Oireachtas Banking Inquiry Committee

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[Speaking in the Seanad on a Motion re: Establishment of Joint Committee of Inquiry into the Banking Crisis] I welcome the Minister of State. As the Leader said, this inquiry is overdue and I am delighted that it is happening, as there is a clear need for an inquiry into the circumstances surrounding the financial … Continue reading

Land and Conveyancing Law Reform Bill

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I welcome the Minister of State, Deputy Kathleen Lynch, to the House. I have always found it a great pleasure to deal with her as she is helpful, co-operative and respectful to us here. I will say a few words about the Bill and ask the Minister of State to go on the record with … Continue reading

Seanad Electoral Reform Bill

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I am not advancing this Bill because I wish to preserve the Seanad in the face of extinction by way of referendum; rather, I advance it because I wish to offer something better and something we have never had, namely, a truly democratic Chamber that would draw the citizens of the Republic closer to the … Continue reading

We could rebuild Japan 10 times over with our banking bailout

[Published in the Sunday Independent on March 27, 2011] The financial cost of the quake disaster is dwarfed by our economic meltdown. ‘A billion here, a billion there, soon you’re talking real money’ – Senator Everett Dirkson RECENT figures suggest that the financial cost of the earthquake disaster in Japan — a catastrophe which may … Continue reading

Oversight failures endemic in our public service and culture

Published in the Sunday Independent on 22nd February, 2009 As we hunt scapegoats, we must acknowledge our own failures in holding society to account. “We have seen the enemy and he is us.” Pogo We have less justification for our anger at politicians, bankers and financial regulators than we think. We just don’t do oversight … Continue reading

A Second Republic could cure our ills

Published in the Sunday Independent on 1st February, 2009 Radical change in our political system, including a new Constitution, could encourage real leadership. “The fault dear Brutus, is not in our stars, But in ourselves, that we are underlings.” — Shakespeare THE words spoken by Cassius in Julius Caesar were a warning to his friend … Continue reading

Highly-paid State employees should all take a pay cut so we can fund vital public services

Published in the Sunday Independent on 18th January, 2009 Doctors could help with the cost of vital health programmes. Success has a hundred fathers, failure is an orphan. Irish Government party politicians, so recently flushed with parental pride concerning the economy, have reacted to accusations that they bear some responsibility for our little b*****d of … Continue reading

The excellent health service in the Holy Land wasn’t a miracle

Published in the Sunday Independent on 6th July, 2008 Why is it Israel has one of the world’s best medical care systems with the problems it faces. Whether the recession is wholly due to external forces like the credit crunch and rising fuel prices, or has been contributed to in some way by a reckless … Continue reading