Tuesday 25 October 2016

The Banking Inquiry is a futile, self-serving exercise

Published 31/07/2015 | 02:30

Former Anglo CEO David Drumm
Former Anglo CEO David Drumm

Winston Churchill always believed that jaw-jaw was better than war-war. Pity he missed the Banking Inquiry. There are certain situations which require all-out war against the treatment of helpless, vulnerable people, sacrificed on the altar of greed. The bank guarantee is one of them.

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Have we all gone mad? We know that the banking inquiry is a futile exercise. And still we permit politicians to waste weeks of valuable time, and tons of paper, on this exercise. Worse, we allow witnesses to present self-serving statements before their appearance at the inquiry. Then they clarify their self-serving statements, before their appearance at the inquiry.

Then they appear at the Banking Inquiry and read their self-serving statements on television, to make sure we get all the self-serving nuances just right. And finally, they lob back the answers to soft ball questions which will never elicit the information we need.

And so to David Drumm. It was actually mooted that he give his self-serving statement by video link, having already submitted a written version. This was given serious consideration. Might I remind the members of the Banking Inquiry of the comments made by Judge Bailey, in open court, in respect of Mr Drumm's character? He is "not remotely credible". His evidence was "replete with knowingly false statements, failures to disclose, efforts to misdirect and outright lies." And certain members of the Banking Inquiry were prepared to invite this person to lecture them on the failure of Anglo Irish Bank and how it was just one of those things?

Let us consider that the admitted interim cost of the banking inquiry is more than €4m. Give that money to Barnardos CEO Fergus Finlay. Watch what he can do with it.

Patricia R Moynihan

Castaheany, Co Dublin

Adoption legislation lacks vision

I am frequently staggered by the lack of long-term vision and discernment within the current Government.

The latest example of policy-making based on short-sighted emotion and hard cases, rather than reason, is a case in point. The Government's planned legislation on adoption, which would make it easier for adopted children to discover their birth parents, may undermine the whole concept of adoption in Ireland.

When birth parents make the difficult decision to place their baby for adoption, it is done on the understanding that the biological parents and the child may never meet again, and that suitable and loving adoptive parents would take the child as their own. Under the Government's proposed legislation, however, biological parents would no longer be confident that the child they might place for adoption might not soon return to them, and adoptive parents would no longer be confident that their adopted child would definitively be theirs.

Adoption, generally speaking, offers a double blessing: it gives a good home to a child who may not otherwise have one, and it gives a child to a husband and wife who may not be able to conceive their own.

For many pregnant parents in difficult circumstances, who feel that they cannot keep their child, the option of placing their child for adoption after birth also acts as a positive and life-affirming alternative to abortion.

The ill-considered, planned legislation on adoption goes a long way toward undermining this option.

John B Reid

Monkstown, Co Dublin

The bells toll for thee

If people are so keen to silence the Angelus and church bells in every town and village in the country, perhaps they should campaign for sharia law to be adopted in Ireland. Under it, dhimmis (Jews and Christians) are tolerated as long as they accept a second-class status and do not engage in public religious displays such as ringing church bells.

The way it is implemented in such countries as Saudi Arabia should therefore be a model to convince the general population of its superiority to the 'decadent' Western lifestyle.

They might respond with the full quote from John Donne: "And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; It tolls for thee".

Martin D Stern

Salford, England

Israel is a beacon for minorities

Colin Smith's astute analysis of how any attempt to install and sustain democratic regimes in the Middle East has either never occurred, or been strangled at birth by "Inter-tribal and (or) sectarian violence" should act as a reality check for "liberal and conservative" thinkers in Ireland (Letters, Irish Independent, July 30).

There is of course one exception to his argument; since its inception in 1948, Israel has been a resolutely democratic state electing governments representing both the left and right ideological perspective.

Moreover, it is the only state in the Middle East where gay, lesbian and transgender people are guaranteed equal rights, a position that is joyfully celebrated in one of the world's largest pride parades.

Mr Smith cites Nick Cohen to emphasise that this inclusivity would, indeed could, never happen in any country controlled fundamentalist Islamic groups, which would, as he rightly points out, lead to laws "designed to oppress women and other groups".

Thankfully, Israel stands as a beacon of hope for women and minority rights - long may this continue to be the case.

Dr Kevin McCarthy

Kinsale, Co Cork

Naval rescues must continue

The recovery of the bodies of the victims of people smugglers ( Irish Independent, July 29) underlines the urgent need for our naval service to continue its presence in the search and rescue operations in the Mediterranean.

It is important to recognise that there are thousands of men, women and children who would not be alive today if it were not for their actions, and those of their colleagues on the LÉ Eithne beforehand. Ireland has taken a lead in this multi-national operation and the actions of the naval service should be a source of national pride.

In the coming weeks, the Government has indicated it will be reviewing the continuing deployment. The Immigrant Council of Ireland will be asking that our role in the operation will continue as long as people are risking everything by taking to the high seas.

We believe that by doing so the Government would be reflecting the views of the Irish people, who want the expertise of our navy to be used in this life-saving operation.

Brian Killoran

Immigrant Council of Ireland, Dublin 2

Irish Independent

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