Connacht Tribune - Opinion Piece
Why have Bank Holidays when we don’t have functioning banks?October 31, 2012 - 9:26am
We’ve just come through another Bank Holiday – an odd phenomenon when you think of all we’ve gone through over the past three or four years.
Perhaps a Troika holiday would be a better description, a day when we don’t have to answer to our European masters – or a bond mini-break where the Irish taxpayer doesn’t have to sell his youngest son to pay back the Germans the money he never borrowed in the first place.
The real point of all of this of course is why we have Bank Holidays in the first place; should the world stop revolving because our financial institutions take a Monday off?
After all we don’t close our shops on Sundays anymore and there cannot be a single village that observes the old custom of a half day during the week anymore.
So, while we’ve no wish to rain on anyone’s parade, isn’t it time we stopped living in the past – to a time when bank managers were people we looked up to – and copped on to ourselves.
Grand, have a national holiday every so often if you want to – although heaven knows why they cannot be bunched together and offered as another week’s holiday to be taken whenever you desire, as opposed to the enforced absence from work every so often on a Monday.
More and more workers cannot take Mondays off anyway, and even if they do, all they might have shifted off the desk on the first day of the working week just gets pushed out by 24 hours to make the rest of the week even busier.
Shouldn’t we have moved beyond the era of these days off for (almost) everyone?
Obviously the pubs would miss it because it’s the one weekend everyone can go out on a Sunday night – and many again on a Monday evening – but isn’t it ironic that we call it a Bank Holiday on the very weekend that AIB shut down 44 of its branches on a permanent basis?
Not so much a day with your bank door closed as a permanent one.
It’s like a regular reminder of the reason we’re in such dire straits – because if the banks had taken a much longer holiday in the first place, they wouldn’t have been lending to developers like they feared the cash reserves would otherwise burn a hole in the steel safe.
Ditto, mid-term breaks – whatever about students and teachers needing a few days off, where in God’s name is the justification for the Dail shutting down?
They’re only just back after the interminable summer break and they already spend just four days a week in Leinster House – considerably less if you count time actually spent attending the Dail or Seanad – so how can our state legislature afford a week off when the rest of us are bursting a gut just to keep the show on the road.
One presumes that the Cabinet is in situ – or at least Michael Noonan and Brendan Howlin, as they work on the hair shirt budget – while Time Magazine’s Man of the Year, not to mention European of the Year, Enda Kenny is either admiring his photograph or officially opening another packet of crisps in deepest Mayo.
Maybe he’s trying to work out just what makes us so special – because that’s the one thing that Europe’s most powerful leaders agree on; the problem is that we don’t yet know if this is a good or a bad thing.
But at least we know we’re a special case – and so far the definition of ‘special case’ means that the breaks which are being doled out to our penniless European neighbours are not being applied to us.
We’re to be treated in a special way which means giving all of our money to German banks and then borrowing more money from them so that we can pay them back all over again.
And in a desperate effort to meet the repayments, we will have levies on our houses, our water, our health insurance, our bins, our septic tanks and perhaps on the air that we breathe.
We’re also the best boys in the class, which is why Enda Kenny appeared on the front of Time magazine and is not the winner of the European of the Year Award from the German Magazine Publishers Association.
Presumably that’s because he’s paying back all of the money our banks borrowed from their German counterparts, saddling the rest of us with a debt that we didn’t incur but which will now force our children to move to foreign parts because there’s nothing left for them here only old copies of Time magazine blowing through the empty streets like tumbleweed.
For more, read this week's Connacht Tribune.