Wednesday 28 September 2016

Making the effort to live by our ideals

Published 26/02/2016 | 02:30

A schoolgirl talks to a woman begging in Dublin city. Photo: Reuters/Darren Staples
A schoolgirl talks to a woman begging in Dublin city. Photo: Reuters/Darren Staples

It is worth reminding people that while our country has a long way to go to realise the ideals of 1916 we are lucky to live in a democracy whereby we ourselves can vote in free and independent elections.

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Our personal and political freedoms and relatively comfortable lifestyles are a far cry from what existed in Ireland as late as the 1980s.

Certainly the lives of women greatly improved thanks to legislation.

Perhaps people could reflect on this and seek to do something for the common good and thus help to develop a decent civil society.

I hope we can all find something worthwhile in the myriad centenary celebrations to enhance our cultural and intellectual lives and for once leave aside monetary and superficial concerns.

'Ár scáth a chéile a mhaireann na daoine'.

B Dunne

Infirmary Road, Dublin 7

Pain and gain

Trial by television performance is a superficial and unreliable way of evaluating politicians.

Take the leaders' debate on RTÉ1. Enda Kenny, whose honesty and work ethic are undisputed, who is held in high esteem internationally, was negatively judged by journalists on how he answered one or two questions.

This judgment soon led to the conclusion by one journalist that he always avoids answering the question put to him, which is patently untrue.

Gerry Adams, who leads a party continually fending off questions about its IRA past, obviously thinks a forceful TV performance - where he out-talks the other leaders - takes care of everything.

And Micheál Martin, who was a government minister at the time of the economic collapse and the controversial bank guarantee, seems to believe likewise.

Considering how important it is for this country to have stable government and not undo our economic gains, it is surprising how many commentators are prepared to recklessly mislead the public by claiming that cutbacks, property and water charges were avoidable. Greece thought that, too.

Cecilia McGovern

Milltown, Dublin 6

The courage of conviction

Best of luck to all the candidates today.

Many a view is expressed from the couch or barstool but few people put themselves forward for election.

You have put your head above the parapet and I salute you.

Damien Carroll

Kingswood, Dublin 24

No one party owns the Rising

It should be remembered that Sinn Féin's electoral promises to scrap water and household charges, and to give certain people lots more things for free, would - if actually executed in office - require massive tax increases elsewhere, such as in regard to income tax and other taxes on work, to make up the shortfall to the Exchequer.

Such hikes in general taxation would greatly damage and reduce employment in Ireland.

I have also been disturbed by the contemporary Sinn Féin's party's attempted appropriation of the memory of the Easter Rising of 1916 in order to serve its own needs in this General Election.

We must remember that no one political party owns the legacy of the Easter Rising nor the memory of our nation's patriots.

The founders of Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and the Labour Party were all forged in the patriotic fires of Easter 1916; therefore, a vote for the contemporary Sinn Féin party would be no more of a valid way to honour the centenary of the Easter Rising than a vote for those other named parties would be.

John B Reid

Monkstown, Co Dublin

Neighbours in a global village

Oh, how times have changed. Bill Clinton's election campaign slogan back in the '90s was "Building a bridge to the 21st century".

Donald Trump wants to build a wall to isolate the Mexicans from the Land of the Free.

Hardly the global village that we thought this planet was becoming.

Thomas O'Neill

Mountmellick , Co Laois

Growth, yes, recovery, no

In the General Election campaign, the main narrative has been "recovery."

There is no recovery from the worst financial crash seen in the developed world.

There is, yes, eonomic growth; but a recovery is only possible, when we see a write-down of our unsustainable debts.

Patrick Heafey

Co Tipperary

The silent politician

The election is upon us and the silence from parties and candidates concerning the principal causes of Ireland's economic woes - the Troika and the crushing unjust loans to facilitate the bailout of commercial banks - is deafening.

As an Irishman looking on from a distance, I find it incomprehensible that potential Irish leaders have chosen to ignore this horrific injustice on their people and its shocking consequences for decades to come.

Jimmy Cummins

Broadwater, Western Australia

A marriage of convenience

Regarding David McWilliams's article (Irish Independent, February 24), yes, it is we, the voters, who create jobs and drive the economy, but only under the guidance of a competent government and with the support of the wealthy. The developing courtship between Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil, and hopefully their marriage brought to fruition in the General Election, would ideally fill that void.

After a century of differences, they are currently the only combination of parties or Independents for a compatible marriage to give us a sustainable and stable government, with the least differences. They have many common policies and vast experience.

When Fianna Fáil was in power and Fine Gael in opposition during the Celtic Tiger reign - they (Fine Gael) could have pulled the chord when it was becoming obvious to all we were being brought on a Utopian dream ride to depression and austerity. But they didn't. The kettle can't now call the pot black; we want a new government proving its mettle by leading us on a path of job creation and true progress.

The only problem I see is that - similar to a swarm of bees in a hive if a partner-swarm comes on board - 'only one Queen is allowed to survive'.

In the case of Enda and Micheál, a toss of a coin should solve it!

James Gleeson

Thurles, Co Tipperary

Irish Independent

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