McAleese failed us in our hour of need

I FELT it would be remiss not to take you to task for your editorial (October 25), unconditionally and uncritically eulogising Mary McAleese.

It would of course be churlish not to recognise her achievements in relation to the developing peace process and on the more frothy ceremonial aspects of her 14-year sojourn.

However, given the appalling state of the country today, it is simply ludicrous to say as you do, that she and her husband leave in the knowledge that they helped make Ireland a far better place.

The fact is, as everyone knows to their cost, but seem to forget in her case, that she and her pals in Fianna Fáil presided over the worst collapse of the Irish economy since the foundation of the state, plunging hundreds of thousands of their fellow citizens into lifelong penury and worse, forcing untold thousands of our sons and daughters to take the emigrant ship.

Ms McAleese, far from being the guardian of the Constitution and of our once sovereign and proud state, failed us in our hour of most need, by rubber stamping without hesitation, some of the most toxic and damaging legislation concocted in unruly haste and ignorance by the geniuses in her party, Fianna Fáil. Maybe some day she will admit to the people why she failed us so dismally when it mattered most.

Finally, your contention that Ms McAleese and her husband “probably” lost money because of their time in office beggars belief; she had a cumulative salary of nearly €5m over the 14 years and as much in expenses. She retires now on a pension of €120,000 or so and Mr McAleese will get another €70,000 from the senate.

A newspaper such as yours should be somewhat less uncritical, more balanced and more prescriptive in formulating opinions.

John Leahy

Wilton Road

Cork

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