Irish 'mad as hell' over banks and cuts, says McAleese
PRESIDENT Mary McAleese said yesterday Irish people were "mad as hell" over recent public spending cuts, and the irresponsible behaviour of banks and individuals that led to the current economic crisis.
Speaking at the New York Stock Exchange, the President said Irish people were justifiably angry and there was "an awful lot of worry and heartache and anger in many hearts and many homes".
"Those cuts in public spending, they have real and very, very painful effects on families right across the country, and on services," she told an audience at a breakfast for Irish and American business leaders. "They feel hurt and angry that Ireland has been landed in this predicament by once trusted individuals and institutions."
Mrs McAleese's remarks came a day after the stock market posted its biggest drop in a year, and after the US Senate passed a harsh bill aimed at regulating Wall Street banking practices.
The President also said public trust in banking institutions had been severely damaged and that a robust regulatory system was essential to restoring that trust.
She said there was a very strong determination that "slip-sliding back to recidivist risk-taking" was not an option.
Mrs McAleese also said the Government's "tough decision" to bring public spending under control had put Ireland on track to reduce the country's deficit to less than 3pc by 2014.
The Irish people's solidarity and "sense of outrage" would help fix the current economic crisis and secure a brighter future, she said.
Mrs McAleese and her husband, Martin, then toured the trading floor surrounded by Wall Street traders keeping an anxious eye on the Dow Jones Industrial Average.
Later in the day the President visited a public school in Brooklyn where American children are studying a city-wide curriculum about the Irish Famine.