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Why was McAleese silent in hour of need?

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Like a flailing Don Quixote, President Mary McAleese belatedly refers the Credit Institutions (Stabilisation) Act to the Council of State.

But one is prompted to ask, why did the President feel it necessary to act on this occasion, and why did she not similarly respond over the last two years?

For instance, in September 2008, when Sancho Cowen and his Fianna Fail colleagues rushed through the blanket bank guarantee which welded the unquantified private banking debt to the sovereign, and thus on to the taxpayers' shoulders.

Why did she rubber stamp the NAMA legislation, which will further burden the taxpayer with up to €70bn, and to which the builders and the bankers are still giving the two fingers to this day?

Why did she remain silent and not intervene when the two Brians were needlessly squandering up to €30bn of taxpayers' non-existent money in the open sewer that is Anglo Irish Bank?

Why did she not shout 'stop' from the rooftops?

She stood by, while Fianna Fail targeted the poor and most vulnerable in recent Budgets, with relatively minimal impact on the builders, bankers, senior civil servants and politicians.

The Council of State and the Supreme Court, in their collective wisdom and experience, should have been allowed the chance to bring some sanity to bear on at least some of these momentous issues.

Sadly the President, given her crucial constitutional position, missed the opportunity to impact profoundly and positively on all our lives.

She has failed us in our hour of need, and history will judge her legacy as it will Fianna Fail's -- a broken and bankrupt State, nearly half a million unemployed and untold numbers of people forced to emigrate.

Maybe the President had good reason for her silence, but the Irish people deserve an explanation for her many omissions on our behalf during a most critical period of our recent history.

John Cooney
Wilton Road, Cork

Irish Independent