Sunday 25 September 2016

Outgoing Government showed we don't live in a democracy

Published 29/02/2016 | 02:30

In the aftermath of this 2016 General Election, I would like to take this opportunity to thank the outgoing Fine Gael/Labour administration. I do this because they have perhaps done the greatest service to our people since independence. Fine Gael and Labour have made us realise that we do not live in a democracy.

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When all the spin and nonsense is stripped away, what is a democracy if not an arrangement where the people are supreme? And if there is ever a dispute between an organ of the State and the people, which must stand down? Clearly, the outgoing Government believe it is the people.

We have seen contempt for our Dáil, and by extension the people, by the members of the outgoing Fine Gael and Labour Government. What is the primary purpose of our Dáil? Hint - it is not the passing of legislation. The first thing our Dáil does is to elect what we call a government.

The primary duty of our Dáil is to hold that government to account on our behalf, a duty in which it failed the people.

Each and every TD must have the right to ask questions of any member of government and expect an answer, a wholly truthful answer. But time and time again we have had members of the Government dodging, deflecting or belittling.

We have also experienced members of that Government elected by our Dáil acting like bullies and showing malice to us, the people, clearly believing they are elected to rule, not represent.

The Constitution makes no reference to political parties. Surely the use of the party 'whip' to force our elected representatives to vote against the wishes of the electorate and with the demands of a few cannot be democratic? Surely this would be deemed unconstitutional, at least if we did not have a politically appointed judiciary?

We are beginning to realise what these parties have done to our democracy. And we are starting to do something about it. It will take time to overcome the grip these parties have on our electoral system.

So thank you, Fine Gael and Labour.

Thank you for coming into the open and showing us the true nature of this State. Maybe, just maybe, we will yet be able to pass on that most valuable of gifts to the coming generations, a real democracy.

Michael Malone

Clonsilla, Dublin 15

Electorate has spoken

The people have spoken clearly and loudly. Ireland is indeed a social Christian democracy.

The challenge now for all political parties is to be very aware of the fact that paid ministerial advisers are completely out of touch with reality. They can never replace grassroots members when it comes to taking the pulse of the electorate. Personally, I deem any minister requiring more than one such adviser as unfit for office.

The sole blame for this election result lies with the totally inept leaders of Fine Gael and Labour, who refused to accept the fact that in 2011, the majority of people in Ireland had demanded real political and democratic change. But the electorate received, to quote WB Yeats, "Empty meaningless words", whilst the socialist elite of Labour received a boost to their pensions, and jobs for their families and friends.

Enda Kenny et al would be well advised to heed other words by Yeats, in this the centenary year of the Easter Rising.

"Cast your mind on other days

That we in coming days may be

Still the indomitable Irishry."

The "we" is the electorate, who have shown very well that they know how to use their vote to their advantage. Good luck to the people of Ireland.

Declan Foley

Berwick, Australia

Voters show Labour the way

It appears that after Frankfurt's way or Labour's way, Labour has now been shown the way by voters . . .

Nick Crawford

Dalkey, Co Dublin

Boom-time mistakes

James Gleeson is wrong when he blames the boom-time opposition and not the boom-time government and financial institutions for the bankrupting of the country (Irish Independent, Letters, February 26).

In contrast to the criticism the outgoing Government is getting now, the government then was hailed as delivering 'an extraordinary journey of sustained national achievement'.

The then government was also praised for offering 'new roads and hospitals where you won't die waiting for a bed'. It was even declared back then that 'all the great battles on corruption and taxation had been won'.

In contrast, the then opposition was declared as being 'stupid and bumbling' for advocating 'greater efficiency and effectiveness in the public service weeks before an election'.

There was actually a forecast that 'the only sector of the public service where there will be a reduction in overall numbers is in the opposition'. That forecast actually turned out to be right.

Government supporters were gloating that it was years 'since an opposition party was elected into government'.

The country was bankrupted by the decisions of a small number of human beings who were in virtually unchallenged control of this country's most powerful government and financial institutions.

The then opposition were a marginalised and scorned minority.

A Leavy

Sutton, Dublin 13

Election just a tribal headcount

Another inane and pointless election has come and gone. Elections are nothing but a tribal headcount of careerist politicians who will offer the same excuses again and again for failing to deliver.

Despite the so-called losses by the main political parties, a central core has managed to get elected again without much difficulty.

These old-guard politicians will offer nothing new, but instead only hold the fort in a stillborn nation that forces thousands to leave while they look after special interests and their cronies.

Housing was such a big issue after the property crash with the banks demanding their money back and repossessing mortgage holders' homes by the score, but the issue was barely mentioned during the campaign. Despite numerous protests across the country on water charges, the issue was almost completely forgotten about in Election 2016.

It's the same old story, the establishment always gets in and the people pay for the same old conservatism.

Maurice Fitzgerald

Shanbally, Co Cork

Irish Independent

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