Thoughtful and gifted journalist welcomed radical thinking
Published 27/04/2016 | 02:30
I mourn the passing of James Downey; his integrity, insight and commitment to journalism has been ably lauded by the highest in the land.
I was an ardent reader of his thought-provoking columns and his inherent wisdom, but have a much more personal reason for holding him in special esteem.
I have written to this newspaper and others for many years suggesting the economic upheaval we suffer in the 21st century is due to much greater forces than 'recession'.
We will not 'recover' without recognising the enormous impact of very modern technology on the entire economy.
I suggest our unprecedented ability to overproduce, and the elimination of work by automation, creates an entirely new economic situation which cannot be reversed or countered other than by adapting economic ideology to restrain production and generate more employment from less work.
The implications of my suggestions are enormous, but they have never been answered, questioned, countered or argued against. They are ignored in every political and economic forum. The one exception was James Downey.
At least twice he suggested the opinion I expressed should be thoroughly considered, analysed and discussed. Although his field was mainly political, he saw the logic of my argument and the ethical requirement of having such radically-different thoughts considered and discussed.
I never met, spoke to or corresponded with James Downey, but I am eternally grateful for his acknowledgement of my feeble attempts to widen economic discussion on possibly the greatest challenge facing humanity.
May this honourable, thoughtful, gifted and ethical journalist rest in peace.
Tubbercurry, Co Sligo
Realism should not be feared
I would predict that every politician and pundit calling for the abolition of Irish Water and the suspension or abolition of water charges is equally adamant that we will never return to the auction politics that led to the death of the Celtic Tiger . . . but not just yet.
The division over Irish Water is really about whether you believe in 'voodoo economics', or not. This is the first real test of our troika-induced conversion to good governance and, thanks to our populist friends who are glued to the Opposition benches, it looks like we are going to fail with distinction.
A General Election fought on economic realism is something that Fine Gael should not be afraid of.
Cahir, Co Tipperary
Time for real local powers
It was nauseating to see the photograph of Minister Simon Coveney and Fianna Fail Leader Micheál Martin as they prepared to oppose the incinerator in Cork Harbour.
Deputy Martin was a minister in a government that actually changed the law to give the city and county managers powers to impose incinerators, and Minister Coveney's colleague Phil Hogan ensured that the Poolbeg Incinerator could not be stopped.
I hope the people of Cork win their battle but perhaps both men, if they ever get to really talk about government formation, might reverse that power and restore democratic local government that they both did so much to destroy.
Councillor Dermot Lacey
Donnybrook, Dublin 4
Current impasse an insult
It's a pity President Higgins can't convene the Council of State and dismiss the two debating leaders and replace them with two statesmen. The present impasse is an insult to the electorate.
Patrickswell, Co Limerick
Measures to protect tenants
Focus Ireland has repeatedly called for government action to allay the growing concerns of tenants whose homes have been snapped up by international investment funds.
The Irish Independent is to be commended for its on-going excellent coverage of this matter, including the article, 'Fears of large-scale evictions when investors leave Ireland' (April 25) which highlighted that over 280 homes are being bought every month by property funds.
This is one area where the caretaker government could have used its time effectively, but instead has taken no new actions to tackle the worsening housing and homeless crisis since the Dáil first sat.
More than three families become homeless every single day. That is over 600 children and 300 families so far this year.
Focus Ireland manages to secure a home for one family every day, but as the crisis continues to deepen we are struggling to cope with the ever-increasing demand for our services.
Tenants in buy-to-let properties need greater security, particularly as almost 25,000 of these properties are in arrears.
The Dáil can easily fast-track amendments to current legislation to provide this vital protection for tenants as we wait for a new government to be formed. Positive action such as this is the very least hard-pressed families deserve from those paid to govern but failing to do so.
Director of Advocacy, Focus Ireland, Dublin
Who will remove the crown?
By this time next week we'll have Enda elected as Taoiseach. But it will be all "neck and neck" after that.
The independents who support Enda for Taoiseach will have their feet firmly on his neck. Fianna Fáil, who will abstain in the vote for Enda, will also have a firm foot on his neck. Of course we will also have Prince Leo and Prince Simon, along with Princess Frances, sharpening their sabres.
So who will be first to step forward, a la Game of Thrones, and remove the crown from Enda's head?
Kingswood, Dublin 24
People power can win out
The Hillsborough Inquests show that, with perseverance, citizens still maintain their good hearts in the quest for justice.
This is largely forgotten within the corridors of power; we are always liable to be bullied into holding with the official line on everything. The families of the Liverpool deceased have shown that people-power can make justice win in the end. There is little satisfaction that this had to be so hard-fought for.
Bantry, Co Cork