Wednesday, 21st March 2012
When you stand back and try to examine all the brouhahas surrounding the controversy over the Presidential Frontline debate on RTE and the tweet that supposedly cost Sean Gallagher the Presidency you have to wonder whether all the fuss is really worth it. Of course it is worth it for Sean Gallagher and for those that are closest to him and maybe even for those that voted for him but in the overall scheme of things you might wonder whether most people give it a second thought. What most people remember from the debate is Gallagher's use of the word 'envelope', one of the most tainted words in Irish politics, and how the audience and the viewers reacted when he used it. If anything put paid to his chances for the Presidency it was that word. But now we have hand wringing par excellence over the threat to Irish democracy due to the Frontline debate. While there might be technical arguments to be had over what exactly happened and the culpability of those up in RTE management there is an awful lot going on of more pressing importance. This debate does need to happen and obviously Sean Gallagher did not exactly receive fair treatment. He was all set to win the Presidency with a comfortable majority but on the day lost out by a long shot. But how much was he to blame and how much was RTE to blame? It is all a technical exercise now anyway, we have a President that was fairly and rightly elected and he appears to be doing a very good job. There is much that is happening here in Ireland as well as in the wider world that rightly should claim more of our attention. The economy is certainly one of them. It seems that our exports are doing extremely well and that is great for that part of the economy. But in the wider sphere it appears that things are trundling along in the same old fashion. Its austerity all round with an extra serving on the side just in case you didn't get enough of it. Of course that is just for the public at large. If you run a bank however it seems that you are renumerated in a different fashion altogether. It seems that the head of Bank of Ireland is getting a salary well in excess of the cap that was supposedly put in place some time ago. Government Ministers came out and explained it all away, or at least tried to. Its funny that when the Government try to explain something such as cutting salaries and jobs that they seem to to think they are talking to children and repeat again and again the mantra that it is all in the public good and that we all have to tighten our belt. However when they explain why exceptions are being made for those at the very top of the salary scale they seem suprised that their explanations are not accepted in good stead. It really is a case of do as I say and not as I do. It really does smack of one rule for the elite and another for everyone else. What is so frustrating about it all is the manner in which the explanations are doled out, as if the politicians are talking to recalcitrant school children who are just being wilfully obtuse in their refusal to accept what is being explained to them. And its the same attitude all the time whether it is billions being paid to unsecured bond holders or tens of thousands to bank bosses. It really does feel as if those who are responsible for getting us into this situation are being rewarded while the Irish public is asked to carry the can. Not only to carry the can but not to make any noise about it. Given that we are living in a time of harsh economic realities it is no wonder that the whole debate over the Frontline programme seems nothing more than academic to most people. While the points that it raises might be important it would appear that in most people's eyes they are really not that vital. There are far more things that are much more pressing and while the debate might be noise for the moment it does seem to be on the whole just background noise for most people.
Letters to the Editor
- A Government Successread more »
Once in a blue moon. As rare as hen's teeth. A Government success. Each of those three sentences are as unusual and as rare as each other. But the last one seems to be about to take place. The Government has announced that it plans to give each child in the State a second year of free pre-school. It might not sound like earth shattering news but if it does happen then it could be one of the most significant things that this Government has done since it took office. Any money that is given over to education is a …
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