Letters to the Editor: 'Repeating the mistakes of 2008'
Sir - Consternation and worry generated by the announced departure of Angela Merkel is another stern warning of just how fragile and inadequate economic policy within the EU, and indeed the whole world, is. The impending danger does not arise from the departure of one person, but from an utter failure to recognise and adapt to a new economic capability which, let run wild, propels global economics into the most precarious situation ever experienced. Indeed, Mrs Merkel's departure with her unshakable fixation with "growth" economics may provide an opportunity for common sense to prevail and economics of automated sustainability to come to the fore.
The financial crisis of 2008 has been gravely misunderstood and so-called remedial action is entirely inappropriate and inadequate to ward off much greater and more catastrophic collapse than 2008. The crash of that year was not a "recession"; it was a first serious warning of entirely changed economic conditions. It should be interpreted as necessity to develop economic ideology to cope with newly acquired "sufficiency"; rather than persistence with "growth".
The question often asked is, "did we learn anything from the crash of 10 years ago"? Apparently not as we repeat and intensify mistakes that led to the 2008 financial catastrophe. Intensified debt keeps unwanted and unnecessary growth on life support while the greatest economic leap forward ever achieved is ignored and mismanaged. We have entered an era of abundant sufficiency; the concept of continually increasing output is absolutely absurd. Yet "growth" is the only economic game we want to know of.
It's not as simple as 16 times two
Sir - Further to Pat Conneely's letter on changes in the All Ireland Football Championship (Sunday Independent, October 28), his solution is not as simple as two groups of 16 counties playing in a Champions Cup format.
There are 31 counties competing in the Football Championship each year (Kilkenny does not take part and probably never will) plus London and New York making 33 teams in total.
However, I do agree with Mr Conneely's suggestion that the National Leagues should be scrapped to give more time for club games. The "April experiment" did not work this year and the Club Championship remains as chaotic as ever.
Franno gets the near miss
Sir - Neil Francis is very good on rugby and while he has no great gra for Munster, we can forgive him for that. However, his writing was brilliant on Kaepernick selling his principles and how he introduced the subject to his near miss on Clontarf Road while driving home with his then girlfriend.
He couldn't have described it better. I was a garda in those mad joyriding times where there were many near misses, no one in authority cared or understood the amount of near misses/miracles that occurred while the law makers and judges had their toes to the ceiling, oblivious to it all.
My wife used to ask how I "got on last night".
I would invariably reply, "Another near miss".
Drugged up to their eyeballs, they didn't care who or what got in their way.
The good Lord was looking over the decent people of Ireland, thankfully.
One never gets the full story in subsequent court case.
You have be traumatised and feel the shirt stick to your back, like Franno undoubtedly did, to really know what went on.
Distasteful way to treat Casey voters
Sir — In his column, Gene Kerrigan (Soapbox, Sunday Independent, October 28) berates Peter Casey, referring to him as a “creature” while also doing the same to his supporters, referring to them as “the bigots and the confused and the resentful”.
As someone who gave Peter Casey No 2 — he would have got my No 1 if Joan Freeman hadn’t been running — I find this characterisation of 23pc of the electorate distasteful. In fact coming from someone who criticises Peter Casey’s use of language, it is all the more bizarre.
Does Mr Kerrigan not realise that his portrayal of people who exercised their right to vote for a duly nominated candidate in the presidential election in this fashion is counterproductive if his aim is to discourage people from voting for him in any upcoming election?
If I were Peter Casey, I would put Gene Kerrigan and Leo Varadkar on my PR team. With people like them trying to tell the electorate who they should or should not support, I’m convinced Peter Casey would be elected whether as a TD or MEP in upcoming elections.
Modern Ireland is such a self-parody
Sir — “Modern liberal” Ireland is fast becoming a parody of itself. Personally, I have always found the speeches and general world view of Michael D Higgins problematic at best. Like many on the liberal left, it seems that his views have never evolved since adolescence. Also like most people who share that particular world view, there is a disconnect between the views he espouses and the reality of his life.
The American writer Peter Schweizer in his book Do As I Say, Not As I Do pointed out the same contradictions in the lives of prominent US liberals, such as Hillary Clinton, Barbra Streisand, Michael Moore, Nancy Pelosi and many others. However, I suppose a country gets the leaders it deserves. And it cannot be denied that Michael D encapsulates perfectly the contradictions/inconsistencies/mediocrity of “modern liberal” Ireland.
Synagogue horror has a lesson for all
Sir — The Pittsburgh massacre should get us all thinking about where hatred of, or unreasoning prejudice towards, those we deem “different” may lead.
Once upon a time, a regime in the middle of civilised Europe fanned such hatred and prejudice to the extent that it first was able to dehumanise Jews via well-choreographed propaganda campaigns, before then excluding all of them from public life and depriving them of citizenry. All of which made it easier to arrange for the mass killing of millions of human beings innocent of any crime: as innocent and undeserving of such a fate as the Jews in the Pittsburgh synagogue.
We would do well to learn from history, because the far right is resurgent across Europe, and Ireland has no special exemption from its sordid pied-piper appeal. I am aware of distressful situations in certain large and small towns where whispering campaigns have been directed against “outsiders” and “foreigners” who have moved into their communities, whether to live or just to work.
Some of these people, of varying nationalities and ethnic groups, have been subjected to cruel name-calling or racist graffiti. But the most common prejudice they face, I understand, is from people who accuse them of “stealing” houses that Irish people ought to have, or “stealing” jobs from the Irish, as if they were somehow able to jump ahead of those waiting for housing or accommodation.
There is not much anti-Semitism in Ireland, but I suspect that this is because there are not many Jewish people living in our country. But racism and xenophobia are alive and thriving here — in the big cities, but also in the rural heartlands.
