Seanad debates

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

10:30 am

Photo of David NorrisDavid Norris (Independent)

I regret that, owing to a diary conflict, I am unlikely to be present to pay tribute to the leaders of 1916 in the presence of their descendents. I ask the Leader to transmit personally my feelings that they were men of vision and chivalry. They had a poetic vision of Ireland and gave us the extraordinary and wonderfully liberating Proclamation that Padraig Pearse read at the GPO. I would be very pleased to support the creation of a national monument, especially as we move towards the centenary of the event and welcome the opportunity to say as much because there may be confusion about my views. One newspaper published some contradictory material. I had to contact those concerned and they made a grovelling apology and, I am glad to say, printed a retraction. This spirit is still embodied in some Irish politicians. I am thinking especially of Joe Higgins and about the very clear way in which he spoke out on behalf not only of the people of Ireland but also Europe against the inflictions of the banking system. It is interesting he rattled Mr. Barroso who showed his complete lack of professionalism by going for the Irish people. The people of Europe ought to take note of this. It is not entirely unconnected that the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, has changed her tune and is now echoing what Senator O'Toole and I have been saying in the Seanad for some considerable time.

There are different kinds of Independents. Some are like those in this House who are independent not only of party political affiliation but also in mind and thought. I am not sure that can always be said about the Independents in the other House. I agree with Senator O'Toole that they are now raising issues of national importance. That was not always so. They certainly raised parochial issues in the past. Looking at the track record, I join with them in most of the issues they have raised now, but in the past there has been parish pump, self-interest and jockeying for their own electoral advantage. I hold that in contempt.


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