Saturday 1 October 2016

We have nothing to fear with Fine Gael at the helm

Published 08/08/2015 | 02:30

Taoiseach Enda Kenny
Taoiseach Enda Kenny

I would like to take issue with Martina Devlin's article (Irish Independent, August 6) on talk of Enda Kenny's third term not being in the best interests of the State.

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I need to inform her that Enda Kenny is only seeking a second term in next year's general election. I am sure Martina can still recall the last majority party we had in government, and they did spend too long in government, and yes, it was to the detriment of the economy.

However, I can assure her that this will not happen with the present majority party in government who have always governed responsibly with any party or parties they have partnered with.

I don't agree with Martina that being elected on a number of occasions has a corrosive influence in making decisions. If people are being constantly elected by the people they represent, this shows how competent they are at representing the people at local and national level.

This is democracy in action. The people have the final say.

I believe that limiting the terms of an elected representative is undemocratic. The president of Ireland can serve two terms, but this covers 14 years. The Government has served only four years.

Finally, I would point out that it's not very easy to fill the role of an experienced representative. It takes a great deal of diligence, organisation and know-how to be elected which is something I believe a lot of first-time candidates will learn in less than a year from now.

Thomas Garvey

Rushbrook, Claremorris, Co Mayo

 

Enda needs a miracle

Unfortunately, I can't see the three-term potential in Taoiseach Enda Kenny that Chief Whip Paul Kehoe is so convinced exists. Is his track record that impressive?

It's surprising the number of people on the Live Register is continuing to grow, giving credence to only a mythical upturn in our economic fortunes. A grand total of 208,900 people are unemployed. Some really big multinationals need to drop in from outer space if the current 79,214 CAO students are to find jobs over the next three or four years, never mind similar or larger numbers coming on stream.

Funding for social housing has collapsed, according to data released to Fianna Fáil. It shows that there has been a 79pc fall in funding for voluntary and housing co-operatives, and a 53pc drop in private housing grants since the Government took power in 2011. Only €328m was spent on the sector over the past two years, yet we have an unprecedented 43,872 people on the Dublin city waiting list.

Unless some miraculous transformation occurs over the next few months, I wouldn't bet on the Government being returned.

James Gleeson

Thurles, Co Tipperary

Irish Water must change

Having created a monster in Irish Water, the Government now has an opportunity to redesign that body with the Eurostat rejection of its proposed funding mechanism.

Michael McNicholas, the chief executive of Irish Water's parent company, Ervia, said at the MacGill Summer School that for Irish Water to work, it must have political and public support. It has neither.

People generally accept they have to pay for water usage but reject totally the present dysfunctional and costly body. Irish Water got €979m last year, yet the spending on fixing the network was down on previous years from €430m to €300m.

By opting to locate meters outside the curtilage of the properties, all apartment complexes and private housing schemes are excluded from ever being metered. This would not be the case if water meters had been fitted to building walls, like gas and electricity meters. They would have been considerably cheaper to install.

If this body is not reformulated and reintroduced to the public after it has been seen to perform effectively, then the Government can look forward to drowning in this tsunami of its own making come the general election.

John Williams

Athy, Co Kildare

Mr Burke has dropped the ball

I am writing in response to Mike Burke's laughable letter (August 6) in which he bemoans the apparent tunnel vision of the staunch GAA supporter and then goes on a rant about Gaelic football displaying the same type of tunnel vision he was criticising earlier in his letter.

The reason Gaelic football is not played in other countries is that Ireland wasn't a large international power and doesn't exert any influence on the customs of other countries. Pretty much every single international sport that exists today spread because it had its beginnings in a large, powerful country.

Mr Burke points out the lack of competitiveness in Gaelic football. For the last couple of years this has been true, but that is partly because the top four or five teams at the moment are so good and because the competition structures are not very good. This situation won't last.

The point Mr Burke makes is ironic, considering professional soccer is probably the most uncompetitive sport in the world, with every major league dominated by the same two or three teams.

Darragh Farrell

Daingean, Co Offaly

Children's rights first

In the debate on school patronage, much has been said about rights, but have you heard anyone mention the rights of the most important people in education - children?

Shouldn't a child's right to an education be superior to the rights of religious organisations and parents to have state-sponsored faith-based education? Isn't it a violation of a child's human rights that they are converted to a religion that their parents don't believe in in order to receive an education? Isn't it a violation of a child's human rights that when religion is taught, they either exclude themselves from class, thus emphasising their separateness, or stay in class to be exposed to another religion's teaching?

In a country with increasing numbers of different faiths, it is impractical for every child to have a local school matching their parents' beliefs.

Perhaps it is time to consider a model of education where every child has the equal right to access education and to receive an education that does not exclude them or infringe their religious rights.

The only way to vindicate these rights is with a secular education - it doesn't discriminate against children of any belief or none; all are treated inclusively and equally. Surely that is the only consideration of importance in this debate?

Jason Fitzharris

Rivervalley, Swords, Co Dublin

Irish Independent

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