Editorial: President Higgins makes a timely call
President Michael D Higgins has said it is time for parliaments, elected by the people, to assert themselves more in defending their citizens from austerity. Cynics and naysayers may dismiss his call at the Council of Europe as empty rhetoric.
But any honest person who has experienced the suffering of ordinary citizens across the developed world over the past seven years will know better. The President argues that parliaments matter, that ordinary people fought for centuries to get the right to vote, and that power cannot just be "leeched away" from the people's democratic forum to faceless and unaccountable bodies.
In a stirring address to elected parliamentarians from 47 European countries gathered in Strasbourg, the President said it was time all democratically-elected parliamentarians used their political skills and experience to find pathways back into the national and international economic debate. He argued that elected parliamentarians meet the people every day and know how they have paid for dysfunctional economics and finance "in the hard currency of their daily existence".