Tuesday 16 January 2018

Imagine a House full of wise doers and thinkers

Even though the Seanad has been deliberately run down, it provides a valuable service, and can do so in the future, writes Brendan O'Connor

Like many people I found myself full of admiration for Ivan Yates last week. If nothing else, it was extraordinary to see someone who seemed to be not only telling the truth but also accepting responsibility for his fate.

As the news emerged that Yates's betting empire was going into receivership, he came straight out and took it on the chin. He mentioned the downturn in passing, sure, but there was no suggestion, for example, that the collapse of Lehmans had sealed his fate. Neither did Yates claim, as is fashionable now, that he did nothing wrong, that it was a global issue. Yates admitted that he personally cocked up, that he was too thrusting a tiger, that he expanded too much and paid too much. While he must have been feeling sorry for himself, he didn't seem to seek pity and it was his staff for whom he sought our compassion.

It was so unusual a performance from an entrepreneur and one-time politician that it rather electrified people. And no matter how carefully you listened to him and tried to read between the lines. Yates, extraordinarily in these current times, did not appear to be suggesting that we, the taxpayer, should bail him out.

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