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Letters from Irish Voice readers
Letters: 27 Aug - 2 Sept 2008
August 28, 2008
From Bad to Worse
READING certain stories in the Irish media, one would think that recent economic data indicates a downturn in consumer and commercial activity.
The word conveys a kind of short-term blip on the screen of the economic radar.
The goal of the media is primarily to sell advertising, whether newspaper pages or television spots, to providers of goods and services. In the midst of this revenue generating activity, the media must also provide balanced information (or unbalanced disinformation) on particular events or subjects chosen by the editor.
Anyone in the media who wants to report bad news, the gloom and doom must be muzzled or at worst silenced.
It reminds me of the famous U.S. economist Roger Babson, who in 1929, warned that “a crash is coming and its aftermath will be quite terrible.” It came, and it was.
That was then. This is now.
Are there any similarities in the year 2008/09 in Ireland and the U.S. in 1928/29?
House prices fell substantially in both eras. People were over indebted in both eras. Unemployment was rising as were interest rates in both eras. Economists who warned of storm clouds gathering were considered unpatriotic.
A recent story in the Irish Times written by one of Ireland’s most respected economists, Morgan Kelly, headed, “Sharp falls in house prices are likely to continue” provides sobering analysis on the facts and what is in store for Ireland’s economy in the coming months, especially in 2009.
At a recent live showing of the All-Ireland semifinals in a Manhattan pub as Dublin got trounced, the rain poured down in Croke Park. In a conversation with a Tyrone fan the man told me that investment in a scheduled *300 million government project to build a hospital in Drogheda had been scrapped due to a huge decrease in future tax revenues collected from Irish workers.
This is a major worry for the current government led by the bungling Brian Cowen, who seems to think that leaders can talk the population out of bad economic woes.
With projected tax revenue collected slated to dramatically decrease in 2009, government spending will most likely be severely cut. Most of the Celtic Tiger era revenue came from the collection of stamp duty and was heavily dependent upon the construction industry and new home sales.
Like a junkie that thinks the supply of heroin will go on into eternity, former leader Bertie Ahern and his minions assumed the building orgy, accelerated new home sales and increases in stamp duty would go on and on and on.
But of course when the junkie wakes up one morning and realizes his heroin supply will be impeded, he freaks out.
Similarly, the Irish government is freaking out by cutting various budgets and ensuring that what revenues it does generate, continue to flow unimpeded by any downturn.
This Harry Potter magic approach to economic management won’t work. Perhaps as election time falls, Cowen would be well advised to don his invisible cloak and disappear.
Perhaps he’ll write his biography and include plenty of chapters about his helm as finance minister during the heydays of the fledgling Celtic Tiger.
A suggested titled might be, “My Addiction to the Builders: A Finance Minister’s Epic Struggle to Get Off Stamp Duty.”
A.P. Ó Máille
New York, New York
IT is a rare occasion that I write a letter on the subject of religion, priests and the Catholic Church, since such matters are quite personal to each individual.
But upon recently viewing a most harrowing documentary recommended to me by a close friend, I thought a letter might bring to the attention of your readers this excellent documentary.
I received a copy of Deliver Us from Evil on DVD.
The documentary traces the horrendous and truly disgusting story of a certain Father Oliver O’Grady, who over several years raped, abused and destroyed the lives of children in his dioceses in California.
Over the years millions of words have been expended in newsprint regarding these abuse scandals, but when one hears from the individual victims, who courageously consented to be interviewed in the documentary, one feels the absolute pain, physical and psychic, suffered by the victims and their families over a lifetime.
The most shocking part to this tragedy is the fact that O’Grady lives in Ireland, having spent a mere seven years in jail here in the U.S. In the documentary he is filmed walking in the streets of Kilkenny, dressed in his drab woolen cardigan, flannel slacks, assuring the audience that he is well and truly “sorry” for his crimes.
Meanwhile many of his victims, raped as children, have spent a lifetime in mental and physical hell, attempting to understand what had happened to them, their lives absolutely shattered by this monster.
In actuality he receives an annuity from the Catholic Church for the remainder of his life and upon his release was deported to Ireland, land of saints and scholars, apparently immune from further prosecution and living a quiet existence as another old man shuffling about the place. This is a national disgrace!
This monstrous entity should be extradited to the United States to face life in prison.
And as the documentary meanders its way toward the end, we see how the various “tenured” bishops of the Catholic Church in California pretended they knew nothing, were duped by O’Grady’s evil deeds, were clueless about his abuses and simply moved him from town to town in a bid to, as usual, sweep the matter under the carpet of conscience. This is an institutional disgrace!
My disdain is directed toward the trans-Atlantic Catholic cover up pertaining to this grotesque O’Grady, the fact that he receives a monthly or weekly salary, is being granted shelter and is free to roam the streets of Kilkenny as if nothing ever happened.
And it is clear that the California Church’s hierarchy is either devoid of conscience or simply so ambitious in protecting their own positions as bishops for life, that they were willing to ship O’Grady out never to rear his ugly head again on their scandal ridden radar screen.
I am not here to pass judgment on Catholics or how they choose to worship in the chapel, rather bringing to the attention of as many people as possible the content of this most courageous documentary and its lasting effects on my mind.
As responsible adults, we are here to protect the weaklings in our society, whether children or other adults. When a convicted pedophile predator serves just seven years after destroying many children’s lives, it is incumbent upon us as decent people to bring this injustice to the attention of as many people as possible, regardless of the consequences.
By watching this documentary one is forced to ask the questions — how many unreported scandals are just waiting to flood the church’s files? How many cases have been systematically covered up by indolent and arrogant bishops right across the Catholic world?
And finally, how many more lives will be destroyed due to trust betrayed, innocence stomped on and souls obliterated by a most heinous crime?
Sean A. Murphy,
Woodside, New York
I AM enthusiastically looking forward to this election so I can vote for Senator John McCain.
I wouldn’t vote for Senator Barack Obama if you paid me. He’s got no experience whatsoever, and McCain is right to portray him as a candidate who is first and foremost a celebrity.
I think McCain will be an excellent president, and good for Ireland too. There is no reason at all for Irish Americans to vote for Obama.
Edward R. Hughes
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