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President should set example

Speaking from his ivory tower of cosseted privilege, President Higgins, a mostly symbolic head of a tiny impecunious country earns more than either the British prime minister or the French president, and like his party was a cheerleader for the endless squandermania that led us into the very fiscal thralldom which he now bemoans.

If our sovereign finances were not so wildly out of kilter we could have squared up to the demands of the ECB and the IMF at the time of the bailouts. Instead, to keep the taps of monetary liquidity open for our banks, we had little choice but to shoulder a tsunami of debt.

If would be far better if President Higgins led by example rather than rhetoric and showed the way for the rest of the elite of overpaid politicians and retired politicians, top public servants and quango sinecures. Of course, it would not solve our debt problem in itself, but it would dispose the rest of the population to shoulder the sacrifices they have to make and change the culture to one that rated social solidarity over the promotion of sectional interest.

Irish citizens have been betrayed by institutions of state and banking. Populist grandstanding about austerity at this point when austerity clearly has had its day isn’t going to change anything for those who have borne, and will continue to bear, the price of our past profligacy, while those who led us into the mess continue to live life in an Arcadia of plenty. We need leadership, not lectures.

Margaret Hickey
Co Cork


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