Saturday 1 October 2016

Where are the leaders to make Ireland a nation once again?

Published 24/03/2016 | 02:30

Writing on the wall: Enda Kenny Photo: Frank Mc Grath
Writing on the wall: Enda Kenny Photo: Frank Mc Grath

Here we go again, Enda and Fine Gael seek another spin on the merry-go-round, whilst Fianna Fáil appears to be making the fatal error Fine Gael made over the past five years: over-reliance on party HQ advice.

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In 2011, neither Fine Gael nor Labour had a plan of any sort for government. Now it appears five years later neither Fine Gael nor Fianna Fáil have a clue about what to do next.

Sadly, too many politicians in Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael appear to lack the nous required to put the nation first and foremost as they play stupid party politics.

There is absolutely no reason why a national government cannot be formed with a fixed three-year term limit.

Concentrate on what is required for the good of the people of Ireland, not for the sole good of the billionaire class.

Go back to social housing, recreate, and revitalise local government.

Make fixing the health services a priority: if this requires sacking 50pc of senior management so be it, as with Irish Water and other inane quangos that serve management and not the nation.

If the leaders of Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil along with their advisers cannot do this, then in the name of God, stand aside, and allow those who have the ability to make Ireland a nation once again do so.

The writing is on the wall for selfish, inane politics in Ireland. Only fools will differ on this.

Declan Foley

Berwick, Australia

Church and State

I was amused at David Quinn's article 'Easter Rising was not a Just War' (March 18) and I would respectfully suggest that Mr Quinn's introduction of the Catholic Church into Irish politics in the period pre-1922 displays a lack of knowledge of its role before 1916.

William Pitt felt it was important to destroy Grattan's Parliament, which had a degree of Home Rule far superior to that which the Irish Parliamentary Party (IPP) from Parnell to Redmond were seeking. He employed Lord Castlereagh to engineer the Act of Union. Having failed to get a majority in the Irish Parliament in the first vote, he went on a spending spree of bribery to buy a majority of the MPs.

From January 17 to 19 secret meetings were held with the Irish Bishops. They adopted resolutions in favour of state payments to clergy and the right of the British government to a veto on the appointment new Catholic bishops.

A condition was also Catholic Emancipation In August 1799. Castlereagh was able to tell Pitt that, in general "the Catholics were conducting themselves handsomely on the Union".

The union was passed but the UK government, true to form, reneged on the question of Catholic emancipation.

The plan of campaign was introduced by Parnell in 1886, by which the Irish tenant farmers would withhold rents until the rack rents were abolished.

At the same time, Pope Leo XIII was in negotiation with the British government to appoint a British ambassador to the Vatican. The British prime minister agreed, provided the Pope would instruct the Irish bishops to condemn the plan of campaign.

A papal rescript (April 20, 1888) condemned the plan and all clerical involvement in it; this was followed in June by the papal encyclical 'Saepe Nos', which was addressed to all Irish Bishops.

The Irish archbishops of that time in Cashel and Tuam were made of sterner stuff and rejected the intrusion of the Vatican into Irish affairs. This ran counter to the Ultramontane policy, adopted by Cardinal Cullen in 1850, which included total obedience to papal decrees. Finally, when the British government introduced the Education Act 1902, the IPP voted against it on the instruction of the Irish hierarchy, who believed education was not a matter for the State as it would remove parents' rights to send their children to Jesuit Secondary Schools.

The Church's only action at the lockout of 1913 was to forbid families to allow their starving children to be fed by "Pagan British Trade Unions".

Hugh Duffy

Cleggan, Co Galway

Democracy and the Rising

Those questioning the democratic credentials of the Easter Rising cannot ignore the equally revolutionary origins of the present British Constitution.

The 'Declaration of Right' which saw William and Mary declared King and Queen in February 1689 was a revolutionary document drafted and adopted by a convention which was itself extra-legal, and therefore an unrepresentative body.

The British parliament retrospectively legitimised this revolutionary 'fait accompli' by embodying its provisions in the Bill of Rights, which became law at the end of 1689.

The parallels with Dáil Éireann's January 1919 conferral of ex post facto legitimacy on the revolutionary programme of Easter 1916 should be obvious.

Indeed, both the British and Irish States trace their constitutional origins to conditions of revolution and realpolitik.

Oliver Brennan

Kimmage, Dublin 6W

Rugby refs and modern game

I was a rugby referee for many years, before retiring about 15 years ago, and have a reasonable knowledge of the rules of the game. Unless they have changed drastically, the sole reason for the increased violence is in my opinion poor refereeing. It is almost as though referees have been told to let the game flow and ignore the rules.

Now players are professional, the crowd must be entertained with non-stop action. There is no other reason I can think of for the blatant assaults, blatant offsides, blatant obstructions and blatant violence.

Sexton, for instance, was blatantly hit after passing the ball in both the French and the English games. Perhaps the referees are now reluctant to make a decision unless the Television Match Official tells them to? It is also clear that they no longer understand what the advantage rule means. It does not mean a slight possibility of gaining some advantage: it means gaining an advantage. Modern rugby union refereeing is a disgrace to the spirit of the fine game I played and loved for 35 years before becoming a referee.

Richard Barton

Tinahely, Co Wicklow

Dáil bar bill

Why are we not surprised our politicians owe €4,000 to the Dáil Bar? Our two-tier land is still alive and well. Who would get away with that in the local pub?

Damien Carroll

Dublin 24

Irish Independent

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