Thursday 27 October 2016

Irish politics is in desperate need of a Jeremy Corbyn

Published 15/09/2015 | 02:30

New Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn
New Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn

The selection of Jeremy Corbyn as leader of the British Labour Party should sound alarm bells for the political establishment in Ireland who have reduced politics to various strands of banality, with little sense of overall moral direction or of a real interest in establishing and nurturing a just and fair society.

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We have been fed for years on a diet of political posturing that appeals to our worst instincts. Even the quality of our differences remains clouded in ambiguity and driven by a crude form of pragmatic thinking.

Jeremy Corbyn has come on the scene just as George Osborne, the British chancellor, free from the shackles of coalition government, is engaged in the heartless enterprise of reducing the national debt by slashing benefits provided for the poorest in society while reducing the tax burden of the wealthiest.

We have here what looks almost a mirror image of what is happening in Ireland, the difference being that there is no Jeremy Corbyn to confront the obscenity of current Irish political realities.

What Corbyn has done is stir the imagination of the latest generation of voters, putting fire in their bellies and awakening them to the palpable injustice in the way society is ordered as it shamelessly rewards the creators of economic chaos.

Democracy was never intended to weaken the voice of the people it purports to serve, but to strengthen it by robust representation of their views in parliament.

When I see the number of vacant seats in the Dáil during some crucial debates, I wonder what our representatives are doing with their well-paid time. Alarmingly, the record for 2014 shows, for instance, that one former minister made verbal contributions to only three Oireachtas meetings throughout the year.

Ireland waits for someone to tap into the disenchantment and anger that is beginning to permeate the lives of those who want no more than equality of opportunity to establish a secure life for themselves and for their children. Lucinda Creighton’s Renua Ireland offers some hope.

Philip O’Neill

Oxford, UK


Ireland as a film set

The return of the Jedi to Skellig Michael is being seen as a “gift” for the Iveragh Peninsula by many local inhabitants.

They claim that filming the new ‘Star Wars’ movie on Skellig Michael will enhance its appeal as a must-see visitor attraction and increase tourism to Ireland.

Why not ‘Kick-Ass’ on Achill? There is no limit to the possibilities.

Dr John Doherty

Cnoc an Stollaire, Gaoth Dobhair,

Co Dhún na nGall


Seasonal adjustment

In response to Michael Dryhurst’s seasonal confusion (Irish Independent, Letters, September 14), let me steer him in the right direction.

In Ireland we judge our seasons by the temperature of the rain. When the rain is warm it is spring or summer, and conversely in autumn and winter the rain is cold. No more needs to be said.

Ray Dunne

Enfield, Co Meath


Please prove me wrong

The jungle drums are picking up in intensity as we near an election, so let this Government prove it has its people at heart for a change now rather than promises for the future.

Three things to do to prove that Ireland Inc is back in business are as follows.

1. Get rid of the USC tax immediately. It was brought in as an emergency tax. Either we are in recovery or we aren’t. It came in as a lump, so remove it and its cancerous damage.

2. Abolish JobBridge. It is an embarrassing use of qualified people who deserve better. Either there is real work or else a preponderance of ill-defined work schemes.

3. Go to Europe and look for the €8bn we were duped and threatened into paying.

Either we are in recovery today or politicians are simply seeking seats next time round.

From the promises made last time out by the present Government, I simply don’t trust them. Do the above and prove me wrong.

John Cuffe

Dunboyne, Co Meath


We haven’t learned our lesson

The Coalition is setting about the problem of refugees with the same degree of common sense and forethought it has displayed in respect of the homeless and water charges. We seem to be governed by primary school teachers rather than the top intellectuals in our universities.

Today I learned the following:

1. “Irish refugee opt-in sets us apart from Britain and Denmark”. This is reassuring indeed, especially in respect of our common border with Denmark. Are we to expect fences on the border between Ireland and the United Kingdom corresponding to those between Greece and Macedonia and

Hungary and Serbia? They might correspond to the so-called

peace walls in Belfast to keep Protestants and Roman Catholics apart.

2. “By opting in to the plan (the Juncker/Merkel relocation programme) Ireland must also abide by the EU’s distribution key”. Even more reassuring. This presumably means that, like Angela Merkel, we attach no special importance to the two million Syrian Christian refugees. So much for Ireland as a Christian country, once famed as the land of saints and scholars. There are no scholars in the Coalition and few saints, it would appear.

I confess to being an admirer of the Irish patriotism of Eamon de Valera in 1939-1945 in resisting the pressures of foreign governments, whether American, British or German.

He might have expressed his condolences at the same time as offering asylum to German Ambassador Eduard Hempel in De Vesci Terrace, Monkstown, in a private visit on the death of Adolf Hitler, but sent fire engines to Belfast when Belfast was blitzed by the Luftwaffe on April 15, 1941, and did his best to support the Allies without surrendering sovereignty during the Emergency.

Not only has the Coalition charged the Irish people for water (a rare commodity on this island), but it has surrendered our sovereignty and sent our taxes to German, French and British bankers.

Mr de Valera never took his orders from the Germans, British or Americans during the Emergency. It is a lesson of Irish history that we all ought to have learnt long ago. But the Coalition is, of course, now making the study of history optional.

Dr Gerald Morgan

Trinity College Dublin, Dublin 2

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