The poorest continue to suffer in our uneven society
* Brother Kevin Crowley's heartfelt letter (May 24) brings home to the Irish people the shameful reality of the lives of so many of our citizens. We have allowed our sensibilities to be dulled by the comfort of our own lives and colluded in the development of a society that clearly does not work equally to the advantage of all.
What motivates us in all we do is the desire to be a cause in the world, to be a somebody, to have an impact, however minimal.
However, if we build a society where only the rich have a real stake in our way of life and where the creation of wealth is the most prized virtue, we establish an underclass who steadily lose hope of living other than at the margins of society.
More significantly, we create a criminal class who pursue the logic of big business, bankers, politicians and developers of the Celtic Tiger years, settling for a world where access to money is the driving force in their lives, and where the beneficiaries of assured access to abundant wealth become a law unto themselves.
Many young criminals have experienced themselves as outsiders in a society that is driven by the bogus philosophy that if you follow your dream the world will be at your feet.
We owe much to Brother Kevin and to others who share his commitment and dedication, awakening in us a more acute awareness of the world of glaring injustice that we have unwittingly colluded in creating.
The assumption that when we disposed of English rule we would be a free nation does not sit easily with the realities of life in Ireland, where a considerable proportion of our people are far from free, being trapped in an endless cycle of poverty.
Perhaps Padraig Pearse might have said of our time, "Ireland unfree of hunger and poverty should never be at peace".
EDITH ROAD, OXFORD
HOW QUICKLY WE FORGET
* I remember one day in secondary school, my history teacher explaining how Irish people never forgot. She told us how the Irish never forgot Fine Gael taking away the shilling from the elderly many years ago.
Back then, I didn't understand the importance of a shilling, but I do now. I couldn't help but think about this after watching the voting in of our county councillors unfold. Have the Irish people forgotten what Fianna Fail has done to this country? Recent voting would suggest so.
Irish politics has always been hindered by those afraid to vote with heart, unaccepting of voting for candidates outside their political party, not giving thought or reason.
I am delighted to see so many Independent candidates elected to our county councils but dismayed at the number from Fianna Fail.
Many of us would complain about the Fine Gael Government, however, I am not so quick to judge. Just recently returned from my job overseas, I am surprised by the changes. I believe Enda Kenny, although no mathematician, took brave choices. Tough choices were needed but at least we are starting to near the turning point.
Fianna Fail led a country that had it all and it swept it all away in misguided and foolish endeavours.
MOUNTRATH, CO LAOIS
THE RIGHT TO NOT VOTE
* Your editorial last Friday suggesting that voters had some sort of an obligation to vote may have some merit. However, when there are no candidates worthy of a vote and when there are no candidates who can possibly influence the course of government policy, then voting becomes a bit of a joke.
It is like asking us which penguin in the zoo we would like to elect. They all look and sound the same to me.
The right to vote extends also to the right to choose not to vote. The ballot paper should have a box saying "none of the above" and there should be a rule introduced that if 75pc of the electorate do not vote, that no one is elected.
In those circumstances I would be in favour of making it a legal imperative that everyone exercises their vote and that would be truly democratic. And that would be really scary!
NAME WITH EDITOR
RATHFARNHAM, DUBLIN 14
LET'S SEE SINN FEIN'S PLANS NOW
* Now that Sinn Fein's day would appear to have finally come "down South" and it will be the largest party on Dublin City Council, let's see it put its money where its mouth is and govern the largest city in the State in the way it's been espousing nationally for the past seven years.
Let's see them magic the money together to keep street lights lit in the capital, when they shrink the property tax as much as they're able. Let's see them find the millions required to repair the water network in Dublin when they do away with the water tax.
Let's see them tax the bejaysus out of the Googles and Facebooks and the institutions of the IFSC, but somehow prevent those companies and the jobs they create from leaving our shores for a less hostile business climate.
Let's see them make good on their various protests and indignations at the measures the central government has had to introduce to right Fianna Fail's wrongs, and let's see them do things in exactly the opposite way to the way they've done it in the North.
MERGING THE PARTIES
* Surly what this election is telling us is the political battlefield has changed forever, that it's the beginning of the end for Civil War politics, and this country is going down the road of a traditional right/left form of governance. FF and FG will form the next government in which they can try and implement their identical policies. In fact, they should go all the way and merge.
SIXMILEBRIDGE, CO CLARE
A POST-LABOUR WORLD
* It appears we are entering a "post-Labour Ireland". This may be a very relevant remark as one of the greatest problems challenging future economics is a "post-labour world", with labour meaning human work rather than a political philosophy.
The demise of both types of "labour" is a phenomenon of the 21st Century; labour of the work variety being eliminated by technological automation and Labour of the political nature in decline because of arrogant refusal to recognise what is happening to real labour.
The ability to produce in vast abundance without dependence on human labour is the greatest transformation ever experienced in economic or human history. Yet no government in Europe or the world recognises this monumental change or is making any attempt to adapt to the new and very welcome phenomenon.
TUBBERCURRY, CO SLIGO
ON THE SLOW TRAIN IN EUROPE
* It seems like the rest of Europe has had elections for the European Parliament while Ireland is still counting the votes cast in 2009.
While I would not want the costly fiasco of voting machines to be repeated, there must surely be a faster (and secure) way to collate and summarise paper voting slips?
ABBEY HILL, NAUL, CO DUBLIN
GOING IN ONE DIRECTION
* Who would have thought that teenyboppers at a Croke Park concert, losers in the soccer play-offs and the Labour Party would have so much in common – "One Direction". But only the kids were on the way up!
NEWTOWN HILL, TRAMORE, CO WATERFORD