Monday 24 October 2016

Our democracy is currently being turned into a laughing stock

Published 04/04/2016 | 02:30

Efforts to form a government have brought to mind Laurel and Hardy
Efforts to form a government have brought to mind Laurel and Hardy

Your editorial comparing the shenanigans between Enda and Martin to a scene from Laurel and Hardy was well drawn. We can have endless fun with their recent bizarre exchanges.

  • Go To

Abbott and Costello may not have been as enduring as Laurel and Hardy, but they provide a nice tag-line.

In one of their exchanges, one says to the other: "Who's on first?" This goes on and on, with repetitive exchanges of: "I'm on first - you're on second."

The whole thing centres on an allusion to baseball, but if you forget that and think in terms of a phone call, the leaders of our two parties burst (rather than spring) to mind.

Better still, when Handel was in London at the Court of St James, he had a rival, Giovanni Bononcini, for the king's favour as Master of Music.

King George, being an indecisive type, would appoint one and then the other.

Not unlike the actors in our present political soup, those within the court at the time were intensely passionate about the matter.

The people of London were, on the other hand, so bored by the whole thing that a ditty was composed with the concluding lines: "Strange, all this difference should be, 'twixt Tweedle-dum and Tweedle-dee." Quite.

But there is a serious side to this. The efforts to form a government so far have been pathetic. People are becoming indifferent.

That's just a short step away from apathy towards political affairs - and that can become dangerous.

John F Jordan

Glenageary, Co Dublin

War after 1918 wasn't inevitable

Ms Geraldine Groarke writes (Irish Independent, Letters, March 21) that the Redmondites (the Irish Parliamentary Party) "were defeated by the republican revolutionaries in the 1918 general election".

If, in this context, revolution means the overthrow by violence of the existing order, then it is not true that revolutionaries won that election.

In the recast Sinn Féin, the ex-insurgents from 1916 were a small minority, outnumbered by Mac Neill Volunteers, Griffith Sinn Féiners and ex-IPP activists (like Ginnell).

Consequently, the party's manifesto was distinctly peace-orientated: it proposed further and faster progress along the parliamentary route than the IPP had achieved by setting up a constituent assembly in Dublin, an appeal to the Peace Conference for recognition and, meanwhile, obstruction of British rule, not by violence, but by civil disobedience.

Though the non-release of elected members was a bad sign, there was a reasonable possibility that the British government would not try to suppress the Dáil (it hesitated until September 1919) but would recognise its mandate and negotiate a settlement with it.

Hotheads on the Irish side (like Dan Breen and company) and obduracy on the British accelerated the drift to war.

Michael Drury


Beware the example of Rome

Billy Ryle (Irish Independent, Letters, March 29) may be correct in hoping for a government of unity to form in Ireland. However, the dream he had of Gerry, Enda and Micheál following the example of Caesar, Crassus and Pompey in the first Roman Triumvirate is one dream that we should hope does not come true.

On examination, the first Roman Triumvirate as an example to follow is certainly not for the fainthearted.

While he is correct in stating that the First Triumvirate did last for six years, unfortunately its end marked the beginning of a period of great conflict.

Crassus died in a war against the Parthians, the Romans later had a civil war between Caesar and Pompey, with Caesar's crossing of the Rubicon. This war resulted in Pompey's death at the hands of Caesar's allies and Caesar becoming dictator.

Caesar's own death in 44 BC, at a Senate meeting, would come at the hands of those who said they were protecting the Republic.

These events in turn led to a second civil war and eventually the rise of Octavian as Roman Emperor and the end of the Roman Republic.

History has many warnings in it, including that some people's political dreams can often turn to nightmares in reality.

Regardless of what government is formed, let us hope we can avoid the outcomes of the First Roman Triumvirate.

Kevin Begley

Lispole, Co Kerry

Faith of the 1916 Volunteers

What was not highlighted in all the recent coverage of the story of 1916 was the strong, vibrant faith of the Irish Volunteers. The Rosary was recited by all in the GPO and other rebel locations. Confessions were heard every day. The spiritual needs of the leaders were well cared for before execution by the Capuchin priests.

There is a great similarity between Ireland and Poland in the fusion of faith and nationalism in the psyche of their respective peoples, which is strongly evident in the course of the history of both countries.

Ireland and its predominantly Catholic population endured cruel oppression for centuries.

Catholic Poland, in more recent years, suffered appallingly brutal oppression from both Nazism and communism.

There is relevance in the stories of Fr Murphy of Boolavogue and St Maximilian Kolbe, the Polish priest in Auschwitz.

A future Archbishop of Dublin, Daniel Murray, as a young priest in Arklow in 1798, had to flee for his life when his parish priest was murdered by the Yeomen.

It is not 'politically correct' in 2016 to mention faith and nationalism combined as a vibrant part of the DNA of Irish people.

We must not forget our forefathers' motto: "Do chum glóire Dé agus onóir na hÉireann - For the glory of God and honour of Ireland."

Fr Con McGillicuddy

Sacred Heart Residence, Raheny, Dublin 5

Equality is a goal for all parties

David Quinn complained in his column (Irish Independent, April 1) that President Higgins "invited his audience and us to reclaim the joy of making equality the central theme of our Republic".

This is partisan, David Quinn alleges. Surely this is an aspiration across all our parties and Independent politicians?

Brendan Wright

Lucan, Dublin

Irish Independent

Read More

Promoted articles

Don't Miss

Editor's Choice