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President Higgins: Anglo Tapes “are not the voices of the people of Ireland”

Michael D reassures Irish people they will be recognised internationally for their spirit and hard work.

Image: Sam Boal/Photocall Ireland

Updated 20:37

PRESIDENT MICHAEL D Higgins has said that the voices heard on the Anglo Tapes released by the Irish Independent over the past week should not be seen as indicative of the “behaviours and attitudes” of the Irish people at large.

Speaking at the opening garden party of the summer at Áras an Uachtaráin yesterday, he also reassured the nation that “informed foreign opinion” would realise that the voices on the tapes are not representative of the “real story from Ireland”, which he said is the “the heroism of its people”.

President Higgins contrasted the Great Dublin Lockout of 1913 with the “speculative economy” in which toxic banks developed. He said:

I have often spoken in the past of the terrible damage that has been inflicted on our society by the aggressive individualism and self-interest of a speculative economy.

This week, voices from the past have been heard which serve to highlight behaviours and attitudes at the very root of that failed economic model. They do not make for easy listening.

But let us be certain of one thing: these are not the voices of the people of Ireland;

the attitudes they reveal are not shared by the people of Ireland;

the behaviours they reflect are not characteristic of the people of Ireland.

The people of Ireland, who have borne the brunt of a financial crisis not of their making, are shocked and dismayed that a culture of greed and recklessness emerged in some of our institutions – a culture which was not in keeping with out core values as a nation.

The Irish people, who are rightly recognised for their fortitude, work ethic and courage, will take us out of this present crisis. The authentic voice, spirit and values of Ireland will be restored and will lead us to what is important – a real economy that provides sustainable employment for all and a just and ethical society that allows all its citizens to fully participate and achieve their life potential.

Informed foreign opinion will recognise that the real story from Ireland is not the aberrant voices we heard this week but the heroism of its people who are determined, not only to get through this crisis, but to secure a future that is just, prosperous and sustainable.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel revealed last week her “contempt” for the contents of some of the Anglo Tapes, namely that in which Anglo’s former head of capital markets, John Bowe, is heard jokingly singing ‘Deutschland, Deutschland, Uber Alles’ to former CEO David Drumm.

The tapes, said Merkel, were “a real damage” to democracy, and said they showed why “it’s an incredible challenge for us to convince people who get up every morning to do their work, who always pay taxes, who show solidarity which others who are weaker.

You can read the entirety of President Higgins’s speech by clicking here.

First published at 08:16.

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