To decide how to vote, we need to look at recent history
Published 04/02/2016 | 02:30
History is very important as it records the actions of people. It is an account of the behaviour of people and their interactions with each other. It is also an excellent indication of what certain political groups and ideologies will deliver if elected.
Political groups that have enjoyed the run of the tax take and the decision-making process of Ireland since the bloody foundation of this State will, I am sure, point to emerging groups and Independents as not having the wherewithal to "run the country".
One thing we can be sure of from the Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael-led governments, based on the evidence of the past, is that the management of the HSE will remain untouched. Neither government, despite many ministers, have changed the personnel at the top.
This despite evidence that our waiting times are the worst in Europe - worse than Greece even. This despite the head of the HSE having admitted to having , in his own words "no plan".
So, people of Ireland, you either consider the factual evidence of history and vote for those who haven't delivered a HSE that sees our pensioners being beaten in nursing homes, our elderly being dumped on trolleys like cattle waiting for the slaughter, and our children's very existence and right to peace and protection in one of the heaviest-taxed states in Europe being left in the hands of suspected paedophiles. Or you choose to elect people who have delivered all of this to the detriment of the general public.
It's funny how we keep harking back to the heroes of 1916 and the War of Independence but our history books are so empty of heroes in the political field since the foundation of our country.
Athenry, Co Galway
Don't blame outsiders
Diarmuid O'Flynn blames those in Brussels and Frankfurt for Ireland's woes (Irish Independent, Letters, February 1).
There are a number of questions to be asked before we start blaming foreigners for what happened to this country.
Why did the decision to enter the eurozone not receive a bigger challenge by those in a position to know the risks?
Why was Ireland one of the very few members of the eurozone to go bust?
Why were increases, which equalled a tripling of bank lending and a tripling of government spending, not challenged during the boom?
Why were the ordinary people of this country not better informed of the risks of what was happening during the boom?
Sutton, Dublin 13
Steps to reverse rural decline
Rural Ireland is on its knees and people have been talking about it for years. Meanwhile, nothing of substance has been done about it.
After closure of rural post offices, local shops, pubs, schools, garda stations and public transport now comes what appears to be the final straw - local surgeries are under threat.
We are now told that the economy has turned, with unemployment levels down. This is not having the desired overall effect.
Yes, tourism is up. The Wild Atlantic Way is hailed as a success but most tour operators bus the visitors to the key attractions, eg, Cliffs of Moher, Glendalough, etc, while the nearby towns and villages are bypassed on route back to an ever-busy Dublin.
As someone who hails from a rural village in the west of Ireland which was once thriving, I have traced this sad decline over the last 30 years. This a major socio-economic crisis facing Ireland. A real and comprehensive government strategy is required. A commitment, not a promise.
Firstly, let's not fool ourselves, this is all about money and people will not live in a rural community for sentiment alone.
They need a real job in a sustainable business. They need money and a future. They need a real reason to locate there, to put down roots, start a family and send their children to the local school.
The Government should immediately implement a comprehensive tax policy to reward every indigenous employer who creates a sustainable job in rural Ireland. They do it for multinationals.
Workers in these companies should get an additional tax break on their salary, providing more money in their pocket to spend in the local community.
A further tax break should be provided on the purchase of their home. This should be strictly controlled to ensure that it is their home and not an investment.
The benefits of this would be twofold and immediate:
1. It will bring real investment, new life and energy into rural communities, reversing decades of decline.
Local affordable housing in comparison to the still prohibitive costs of even a modest house in Dublin will attract people to make the big necessary step.
2. The more this succeeds, the less pressure on the housing market in Dublin, allowing people to buy affordable, decent-sized homes.
Of course, not everyone will want to live in the countryside but a solution is not beyond the wit of the Government. With the election around the corner, wherever you live, now it the time to tell canvassers that your vote will depend on their plans for rural Ireland. Or else, stop paying it lip service and just shut it down.
Music out of time
The recent 'Ar Son Na Poblachta' programme on RTE (Tuesday, February 2) gave a good reminder of how Easter 1916 was commemorated 50 years later in 1966.
However, the programme was undermined by basic errors in the choice of music.
Music is often used on archive video to create a period mood and, naturally, 1960s pop music appealed to the production team, to illustrate the public mood of Easter 1966.
However, my enjoyment of the programme was spoiled when I heard a brief excerpt of what sounded like 'Nights in White Satin' by the Moody Blues, which was not released until 1967, or was it 'A Whiter Shade of Pale' by Procol Harum, which was released in 1968?
Unfortunately, these would have been unknown to anybody in April 1966, who was taking part in the 50th anniversary commemoration of the 1916 Easter Rising.
I also heard 'Monday Monday' by the Mamas and Papas but this first registered in the pop chart in May 1966, a few weeks after Easter. Russell Padmore