Saturday 1 October 2016

We need to Twitterise our political discourse

Published 27/01/2016 | 02:30

‘Father of the House’ Enda Kenny gave his first Dáil speech in 1975. Picture Credit: Frank Mc Grath
‘Father of the House’ Enda Kenny gave his first Dáil speech in 1975. Picture Credit: Frank Mc Grath

Am I alone in dreading the forthcoming election? The constant promises, denials and refusal to answer the most straightforward questions with a simple answer.

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Perhaps it's time for a change? Not just of government - which the election will decide - I am thinking more about the manner of communication with our elected politicians and candidates.

How about we bring brevity and straightforward talking back to the political conversation?

How? Perhaps we can start with a simple idea: a quota. Not of ideas, but of words. I

It is common in many interviews that half of the reply is made up of repeating the question or going off-track to muddy the waters and then arriving back, adding little in way of information, but getting your name out there.

What if the simple questions had to be answered simply, with a low word count, a verbal twitter if you like.

Politicians may then have to learn to say what they mean, whatever about meaning what they say!

However, we would need to be clear on one thing. It would need to be a word quota and not a time limit, as you can imagine the galloping Irish tongue would fit in a record amount of nothing in the shortest time possible, only adding to the confused nature of our political debate.

I realise this may be hard to enforce but if successful it could breed a new type of politician - a politician that means their every word and perhaps one that you can count on, word for word.

Brian Walsh

Co Waterford

 

Foul-mouthed television

I wish to express my extreme disapproval of RTÉ. I had bought the 'RTÉ Guide' and was looking forward to viewing the 'Al Porter Christmas show' and enjoying some light entertainment.

You might wonder why I would be writing about something from a month ago? Well it still makes me angry every time I think of it.

To transmit this show on perhaps the biggest family night of the year makes me madder still.

I appreciate that in conversation Al Porter is a very clever articulate and polite man. But on stage he is a completely different person - the gutter language used was indefensible. How can anyone condone such foul-mouthed programming?

In the same copy of the 'RTÉ Guide' Mr Porter gave an interview saying how much he enjoys Christmas and all that goes with it.

You would not have thought so from this show. Shame on RTÉ.

Sean McNally

Address with editor

 

Fair play for Leinster people

In this historical year of 2016, it is time that people living in the east of Ireland got some consideration and quality of life.

It is here that the majority by far of the population live. But they have been badly neglected and under-represented since independence.

They are predominately English speakers and have lost out in education and career paths because of it. Few public representatives historically and currently are Dubliners. This has to change.

Harry Mulhern

Dublin

 

'Rebellion' and hearts of stone

Richard Holden (Letters, January 26) wrote that the RTÉ TV series 'Rebellion' is an attempt to provide the Irish public with an understanding of the events of 1916.

In the series I saw a little boy getting fatally shot and a woman also shot down in the street because she was looting. These scenes so well-depicted in 'Rebellion' seem to have gone unnoticed by the Irish viewing public.

It is therefore fitting to recall the words of Mrs Tancred from Sean O'Casey's play 'Juno and the Paycock' in regard to today's Irish viewing public: "Sacred heart of Jesus, take away our hearts o' stone and give us hearts o' flesh."

Seán O'Brien

Kilrush, Co Clare

 

Suffering from abortion ban

Cora Sherlock of the Pro-Life campaign (Letters, January 21) claims that Amnesty International's 'She Is Not a Criminal' campaign has "falsely created the impression that women are routinely prosecuted for abortion". This is untrue.

Women are criminalised under Ireland's 2013 Protection of Life during Pregnancy Act. The only circumstance in which a woman or girl may lawfully have an abortion in Ireland is if she might die. In any other circumstance, she faces a possible criminal penalty of 14 years in prison.

Just because women aren't being hunted down and prosecuted, doesn't make it any less terrifying a possibility.

Ms Sherlock claims she would "personally favour a law that only placed sanctions on the abortionist - and never the woman". So is she in favour of repealing the 8th Amendment, since it's the reason behind the 14-year penalty? Clearly not, and she claims that it's "the pro-choice movement who are contributing to this not happening".

And the "practising abortionists" she would imprison for 14 years (the possible penalty for them under the 2013 law) are ordinary doctors, midwives and nurses who want to give their patients' healthcare that is routinely available in most other countries. They may not even make referrals for women who have to travel to get the care they need. They operate within a system which forces them to stand helplessly by as women and girls take 'abortion pills' bought online without medical supervision.

Whether the Pro Life Campaign likes it or not, Ireland is "the odd one out". It has one of the most punitive abortion laws in the world. I can't think of another state that has in its constitution a freedom to travel to do something that would be a crime at home.

Ireland's criminalisation of abortion is justifiably the focus of Amnesty International's global campaign. Ireland goes before yet another UN human rights body in April, where it will again be internationally embarrassed.

And our women and girls continue to suffer.

Colm O'Gorman

Amnesty International Ireland

 

Partners together in failure

Maybe Fianna Fáil and Fianna Gael should amalgamate after the General Election and call the new party Fianna Failures.

It's apt and their slogan could be "Promised so much and delivered so little".

Ian Gorby

Belturbet, Co Cavan

Irish Independent

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