Sharing the pain of economic crisis

 

Madam, – Ireland might do with the sort of pre-European elections exercise in democracy carried out in Spain on May 12th and 13th where “la crisis” was debated live on television from the Congreso by parliamentarians. Billed by national TV Espana La 2 and regional stations to last six hours, from 4pm to 10pm, on Tuesday, the broadcast actually went on to 11.30pm. It continued on Wednesday at 9am for another live six hours.

Unafraid of facilitating such openness, prime minister José Luis Rodriguez Zapatero did not duck the fierce opposition attacks on his handling of Spain’s withering economy. He took some succour from Ireland’s plight when, in his final address to the assembly on Tuesday night, he defended his own management by comparison with the abject handling of the Irish “milagro” (miracle) as he called it.

It is not too late for our Government to follow Spain’s transparently democratic lead. – Yours, etc,

BRIAN MORRIS,

Blackrock,

Co Louth.

Madam, – As someone with the unfortunate timing of being about to soon enter a career in property, I question the media and public reasoning behind blaming lending institutions, estate agents and investors for the rapid decline in capital values. We must realise those to blame are those who so aggressively encouraged and incentivised property speculation in the first place. The current Government. – Yours, etc,

COLM LAUDER,

Victoria Road,

Clontarf, Dublin 3.

Madam, – Isn’t it time to ask what the millionaire loan defaulters, sitting on considerable assets, are going to contribute to the strategy for national economic recovery? Permit me to initiate the planning of their repayment to the Irish people with the following suggestions.

1. Unfinished apartment blocks to be completed by building contractors at their own expense and donated to third-level colleges as student accommodation, or to hospitals as low-rent accommodation for families of hospitalised children.

2. Empty office blocks to be fitted out, at contractors’ expense, and donated to the State to house creches, enterprise centres and after-school clubs.

3. Other properties and funding to be donated by millionaire loan defaulters for the establishment of research centres and young entrepreneur centres. These millionaires have made a very significant contribution to our economic demise. They must make an equally significant contribution to our recovery. – Yours, etc,

EILEEN FITZPATRICK,

Wainsfort Manor Grove,

Terenure, Dublin 6W.

Madam, – I wonder in amazement at the Government’s financial strategy. Why is it considering taxing children’s allowance payments, while it is subsidising taxi drivers? I can’t equate this with good or fair fiscal rectitude. – Yours, etc,

JOHN FITZPATRICK,

Killala Road,

Cabra, Dublin 7.

Madam, – Just to be clear on how things stand. A full national out-of-hours social service to place children in an appropriate safe environment as recommended by the Monageer report is not possible in the current economic downturn. Similarly, two wards in the Crumlin Children’s Hospital are to be closed because of a lack of funds.

The State’s finances have not, however, reached such a critical phase as to warrant the cancellation of massive pensions to politicians while they are still collecting very generous salaries. – Yours, etc,

ANTHONY SHERIDAN,

Carraig Eoin,

Cobh, Co Cork.