Thursday 29 September 2016

Take heed, politicians, the people are watching you

Published 12/04/2016 | 02:30

Former deputy director of the IMF Ajai Chopra. Our politicians should ask the Troika for help to solve the housing and health crises. Photo: Tom Burke
Former deputy director of the IMF Ajai Chopra. Our politicians should ask the Troika for help to solve the housing and health crises. Photo: Tom Burke

As the circus continues in the Dáil, we hear health, housing, rural affairs, etc, mentioned in the media as priorities. However, the focus has turned to gaining power, perhaps at any cost.

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It seems that the message to TDs is if you don't vote for me as Taoiseach, there will be another election and you will perhaps lose your seat.

But what about these priorities mentioned above? Lip service continues to be paid to them but the money is not there to make any meaningful impact in the medium term. The leading players know this but continue on in an ad hoc basis.

We, the voters, are watching you, the politicians, very closely. We are informed and educated and have experience gained through the bitter hardships of the last eight years. There can be no going back to the old ways, unless you want your political party to be obliterated.

When our immediate family, friends and neighbours have seen family members emigrate, lose jobs, lose family homes or end up in negative equity for the rest of their working lives, living in food and heat poverty, we have no time to listen to PR bull.

Explain your solution now, line by line, process by process and the timescale in which you plan to keep your promises. If you are honest, we will respect you.

When the banks collapsed, a solution was found. So, if need be, bring in outside help to fix the housing crisis and health crisis.

Ask the Troika for a meeting to discuss a long-term solution if you can't handle it. Think outside the box. Look at other nations with small populations for solutions.

Do we have to wait for the same banks and developers to offer solutions? I am a city dweller and therefore cannot speak with authority on rural affairs.

But in housing, for example, excluding everyone on the housing list, there are many, not on any list, who, on leaving/losing their family homes, moved into rented accommodation, and continue to pay high rents, taking up accommodation that should be available to short-term renters. They are adding to the shortage of rental properties. One suggestion from a layman: why not set up a long-term fund to compulsorily purchase vacant land countrywide for housing - after all, we can do this for roads.

A private building partnership can be put out to tender, worldwide, to build a massive amount of mixed homes on the vacant land at a good price.

On the health issue, it is perhaps a matter of funding and restructuring - we must look at what is costing the most money. There can be no more sacred cows.

Anthony Monahan

Address with Editor


Political deja vu

According to media reports, the political situation seems to be that the political grouping who were in power for the period of the Celtic Tiger have refused to participate in government.

That political grouping, Fianna Fáil, had for years been re-elected at successive elections.

If the roof had not fallen in on the Celtic Tiger, we would probably have had a seventh successive re-election of that particular grouping at the last election.

That is because a large segment of the all-powerful media, which had and still has enormous power to determine public opinion, supported its re-election again and again.

During the boom this resulted in these powerful people becoming arrogant and considering themselves indispensable.

They made reckless decisions right through the Celtic Tiger era and as a result the country eventually went bankrupt.

These same people who bankrupted the country during the boom are at present being praised for their refusal to go into government by a large segment of the same media that supported them for years during the boom.

Is this in the much-proclaimed 'national interest'?

A Leavy

Sutton, Dublin 13


Lost in translation

When listening to some members of our parliament, I find it difficult to understand what they are saying, due to bad pronunciation, TDs speaking at 60 words a minute, etc.

On such occasions I'm reminded of the response by Harold Macmillan to a speech by Nikita Khrushchev at the UN: "Can I have a translation please?"

Tony Moriarty

Harold's Cross, Dublin 6


The President and free speech

Should President Michael D Higgins be barred from speaking with at least some degree of freedom?

David Quinn has argued previously against State interference in personal freedoms. So I find it ironic that in a recent column (Irish Independent, April 1) he would seek to curtail the freedom of speech and freedom of expression of a citizen, who happens to be President. Perhaps President Higgins is pushing the envelope a bit in terms of tradition, but he is not breaching any law and he has breathed new life in the office.

He is also a representative of the Irish people, the first in the world to introduce marriage equality by popular vote and who have shown an appetite for greater equality in other areas, such as education.

Mr Quinn asserted that the President's call to reclaim "the joy of making equality the central theme of our Republic" is partisan.

What's so objectionable about this? Does Mr Quinn favour a less equal society? If so, how does he reconcile this with the notion of Christian egalitarianism and "the golden rule"?

Look at the US. Do we really want to go down that road?

Mr Quinn chides the President's wife for saying that there is a "form of capitalism" and that there are "empires of greed", which are "powerful and unaccountable". Note the word "form". This is correct.

Look at what unfettered neo-liberal capitalism did to the global economy, resulting in ruin for millions worldwide.

Can any serious, moral, thinking person really not have a problem with this form of capitalism?

Rob Sadlier

Rathfarnham, Dublin 16


Poor pay for nurses

I was shocked to read in the first article of your campaign to highlight the plight of underpaid young people (Irish Independent, April 7), that the starting salary of our wonderful nurses in this country is just over €30,000.

As Nurse Gwen Berney says in the same article: "You can teach anyone to be a nurse, but you can't teach anyone how to care."

Brian Mc Devitt

Glenties, Co Donegal

Irish Independent

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