Mick Wallace The people of #Italy will not forget the kindness of #China #Cuba #Russia in their fight against #COVID19 - Nor wil… https://t.co/rpPqiY6yTL
Mick Wallace At this stage can we not just accept the fact that #HumanRightsWatch are an arm of #US Regime Change Operation? Har… https://t.co/XfDQl8TmKf
Mick Wallace A couple of people lecturing me, saying I was wrong when I recently criticised Europe’s response to the SARS-CoV-2… https://t.co/VCG1ewA9lG
Mick Wallace La gentilezza della #Cina #Cuba #Russia non verra dimenticata dal popolo #italiano - non dimenticheranno nemmeno la… https://t.co/dHIsyNXif3
mickWeeks 4, 5 and 6 have just come and gone and I must admit that things are busy. In my efforts to maximise my potential to contribute to the parliamentary process, I strive to speak each day in the chamber. I am interested in most subjects, and trying to cover one or two each day means a lot of preparation in terms of research. I am not interested in reading manuscripts in the Dáil – referring to notes is fine but reading out written transcripts should be illegal, except for Ministers – I like to speak on my feet and so it’s important to organise things in my head in advance. If one is to speak with any degree of passion and from the heart, you cannot just read out what you have to say. Week 4 was dominated by the Moriarty Tribunal and its findings into the behaviour of T.D. Michael Lowry and businessman Denis O’Brien, in relation to the phone licence. The manner in which both individuals cast dispersions on Judge Moriarty in their efforts to undermine the case against them left a lot to be desired – here is a part of my Dáil speech: “I was somewhat taken aback at the manner in which Mr. Justice Moriarty and the Judiciary have been called into question. This is a dangerous road to follow. The Judiciary in Ireland is an independent and fair system. It may not get all the answers right but it is worthy of our respect. If we are not going to respect its decisions, what are we going to do? It would not stack up anymore. The core of any democracy has to be respect for what a judge decides or has to say. It is not good for us that people with influence, whether political or financial, are able to challenge the legal system with such brazenness. It is something we have to think about. I am surprised that the Government is not more outraged about this matter. We should be angry this is happening. It must seem to the ordinary people there is one rule for them and another for the people who have influence. Is this the way it is supposed to be? Is this how it will stay? We heard a great deal about change during the election campaign, which was my first. As I travelled around to listen to people I observed an appetite for change. Fine Gael and the Labour Party have promised significant change but I am taken aback they are not more outraged. I am disappointed the Chamber is not full. The Moriarty tribunal and its report have serious implications for our society. Does it not matter enough? If they are serious about making this Parliament work in the manner it should or organising our society properly, can they show a bit more interest? Can they be here? We have a huge responsibility. The people put us here. They expect us to run this country in an honest fashion, to make honest decisions and to care. We have to forgive them for thinking we do not care. This is an opportunity to show that perhaps things can change.” (29th March 2011) Given that a wealthy businessman like Denis O’Brien was able to buy favours from a politician is not good, but hardly a surprise to us given the manner in which this country has been run for a long time. It is also worrying that the businessman got such an easy ride from the Irish media – after all, Judge Moriarty did say that he bribed a State official – but given his huge power and influence on Irish media, should we be surprised? I challenged Taoiseach Enda Kenny on this issue, relating to political donations: “The Taoiseach promised a number of reforms and it will be great if he is able to implement them. He referred specifically to donations. If someone wants to give €100 to a politician running for election, we should know who he or she is. People who pay pipers call tunes. Through money, businesses big and small can separate the electorate from the Legislature. Money comes between them. This is not good and we should stop it completely rather than introduce half measures such as bringing it down to this or that limit. Let us do away with the practice completely. It is not the way to run a proper democracy. Perhaps I am naive or too idealistic but I believe things can be different.” (29th March 2011) I also addressed the Universal Social Charge issue, the unfairness of it and the damage it is doing, not just to ordinary people but also to small and medium-sized business. Week 5 was dominated by the ‘Bank Reorganisation’ and the EU-IMF bailout. I disagreed very strongly with the manner in which the previous government dealt with this, and I am certainly disappointed by the way the new Coalition has continued on the very same path, despite promises to the contrary. Here’s a section of my Dáil speech: “I find it amazing how little difference there is in what the new coalition is up to in terms of dealing with the banking crisis and what the Fianna Fáil Party did prior to it taking office. Fine Gael Party and Labour Party Members should have the courtesy of bowing to Deputy Lenihan when they meet him in the