As the Seanad resumed on Tuesday, Senator Zappone spoke about the need for politicians to be clear to the public where they stand in the political spectrum. Also, called for a debate on quantative easing and how this will help the average tax payer in Ireland.
Read her remarks here.
I predict that this could be an extraordinary year for Ireland, and not just because we will be casting our eyes towards the horizon of the iconic year of 2016. As the scientists and guru meditation experts remind us, the best way to live - the way that provides the most happiness and creativity - is to stay in the now. There will be so much extraordinary opportunity for the Irish in 2015, and it has already started. For example, 2015 could be the year in which we revolutionise the way we do politics in this country. We have heard about the possibility of new political parties, new political movements and a re-imagining of traditional political parties. There is a lot of political fluidity, which is great for innovation. What is dangerous in some of this debate, though, is the suggestion that political movements or parties do not have to be rooted in social and economic ideologies of the right or left. I say yes, they do. What really needs to happen in 2015, as we head towards a general election, is that political parties and movements re-imagine what left and right mean and be clear to the public where they stand. Some of this clarity and re-imagining should be embedded in the key economic and social debates that are raging right now.
I ask the Leader to arrange for a debate with the Minister for Finance on the issue of quantitative easing. As Members are aware, the ECB is supposed to be laying out its plan this Thursday. There are two central questions in this debate, one of which is what form Europe's quantitative easing will take. Will the ECB print money to buy bonds in Europe's banks, insurance companies and pension funds? Or will it be the case that each country's central bank is the primary source of the money? From today's newspaper reports, it looks as though it might be the latter. I agree with the Minister for Finance that this will not help us much. Second, whatever form quantitative easing takes, will the average taxpayer feel its benefits? Some economists argue that if the ECB buys assets only rich people will gain, because poor people do not own assets. There are ways to implement quantitative easing so that lower-income folks benefit more directly. This is why a debate on such a key issue would be timely and welcome. It would also help us to begin to re-imagine what it means to be on the left or the right in 2015.