Can we trust the government anymore?

From today’s Order of Business…

I respectfully disagree with the suggestion that criticism of what the Government has done in the past is an entirely separate matter from what we have to deal with now. The two are intimately bound up for two reasons. First, the Minister for Finance and others on the Government side have spent a number of weeks trying to persuade us that the budgetary crisis and the banking crisis are entirely separate. This effort has been made repeatedly in this debate in the past two to three weeks. We have been asked to stop talking about the banks and just talk about the budget when we know that the banking crisis and the central policy failures in regard to banking, and at the top of which failures I would put the blanket guarantee given more than two years ago, are inextricably and intimately bound up with where we are at the moment in regard to the crisis the country is in. We cannot see our way to analysing and debating this issue in any kind of credible way without having regard to these central policy failures, the legacy of which we are facing day in, day out.

The second reason we cannot separate the two things is the issue of trust. Can we trust the Government? We can disagree with those in government and that is fine. We all know that we disagree with them but can we trust them or believe what they say? The problem is that trust and legitimacy immediately flow out of any government, leaving aside whether one agrees or disagrees with those in government, if one cannot believe what that government says. One cannot possibly have any trust in that government. The people cannot have trust in a government, some of whose members at the weekend described as fiction that there were ongoing discussions on bailouts or related matters.

Another Minister, Deputy Dempsey, who was standing beside the Minister in question shook his head and indicated he did not know anything. Either the Ministers knew what the position was and misrepresented it or they did not know what it was, in which case what are they doing in the Government? What is going on in the Government in relation to policy?

My brothers who live in the United States are as well informed about what appears to be taking place as are the people here who are being informed by the Government. This morning’s interview by the Minister for Finance hit rock bottom in that respect. There is no frankness or honesty, without which one cannot have trust and-or legitimacy.