Brendan O'Connor: When is it okay to steal? When the State says so
The head of the Oireachtas Finance Committee has it all squared with himself on what constitutes theft.
On Thursday morning, poor Pat Kenny was trying to have a discussion about principles with a politician. It was not going well. You might say that Pat was foolish; trying to have a discussion about principles with a politician – but this was a Labour party politician, and the chairman of the Oireachtas Finance Committee. So Pat persevered, thinking he could get Labour TD Ciaran Lynch to see sense.
Pat was trying to get Ciaran Lynch to admit that there was something wrong, in principle, with a government, the Cypriot government or any other government, stealing money from people's bank accounts. But Pat was having difficulty with that.
In fairness, you can see why the Government's principles on matters like this might be fuzzy. This is a Government that is already stealing money from people's pensions, despite the fact that most pensions in the private sector in this country are in severe trouble. Eighty per cent of funds are in deficit.