News Letters

Wednesday 3 September 2014

Letters: Burton's Labour Party tiptoeing from pages of Irish history

Published 09/07/2014 | 02:30

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Joan Burton

'Disappointing' is a word utterly devalued and deflated by its over-zealous usage by our political elite. But it has to be given one last decrepit shambling waddle – to describe the reaction of this and many other long-term Burton political admirers as we watched the 6.01 television interview on the evening of her victory.

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Apart from a rollicking game of musical cabinet chairs with Enda behind closed doors, all she wanted was a low pay commission and more social housing!

These are very worthy proposals if they could begin to be delivered during the limited life of this administration. But they are no more than what could be proposed by a smart liberal-conservative. Indeed, I could well imagine Disraeli and Bismarck, the fathers of modern pragmatic conservatism, heartily approving them!

This is not a party of serious, radical but pragmatic reform. There was not even the most carefully hidden, veiled hint of a critique of the deeply flawed global socio-economic system, which, crashing into our own amateurish consumer/capitalist Haughey/Ahern/Cowenism, brought us to where we are today.

Most of us understand the precarious situation in which Joan and Labour find themselves, as well as the complex situation in which the Labour collective leadership found itself when attempting to implement government in a war for national survival.

But these offer no excuse for not telegraphing the eventual quantum leap in mindset if Labour is to be true to itself. Sadly, Joan's failure to telegraph the eventual necessity for this leap indicates how an introspective, redundant and irrelevant Labour sees itself.

Sadly, I cannot recommend our young, and young at heart, to support a Burtonian Labour Party which now appears to have settled for bread and circuses. For it's a quiet, gentle, leafy-suburb tiptoeing from the pages of Irish history – a self-obsessed bourgeois Cheshire cat without even the genial courtesy of a jocular grin.

MAURICE O'CONNELL

TRALEE, CO KERRY

 

JUSTICE FOR IRISH SOLDIERS

On Saturday, July 5, I attended a silent vigil at the Embassy of the United States in Dublin. The event, which was organised by the Justice For Smallhorne & Barrett campaign group, is principally made up of men who served with the 46th Battalion in the Lebanon. It is supported by all ex-Irish military veterans and indeed the event was attended by approximately 800-plus ex-soldiers, mainly Irish but included French, British, Czechoslovakian, Dutch, Americans and others.

The group is seeking justice for the murder in cold blood on April 18, 1980, of two Irish soldiers, Private Derek Smallhorne and Private Thomas Barrett, and the attempted murder of a third, Private John O'Mahony. These men were kidnapped and tortured while serving as peacekeepers with the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL).

What has brought this story to the forefront is the fact that the perpetrator, Mahmoud Bazzi, who is living openly in Detroit, Michigan, is now applying for US citizenship. The campaigners are seeking that Mr Bazzi be extradited to Lebanon and tried for war crimes. Is an Irish soldier's life worth less than others?

THOMAS B SHEEHAN

MOYVANE, CO KERRY

 

VACCINE NEEDED FOR BADGERS

The Department of Agriculture's plan to have 12,000 badgers killed over the next two years as part of an anti-bovine TB initiative is monstrous. An estimated 100,000 of these shy nocturnal creatures have already been snared and shot in Ireland in the course of successive department-sponsored culling programmes, and still the disease continues to afflict farms nationwide, with the badger killing to date failing to make even a dent in the incidence of bovine TB.

Instead of targeting the badger I suggest the department focuses its energies on the search for a badger vaccine.

Snaring is cruel to badgers. Each animal caught has to wait, struggling to break free from the stranglehold, for the arrival of one of the “animal lovers” contracted by the department to end its life with a rifle shot.

JOHN FITZGERALD

CAMPAIGN FOR THE ABOLITION OF CRUEL SPORTS

 

SHUFFLING A PACK OF JOKERS

I'm sure Enda Kenny's reshuffling of government ministers will make a huge difference. It's like reshuffling a deck of cards with 52 jokers in it.

SEAN MCPHILLIPS

COLLEGE POINT, NEW YORK

 

GP PAY FIGURES MISLEADING

Highlighting exceptional total general practice incomes could mislead some readers of Brian McDonald and Eilish O'Regan’s article (Irish Independent, July 7) to believe that they represent true personal income for regular GPs.

However, the OECD recently published the average 2012 Irish GP income before personal pension deductions that used a more reliable methodology than had been previously utilised. It found that the average Irish GP income to be much closer then the average national wage than most of our western peers. And that was despite some other countries included part-time GPs and trainees in their figures or the GPs elsewhere had full state pension entitlements.

It should also be noted that 2012 GP income figures do not fully reflect the 2012 FEMPI reductions or any of the 2013 FEMPI cuts.

As the OECD information was only released last week, I find it a little odd that these facts were not included to give more balance to this article.

DR WILLIAM BEHAN GP

WALKINSTOWN, DUBLIN 12

 

BIKES SCHEME LOSES ITS FIZZ

Our wonderful Dublin Bikes scheme, promoting exercise, health and mobility, is being co-opted by a multinational corporate sponsor promoting soft drinks, often linked to obesity. I object and refuse to collude. As a city cyclist I will never use Dublin Bikes again.

MAEVE HALPIN

RANELAGH, DUBLIN 6

 

TAKING CARE OF BUSINESS

If we take a look at Ireland now – from the pressure to allow Croke Park its profits and freedom, to the stripping away of our welfare entitlements, to the imminent slaughter of our badgers – one thing becomes clear: Ireland is run now along the lines of a businessmen's charter, what's good for business takes precedence over all else.

Why has this system taken such deep roots in us, a people who have never been successful in business?

Why have we have abandoned so much of our culture and past to aid it?

And why we allow this model is a mystery.

Our low tax ethos pushes it deeper into Europe now and so soon it may be our real and permanent contribution to humanity.

SEAN MACGREINE

DROMCONDRA, DUBLIN 9

 

BROOKS PROTEST OUT OF TUNE

I'm feeling ashamed of us Irish. I've just come back from Maastricht in the Netherlands where I attended one of eight concerts in the city centre by Andre Rieu over a period of two weeks. There is major disruption to traffic and even business but the local people have taken the whole thing to their hearts.

Are the people living near Croker so selfish as to try to spoil things for not just a city but the whole country? Cop on guys!

PAT BROWNE

BLACKROCK, CO CORK

Irish Independent

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