Need for Patriotic Rather than Political Response to Economic Crisis

Fine Gael TD Lucinda Creighton has posted the following on her blog, essenatially arguing for a Tallaght II strategy.

Posted by Jane Suiter

Some may say it is naive of Opposition politicians to suggest that now is a time when we must put aside the old fashioned confrontational, adversarial politics of old and replace it, albeit temporarily, with a constructive engagement with the Government and the Minister for Finance. I don’t consider myself to be naive, but I do believe that politicians on both sides of the Dail chamber need to start putting the country first.

We all know that Fianna Fail has made a dog’s dinner of our economy, our society and the lack of faith in politics generally in this country. I contend, however, that it is pointless repeating this mantra of blame. Our people are intelligent and savvy. They don’t need constant reminding. They will serve up a large helping of retribution to the Government when the time comes.

In the meantime, I think that we on the Opposition benches would be well advised to offer a Tallaght Strategy form of constructive engagement in the Dail. What this country needs desperately is a sense of optimism and some degree of certainty. This is not only important for those all important “international markets” to which Minister Lenihan repeatedly refers, but much more importantly, it is critical from the point of view of our people. Irish people are increasingly deflated and despairing. If they see some patriotism and true leadership coming from Opposition Deputies, I have no doubt but that the entire country will rise to the enormous challenges which face us.

In the coming weeks, there must be a meeting of minds between The Opposition and the Government. Garret FitzGerald is correct – there has been no serious effort by the Government to share necessary information with the Opposition. If this changes and the Minister shows a degree of openness and a willingness to work honestly with the Opposition, then we should reciprocate. We should agree the broad parameters of the Budget in the weeks to come. Major public spending cuts will be necessary, and I hold firm to my opinion that the quicker we can make a dent on our deficit the better (as per my previous blog). This can be accelerated by a serious effort at public sector reform as has been advocated and detailed by Richard Bruton over a period of several years. In addition, we must stimulate the small and medium enterprise sector through PRSI and VAT breaks, in order to restore competitiveness and growth to our business community. This is the only way we can eventually secure a return to job creation. A stimulus plan, along the lines of our New ERA proposals, financed by a combination of private investment and the National Pensions Reserve Fund would assist in stimulating shorter term job creation.

These are just some suggestions that should be on the table. They are not prescriptive, and we in Fine Gael would have to enter discussions with the other parties with an open mind. The sooner this happens the better. Ireland cannot afford to wait.

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8 thoughts on “Need for Patriotic Rather than Political Response to Economic Crisis

  1. Ms Creighton is being naive in the extreme.

    If there is a Tallaght II, then Fianna Fáil have to publicly give Fine Gael the credit and also, MS Creighton has nothing to say about the Irish mentality that is so silent on the cronyism – look at the opinion polls. Regardless of where FG is at, FF is still on 25% plus – what sort of people would still vote for FF.

    The scale of reform needed in Ireland is so monumental that Fine Gael should instead of setting out exactly what it will do and asking for a mandate to do it.

    Ms Creighton also seems not to want address the reason why the public lump FG in with FF when it comes to bashing the establishment – Peter Sutherland, Alan Dukes, John Bruton, Garret FitzGerald – what they all have in common is the extra tag after them of ‘former Fine Gael, using a state car and in receipt of a state pension on top of huge private income’.

    If FG wants to offer an alternative, it would start committing to how it will cut from the top down, the President, Judges, top officials, remove all the boards from all the banks, name and shame etc etc.

    The public want to see evidence that those who caused this mess will be held to account. Fine Gael is not providing this lead.

    FG would do the country a better service by proving it is fit to replace FF, than by propping FF up in office for longer, everyday FF remains in office is another day missed to reform the country.

  2. don’t know why people keep throwing around phrase “tallaght strategy” its a meaningless phrase to most.

    does this not feed into the world turned on head idea that the opposition need to detail what they’d do and budget and the government say vague things but then say they can’t reveal anything till the budget

  3. “a sense of optimism and some degree of certainty”

    Is this not exactly the kind of sentiment that prevailed when Bertie Ahern was Taoiseach?
    Now we see what Bertie meant when he claimed that he was the only socialist in the Dáil – with four of the major financial intitutions effectively nationalised along with large amounts of land and building coming under effective state control.

    It is a failure of checks and balances on the exercise of power, public and private, in our society that resulted in our public sector deficits which grow by the minute.

