Coalition's record of achievements is hard to credit
Published 25/02/2016 | 02:30
It would be extremely churlish and indeed foolish in the extreme to deny the Coalition Government credit for bringing about some economic recovery, however lopsided.
Unemployment has been reduced to 9pc and 136,000 jobs have been created.
Many still argue that external influences outside the Government's control were major contributing factors, such as the weak euro, low interest rates and the strength of our main trading partners, the USA and the UK.
It is often difficult, however, for us ordinary people to gauge the Government's true level of success or failure due to the fog of spin and counter spin clouding the issues.
In these circumstances so close to an election, it is entirely legitimate to judge the Government's record based on at least some of those issues totally within its control and unaffected by extraneous influences.
1. The health system, crises in A&Es, Universal Health Insurance and abolition of the HSE.
2. Setting up and cost of Irish Water
3. Crises in housing, increasing homelessness, children going hungry to school.
4. Treatment of the most vulnerable, the physically and mentally disabled, the aged and carers.
5. Policies and budgets favouring the well-off.
6. Legal system reform.
7. Upward only rents.
8. Gang warfare, the unfettered drug culture and rural crime.
9. Democratic revolution and transparency.
10. Unprecedented levels of suicide and suicidal ideation among young people
As a long-term Fine Gael supporter, I am regrettably forced to admit that any objective assessment of these issues can only conclude that overall, the Coalition has failed Irish society spectacularly.
It can also be argued that the greatest calamity to befall us was the Coalition's and its predecessor's abject capitulation to our EU partners, in meekly paying off unsecured bond holders and foisting private bankers' gambling debts on our shoulders in perpetuity.
Wilton Road, Cork
SF will institutionalise envy
On a party- or Independent-wide basis, it would not be surprising if the electorate were confused.
This bewilderment is particularly evident among the Left-wing parties and Sinn Féin. These parties seem to want to institutionalise envy, greed and laziness. According to these parties, the fault for all our woes lie with those who achieve by working longer and harder and using their God-given talents. Sinn Féin and the Left's beggar-man take on economics appears to be that if you borrow money the last thing you should do is pay it back, and then you should expect the lender to lend even more.
Sinn Féin's policy in the North was to create enough trouble for the British in the hope that they might leave. That does not appear to have worked to date. Its policy on finance after the crash has been remarkably similar - don't honour our debts and Europe will bail us and lend us more money.
The Left or Sinn Féin did not predict the financial crash in 2007/08. Their policy then was spend, spend and spend some more.
I do agree with Sinn Féin that no civil servant is worth €100,000 per year. We have seen where some State employees in the HSE, regulators, Garda, etc., have been shown to have been inefficient, incapable and unaccountable.
But Sinn Féin and the Left's policy on investing is that anyone who saves and invests and gains any dividend from their effort is deemed almost an enemy of the State. You cannot grow an economy with such an attitude. One does not become rich by saving, but by using other people's (savers') money. The savers themselves will not commit their money to any risk-laden venture for fear of losing it, but will settle for a meagre profit on their capital in return for guarantees.
The most successful entrepreneurs do not come from the ranks of the rich elite. The proof of this is in every street and parish in the country. The haves and the have nots are constantly changing.
The Left and Sinn Féin are not capable of understanding this fact.
Life is simple and hard, and people who cannot do simple and hard spend a lifetime thinking and explaining how complicated it is.
There is no shortcut to any destination worth going to.
Remember the man who cried because he had no shoes until he met a man who had no feet.
Jay Fox Carney
Rathnamuddagh, Co Westmeath
State's faulty moral compass
I have learned with great sadness and shame that the moral compass of the Irish State and churches is still stuck in the same dysfunctional position it was in a century ago in 1916.
Our history is littered with dysfunctional moral compasses. The Church of Ireland has lacked the personal moral fibre to insist that the State functions in a Christian way.
For over 100 years now, Church of Ireland leaders and Protestants have quietly looked the other way.
And this is why we have the great injustice of the Bethany Home survivors - who were ignored and scorned over their 18 years of campaigning.
This rejection by the State of justice for the survivors gives you some idea that their prejudices in running the country have not changed when it comes the Catholic field and the Protestant field.
I should know - I have been and remain a victim of State injustice against my basic human rights.
Address with editor
Let FG/Labour finish the job
It took three terms for Fianna Fáil to complete its destruction of the Irish economy, which led to extreme hardship for literally millions of our people.
This Fine Gael and Labour Government, whilst not perfect, has made great inroads into repairing the damage.
The base is now there for Ireland to prosper again.
Is it too much to ask the people of Ireland to give them a second term and a chance to finish the job?
Celbridge, Co Kildare