Sunday 25 September 2016

The scars of political battle can last an eternity

Published 29/01/2016 | 02:30

The Dáil chamber in Leinster House. Photo: Tony Gavin
The Dáil chamber in Leinster House. Photo: Tony Gavin

There once was a little politician who had a bad temper. Every day in Leinster House he would go off on one.

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The Ceann Comhairle gave him a bag of nails, and told him that every time he lost his temper, he must hammer a nail into the back of the fence outside.

The first day the irate politician had driven 37 nails into the fence.

Over the next few weeks, as he learned to control his anger, the number of nails hammered daily gradually dwindled down. He discovered it was easier to hold his temper than to drive those nails into the fence.

Finally the day came when the politician didn't lose his temper at all. He reported back to the Ceann Comhairle, who suggested that the politician now pull out one nail for each day that he was able to hold his temper.

The days passed and the politician was finally able to tell the Ceann Comhairle that all the nails were gone.

The Ceann Comhairle took the politician by the hand and led him to the fence. He said: "You have done well, my son, but look at the holes in the fence. The fence will never be the same. When you say things in anger, they leave a scar just like this one. It won't matter how many times you say you're sorry, the scar still remains."

The little politician then understood how powerful his words were. He looked up at his Ceann Comhairle and said: "I hope you can forgive me, Ceann Comhairle, for the holes I put in you."

"Of course I can," said the Ceann Comhairle.

And they both lived happily ever after.

So the moral of this tale is simple. Forgiveness comes easy for many people, but the scars of the past, they never go away. If you are a politician, watch what you say today, because sometimes the price isn't worth the reward.

Anthony Woods

Ennis, Co Clare


Lessons from Banking Inquiry

Kevin Doyle's analysis of the Banking Inquiry said it all in a nutshell (Irish Independent, January 27). It was a verdict long figured-out by most even before the inquiry's report. The greed of the banks, politicians and developers was all too obvious.

The sad and hurtful finding was how unjustly the EU Commission handled Ireland's bail-out, with the ECB's insistence we pay all the senior bondholders. If everything was properly supervised by the banks and controls observed, there was a possibility of the crisis being averted and no bailout necessary.

Doyle described the real villains of the piece with clarity - "the regulators were worse than a neutered bullock in a field of heifers". Farmers must be flattered seeing their stock-in-trade, often referred to in far coarser lingo, described in such cultured terms and associated with this elitist circle!

James Gleeson

Thurles, Co Tipperary


Now the Banking Inquiry report has been published with much fanfare from the ruling elite, what has been achieved? Nothing, I fear.

The champagne bottles will be popping in the board rooms of the toxic banks. But will there be any consequences for those responsible for all the austerity measures inflicted on us taxpayers?

The inquiry is critical of the Central Bank, the Financial Services Ombudsman, the Department of Finance, and past Taiosigh and Finance Ministers. All of these financial wizards are now enjoying obscene pensions - the fruits of our labours - as is the norm in our lovely little country.

Surely those responsible should have their pensions adjusted to the minimum wage in line with all those citizens they have betrayed.

Mike Mahon

Templeogue, Dublin 6W


Abused are given no voice

Last week we heard of a trial where a man raped a young woman with Down Syndrome.

Then on Wednesday we heard of a young teenager with a learning disability who was a victim of a sex attack in a Dublin park.

We also learnt this week of a girl with a profound disability who was allowed to remain in a foster home for 13 years after warnings that she was being physically and sexually abused.

She lived there from the age of 11 to 31 - that's 20 years of abuse. She has no voice and being profoundly disabled could do nothing to protect herself. The HSE should have protected her.

My heart is sore. Why is there such evil in the world and so much in Ireland? What are we going to do about it? This affects me greatly as I am a mum to a beautiful boy who has a severe-to-profound intellectual and physical disability.

Aisling McNiffe

Straffan, Co Kildare


Saving rural Ireland

Reading the piece by Mandy Johnston (Irish Independent, January 23) headlined 'Ignoring the death of rural Ireland may come back to haunt the Coalition', she asked a simple but very pertinent question: who will save our towns and villages?

As the recovery gathers momentum along the east coast, and the bigger cities and large urban centres continue to grow and expand, the remainder of rural Ireland is dying on its feet as all its young people have emigrated.

The closing down of rural post offices, garda stations, local grocery shops and pubs, government offices, hotels, co-operative head offices and credit unions is having a very disturbing effect on the social fabric of the rest of the country.

While the survival of some towns and villages hangs in the balance we look to civic leaders for guidance. This huge recovery imbalance needs urgent action across the political divide as all parties face the electorate in the upcoming General Election.

This issue must be given priority by the incoming government. A minister for rural Ireland must be appointed to enhance and support the efforts of thousands of selfless people in their local communities, and to draw up progressive policies that will bring back our emigrants to vibrant towns and villages in rural Ireland once again.

Tom Towey

Cloonacool, Co Sligo


Kenny's comedy of errors

Enda Kenny is missing a trick by majoring on the message 'Keep the Recovery Going'.

He should instead be claiming that a re-elected Fine Gael government would keep the country royally entertained for five more years, and be able to point to his track record covering master comical performances, such as the Banking Inquiry, appointments to the IMMA board; cronyism and nepotism; midnight house calls on Garda Commissioners; gardaí allegedly spying on other gardaí; TDs 'flirting' with each other in the Dáil; senate and constitutional reform; Irish Water; Garda whistleblowers, IBRC and Siteserve etc etc. The only problem would be that Fianna Fáil have a similar track record.

Roger Blackburn

Naul, Co Dublin

Irish Independent

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