Tuesday 25 October 2016

Letters: Greed has ensured Ireland is no longer a sovereign state

Published 23/08/2014 | 02:30

Actor Michael Douglas is shown in his role as Gordon Gekko from the 1987 Oliver Stone film
Actor Michael Douglas is shown in his role as Gordon Gekko from the 1987 Oliver Stone film "Wall Street"

"All deleterious consequences of [financial] market activity upon ordinary people . . . are considered natural market outcomes for which no one can be held accountable, as if they were just unfortunate natural disasters."

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Maeve Halpin (Letters, Irish Independent, August 20) illuminates the formidable fallacies and fiascos of the current financial market vagary as visited on ordinary people's lives.

She does so with commendable clarity and a patent penchant for social justice.

While the gambling stock-market gurus revel in their self-aggrandising games of "monopoly money-play", the half-decent community aspects of retail banking are being discarded hand over fist.

Mammon rules all before it, especially the vulnerable who get trampled and tossed aside in the surge towards grotesque riches for some, and near penury for most.

One has to say 'half-decent' in relation to retail banking, as the basic notion and practice of usury is essentially tainted with a 'core-greed' ingredient.

One can understand, in part, the moderate value of a 'loans and interest payback schema', to bolster at reasonable pace a sustainable growth of general social standards.

However, over the last half-century a brutal culture has exponentially strangled any sense of decency in the market fray.

The skewing of interest rates on the back of fickle investment markets leaves little in the way of sustainability, dependability or reasonability.

The 'quick-buck' manual of financial exchange is truly in vogue, and how? The recent and prevailing traumas and collapses in banking would almost appear to have little transformative 
effect on the culture of capital-capture.

Cabals of vulture capitalists are rampaging around the world sucking up bargains galore from diseased loans and properties for next to nothing.

Ireland is no more a sovereign state, not just because of the IMF/ECB oversights and strictures, but because so much of the country's assets belong to money-leeching corporations and adventurists elsewhere.

Ms Halpin champions the recall of the Glass-Steagall Act to re-establish the separation of retail from corporate banking. She is perhaps being dreamily optimistic, but let's hope we can celebrate such optimism, when it comes to pass.

Dreams can come true, if there's a collective will for authentic democracy and a caring societal model of care/share.

Patrick J Cosgrove

Lismore, Co Waterford

Albert, man of the people

As a former member of An Garda Siochana I can now share my memories of my one encounter with the former Taoiseach Albert Reynolds.

In the winter of 1993, while working as a detective in Tallaght, Dublin, myself and a good friend were alerted to the fact that the Taoiseach would be going to the cinema in the Square, accompanied by Kathleen, to see the Crying Game, and we were assigned to mind them during their night out.

Following the film, we would have been quite content to escort them safely back to the state car, until Kathleen declared that she wanted to go to McDonalds.

I recalled, on hearing of the death of Albert, my clear memory of him casually walking through McDonalds, in his trademark trench coat, as he carried a tray of burgers and apple pies followed by his burly security detail. Truly a man of the people.

Colm Featherstone (retired Detective Superintendent)

Rathfarnham, Dublin 16

State's shame over Gaza

As the latest ceasefire unravels, the impact of Israel's blitz in Gaza is coming to light, as is the utter horror of what has been inflicted on the people there over the past five weeks.

The absolute destruction of much of the infrastructure of Gaza now means that the already besieged strip is in the throes of an orchestrated humanitarian crisis.

That, coupled with the rising death toll - now at 2,086, including 541 children, the thousands of injured, the hundreds of thousands displaced - further highlights just how shameful the Irish Government's decision to abstain from a UN resolution calling for an inquiry into war crimes was.

It is long past time that Israel be held accountable for its actions in Gaza and that the illegal siege be lifted.

Zoe Lawlor and Mags O'Brien,
Gaza Action Ireland

Dooradoyle, Limerick

Responsibility for abuse

A very senior Vatican official, Cardinal George Pell, asks us to accept that the Holy See should not have to bear legal liability for priests cited for sex abuse on the grounds that such behaviour is against Vatican policy. He cited a hypothetical example of the employer of a truck driver who molests someone in his truck not, in the Cardinal's opinion, bearing any liability for the employee's acts, on the grounds that sexual molestation contravenes company policy.

Has the esteemed cardinal ever heard of the doctrine of vicarious liability? This holds that an employer does bear a liability for the torts of an employee committed in the course of employment. The injured party who claims to have unfairly suffered loss, or harm, could be either another employee or a total stranger. Therefore, if a truck driver were to molest a stranger in a truck owned by their employer in the course of his employment, it is highly likely that there would be a substantial civil case to answer.

This would be separate from a criminal trial and based strictly on legal liability and not merely a moral responsibility.

Myles Duffy

Glenageary, Co Dublin

Tackling educational barriers

Higher Education Authority chief executive Tom Boland has a point when he says that 'educational disadvantage, mirrors in large part economic disadvantage'. But it is not the whole story by any means ['Children of farmers are three times more likely to go to college', Irish Independent, August 22].

Your article tells us that children of farmers, whose average income from farming is €24,000, 'are three times more likely to go to college'. The article also tells us that one of the counties sending the highest proportion of school leavers (60pc) to college is Leitrim, the economic profile of which is far from that of affluent Dublin 6.

This is so despite the fact that rural students from relatively modest backgrounds have to pay for accommodation, while urban students can live at home. Overcoming the educational disadvantages that are encountered in certain urban areas, not all of which are economic, is a challenge that should be taken up by policymakers. The return to society and to the people involved would be immense.

A Leavy

Sutton, Dublin 13

Demands on abortion law

"The State acknowledges the right to life of the unborn and, with due regard to the equal right to life of the mother, guarantees in its laws to respect, and, as far as practicable, by its laws to defend and vindicate that right."

This provision in our Constitution, which so many are now demanding be deleted, has protected the lives of two people in this country, where, in many other countries, one would have been killed at the behest of the other. Are we to subject the right to life of everybody in this country to the momentary opinions of somebody else?

Killian Foley-Walsh


Irish Independent

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