Bankruptcy Bill, Willie Penrose, and other matters political

Well, it has been a busy week all round, particularly in politics. Firstly, we had the Bankruptcy Bill which was brought forward by Willie Penrose, Labour TD for Longford-Westmeath.

He worked mightily on this legislation and had persuaded his leader, Joan Burton, to ensure it passed through Fine Gael, and so it is to be discussed and passed prior to Christmas. Willie Penrose had spent a lot of time working on this Bill. It is a good piece of legislation and I am glad for him. Willie and I served many years together in Dáil Éireann and as colleagues/contestants in the constituency of Longford-Westmeath. I found him combative but friendly.

We managed to pursue our separate policies always with good friendship. He has been ill and I am glad to know that he is well again. I am sure he will be contesting the forthcoming General Election with his usual vigour and vim. Indeed, I wish him well.

I am sure many of our readers look at the Vincent Browne Show. As you know, I can take it or leave it from time to time. However, last week there was a very good session from Dublin Bay South in which Lucinda Creighton, the only sitting TD to turn up, was accompanied by Jim O’Callaghan for Fianna Fáil and Eamon Ryan for the Green Party. I doubt if there has been or if there will be as satisfactory a debate in any other constituency in Ireland.

Looking at Lucinda Creighton, the leader of Renua, Jim O’Callaghan, a barrister, and Eamon Ryan of the Green Party, one could not but be proud of them as public representatives and one would be well served by voting for one of them or for the three of them. They were able to put themselves forward, they talked sense, and they were very appealing to the general audience.

I feel sure Lucinda Creighton will be successful in her own General Election campaign. The pity is that Renua arrived too late on the scene to make a major impact. Be that as it may, she is a sterling person herself and her ideals and principles are sound and deserve respect. What a pity (if the polls are correct ), there will be a contest between Jim O’Callaghan and Eamon Ryan for one of the seats in this Dublin Bay South constituency. Those three were class candidates.

This week saw the first round of the challenge to the Gender Quota Bill in the High Court. We will see how it progresses. I know that the whole gender quota principle has become an obsession with the media, particularly in the arts and theatre. Listening to Morning Ireland recently, I could not but note how the main presenters in that programme are all women. The programme was presented jointly by Keelin Shanley and Audrey Carville.

During the course of the two hours of the programme, they had reason to call in the RTÉ correspondent in the US, who is of course Caitriona Perry, and from London, who is Fiona Mitchell. So without any fuss or carry-on, RTÉ had ensured in that two hours complete female gender presentation. And it was all the better for that. The voices were authoritative, reassuring, and knowledgeable.

I am sure many of you often tune into Sky or BBC, particularly if there is an interesting debate raging in the UK. Last week we had the vote in the House of Commons where the Prime Minister, David Cameron, was seeking to get a majority vote in order to send the RAF to bomb ISIS.

I was lucky in that I chanced upon the most marvellous speech of the whole debate; that given by a Labour MP called Hilary Benn. He spoke with just bare reference to his notes, but he spoke widely and with great force of intellectualism and a huge appeal to his Labour colleagues to join in this vote as he saw it to help England in its hour of need. He was commanding and persuasive and I have seldom heard from any parliament a speech of such force and dignity.

So the Banking Review has come to the end of its deliberations. They certainly laboured long and I am sure their report will be worth reading. It is a pity they could not reach a consensus and that two of its members, Joe Higgins and Pearse Doherty, had to leave the committee saying they could not agree with its findings to date. However, I understand both will issue minority reports. The report is now going to all people mentioned in it for their observations.

The solicitor acting on behalf of Ann and Conor Lenihan and myself has asked that the report be sent to us for our observations on the then Minister for Finance, Brian Lenihan. We will await the outcome of that.

Talk to you next week. In the meantime, go safely.

Slán go Fóill,

MARY O’ROURKE

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