Monday 24 October 2016

Fianna Fáil can’t blame other parties for its own mistakes

Published 30/07/2015 | 02:30

FF’s Micheál Martin can’t shift blame
FF’s Micheál Martin can’t shift blame

What Shane Coleman in his article ('FF should take swipe at Government glass jaw' (Irish Independent, July 25) does not get, is that there is a new doctrine being perpetrated here by Fianna Fáil and some of their media supporters that an opposition is to blame for actions of government.

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It's the government, stupid, not the opposition that are to blame for government decisions. Fianna Fáil took the praise, Bertie was a great success, we were the envy of the world. Now when it all goes pear-shaped, suddenly the opposition are brought into the frame. Oppositions have to win elections, and are to be judged on what they do then.

Recall Fianna Fáil in 1987 with slogans, 'Health cuts hurt the old, the sick and handicapped' and when they went into government, Fianna Fáil cut health to the bone. Fianna Fáil opposed the Anglo Irish Agreement of 1985, CJ Haughey even sent Brian Lenihan Snr to the US to oppose it, but he was sent packing by Irish Americans. Then lo and behold Fianna Fáil went along with it on return to power!

Fianna Fáil's very own Sean Lemass said that election promises should be torn up after the election. Can you imagine the opposition opposing the largesse being distributed by Fianna Fáil to pensioners?

Children's allowance was increased by 26pc at one stage by Fianna Fáil before an election and backdated six months at a time when there was no clamour for it. So should the opposition have demanded that this not happen and face the electorate? Kenny shipped a lot of criticism in 2003 for opposing benchmarking and lost a lot of public sector votes as a result.

By the way, don't forget that the Rainbow Coalition handed over to Fianna Fáil in 1997 with balanced budget. Now, again, this Coalition has borrowing down from €22bn to €5bn, to be eliminated altogether by 2017. Facts do matter sometimes. It's the economy, stupid, and what governments actually do is what matters.

I notice that Shane Coleman thinks if Fianna Fáil takes his advice it may rise to 24/25pc in next election, so over to you Fianna Fáil.

Brendan Cafferty

Ballina, Co Mayo


Democracy not for Middle East

The spiral of violence in the Middle East continues today with the recent strife between Turkey and the Kurds. But this is just the latest bout in the eternal boxing match of Middle East politics, going back to the Egyptians and the Hittites at Kadesh - the oldest battle on record.

The problem with the Middle East for liberal and conservative thinking here in the West is that even this upsurge in violence does not seem to deter them from thinking that democracy can work in the Holy Land. Sad to say, but I don't agree with this idea.

Inter-tribal and sectarian violence is endemic in this place. Shias, Sunnis, Jews, Christians, communists, fascists and tribes of all descriptions vie for power in an escalating conflict so treacherous that now no outside power will intervene for fear of attracting terrorist attacks on its home soil.

With all this instability, democracy cannot flourish. Even Turkey, supposedly democratic since the 1920s, has been repeatedly under the thumb of military juntas and continues to contend with internal threats to its established secularism, not that its secular democracy prevents it from stomping on the demands made for autonomy by the largest stateless ethnicity in the world. Even if democracy did somehow come to exist in that blighted region there is no guarantee that it would be good for all people.

As the British journalist Nick Cohen pointed out in his book 'What's Left?', democracy in areas overrun by the ideologies of groups like Al-Qaeda or Isil would invariably lead to democratically enacted laws to oppress women and other groups.

Democracy is not for everyone.

Colin Smith

Clara, Co Offaly


Cycling brings life to the city

I started back cycling a few years ago for all the reasons anyone trying to get to work in the city centre will understand: endless traffic jams, hours wasted, widening rear end, etc.

I was reading the paper and came across Liam Collins's article, joining in the vitriol being stirred up against cyclists.

Every day drivers in large expensive cars, small cars, broken bashed up cars, every type of car, think they are far more important than me.

I have a very narrow cycle lane and even though cars take up most of the road they will still sprawl enough to stop me cycling along in safety.

There are a huge number of people taking to cycling every day. It is bringing the city alive.

Liam would be far better engaged in a campaign to remove taxi drivers from bus lanes.

They are a menace and a danger to anyone who gets in the way of a fare.

Transport Minister Paschal Donohoe knows the huge bill we will all have to pay in the future for global warming.

He also understands the horrendous epidemic of obesity and its costs already to the State. He is a wise man to encourage our children, their parents and grandparents out of cars and on to our bikes.

Nuala Bermingham

Dublin 6


When is a mistake not a mistake?

"While we have made mistakes setting up Irish Water was not one of them" - Alan Kelly, Environment Minister.

If we take Mr Kelly at his word, then it really begs the question: if Irish Water isn't a mistake, then how bad are the mistakes that they have made?

Dermot Ryan

Athenry, Co Galway


A serving of angry birds

Tony Wallace says McDonald's do not serve gulls (Irish Independent, July 28). Would that be birdscrimination?

John Williams

Clonmel, Co Tipperary


For whom the bells toll

Eric Conway asks if the campaign to silence the Angelus on radio and television is successful, will the campaigners turn their attention to the church bells in every town and village in the country? (Irish Independent, July 28)

Of course. And not only that, but the silence of ALL bells in every city, town and village in the country - including school bells, doorbells, ship bells, jingle bells, wedding bells, last orders bells, craft bells, hell's bells, the bell curve and cowbells in every field in every county in the country.

Gary J Byrne

Dublin 1

Irish Independent

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