A Fine Gael/Fianna Fáil coalition is the only way forward
Published 22/02/2016 | 02:30
The aggressive refusal by some Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil frontbenchers to enter a coalition doesn't make any sense. Opinion polls show it to be the only viable government.
Both parties are broadly centre-right, with only a sheet of clingfilm separating their policies. For example, Fianna Fáil proposes scrapping the water charges that Fine Gael introduced, when it was Fianna Fáil that originally proposed it several years ago.
Both parties believe in low taxes, a free market and are pro-jobs in order to encourage people to develop themselves and not expect or depend on State handouts.
Both parties are pro-Europe and favourable towards the UK and US, although there is still a bit of the 'Little Irelander' mentality in Fianna Fáil. And given the year that is in it, what couldn't be a greater celebration of the centenary of 1916 than the ending of Civil War politics?
The only disadvantage to a Fine Gael/Fianna Fáil coalition is that it would be a very socially conservative government, as many of their TDs still cower in fear of the Catholic Church's crozier.
We all live in hope of a more progressive government with more ambitious ideas to move our country forward and tackle vested interests and protected sectors. But until that day arrives, we have to work with what we have.
So given the choice between an undesirable government of anyone with Sinn Féin, an unstable government with Labour and a ragbag, motley crew of opportunists, gombeens and loonies, or a stable centre-right Fine Gael/Fianna Fáil coalition, I know which option sensible Irish voters will choose.
As for those frontbenchers who stridently oppose a Fine Gael/Fianna Fáil coalition? Can we expect that after the election they will realise that they are the past and not the future, and they will then sit quietly on the backbenches?
Jason Fitzharris, Swords, Co Dublin
The sense of entitlement
My father left Kerry and came to Dublin to work. Nobody handed him anything. He worked two jobs for 22 years so that he could give his family a comfortable home and a fine education.
My only memories are of a happy home and memorable schooldays. All this was possible because of the sacrifices my father made. He worked hard, my mother looked after the pennies and all our bills were paid.
When did this happy way of life change? When did we become a nation of people who feel they are entitled to everything without effort, getting everything just for free?
Worse still, when some people don't get what they feel that they are entitled to, they shout and roar and blame everyone else. While all this is going on, our new citizens happily take up all the jobs the new Irish entitled class deem beneath them.
I love my country dearly and it pains me to see us sleepwalk into an election where the new entitled class seems intent on sending us on a road where everything is for free and there are no responsibilities.
This utopia does not exist.
Brian Kennedy Ranelagh, Dublin 6
Abortion is not the answer
Martina Devlin's article 'Labour's display of courage on abortion issue' (Irish Independent, February 20) seems to make a virtue out of our imperfect world, in effect arguing that we use it as a norm and capitulate to its malevolence.
Traditionally, the appreciation of the imperfect nature of the world stimulated the human spirit to rise above it, to seek and do humane and beautiful things. The necessity for the highest ethical and moral standards for dignified living became apparent.
Humanity learned how to generate positive outcomes which transcend the negatives of an imperfect world, cultivating the culture of life itself by appealing to people's higher nature. But the article essentially construes a modus operandi based on the morose standard of the imperfect world, despite acknowledging the existence of the higher values.
The Eighth Amendment is an appeal to the values of justice and equality. Far from being an "amendment that continues to put women's health at risk", it has put Ireland near the top of the global league in terms of maternal safety in pregnancy and childbirth.
The Life Institute estimates that there are 250,000 people alive today because of the amendment.
Protecting the amendment can hardly be described as "a cowardly option".
Unwanted pregnancies cause severe levels of distress for many women. But evidence increasingly suggests that abortion tends to intensify the said levels of distress.
Abortion is not a means of "dealing with it honestly", as the article claims.
And the promoters of abortion on demand steadfastly evade offering any ideas on apposite remedies for women who have been damaged by abortion.
Neil Bray, Cappamore, Co Limerick
Think of all those lost lives
Martina Devlin's article (Irish Independent, February 20) clearly outlined the arguments for a repeal of the Eighth Amendment.
However, Ms Devlin's suggestion that we "take another look at those abortion statistics since they are our sisters, our daughters, our neighbours, our friends", while true, is incomplete.
Might I suggest that we take another look at the humanity of the unborn children who have been aborted, since they too might have been "our sisters, our daughters, our neighbours, our friends"?
David Mullins, Arklow, Co Wicklow
Time to vote with real courage
As Franklin D Roosevelt told the people of America in 1932: "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself." Ergo, let neither fear, nor favour, prevent any voter from casting their vote as they wish on Friday.
Whatever the outcome of the election, it will show who the real politicians are in the Republic of Ireland, for these will be the ones who take Otto Von Bismarck's words seriously: "Politics is the art of the possible, the attainable - the art of the next best."
These are the ones who will form a stable government, irrespective of party politics.
It was done in 1948.
Vote early, use your ballot paper to the full: this will send a message that people count more than money.
Exert your independence from inane politics: a politics that has made the Dáil a toothless tiger, giving all power to a select self-appointed elite that is fundamentally little different from the three-man Cabinet in Dublin Castle a century ago.
May the people win in 2016.
Declan Foley, Berwick, Australia