IN a week where two great broadcasters announced their retirements we also witnessed a colossal hubris broadcast to the entire nation. Mícheál Ó Muircheartaigh and Brendan Balfe have given over one hundred years of dedicated service to RTÉ Radio. Both men are consummate professionals, respectful and courteous. Compare that with the performance of An Taoiseach on Morning Ireland last week. It was an exercise in disrespect, towards the people, the nation, the office and the Oireachtas. If proof is needed then here is the example – someone is out of touch with reality.
That Fianna Fáil spin-doctors had the gall (as only they can) to try and blame everyone else for the monumental blunder is par for the course. The Republican Party can do wrong, even when they are partying! They are so out of touch that the line of demarcation has become so blurred as to be unrecognisable. How could the power brokers admit that their great leader had messed up? Watching Minister of State, John Maloney, with Vincent Browne last Thursday night was an exercise in national cringing. He was a pure embarrassment as he attempted to defend Brian Cowen.
Meanwhile, bordering on the brink of a breakdown, the country plods its weary way along the precipice of despair. A sea of political arrogance still thrashes our nation’s shores. Wave after conceited wave breaks along the coastline of gloom, a conceit begotten by those not in touch with reality. One wonders what it will take for those in political power to realise that the world they live in bears no reality for millions of people who roll and tumble through a daily grind. Politicians’ salaries, allowances and expenses are still obscene. Recent attempts to ‘overhaul’ their expenses system only prove the point. They live in another world, cocooned from the threat of cutbacks that they so glibly allow to be meted out on people they are called to serve. The lives of politicians are becoming more of a contradiction. They have no awareness of how people are affected by their decisions, as they hide behind the coat tails of quangos and behemoths like the HSE. The people are wise enough to know that any HSE decision is Government policy just as they know that those in power have ensured that the Golden Fleece is only worn by the chosen few and their chosen friends.
People also know that this Government has chosen to acknowledge the nationality of banks over its people. It has compromised people’s citizenship. The nation state died when bailing out the banks took priority over supporting people, citizens who are sick, elderly, disabled and in need. To think that €24billion (a figure we cannot even imagine) has been pumped into a bank that has already cost us much more than that because of increased borrowing costs on the markets. Why or how could such decisions be taken? “We had to do it” is the usual pat answer yet no one can tell us what Anglo will cost. To claim that bailing out Anglo was done to protect ‘everyday investors from every town and village in Ireland’ is from Alice in Wonderland.
With all the blood of the land pumped into Anglo it still just drains away. Last Friday a report from Bloomberg stated: “Moody’s Investors Service downgraded Anglo Irish Bank group’s covered bonds to Aa2 from Aaa. ‘Today’s rating actions on the covered bonds are due to concerns over the liquidity of the commercial assets backing the covered bonds. Given the difficult environment for the refinancing of commercial assets, Moody’s believes that the probability of timely payments on the covered bonds is unlikely,’ Moody’s said in a statement today.”
It appears the bottomless hole just got deeper!
The Irish Times reported last Thursday on Anglo Irish Bank:
“Legislation that would allow bank failures to take place in a more ordered framework is needed. Despite the urgings of outsiders, such as the International Monetary Fund, the Government has yet to act. Steps to tackle corporate malfeasance are even more essential. Almost two years after the banking crisis erupted, legislation on white-collar crime that would serve as a real disincentive to reckless practices remains undrafted and there is still no sign of a comprehensive whistle-blowers’ charter that would actively encourage revelation of wrongdoing. If the lessons of the current crisis are not learned, not only will the costs hobble a generation, future generations could suffer a similar fate.”
The political party pre-Dáil gigs are over. Whether or not the taxpayer paid for them still remains unclear. Do not be surprised if the Gardaí are ordered to confiscate CCTV footage from venues visited by socialising politicians! And Ireland still burns! At least Mícheál Ó’Muircheartaigh and Brendan Balfe leave a pleasant taste. Go gnothaí Dia siad.