* Has anybody ever thought that to the traditional string of political and economical doctrines and systems such as communism, socialism, Marxism, capitalism, etc, we may now add a new one – "bankism"?
We are all the victims of those financial graphs they show us on the news on TV. All those graphs and set-ups behind them are the rulers of the world today, money being the supreme ruler.
We, in the so-called civilised western democracies, have become light years remote from the famous definition by German philosopher Immanuel Kant of democracy (and for that matter capitalism as its first hand-in-hand cousin) as "the summation of limitations of individual liberties for the common good".
There is no more common good. There is only "my common good" or "my clique's common good".
The ordinary citizens – the little people, as it were – count for nothing in the big picture of banking, shareholders, bondholders, stock market, financial speculators and the likes.
Take Ireland, for example (and like Ireland a few other western democracies). The banks ruined the economy of this country and most of the perpetrators are still in office, still disproportionately remunerated and rewarded with end-of-the-year fat production bonuses, while we read in your paper that nearly 100,000 private households are at least three months behind with their mortgage repayments and that the amount of repossessions is significantly on the increase in spite of promises by the banks to meet these people half-way to solve their predicament and get a stagnating economy moving on.
Add this to the banks' constipated lending attitudes and facilities, which are crippling private enterprise in an economy in need of growth, and you get the full picture of how banks are actually making the good and the bad weather in Ireland, the very same people who had a big part in the collapse of this economy.
One question should be asked. Weren't the banks capitalised by the Government in 2008 with government, hence taxpayers', money?
Therefore, shouldn't the ordinary citizens, the taxpayers, have a say in all this? Why isn't the Government seriously tackling what looks like bank despotism?
Concetto La Malfa Dublin 4
WELL SAID, MR O'DOHERTY
* Please allow me to congratulate Ian O'Doherty for his well-thought-out column in last Friday's Irish Independent. Please allow me to add some comments regarding the subject, that Irish passports are not a get-out-of-jail card.
I would say that, by now, your correspondence falls clearly divided between those who feel he is the devil incarnate for even suggesting that some of those who apply for Irish citizenship or hold Irish passports may have these from expedience rather than any great wish to become citizens of this country, and those who will be inviting Mr O'Doherty to address the next meeting of the Irish version of the BNP.
But between these two extremes there exists those like myself who feel that maybe, just maybe, he is teasing a veritable hornets' nest by even suggesting that a country like ours, with 400,000 unemployed, would not be the first choice for many of those who have the benefit of both Irish citizenship and Irish passports.
I am reminded of the lines from the D'Oyly Carte operetta 'HMS Pinafore', which goes: "For he might have been a Russian or French or Turk or Prussian or perhaps Italiannn . . . but in spite of all temptations to belong to other nations he remains an Englishman . . . "
This was meant to be a send-up of the idea that somehow we had a choice in what nationality we have.
But fast-forward 100 years and the reality is that people can choose nationality, and Ireland would not be high on that menu of choices – but it is, it would seem, only insofar as it provides a stepping stone to more advantageous countries like Germany, the UK or France, and to some degree we are considered a softer touch when it comes to passports.
Which brings me to this point: if we are to go along with the fable that we are somehow an attractive option for asylum seekers, etc, then we have to lay out some very stark facts to those that we give the benefits of Irish nationality to. Nationality requires responsibility to one's nation as well as access to its benefits.
The granting of Irish citizenship must mean more than the provision of mere travel documents. Irish citizens deserve to be treated equally, yes, but only if their allegiance is to this country and not to use Ireland as a safe haven from which to further political causes elsewhere.
* David Quinn's column last Friday ('West must stop ignoring the plight of persecuted Christians') was worth the price of the Irish Independent alone. The issues raised in Mr Quinn's pertinent piece beg the glaring question: why does our Taoiseach, allegedly a Christian himself, not speak out against the persecution and attacks against Coptic Christians that are taking place in Egypt?
John B Reid
Monkstown, Co Dublin
PICKING UP THE TAB
* In a recent issue of the Irish Independent, I noted that a bank lost €4m in repossessing and selling 17 houses. Following your revelations that 98,000 mortgages are in trouble, I set out to calculate the loss to the banks if they all dealt with the situation in this way. The result would be a loss of €23bn. Oh dear, who will pick up the tab? It will cast fear into the hearts of every taxpayer.
A SOLUTION IN SYRIA
* I believe one of the biggest steps forward in international relations has been the acceptance by Russia and Iran of the illegal use of chemical weapons in the Syrian Civil War.
I believe that their admissions and denunciations of the Syrian regime following the gas attacks have as much to do with getting revenge on a wayward "ally" as they have to do with simply admitting the truth of overwhelming evidence.
Yet I am not advocating that we beat our ploughshares into swords just yet. What we really need is to copy, effectively, how such regions were handled in the 1815-1914 period: great power diplomacy. Have the permanent members of the UN Security Council, regional powers like Turkey and Iran, members of the Assad regime and the opposition as well as representatives of the non-state actors like Hezbollah and al-Qa'ida, sit down in a room together and hammer out a solution.
If the great powers do not step in, who knows what kind of chilling acts will be committed.
* A couple of recent letters (Myles Duffy, August 22, and Desmond Fitzgerald, August 21) have emphasised the shortcomings of the Seanad as highlighted by its recent recall, citing these as reasons for justifying its abolition.
While the Seanad's shortcomings can't be denied, it needs to be stressed that the responsibility for these lies with the Government and the Dail, not with the Seanad itself.
Under the Constitution, the Seanad has no power to reform itself, only the Government and the Dail can do that.
More than a dozen proposals for Seanad reform have been put forward, all passed by the Seanad, but none has been acted upon by any Government. One can only ask, why?
Castletown, Co Meath