    IMO, the patriotic thing to do is to insist on serious and far reaching reform of the way we govern ourselves. The Tallaght Strategy did not seek anything of the sort.
    Deputy Creighton only mentions public sector reform, but not reform of the political system.

    If anyone doubts the need for this, I suggest that you listen to Dan O’Brien’s (Irish Times Economics Correspondent)talk at the Magill Summer School last July. He clearly shows that it is inertia, at government level, that got us into this crisis and the 1980s crisis and the 1950s crisis.
    A new Tallaght strategy seems like an excuse for more inertia on some of the key issues that we need to tackle. Delaying and action on such issues is the deadliest form of denial.

    Dan O’Brien’s Glenties Speech can be found at 2.55.15 on this link.
    http://www.donegalcoco.public-i.tv/site/player/pl_compact.php?a=43411&t=0&m=wm&l=en_GB

  4. Fine Gael is a failed political entity when compared to similar political parties in western democracies. It has never held two consecutive terms. It has only possessed power for 19 of its 77-year existence. It has been out of government for a generation. This consistent failure to get elected has generated a fatalistic political mindset numbed by expectations of defeat. The Fine Gael mentality is to constantly look backwards to the foundation of the State to find justifications for its existence.

    Although the party flirted with pragmatism, conservatism and liberalism over the years, underlining it all was an obsessive obligation to protect the institutions of the State. Its core value of loyalty to the State, and not the party, articulated as slavishly acting in the national interest, became a ball and chain around any political ambition. When push came to shove, Fianna Fáil could always rely on the polite charity of Fine Gael’s voluntary restraint.

    For instance, the much-lauded Tallaght Strategy by Alan Dukes kept Charles Haughey in government from 1987-89, a period characterised by appalling abuses of power, as illustrated by the beef and Moriarty tribunal reports. The prevailing culture of a self-interested national interest, as defined by Fianna Fáil, has already thrown €4 billion of taxpayers’ money at Anglo Irish Bank while a further €6 billion is needed to bail out the developers’ casino. Brian Lenihan still believes that Anglo is “of systemic importance to Ireland.” Anglo’s total loan loss over the past two years, to be announced next week, is anticipated to be €18 billion!

    ———

    Imagine that. When I wrote that last March we were shocked that we were putting €10b into Anglo. The figure is now €35 billion!

    A Tallaght II strategy is a cop-out by a deeply conservative party as a means of ensuring that there not a left led government.

    http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/opinion/2010/0323/1224266874242.html

  5. As long as there are vacuous notices boxes prancing around the political stage we will be reminded of why the state has failed. If she wants to be ‘patriotic’ then get off the stage and go and help your local community without trying to dupe them into thinking you should be a minister in a government. God forbid! Give me the IMF any day rather than a host of Lucinda’s. Of course what we are going to end up with is a host of Lucinda’s telling us that they have no choice but to deliver the swinging cuts because the IMF told them to do it.

  6. From Paddy Healy 086-4183732
    How about supporting the proposals below for a real patriotic response?
    Government Must Tax the Super-Rich!
    Among the taxation proposals being mooted by government for the next and subsequent budgets is an extension of tax to the lower paid. This is to be accompanied by continued draconian reductions in the provision of health, education and other services required by the population generally and particularly by the poor. Government cuts and impositions on the poor and those on middle incomes who spend most of their income in Ireland will flatten the economy and increase the disastrous levels of unemployment and emigration.
    Much of the €90 billion irresponsibly borrowed abroad by Irish banks since 2003 is still in the possession of the super-rich.
    The borrowings which have bankrupt many developers have been paid to others.
    The repayments on these borrowings are now being made by the citizens generally. Surely this money must be restored to the State as a priority?
    The only way to recover this money is through an assets tax which is common in several countries (France, Norway, Switzerland) and in several states in the US.
    If the €320 billion in assets (Wealth of the Nation Report, 2007) held by the top 5 per cent in 2007 has now shrunk to €250 billion, a 2 per cent annual assets tax on the top 5 per cent of asset holders would bring in €5 billion per year.
    Raising the tax on the top 6 per cent who earn over €100,000 per annum from 27 per cent to 32 per cent of total salary, would raise a further €1.5 billion per year.
    A significant increase in income taxes and assets taxes on the rich is no longer merely desirable in equity, it is a necessity in order to rescue the economy and to protect human services provision.
    There is a real economic emergency. Surely the super-rich should make an emergency contribution? How about a little patriotism from them? – Yours, etc,
    PADDY HEALY

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