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The Word on the Week

O’Brien’s Ireland

When Dennis O’Brien complained this week that he was not getting a fair hearing in the Dial he was overlooking the fact that he owns the bulk of the reporting media in the country! What still lies beyond his control is the voice of an independent member of parliament who, in what’s left of our democracy, has posed awkward questions regarding his business affairs.

Of course O’Brien claimed his banking arrangements were private but with so much public money swilling around the system it’s hard to claim that these questions were not in the public interest.

The first question concerned the rate of interest O’Brien was paying to the IRBC (the rump of Anglo/Irish bank) in particular what was the rate he was paying on his company Siteserv? The second question concerned this company which had €119M written off its value in the bank’s books when O’Brien bought the company from the bank in 2012.

IRBC is owned by the taxpayers of Ireland. These questions should have been answered in the Dial. Instead they are to be dealt with by a Commission of Investigation, the terms of which will occupy the minds of our politicians for the best part of next week!

Of course nothing is ever simple when large sums of money are involved. There was €5M paid to Siteserv’s shareholders to get their permission to sell the company. By coincidence this is the same amount that the Irish Football Association squeezed out of FIFA on some nebulous business to do with Ireland failing to qualify in the World Cup in 2009.

It’s been an interesting week!

Honesty and transparency trump privacy and confidentiality. “Unequal weights and unequal measures are both alike an abomination to the Lord” (Proverbs Chapter 20 verse 10).

Sin is depicted in the book of Daniel as short weight. “You have been weighed in the balances and found wanting” (Chapter 5 verse 27).

In the New Testament one of the words used to describe sin is ‘short measure’. “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans Chapter 3 verse 23).

Multibillionaires and corrupt global organisations make good illustrations of what should not be but when it comes to God’s standard we all fall short.

We cannot cancel sin, which is always primarily against God, by paying back what has been wrongly acquired. Restitution may be possible and is a good thing but useless to eradicate sin. St Peter puts it well “you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect” (Chapter 1 verses 18/19).

Whether we are ‘up and out’ or ‘down and out’ Jesus has made a way – trust Him.