Sunday 23 October 2016

Time to end tribalism and form a government of national unity

Published 26/04/2016 | 02:30

Enda Kenny meets Micheál Martin during the Easter Rising Ceremony at the Arbour Hill Cemetery on Sunday. Photo: Barbara Lindberg
Enda Kenny meets Micheál Martin during the Easter Rising Ceremony at the Arbour Hill Cemetery on Sunday. Photo: Barbara Lindberg

Four weeks ago in these pages (Irish Independent, Letters, March 29), I made a reasoned argument for a national government which would put the national interest before all else for the lifetime of the current Dáil.

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Since then, social, economic and political conditions have considerably deteriorated in our country as our elected representatives fail to see the bigger picture. I am far more concerned about those vulnerable families struggling to put bread on the table than I am about pre-election promises.

The national constituency has been forgotten, as an undignified and unseemly ritual of tribalism, old score-settling and future power-positioning is played out on the public airwaves. Based on what we have witnessed since the General Election, a minority government won't survive until Christmas. It will be brought down at a time of greatest political advantage to those on the opposition benches.

The citizens deserve better. It is time for TDs to leave their political baggage outside the Dáil and provide the country with a government of national unity.

I want to live in a vibrant, inclusive, cherishing, caring and proud Republic. I want to live in a country where people have the dignity of work, where the sick, disabled and elderly are looked after, where we can life in safety.

I want Gerry Adams, Enda Kenny and Micheál Martin to take inspiration from the signatories of the Proclamation and provide the country with a stable, progressive national government for the next five years. If they display leadership by making this noble and non-partisan gesture, they will forever be revered as patriots of the Irish Republic. Otherwise, they will just be three politicians who were found wanting in their country's hour of need.

Billy Ryle

Tralee, Co Kerry


Another fine political mess

If Patrick Murray (Irish Independent, Letters, April 19) thinks people who refuse to vote should face a €50 fine, how much would he suggest an elected politician should have to pay for refusing to go into government?

Colin Walsh

Templeogue, Dublin 6W


It's all academic

Let's hope the TDs who are attending Trinity College, Dublin, for discussions on government formation make progress by degrees.

Leo Gormley

Dundalk, Co Louth


Ryanair's school tours service

Pól O Conghaile's article 'What a mess they will make - Ryanair Schools Travel service slammed' (Irish Independent, April 23) highlights exactly why Ryanair is introducing this facility.

Ryanair's new bonded school travel service has been set up to bring more choice and lower prices to the market.

It is good news for parents and schools, as they can save money when they book their travel directly with Ryanair, use a dedicated team to support them, enjoy special school discounts and ensure their tour group sits together on the flight.

The internet has changed the way schools book tours, the same way it has already changed the way consumers book their own holidays.

Every industry should welcome more competition - it benefits consumers and brings more choice and better value. The better agents that do a specialist job for schools should benefit from Ryanair being more focused on serving school tours. The agents who don't offer any value for schools will need to evolve their model so they don't get stranded by the internet and the changing behaviour of the customers.

The ITAA President bemoaned that Ryanair "own the ball, the pitch and the players and now they want to be the referee". Wrong. Ryanair changed the game, made it accessible for everyone and cut out the middle men.

However, unlike football, schools can now plan their own moves without having to fork out hefty agents' fees.

Kenny Jacobs

Chief Marketing Officer, Ryanair


Fears on maternity hospital plan

The Institute of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Ireland (IOG) is deeply concerned that St Vincent's Healthcare Group (SVHG) is refusing to allow submission of the planning application for the new National Maternity Hospital.

This approach runs completely counter to government policy as detailed in the National Maternity Strategy, launched in January, which specifically endorses the clinical and corporate governance structures of the three Dublin maternity services in the interests of patient safety and the effective delivery of clinical services.

The National Maternity Strategy was developed in response to adverse incidents in maternity services in recent years which sadly occurred in units in Galway, Portlaoise, Sligo, Cavan, Drogheda and Portiuncula.

In all of these cases, the governance of maternity services came under that of the general hospital.

The IOG also has concerns about the implications of the proposed governance structure for the provision of women's reproductive health care, given the control of SVHG by the Religious Sisters of Charity.

Catholic-controlled hospitals around the world forbid the provision of modern contraceptive services, IVF, sterilisation operations and gender-reassignment surgery.

We also have concerns in this respect about the implementation of the Protection of Life in Pregnancy Act.

Irish women and infants deserve modern, safe and effective obstetric and gynaecological services.

The IOG, therefore, fully endorses the National Maternity Strategy including the co-location of NMH and SVHG on the same site, but not under the governance structure proposed by SVHG.

The IOG urges the Board of SVHG to reconsider its position and move forward with the planning application so this project, planned since 1998, can be realised without further delay.

Dr Peter Boylan

Chairman, Institute of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Ireland

Dublin 2


Food for thought

I notice that when a "two-night stay" in a hotel is the prize in various competitions, one usually gets two breakfasts but only one dinner.

For goodness sake, competition organisers, throw in the extra chicken and chips!

Tom Gilsenan

Beaumont, Dublin 9

Irish Independent

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