Friday 23 February 2018

Higgins criticises response of banks to crisis

Mark O'Regan and Allison Bray

PRESIDENT Michael D Higgins has spoken of the "severe disappointment" sweeping across Europe following the lacklustre response of the banking industry to the economic crisis in recent years.

In a revealing speech, he also warned that EU citizens were threatened with an "unconscious drift to disharmony" and a recurrence of racism in many countries.

His forthright views on the state of Europe are the latest in a number of strongly worded speeches and statements on the European Union made in recent weeks.

Last month he criticised the spectre of large-scale unemployment in Europe and said it required new thinking on economic and social policies.

Addressing a conference of the committees of the national parliaments of the EU in Dublin, Mr Higgins said an estimated 26 million people in Europe were currently without work – a figure that has severely dented confidence in the EU.

"There is nothing more corrosive to society and more crushing to our citizens than endemic unemployment, particularly among the young," he said.

"There has been severe disappointment among citizens in our institutions and their policy responses."

Earlier, the President urged Irish citizens to keep up the fight against world hunger as he officially opened the refurbished National Famine Museum.

The museum was originally opened in 1994 by then-president Mary Robinson on the grounds of the sprawling Strokestown House mansion in Strokestown, Co Roscommon.

It recently underwent a €250,000 renovation to bring some 300 historic documents detailing the horrors of the Great Famine into the digital age.

Irish Independent

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