Sunday 15 December 2019

Time to tell Frankfurt to get their boots off our necks

Charlie Haughey: his financial affairs were questioned
Charlie Haughey: his financial affairs were questioned
Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor

There has long been a lack of acuity in this country, especially of the financial kind in the conduct of public affairs. Look at the legacy of Charles Haughey and the shambolic, embarrassing way Bertie Ahern managed his affairs and you'll appreciate why it will be a long time before we are seen in the same light as Switzerland as models of punctiliousness.

That said, when financial disaster struck, it was the 'little people' who were called upon, not the captains of commerce or generals in government.

It was the poor bloody infantry - the PAYE sector - that was forced into the breach.

Thus, the taxpayer got it between the eyes. Bankers, vulture capitalists and every other three-card-trick loan arranger happy to feed the insatiable lust for more amongst the gilded power-brokers and deal-makers who sent us hurtling over a cliff, have managed to walk away from the ensuing carnage.

The collateral damage was felt by the entire workforce of Ireland. And now we know why.

There was a bully at the door demanding a pound of flesh, and bone marrow to boot. He was based in Frankfurt and his name was Jean-Claude Trichet.

The ECB threatened our finance minister that if he did not put the ordinary Joe and Josephine Soap of Ireland on the rack of austerity, the ECB would abandon us.

The banks and the euro were at stake and Paddy must step up. Or else. A set of demands was made. This was not prudent financial advice, this was a cold-bloded ultimatum to the Irish people.

Central banks do not have powers to order sovereign states around like children, and to dip their hands into the wallets of independent nations.

Yet as the Trichet letter reveals, the ECB made Brian Lenihan - and by extension the Irish people - an offer they couldn't refuse.

They stuck a gun to all our heads. So, Taoiseach Enda Kenny, and Tanaiste Joan Burton, now that you have evidence of this threat against our people, what are you going to do about it?

Will you continue to bludgeon us with more hardship, water charges, universal social charges, pension levies, etc, or will you finally stand up for the people you represent?

It is time to tell the Frankfurt chiefs to get their boots off our necks.

To borrow the words of a former Irish Triple Crown champion: Where is your f***ing pride?

Ed Toal

Galway city

 

IMF praise lost in translation

"The way the Irish have played this is very clever, they have got everyone to pull together." So said Ms Christine Lagarde, the head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in an interview with the 'Financial Times' on September 13, 2014.

According to the report, she warmly praised Enda Kenny and the Irish Government for the "clever" way they have implemented tough cuts and taxes, while keeping the public onside, also saying that she was very impressed with how Irish politicians have managed to implement reforms, while maintaining social cohesion.

I suspect something was lost in translation and what she really meant was that the Irish politicians were too "clever by half" and that everyone was indeed pulling together - but diametrically opposed to the Government.

Maybe, being French and just like her protege Michael Noonan, she would regard unprecedented mass demonstrations as mere minor political irritations of no great consequence?

John Leahy

Wilton Road, Cork

 

Latin America shows us the way

While John Waters (Irish Independent, November 5, 2014) paints a clear picture of the Hobson's choice we are faced with in politics, hopefully our options are not as bleak as he suggests.

We can look to the example of Latin America, which, with its mix of left-leaning leaders, is the only region in the world where inequality has decreased in the last decade.

This subcontinent has been at the mercy of the IMF and 'free trade' polices since the 1970s. Politicians there are now battling to prise their countries from the exploitative grip of the multinational corporations and the international finance sector.

With nationalisation of natural resources, progressive taxation policies, increased spending on health and education and increases in the minimum wage, these countries have begun re-distributing wealth in what has historically been the most unequal part of the globe.

Brave and principled politicians are needed to face down the disproportionate power of global private finance that has resulted in the indiscriminate looting of domestic economies and impoverishment of citizens through austerity, erosion of labour rights and regressive taxation. Latin America shows us that it is possible.

Maeve Halpin

Ranelagh, Dublin 6

 

Coalition holed below waterline

It would appear the Government is holed below the waterline.

Ted O'Keeffe

Ranelagh, Dublin 6

 

If politicians don't pay their water charges, how are they going to wash their hands of this mess they have got us into?

Kevin Devitte

Westport, Co Mayo

 

You published my letter illustrating that there was no shortage of raw water (Irish Independent, November 5, 2014). The only question was that of harvesting, treatment and distribution. This being so, metering serves no purpose.

This would suggest a fixed charge for water. But this would not have regard to ability to pay. What about taking the charge out of general government income? The Government may have a problem with this, as it insists that there must be a specific water charge to fund a national water authority. There is also its desire to keep the financing of the authority off balance sheet.

The best solution might therefore be to express the charge as a function of the property tax and to collect it with that tax on behalf of the authority. If the Government were to adopt that system, explain it with a certain humility and admit they got it wrong, they might even bring most of the people with them.

Above all, they must get it right this time or forget the whole idea.

John F Jordan

Killiney, Co Dublin

 

Endless war

In my time I have known survivors, and many victims, of all the wars of the 20th century.

I find it unutterably sad that young men and women still think that there is something noble in fighting, and dying, for one's country.

Why can intelligent people still not see through the poisonous fog stirred up by the old Latin poet, who from his safe nest, coined the immortal motto, "Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori". Bulls***! War actually condones murder and suicide. And for what? Never, since the dawn of history, has war done anything except make a bad situation infinitely worse.

And we think we are civilised! We think this is democracy! The only way to stop war is by controlling the tools of war. At once, vested interests raise their ugly heads. We fill young people's heads with the fog of fame, and we weep salt tears when they come back in bags, And all for what? For more war.

Sean McElgunn

Address with Editor

 

Clean thoughts?

From the snippet I heard did a woman on Sean O'Rourke's radio show on October 5 say that the sight of a man hoovering "raises desire in a woman's brain"? Mind you, I may not be totally accurate in my recall - I was busily hoovering at the time.

Tom Gilsenan

Beaumont, Dublin 9

Irish Independent

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