In the last 24 hours we are witnessing the slow melt down in the Irish economy: The McInerney group have just sought high court protection for debts in excess of 200 million euros; we also are witnessing the collapse of Aer Arann with debts in the region of 17 m euros plus.
In today’s papers, the two high fliers of Bertie’s Tiger (or the illusion of) Johnnie Ronan and Richard Barrett now admit they can’t meet their repayments in relation to their debts of 2 billion euros. It said some repayments are 3.8 m euros per month. We have seen in the last year the collapse of McNamara, Paddy Happy Kelly and the rest. The High Court has now a queue probably to put it in physical terms of 1.5 kilometres of people and the smallest debt among them is probably in the region of 1.5 m euros going up to the once God’s of Irish society who owe in excess of 2.2 billion euros. Yet the ESB will cut off an ordinary Irish citizen for a debt of 500 euros. Yet Eircom will cut off a woman with disabilities for doing no wrong but standing up for what she is entitled to on 9 medications a day and her phone is now off for almost 10 months.
In the meantime, my question today is: Charities. Yes. The word Charity means – to give, to help, to care, to understand, to listen. Let us see what Charity actually means in morally bankrupt Ireland. I will start with Mr. Ringrose: I believe he stood down sometime ago. A former Garda Supt. with a fine pension and yet in his tenure he could take down the salary of over 150,000 euros. Angela Kearns in Rehab will not disclose her salary to the Irish taxpayer – to me this is contempt. Her salary is alleged to exceed 200,000 euros excluding expenses. Then we have people who work in various organisations to help people with disabilities. Again their salaries – who really knows!
Take Suicide Prevention, Mental Health e.g. (Aware, Grow), Enable Ireland, Carmichael House and the representative groups under this umbrella. Yes, we do not doubt the incredible work that is carried out by people involved in these organisations and non governmental agencies but are we the people of Ireland in recession assured that transparency, ethics, accountability i.e. that ‘corporate governance’ effect we are seeking from other companies, is present in these organisations and NGO’s also? I have noted the prominent position of ‘Donations’ each time one enters the web site (but then maybe I am the cynical person).
Last night on Prime Time, the Irish Red Cross was discussed: the low morale among staff. It talked about financial mismanagement. It talked about personality clashes, it talked about an urgent change in Governance structures but sadly then FF entered the arena and Minister Tony Killeen said ‘we will have shortly the Downer group recommendations’. This again is more false promises……we need accountability, we need transparency and we need to know the hidden faces of the fat cats that make small fortunes on the backs of vulnerable people and children across the Island of Ireland and they use the word Charity as a moral balaclava.
I am sick as an Irish taxpayer to the core watching Prime Time last night. I am sick that all of the Down’s Syndrome children in Ireland this year experience extreme cut backs to their support services. I am sick to read of the drop-in centres for people trying to get off illegal drugs being closed down throughout Ireland.
Yet, the Fat Cats hide behind their right of not telling the Irish taxpayer the hundreds of thousands they earn annually.
I ask one question today – Could somebody out there have the moral courage to give me the true meaning of the word Charity.
‘We who have a Voice must be a voice for the Voiceless!
Oscar Romero (1917-80) El Salvadorean Archbishop of Salvador who was assassinated for speaking out
against government sanctioned death squad activities.