Tuesday 16 January 2018

Bankers don't reflect our core values, says Higgins

President Michael D Higgins and his wife Sabina with Alys Harte (left) and Emma Cawley, from Donegal, at the Aras garden party
President Michael D Higgins and his wife Sabina with Alys Harte (left) and Emma Cawley, from Donegal, at the Aras garden party

Fiach Kelly Political Correspondent

PRESIDENT Michael D Higgins says the bank executives on the Anglo Tapes "are not the voices of the people of Ireland" and their attitude and the banking culture do not reflect our core values as a nation.

Mr Higgins was given a round of applause at an Aras garden party when he said the "voices from the past" did not reflect the attitude and behaviour of the Irish people.

The content of the tapes did not make "easy listening" but he insisted people around the world knew the real voice of the Irish people, who would pull the country out of the crisis and to a prosperous future.

The President has recently highlighted the damage done by the financial crisis, and again spoke of "an aggressive individualism and self-interest of a speculative economy".

"This week, voices from the past have been heard, which serve to highlight behaviours and attitudes that are at the very root of that failed economic model," he said.

He made his comments at the first of the summer garden parties in the Aras, with the opening event yesterday for people who work in community activities and for members of voluntary groups.

Earlier over the weekend, the President said the quicker the facts about the banking crisis emerged, the better, while stressing any banking inquiry was a matter for Government.

"But let us be certain of one thing, particularly as I speak to people who are drawn from communities in Ireland, these are not the voices of the people of Ireland and the attitudes that they reveal are not shared by the people of Ireland and the behaviours they reflect are not characteristic of the people of Ireland."

And he said the banking culture was not in line with the core values of the nation.

"The people of Ireland, who have borne the brunt of a financial crisis not of their making, are shocked and dismayed that a culture of greed and recklessness emerged in some of our institutions – a culture that was neither in keeping with our core values as a nation, or indeed our convictions or our determination to move to a new chapter in our history.

"The Irish people, who are rightly recognised for their fortitude, work ethic and courage, they are the people who will take us out of this present crisis.


"The authentic voice, spirit and values of Ireland, it is they that will be restored and will lead us to what is important – a real economy that provides sustainable employment for all, and a just and ethical society that allows all its citizens to fully participate and achieve their life potential."

And he said people abroad would realise the real Irish story was of a people determined to get through the crisis.

"I know that informed foreign opinion will recognise that the real story from Ireland is not the aberrant voices that they heard this week but they will want to know the heroism of the Irish people who are determined, not only to get through this crisis, but to secure a future that is just, prosperous and sustainable," the President added.

Irish Independent

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