We owe it to ourselves, as well as to those people of whatever nationality or ethnic group who happen to live or work in our communities, to say no to these forces, however benign they may sometimes appear.
This is the truth we needed to hear
Sir — As Eilis O’Hanlon pointed out “Peter Casey also benefited from being willing to speak the truth” (Sunday Independent, October 28). What a shock that was to very many people.
We are not too used to hearing the truth any more. It was good to read Ms O’Hanlon’s comment “that there was anything close to a debate” was due to Peter Casey forcing it. How refreshing to have had even this closeness to a debate as we have not had such for a long time. The ‘liberals’, or those who consider themselves superior, as Ms O’Hanlon states, “regard all criticism as ill-informed and its critics as morons”. I liked her reference to Hillary Clinton’s description of those wishing to have their voices heard as ‘deplorables’ and Michael D having the support of the media as honorary members of his Appreciation Society.
Colin Armstrong (Letters, Sunday Independent, October 28) is correct to assert that “not all of us are so confused” in relation to Minister Zappone’s concern for the dead Tuam babies but none for the “future thousands of unborn children being put to death by the State”. How much we need to hear the truth in this Alice in Wonderland society of ours now.
Mary Stewart (Mrs),
Voice of the people
Sir — Congratulations to Eilis O’Hanlon on her excellent article regarding the success of Peter Casey (Sunday Independent, October 28). He spoke for many who are sick to death of the political correctness handed down to the plain people of rural Ireland by the likes of Shane Ross and the Dublin-based ministers and TDs who know nothing about rural Ireland.
They would want to have a look at the country outside of Dublin before it’s too late.
Michael Savage, Tralee
Sir — Peter Casey did himself an injustice in the presidential election. If he had told us that he was going to join one of the main political parties before the election, he would have got many more votes.
Lessons of election
Sir — After our recent dull election campaign with had a predictable result because the two main parties didn’t bother to get involved, Michael D. Is now starting another second seven years term. We wish him well.
Might I suggest a term of five years in future, with a maximum of ten years if a president seeks re-election.
Also we could usefully review the role and duties of our expensive presidency, which is largely ceremonial and symbolic, reflecting the Lord Lieutenant’s role in British times here, who lived in The Vice-Regal Lodge which we now call, “Aras an Uachtarain”. As well as relieving taxpayers of the considerable sum involved, Ireland might be better served with an executive president. France comes to mind. It’s surely worth considering and the time to start is now.
Sir — Congratulations and concerted ‘bravissimo’ to your varied raft of columnists who compiled a worthy compendium of takes on the recent election to the Aras (Sunday Independent, October 28).
Sequencing the contrasting opinion pieces of Brendan O’Connor, Eilis O’Hanlon, Niamh Horan, Philip Ryan and Jody Corcoran with guest commentator Liam Weeks on your prime commentary pages offered an ‘ultra-wide’ spectrum take on the least enthused election of modern times.
Patrick J Cosgrove,
Weston should back reform for start-ups
Sir — I refer to Charlie Weston’s article (Business, Sunday Independent, October 28) on Government favouring self-employed and business owners over PAYE workers and I would like to take issue with him.
Back in 2013, when I was made redundant and set up a new venture with four other partners, we found to our dismay we were no longer eligible for the PAYE credit of €1,650 per annum enjoyed previously, as we were now deemed to be proprietary directors i.e. owned more than 15pc of a limited company.
This, to me, was anti start-up businesses and discriminated against company owners. Many start-up companies are not on a magic route to wealth, but in reality, many endure low salaries and long hours. Over a number of budgets, this Government has raised the allowance for self-employed/proprietary directors to bring it in line with PAYE workers. I am surprised Charlie Weston would not welcome this reform and he should possibly visit a few start-up companies which are creating employment and taking risks.
Finally, there was a statistic — that out of five start-up companies, only two will survive. We need to create a positive environment for start-up businesses to assist business owners and give them similar benefits to other PAYE workers.
School of thought
Sir — Good to see that Miriam O’Callaghan (Sunday Independent, October 28) takes no credit for the increased listenership during the summer months, 12,000 up on Sean O’Rourke’s show.
It’s very simple to see where the extra numbers come from, in early June we have over 59,000 secondary/third-level teachers off work for three months, while at the end of June, we have a further 36,000 primary teachers off. That 12.5pc of these would tune into RTE1 each morning should not surprise anyone.
Irish diaspora vote
Sir — It would be nice to see some national politicians support the cause of Irish people living abroad getting the opportunity to vote in all elections and referenda that take place in the Republic of Ireland.
This happens already, in some countries, whose citizens live and work abroad to support their families. They are then given the right to vote in their own countries’ elections.
Michael A Rafter,
Sir — It was like watching an excerpt of a sci-fi movie from 40 years ago, as if they were robots, they walk out of their protected cocoons to protest about people who molest women as part of their perks. They are asked by the press to express their feelings about these sexual assaults their bosses have committed on them and they answer by saying we have no comment. What sort of brainwashing is that? Then someone tells the press people to move a certain distance so that they are not allowed talk to these brainwashed slaves of Google. Is this our future?
Sir — It is unfortunate, that in highlighting Matt Doherty’s ‘plight’ within Martin O’Neill’s Republic of Ireland soccer squad (Sunday Independent, October 14), Eamonn Sweeney chose to demean Irish citizens born outside the island of Ireland with his references to ‘English’ players and his contention that Ireland is only a second choice for players not good enough for England.
It hardly seems credible, but Mr Sweeney would seem to need reminding that as a child in the womb, you don’t actually have a choice where you are born, when, for example, your parents are forced to leave Ireland, and essentially become economic refugees, because of the failed policies of this State.
Patrick C Kennedy