Letters

Thursday 21 August 2014

Letters: Our alleged Government just rolled over for the EU yet again

Published 26/06/2014 | 02:30

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The European Central Bank in Frankfurt
The European Central Bank in Frankfurt

'Lions led by donkeys'; nearly a century on, that's how the British infantry (including tens of thousands of Irish) and its officer corps are remembered from World War I. I wonder, a century from now, how will we and the current Irish political leadership be remembered?

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Cast your mind back two years to June 28, 2012 and yet another eurozone summit meeting and the short statement issued on the separation of bank debt from sovereign debt, which included: "The Eurogroup will examine the situation of the Irish financial sector with the view of further improving the sustainability of the well-performing adjustment programme."

Remember Enda Kenny's 'seismic shift' boast? – "I'm a hard grafter and, as some of them found out, they shouldn't tangle with me too often." Remember Eamon Gilmore's 'game-changer' bombast? Two years on, what has shifted, what has changed?

For starters, we've had Michael Noonan's acclaimed promissory notes deal. Notes Michael himself described in an RTE interview as "illegal, totally" but which now sees that €25bn of disputed debt transformed to sovereign bonds.

The first of those bonds is sold this year, €0.5bn. That money is then destroyed by the Irish Central Bank; €0.5bn a year for the next five years, borrowed and burned, then €1bn a year for the following five years, €2bn a year for eight years and finally, in 2032, the last bond, €1.5bn.

A total of €25bn that had been used at the behest of the EC/ECB to bail out two bust banks, now borrowed by this broke and broken country and burned at the behest of that same EC/ECB, all set up by a compliant, obeisant Kenny/Gilmore Government without even a murmur of protest. They didn't even ask, nevermind confront.

Then there's the vaunted ESM from which we were to receive the billions refund of the 'legacy' bank debt arising from the June 2012 statement. The fund has been established and Ireland has already contributed a €1bn share to that, which, of course, we also had to borrow and on which we are now paying interest. What have we received? How much 'legacy' debt relief? Not a cent.

The actual legacy of this Government, the legacy this generation leaves, is debt piled on debt, 40 years of debt-slavery to our new European masters, all uncontested.

DIARMUID O'FLYNN, BALLYHEA, CO CORK

 

A GAME TO GET YOUR TEETH INTO

Brian McDevitt is bowled over with the World Cup; "The Beautiful Game," (Irish Independent, June 25). So am I. Yes indeed, it is a brilliant tournament. Greece looked dead and buried until a penalty in the dying seconds. Striker Georgios Samaras did the business.

Leaving aside the fact that a particular player in a game on at the same time obviously had an empty stomach, this is truly a memorable tournament.

TOMMY RODDY, SALTHILL, GALWAY

 

URUGUAY ARE LEAVING THEIR MARK

Italian footballers have a reputation for being soft, for making a meal out of tackles. Perhaps that legacy can be passed on to Uruguay. The Azzurris are starting to look like a hard-bitten side.

T G GAVIN, DUBLIN 4

 

LET'S STOP BEATING OURSELVES UP

With the halcyon boom times behind us, grim obsessing over our 'shameful' past seems to be the perfect new zeitgeist.

Swapping private confession with a priest for secular public confession in print and radio, our feelings of guilt don't seem to change. We combine this with an insular tendency to assume that everything good or bad that happens here is unique, even if we should know rationally it is not.

One recent letter writer claims "we have no excuse as a society" for the scandals of the past. Actually, we have two – we are not that past society and we did not live in those circumstances.

Another correspondent made the usual stock-in-trade denunciations of our "violent roots" – 1916 etc – while engaging in anguished hand-wringing about the need for "a national debate on where Ireland is heading".

Those 'violent roots' stretch back to Tudor conquest, the Normans and beyond and similar can be found in any country one cares to name. How ironic, to complain about the 'rudderless' state of our nation while castigating the time when young men and women, facing down threats, took the destiny of this country in their very hands.

On one point I agree – as long as we have to put up with listening to endless lectures on our 'shamefulness' or 'worthlessness' as a people, it is unlikely we will see much progress.

NICK FOLLEY, CARRIGALINE, CO CORK

 

SUPPORT EGYPT'S JOURNALISTS

It is indeed a sad day when journalism is considered a crime. But this is little consolation for the three Al-Jazeera journalists Peter Greste, Mohamed Fahmy and Baher Mohamed, who have been jailed for seven years on terror-related charges.

The Obama administration has pleaded with Egyptian president Abdel Fattah el-Sisi to release the journalists but he said he would not interfere with the judicial ruling.

This means that the only option left for the journalists is a lengthy appeal process which may not begin until October.

The verdict has resulted in international condemnation of the Egyptian government's policy of imprisoning opposing voices.

DAIRE BURKE-CARROLL, KILTIMAGH, CO MAYO

 

GAA MUST MOVE ON TIMING

Dermot Ryan (Irish Independent, June 24) rightly extols the outcome of the Kilkenny v Galway game on Sunday.

However, the conclusion of the game on RTE witnessed calls by some who should know better for the GAA rules to be effectively set aside in the interest of setting up a replay.

After Galway had equalised the commentator called for the ref to "blow it up".

Then one of the studio analysts stated that the referee was right to "blow it up" as "neither side deserved to lose".

It is really about time that the GAA moves to arrange that time-keeping in inter-county games is taken out of the hands of the referee and managed off the field, as has been shown to work in ladies' football.

PAUL HARRINGTON, NAVAN, CO MEATH

 

TEACHERS EDUCATED TOGETHER

In your edition of Saturday, June 21, the Irish Independent ran an article celebrated the new structure of teacher training with the following opening paragraph: "Trainee primary teachers from the Catholic and Protestant traditions are to be educated together for the first time."

In the interests of historical accuracy, that statement is untrue.

Your correspondent may, understandably, be unfamiliar with education developments in the 1970s, but I wish to put on the record that Trinity College School of Education provided a degree course, the BEd, for three external colleges of education – the Church of Ireland College of Education, Colaiste Mhuire Marino and the Froebel College Blackrock – and it did this from 1974 onwards.

I may add that Trinity also provided from the mid-60s teacher training for post-primary teachers on an admissions policy devoid of any criteria based on denominational allegiance. Long may such policies persist in Irish education.

SEAMAS O BUACHALLA, KILLINEY, CO DUBLIN

Irish Independent

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