corridor because they seem to agree with absolutely everything he had to offer. I have noted a few of the nice quotes made during the election campaign. Fine Gael’s banking strategy, Credit Where Credit is Due, which is part of its five point plan, states: “Fine Gael was the first party to argue that it was unfair for the Irish people to shoulder all of the losses of our banks, and that it was right that investors who had lent recklessly to the banks should also share in the pain.” The document goes on observe: “It is neither morally right nor economically sustainable for taxpayers to be asked to beggar themselves to make massive profits for speculators.” It is hard to credit that this is the party that has given us the medicine that we have got for the past week.” (6th April 2011)   I am convinced that the country will not be able to repay these debts, bailing out dead banks to the tune of €70 billion is irrational, but sadly the new Coalition lacks the courage to challenge the might of the ECB: “We were informed in the past that the European Union is supposed to be a family of nations and that we all look after each other. We were also informed that if one country got into trouble, the others would provide assistance. There was supposed to be a spirit of fellowship among the member states. I am not sure whether we have put the question regarding burden sharing in strong enough terms. In general, European politicians are generous and they would be sympathetic regarding the massive problems the Irish people are facing. I accept that those who run the ECB are incapable of being sympathetic towards us. If, however, we pressurise European politicians, we may obtain some comfort from them. They must be made to realise that we are in a crazy predicament. The dogs in the street know that this deal is not going to work out. At some stage, our colleagues in Europe are going to state that they will provide us with assistance. If, however, we accept their policies in the interim, the less well-off will suffer most. It is crazy that we are providing money to reckless banks while the numbers of learning support teachers and special needs assistants are being reduced. What we are doing to the young people of this country is unreal. It is all being done in the interest of paying back reckless investors who made mistakes. People invested poorly in banks that were not well run. The essence of capitalism is that one makes one’s gamble and one accepts the results. One wins some and one loses some. However, the investors to whom I refer are all winning. That is incredible.” (6th April 2011) Each grouping in opposition is allowed to put forward a motion in Dáil Private Members Business whenever their turn comes around and the Technical grouping used the opportunity to recommend a referendum on the bailout – surprise, surprise, it was defeated when put to a vote, but we managed to make our point to the chamber and the people. An extract from my speech: We were told the deal Fianna Fáil came up with was not workable. The Tánaiste, Deputy Gilmore, insisted it was not workable. From their words we know most top economists believe it is not practical. God knows, we have a good idea it is not fair. Professor Honohan, the Governor of the Central Bank, has been very open in telling us that on the issue of fairness the deal does not rate very highly. It is hard to credit that the most vulnerable in our society will be hung out to dry in order to satisfy the problems of the financial institutions. The banks had their stress tests. Perhaps the State needs them now because a number of people on the other side of the House told us the State is bankrupt. If it was not bankrupt before now there is a great chance that putting the bank debt with the sovereign debt will put us into the area of insolvency. A private company is deemed to be insolvent when its liabilities are greater than its assets. This debt certainly puts us into that place. If a private company went to the bank that bank would look at the company’s potential for future profits and would say that if the company’s future profits could cover the current losses perhaps it might do business. However, one would have to be very optimistic to see us paying the bills. Any private company that continues to borrow money when it is insolvent is regarded as trading recklessly. In my opinion, this Government is now trading recklessly. It has been argued that this motion does not merit a referendum. Article 27 of the Constitution states that an amendment of the Constitution is applicable when a Bill “contains a proposal of such national importance that the will of the people thereon ought to be ascertained”. I believe most people in this country would agree this is an issue of massive national importance. This Government has spoken a great deal about having a new approach to politics and more openness… If this Government is serious about engaging the citizens of Ireland in a democratic process and about giving them a say in how they are governed it should have the courage for a referendum on this issue.” I began week 6 by highlighting to the Taoiseach the difficulty faced by mortgage holders, especially given the new interest rate increases, and more are likely to follow. I enquired if the government might consider mortgage debt relief for those who bought property between 2004 and 2008, rather than just kicking the can down the road with temporary relief. On Wednesday morning (April 13th), I