Monday 26 September 2016

It's time to force voters to elect a Dáil that is 50pc female

Published 11/08/2015 | 02:30

Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald of Fine Gael: Out of 166 TDs in the Dail only 26 are women.
Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald of Fine Gael: Out of 166 TDs in the Dail only 26 are women.

While women make up over half of our population, they are seriously under-represented in national politics. Out of the 4,452 Dáil seats filled between 1918 and2009, only 219 were filled by women (4.9pc). At present only 26 TDs out of 166 are women (16pc).

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Such an imbalance is unhealthy and needs to be addressed as a matter of urgency. Our culture of politics has evolved to suit a certain class of men. Confrontational politics has been both the cause and effect of many woman not seeing a role for themselves in it.

The locker-room atmosphere caused by the unnatural state of male over-representation is not half as much fun as it appears. A healthy gender balance calms things down. Men bring passion. Women bring reason.

A simple solution is to elect two TDs from each constituency, one who is a woman and one who is not, using PR STV and two lists. This will also reduce time-wasting and exhausting clientelism.

A minor constitutional amendment would be needed and in any event, such a sea change should go to referendum - but what an opportunity for us all.

Dáithí Mac Cárthaigh BL

An Leabharlann Dlí

Baile Átha Cliath 8


They'll all fail down together

Could a Fianna Fáil/Fianna Gael coalition be abbreviated to... Fáil Gael?

Tom Gilsenan

Beaumont, Dublin 9


Precedent Donald Trump

Imagine the US electorate losing its collective mind in 2016 and holding up to the world a radically different presidential model: egomaniacal, irrational, inflammatory.

Would that make Donald Trump now a precedent-in-waiting?

Oliver McGrane

Rathfarnham, Dublin 16


Against all odds, it's the lottery

There's a chance you could win a million or two or even three!

Come September, all it will cost you is €5. Your chance of winning is 11 million to one. You might also have to share with 10 or 20 other winners

I'm speaking about the new format for the Irish Lotto. They say it will be much better. I think what they really mean is it will be much harder and a lot dearer.

It will be like picking the winner of a 30-runner field in the English Grand National. Plus you must forecast how many horses fall, what fence each horse falls at, what the jockey said as he was falling.

What each jockey had that morning for their breakfast, what colour underpants each jockey wore.

You must also name in correct order the first 10 finishers, you must also name every punter in attendance. Also their age, how much each has in their pocket and lastly their address.

I know it's a little hard but it's about the same odds you have of winning the new Irish Lotto.

OK, so do you want to play the new Lotto or answer the few simple questions above?

Fred Molloy

Glenville, Dublin 15


Abortion is about taking life

I take serious issue with a piece written by Cllr Kate O'Connell (August 4), in which pro-life supporters are singled out as religious, abusive and anti-women.

As someone who has from a very early age rejected Catholic teaching, pointed out how women were so poorly treated by this country for decades and who at the last census described myself as an atheist, I do not fit that bill. I suspect that I am not alone in this regard.

Cllr O'Connell and her partner would have liked a choice when dealing with a very difficult diagnosis. In her piece, she stated that her baby had a 10pc chance of being born alive.

She and her partner chose to continue with that pregnancy and now have a healthy boy attending school this year.

"We choose a name". "We choose to continue". "All of our lives are shaped by choice and the choices we make, to choose one road or another."

In a subsequent radio interview, she further offered the view that she supported abortion on demand. Of course, she and her husband are free to take that view, as I am to take a very different view.

I am choosing as a woman to reject the assertion that abortion is a woman's choice. I am choosing to use my voice for all the beings with no voice in this debate, who are aborted because they have a 10pc chance of being born alive, they are female, unwanted, too costly or disabled.

"Choose life, and choose choice."

As Christopher Hitchens has pointed out: "In order to terminate a pregnancy, you have to still a heartbeat, switch off a developing brain, and, whatever the method, break some bones and rupture some organs." That, in my opinion, is sadly not choosing life.

Róisín Lawless

Ráth Chairn, Áth Buí, Co na Mí


Volunteers obeyed rules of war

Ger Siggins (August 5) gives an interesting account of the fighting around Northumberland Road and Mount Street bridge on Easter Monday 1916, but his assertion that the members of the Volunteer Training Corps killed and injured were "unarmed" is not the full story.

He omits the crucial detail that these men were in fact shouldering rifles at the time, albeit these weapons were unloaded and without bayonets.

Some 120 members of the 1st (Dublin) Battalion, Associated Volunteer Training Corps (a home defence unit known in Dublin wit as the Gorgeous Wrecks because of their advanced age and the initials GR - Georgius Rex - stamped on their armbands and weapons) were returning from field exercises in south Dublin when they heard news of the Rising and decided to march to Beggars Bush barracks.

Shortly after 4pm on Easter Monday, these men found themselves marching towards a rebel stronghold on Northumberland Road in the unenviable position of entering a war zone with little information and unloaded weapons.

None of this, of course, would have been apparent to the Volunteers in and around 25 Northumberland Road, who presumed that the uniformed men marching towards them carrying rifles were a detachment of the British Army and began shooting at them, inflicting heavy casualties in a short period of time.

It is therefore inaccurate for anyone to assume that Volunteers Grace and Malone deliberately fired on unarmed men.

Indeed, as Mr Siggins readily acknowledges, when the facts of the situation became apparent to the Volunteer officers, they instructed their troops not to fire on men, even if in uniform, who were not prepared for war.

Kevin P McCarthy

Killarney, Co. Kerry

Irish Independent

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