camogie player who got player of the match against Limerick. The only other mention of women's sports is the World University Games in soccer and the results of 2 camogie matches. Am I to assume then that a story about a Danish female tennis player who is returning to form is deemed more news worthy than any Irish women's sporting achievements last week?

I have two daughters who I hope will play lots of sports in the future as they grow up. In the local GAA club there are 30 girls in my eldest daughters age group. There are about 80 in the boys section, which makes about a 75/25 split in terms of participation. Should this not be reflected in the media coverage of sports in an age of increasing childhood obesity?

As a teenager living in Norway during the early 1990s, I used to watch a weekly hour of sporting highlights shown on the national broadcaster NRK tv. I would regularly see highlights of most of the women's premier league Olympic handball matches, and soccer matches. No wonder Norway has one of the best soccer and Olympic handball (women's) teams in the world.

I would love it if one day soon my daughters can see their role models shown on TV, written about in newspapers and spoken about on radio here in Ireland.

Paul Jensen

Glasnevin, Dublin

Sunday Independent

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