challenged Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore about the lack of real concern on the part of Angela Merkel – the person calling the shots – for those countries on the periphery of Europe like Ireland. Now that she is in fear of her own electorate, she is behaving like a good German rather than a good European – a short-term strategy which will be bad for Ireland and Europe in the long-term. That evening, during the debate on the Education and Training Motion, I addressed the issue of the education cuts which are threatening to have a devastating effect on primary school children all over Ireland: “It is very worrying that the new Government does not seem interested in reversing the cuts introduced by the previous Government. God knows that the young people who will suffer the most from this are the least culpable for the financial crisis in which we find ourselves. If we do away with resource teachers for travellers and hit learning support and language support teachers over the next few years, this will have a dramatic effect not just on the kids who would have been getting the special attention, but every other kid as well due to the extra load being put on teachers. The cuts in child benefit have also caused problems for many of these people, because parents would have used some of this money for books, shoes and uniforms, so they are going to suffer a double whammy. It is hardly rocket science. All of the research shows that the investment in youth has to be the best of all. It shows that for every euro spent on a young person the State saves a minimum of €8 before the child becomes an adult. Even if one did not have a social bone in one’s body, it makes good business sense to invest in youth. Saving €24 million in this regards when the visits of Queen Elizabeth II and President Obama will actually cost more simply beggars belief in terms of where our principles lie. The Irish Penal Reform Trust has emphasised the importance of tackling educational disadvantage, instead of throwing money at the results - crime, poverty, addiction and social exclusion. In fairness, if the Government cares at all, this is something that should not happen.”   On Thursday morning (April 14th), I spoke on Suicide Prevention, the divergence of opinion about its causes, and how best to deal with it. I stressed the need for our government to maximise the opportunities for our children to develop into good communicators and healthy individuals, physically and mentally. Hence, the huge importance of reversing the planned cuts to Resource Teachers for Travellers and Language Support Teachers. I raised the same subject on Thursday evening in the Dáil with Minister for Children Frances Fitzgerald and she seemed sympathetic to the problem. On Friday evening, I attended a huge demonstration in Clonroche where teachers, parents and children were highlighting the unfairness of the cuts proposed by the new government. When are the interests of the ordinary people going to be put before those of big financial institutions? On Saturday, I had a number of meetings at the Wexford Youths football complex, covering a range of topics – a Go Karting track for kids in New Ross, the prospect of developing sports tourism in Wexford, a meeting with Tina Whelan (principal of Taghmon Primary School) regarding the education cuts, a meeting with Fr. Jim Fegan and Paddy McKiernan about the state of play at Wexford hospital, and a meeting with some people from the Motorway Action Group – Liz James, John Purcell, Tom Ryan, and Tom Rossiter who are not just worried about the nonsense of building a motorway bypassing Wexford in this economic climate, but also the unfairness of selecting a particular route and sterilising the relevant land for that route for years to come, even though it might never be used for that purpose. The NRA and the HSE seem to have something in common, Fr. Fegan and Paddy McKiernan were pointing out the lack of accountability, transparency and fairness in their dealings with the HSE. Wexford General Hospital is essential to a huge disadvantaged population, giving it importance on the basis of need, but it also scores on the basis of merit as it ranks in the top 5 in Ireland in terms of performance. The notion that there might be cuts to its A&E or Maternity units is nothing short of ridiculous and would amount to a crime against the people of Wexford. One suspects that the HSE and the NRA are organisations which have grown too powerful, are self-perpetuating, and too seldom represent the interests of the people. How do they function? Who is making the decisions, and on what basis? are all questions that I intend to research. Lastly, to follow on from my last article when I stressed my desire to deal with issues that concern the community at large rather than individual cases, here is a list of people from the four corners of Wexford who are interested in linking with the people. Contact Details Aindréas Doyle Leinster House Kildare Street Dublin 2 Ph: 01 618 3287 Email: mick.wallace@oir.ie Mick Molloy Gorey Eoin Leacy Blackwater Síle Mhic Réamoinn Droichead an Chaisleáin Robert Kehoe Galbally Mary Sheehy Ferns Maurice Roche Screen Anne Jordan Enniscorthy Eileen Wallace New Ross

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Namaleaks is a project that seeks to uncover possible injustice and poor practice related to NAMA (National Asset Management Agency) and financial institutions in Ireland.


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