Sunday 23 October 2016

Kenny should remember it's the little things that trip you up

Published 14/09/2015 | 02:30

Enda Kenny has watched schools and post offices closed down
Enda Kenny has watched schools and post offices closed down

The contradictions that make Enda Kenny something of an enigma to the public should be examined.

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The latest opinion polls show FG and Labour making a bit of a recovery, even if 62pc of those polled do not believe their own fortunes have improved.

You cannot fail to give the Kenny stewardship credit for getting us out of the economic swamp into which we were led by Fianna Fáil.

In time, this will be regarded as a significant political milestone. But appreciation is likely to come too late for the forthcoming election. There will be post-dated political capital to draw on, but the scars of austerity and the burning anger against bankers is too raw for gratitude, despite deliverance from our darkest financial hour.

On a one-to-one basis, Mr Kenny is believed to be one of the warmest and most personable politicos on the stump. But put him in front of a microphone or a TV camera and he takes off on a skiddly-idle-doodle solo that would melt the head of a sphinx.

From the heart of rural Ireland he has stood by and watched schools, post offices, banks and garda stations all closed down, while almost 500,000 young people have left our shores since the crash.

You can't blame Mr Kenny for all this, but it is happening on his watch.

Hard choices must be made. Do we want rural communities such as the Aran Islands to survive? Places of unique cultural, historical and geographical importance need support. Withdrawing the service of Aer Arann is an example of the disconnect between central government and the heart of Ireland.

The Taoiseach might be puzzled why his and his party's popularity ratings are not where he might expect.

However, as Albert Reynolds once said, it's the little things that trip you up. Withdrawing the Aer Arann service might seem small on a national scale, but tell that to the islanders.

Ed Toal


Corbyn's the man for me

As a Conservative voter and admirer of the late Margaret Thatcher, I must say I'm truly delighted with the election of Jeremy Corbyn as UK leader of the Opposition. His views on the reunification of Ireland, the abolition of the monarchy and the House of Lords and his anti-austerity beliefs make him the man for me.

Like it or not, he's been democratically elected, and Labour gets my vote if Corbyn is in the saddle at the next general election. The Tory Old Etonians, the monarchy and the unelected lords have a lot to be concerned about - it's called democracy and equality.

Dominic Shelmerdine

London SW3

Hats off to President Higgins

Dear President Higgins, I am writing to praise your "non-political view from the Arás" expressed at the launch of the annual report of Merchants Quay Ireland last Friday. It is refreshing to see your good office being used to speak up for and on behalf of the less well-off in Ireland.

I note your comments to the city and county managers for their record on homelessness and their lack of vision on social housing.

Please continue to use the opportunities presented to you where you can to speak on behalf of our fellow citizens who deserve to live in a just and dignified Ireland.

Jimmy Flynn

Claremorris, Co Mayo

Double standards on drones

On the one hand the United States claims it has hard evidence of activity that justifies drone strikes that kill alleged militants in places such as Afghanistan, Waziristan and Yemen, and this is keeping us safe.

On the other hand, Robert Fisk, speaking recently on Australian television, claims that "when columns of IS forces arrive in Syria in their thousands across the desert clearly visible on satellite pictures, the Americans don't bomb IS then. They let them attack the Syrian army and beat them, of course".

Bill Gertz, writing recently for the Washington Free Beacon, says: "The Pentagon has not conducted air strikes against an estimated 60 Islamic State training camps spread throughout Islamic State-controlled areas of Iraq and Syria."

Either the US has clear evidence of terrorist activity and is doing nothing - as in the case of IS - or its intelligence is imprecise but is nevertheless being used to justify the deaths of hundreds of people in drone strikes.

Louis Shawcross

Hillsborough, Co Down

Thank you, Tayto Park

I would like to put on record my appreciation of an act of honesty.

On August 27, along with my son and grandson, I attended Tayto Park in Ashbourne, Co Meath. After a run on the roller-coaster I realised that I had lost a small plastic pouch containing my debit card, driving licence and a sum of money.

I reported the matter to the staff, and before I left the park I returned as requested to see if the item had been found, but unfortunately without success. It spoiled the day somewhat, but was not the end of the world.

However, this week my pouch containing all the items was returned to me by post from Tayto Park. A small thing, but the honesty of the staff must be praised. A sincere thank you to those responsible.

Tony Fagan

Enniscorthy, Co Wexford

Time apart is a great healer

Reading about spending time apart leading perhaps to a healthier relationship reminded me of someone saying that Henry Fonda and his wife at the time were going to temporarily part in an effort to see if absence would make her heart grow fonda.

Tom Gilsenan

Beaumont, Dublin 9

Cold comfort for the homeless

Economic recovery will be felt "inside the door of every household", Finance Minister Michael Noonan pledged as he outlined a range of measures for the Budget.

I am sure the homeless will be delighted to hear this statement.

Seamus McLoughlin

Keshcarrigan, Co Leitrim

Seasons made simple

At national school in the 1960s we were taught by the nuns and brothers that autumn consisted of the months of August, September and October; winter is November, December and January; spring is February, March and April and summer is May, June and July.

Shane Lynksey

Strokestown, Co Roscommon

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