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 Header Item World Economic Forum (Continued)
 Header Item Death of Former Member: Expressions of Sympathy

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 840 No. 1

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(Speaker Continuing)

[The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny] It is not a case of in any way being inattentive to these issues. The Deputy spoke about a poverty of analysis. The situation on the ground is clearly not satisfactory, but, even given a serious intent to deal with it, it still cannot be dealt with overnight. Even the Deputy will understand this.

Issues such as the provision of social housing are impacted on to the best extent by investment, the creation of growth and wealth in the economy and the creation of jobs. That is why the Government wants to see this filter throughout the land. It is why we have a €500 million investment in fibre connections in the many places that were bereft of it and have been for many years. It is why we need a water infrastructure throughout the country and the continued process of road building. None of these things was discussed in an Irish context at Davos, but they all are part of the general response in terms of how to get the economy growing, together with exports, the provision of services, proper banking systems and services, and continued investment in the country. In respect of investment, that pipeline remains very strong. It is why the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Deputy Richard Bruton, is in America talking to small exporting companies from Ireland which already employ 80,000 American people across 50 states. We need to see more of this, which requires growth at home. That growth will deal with the issue of poverty of opportunity for children and families.

Deputy Peter Mathews: Information on Peter Mathews Zoom on Peter Mathews I thank the Leas-Cheann Comhairle for allowing me to put a question. Before doing so, I acknowledge that the Taoiseach is dealing with a massive agenda and schedule and a huge number of interruptions and unplanned for things that arrive on his desk without warning. I agree that it is a tough position to be in. However, with the country in turmoil, would it not be time better spent by him if he were to make an interjection at Davos and ask for the programme to be put on hold while he brought colleagues' attention to the plight of this small country? It is a country that has been unfairly financially crushed by the losses of a private banking system that occurred because of the actions of boards of banks. These facts are measurable and provable not by any opinion but by a cold looking at the balance sheets of all the licensed deposit-taking banking and building society institutions in this country from 2002 onwards. These figures show us what caused the credit bubble. There cannot be a property bubble and property speculation unless there is credit and money to drive it.

I e-mailed the Taoiseach last Thursday with an analysis of the credit pyramid and where the measurable causality lay. It lies, as I said, with the boards of banks. Every single board member of every bank and building society should be included within the remit of the banking inquiry. That inquiry is not rocket science and will only require people from at home with the right qualifications and experience. We do not need international consultants. The track record has been that all the international consultants and firms have invoiced very stiffly and hard for producing inaccurate reports. In the case of the listing of loans for transfer to NAMA, for example, they got the projected losses 100% wrong. The modelling for the first prudential capital assessment review, PCAR, in March 2010 was 100% wrong. It is a sequence of heavy invoices and poor analysis.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Michael Kitt Zoom on Michael Kitt The Deputy is out of time.

Deputy Peter Mathews: Information on Peter Mathews Zoom on Peter Mathews In regard to the meeting at Davos, we have a situation where people pay $50,000 to attend. As Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett said, these are the elite, the powerful and the privileged. The book I gave the Taoiseach before Christmas, The Price of Inequality by Joseph Stiglitz, addresses one of the core themes of the conference, namely, that distributive economics has been shown - again, by facts and analysis, not by opinions, wishful thinking and ideologies - to be more constructive and progressive and better at generating economic activity than the neoliberal model of the past.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Michael Kitt Zoom on Michael Kitt The Deputy is out of time.

Deputy Peter Mathews: Information on Peter Mathews Zoom on Peter Mathews I am on the Taoiseach's side.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Michael Kitt Zoom on Michael Kitt If the Deputy wants an answer, he must allow the Taoiseach to speak.

Deputy Peter Mathews: Information on Peter Mathews Zoom on Peter Mathews I hope he takes my suggestions in the constructive spirit in which they are given.

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny The Deputy has been involved in the financial sector for many years and has very clear and strong views on this issue. I had an opportunity to give a report from an Irish context on the difficulties we faced. I referred to the fact that there were no tools available when this difficulty struck Ireland and emphasised the requirement to follow through on decisions made by the European Council in respect of banking union resolution and the opportunity for consideration of direct recapitalisation in respect of the legacy position. The Deputy has argued his case cogently in many fora. It is important to point out, however, that were the same to happen now, the situation is very different in that the mechanisms have been put in place to deal with things in a more structured way than was possible when Ireland got into this mess in the first place.

Deputy Peter Mathews: Information on Peter Mathews Zoom on Peter Mathews The reality, however, is that the banks are still out of control.

  Written Answers follow Adjournment.

Death of Former Member: Expressions of Sympathy

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny There was regret and sadness across the House at the news of the passing of Peadar Clohessy, a sadness which echoed the great sense of loss among the communities of Limerick East and the people and families Peadar had served with his characteristic diligence and integrity. He was an exceptionally kind and compassionate man. In his distinguished career as a public servant he took his constituents' concerns to heart and made them his own. In his every action as a politician he served the people. They were his sole concern, first and last, in decisions taken and positions held, in what were often difficult and even turbulent times within his party.

Peadar Clohessy was first elected to Limerick County Council in 1979 and he went on to serve for 25 years. In 1981 he was elected to this House as a Fianna Fáil Deputy. He was a man of his community and home place, a man with a deep sense that politics was always about the people and less about the party. When he became a founding member of the Progressive Democrats Party, his desire was to do good and better, not alone for and by the people of Limerick East but for and by the country as a whole. Peadar's was a quiet, unassuming patriotism, perhaps all the more powerful and significant for being so. Of deep significance in his life was the sense and idea of home. He had a deep and abiding fondness for Fedamore and its great people, of whom he spoke often. I knew him well in those years. It was palpable that he was deeply rooted in his people and place. He loved its landscape and had a special place in his heart for its culture as expressed through traditional music and the Gaelic Athletic Association.

I had the privilege of working with Peadar Clohessy when he was assistant Government Chief Whip in the early 1990s, at a time when I was Chief Whip for the Fine Gael Party. In our work together I always found him to be frank, decent and honourable and have a very particular and individual sense of humour. In that role, as in all his work, his standards and attitude exemplified the best sense and idea of politics and public service. His passing is deeply regretted on all sides of the House. However, while we have lost an esteemed former colleague, the Clohessy family has lost a father, someone who can never be equalled and can never be replaced. As Taoiseach and on behalf of the Fine Gael Party, I extend my sincere sympathy to Peadar's sons, Andrew, Patrick and Michael; his daughters, Alice, Margaret and Sinéad; his extended family and many friends. Sad as they are, all our partings are only for a while. Love, as they say, never dies.

I am absolutely certain that we will once again meet those whom we love and have lost at some point in the future. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam dílis.

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