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Poor must have more than their dreams

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'Those who have profited most
from the Celtic Tiger continue to
enjoy cheerful comfort. Mick
Wallace out-shames them all.'

'Those who have profited most from the Celtic Tiger continue to enjoy cheerful comfort. Mick Wallace out-shames them all.'

'Those who have profited most from the Celtic Tiger continue to enjoy cheerful comfort. Mick Wallace out-shames them all.'

• All that I read about the recent referendum and the politicians' promises of the good that will emerge from our commitment to Angela Merkel's Europe convinces me that, yet again, we are relentlessly setting out on a mindless march to nowhere. There is no clear sense of how to create a way of life that befits all our people.

Ours is a country that was bewitched by the effortless creation of wealth and now cursed by its consequences. We are left with a nation that has gambled its way into bankruptcy, with the poor and marginalised being those who suffer most.

There is a crying need in Ireland for a radical reappraisal of the relationship between the creation of wealth and its distribution.

This is not just a financial relationship but one that raises deep questions about justice and fairness.

The central task of all politicians is to contribute to a programme of action set on creating a compassionate society and not one solely fixed on serving the interests of the greedy to the exclusion of the needy.

We need to sharpen the focus of our moral indignation on the obscene gap that exists between the rich and the poor of our country.

Our politicians continue to engage in endless rearrangements of the same vacuous platitudes and promises that are aimed at eliminating rational consideration of the plight of so many of our people.

Those who have profited most from the Celtic Tiger, though set to be less well-off, continue to enjoy the cheerful comfort of their homes, take trips abroad and drive expensive cars.

Mick Wallace, one of the boyos of Wexford, out-shames them all.

Others, however, will struggle to feed and clothe their children; they will experience the harshness and cruelty of their lives and the indifference of the nation to their plight.

The words of the poet WB Yeats come to mind: "Being poor, they have only their dreams."

The engineers of the financial crisis have picked themselves up and seem to have settled back into a world of crass acquisitiveness and indifference to those who struggle to survive, while politicians have cushioned themselves financially against all eventualities.

The life and times of Mick Wallace says it all.

Philip O'Neill
Edith Road, Oxford, OX1 4QB

Irish Independent