Friday 30 September 2016

Sometimes we should be thankful for Ireland's dull consensus

Published 25/06/2016 | 02:30

Donald Trump is demonising the weak. Photo: Getty
Donald Trump is demonising the weak. Photo: Getty

I was recently discussing the success of Donald Trump's presidential campaign efforts when a friend asked the question: "Are Americans just a bit stupid?"

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I argued that, in my experience, any Americans I have met have been uniformly polite, friendly and intelligent.

The real question at the heart of US society concerns social cohesion. The US is stratified on many different grounds- race, socio-economic, political and religious affiliation, gender and sexuality. The hyper-competitive political environment has allowed this stratification to reach the level of tribalism, resulting in an increasingly unbalanced and dissonant society.

In this dysfunctional environment politicians and public commentators exploit these divisions to benefit their own motivations and alignments.

Americans are angry. Low and middle-income wages have stagnated over the past 30 years as manufacturing jobs are removed from the jurisdiction, labour unions eviscerated and public sector jobs slashed.

The powerful in America know that this must not to be blamed on decision-makers and capitalists, whose incomes and assets have skyrocketed over the same period.

A primary example of this is Donald Trump scapegoating immigrants as a root cause of US malaise. By demonising a weak group of non-citizens, Trump has exploited the underlying sense of anger and frustration and directed it onto an innocent party.

The liberal elite have replied by making accusations of racism against the nativist lobby. Wanting sovereign control over economic migration is not racist in itself. Liberals could argue in favour of immigration on the grounds of its positive economic impact, but instead have taken to hurling insults and name-calling.

This does nothing but escalate the tension between groups. This process is repeated in every area of public discourse. A break from the cycle of civil in-fighting is needed before the US can even start developing a cohesive society with policies that make sense to the rest of the world. Branding people stupid or racist is dismissive and counterproductive.

As for Ireland, we may count ourselves lucky that we have something approaching a dull consensus, even if it is much maligned by some of our brightest commentators.

Bill O'Rourke
Crumlin, Dublin

Brexit will break up the UK

It appears to me that the majority of the voters in England and Wales, excluding London and a small number of other areas, have forgotten that the only good union for the Act of Union was the European Union.

This vote to leave, it seems to me, will hasten the break-up of the United Kingdom.

Johnnie McCoy
Church Street, Dublin 7

Irish elite should take note

The result from the referendum in Britain was a wonderful result for democracy, sovereignty and a move away from the elitism of those that run the EU. As someone who wanted the 'Leave' vote to win, may I say my reasons were not about immigration or any of those scaremongers' ideas.

They were about the issues I mentioned - the very important issues of democracy and sovereignty.

People are fed-up with an unseen, elite group making laws for people, while they have no idea how these laws will affect their lives. Our own elite should take note of this result. Thank you, Britain.

Paul Doran
Clondalkin, Dublin 22

EU's response validated the result

The panic over Brexit is unnecessary. There was an EU before Britain joined, and there will be an EU after they leave.

Ultimately, the British have every right to go if that's what they want.

Ironically, the angry and almost hurt responses of the EU, its institutions and its members is exactly what Brexiteers were sick of. In a way, it gives credence to their arguments, and legitimised the result.

Killian Foley-Walsh
Kilkenny city

Noonan needn't worry too much

Apparently, Michael Noonan is worried that a British exit from the EU could reduce Ireland's economic growth by 1.2pc over two years, potentially wiping out much of the Government's 'fiscal space'.

This is surely a drop in the ocean when he and his colleagues are quite happy to pay around €8bn every year on our behalf in interest payments for private banking debts not of our making - not to mention the loss of €64bn of our money pumped in to shore-up our toxic banks at the behest of our EU masters.

Mr Noonan shouldn't worry, as clearly the Irish people, in the recent past, have demonstrated an infinite fiscal capacity to cope with such little set-backs - and for absorbing vast extraneous and dubious debts to help our European partners in their time of great need.

John Leahy
Wilton Road, Cork

New hospital is the one we deserve

As the people who are at the forefront of delivering paediatric healthcare services in the three Dublin children's hospitals, we were delighted and relieved when planning permission was granted in April for the new Children's Hospital at St James's Hospital, and the two urgent care and OPD satellite centres at Tallaght and Connolly Hospitals.

The delivery of these new facilities, and the bringing together of staff from the three children's hospitals in a world-class building on a campus shared with St James's Hospital, will positively transform and improve the healthcare that is delivered to children who need it the most.

Co-locating with one of Ireland's leading hospitals - St James's Hospital - is important, because it ensures that our staff will be supported in the best possible way to deliver improved clinical outcomes for Ireland's sickest children.

This is what matters most to us, and to the families that we serve.

In time, the Coombe Women and Infants University Hospital will also be relocated to the same greater Dublin area campus - making the campus at St James's Hospital an unrivalled campus of healthcare excellence and expertise.

There is no alternative hospital that would deliver the multiplicity of benefits to the children and young people in our care than St James's.

The tri-location of the new children's hospital, St James's Hospital and, in time, the relocated Coombe Women and Infants University Hospital will create a campus of clinical expertise to support highly specialist service delivery, research, innovation and education.

Ireland is finally getting the Children's Hospital that young people, children and families so badly deserve.

Dr Peter Greally, Dr Ciara Martin, Ms Suzanne Dempsey, Dr Sean Walsh, Dr Adrienne Foran, Ms Marian Connolly, Ms Grainne Bauer, Ms Rachel Kenna

Irish Independent

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