Occupy Dame Street
Sir, – With regard to Kitty Holland’s article (Home News, October 11th) stating that the Occupy Dame Street protesters remained “uncertain yesterday as to what exactly their demands are”, I would like to point out that this is not quite the case. The ongoing protest outside the Central Bank is primarily acting as a focal point for citizens to meet, discuss, voice and demonstrate their dissatisfaction at the current regime of Government in this country and indeed internationally.
The common consensus is that the regime under which we are living has failed society. There are some dominant themes recurring in discussions and while we do not have the service of an attorney general to consult on proposed legislation, there have been some basic proposals for a fairer society for this republic. I am not a spokesperson for the group, merely a member of the public who spent some time at the gathering.
The use of publicly-generated revenue in the form of taxes, levies etc, needs to be controlled and legislated for, with the potential for criminal prosecution where public funds have been mis-spent or abused. For example, the use of taxpayer revenue to bail out private companies and corporations (including banks) should be a crime.
State assets must be treated as belonging to the citizens of the State with control over their value and use remaining within the State. Social, environmental and economic values must be maximised to benefit the majority.
Legislation surrounding the abuse of State assets should reflect this ambition, with criminal consequences for misappropriation of those assets.
The legislation on white-collar crime needs to be revisited and the punishment for offences at this level need to be proportional to the offence committed. While the corporate domination of society has advanced in recent years, the legislation on governance of this area is archaic. Contrast this with the development of regulation and legislation of cyber-crime internationally which has kept pace at least somewhat with the invention and proliferation of the internet.
The houses of the Oireachtas require a drastic overhaul. In particular, the position of Ceann Comhairle needs to be reformed into model more akin to that of a court judge where questions and matters raised are obliged to be responded to in a concise, clear and efficient manner with the Ceann Comhairle having the power to punish members of the Dáil (through suspension or dismissal) for evasion of a matter/query raised. A political culture has evolved where verbal diarrhoea is an asset.
These are just some of the ideas and matters being discussed at the gathering outside the Central Bank. There are mixed views on the traditional debate as to whether society should be socialist/capitalist, etc, but there is unanimous agreement that government should be primarily concerned with the welfare of the majority of citizens, offering hope and opportunity to all. Vested interest groups need to be viewed sceptically and not afforded any privileges that contravene the interest of society as a whole.
The occupation will continue and we invite all to come and attend; come and go as you please but do join us in our act of seeking a better way in these foul times. – Yours, etc,