Are our politicians competent enough?
Sir - Your editorial "Government must stand prepared" (Sunday Independent, January 22) and "... by far, the greatest issue facing this country..." begs the question, are our politicians competent to stand prepared? On past records we must feel apprehensive. The bartering of our fisheries, the sugar beet industry and the banking debacle. The ham-fisted introduction of water charges, a vital resource, the solution now tempered by street politics. Some might be reassured as we see the Taoiseach striding confidently as he greets his EU and UK counterparts.
In the interest of this country's future, I would suggest a voluntary forum of say 10 members comprising of leading economists and business people who already have their hands on the economic and financial affairs of the nation. With their combined expertise they could help the Government to steer a safe passage through the difficult years ahead in our dealings with the EU and the UK.
I would almost dare to say that it would be a patriotic duty for this "Whitaker Group" be it formed.
Honest on ageing
Sir - I loved the wisdom and honesty of Victoria Mary Clarke's article (Sunday Independent, January 22) on a subject all of us have to deal with, ageing.
Her great wisdom when she comes to the conclusion that the only thing to do is remind yourself that today's teenagers will also get wrinkles if they are lucky, and concentrate on doing what you can to make the world a happy place for everyone.
Brian Mc Devitt,
Sir - On reading the letter from Tony Hand on motor insurance (Sunday Independent, January 22), I can only come to the conclusion that either it makes too much sense for any government to consider implementing it or that there are powers that be outside of government who really have the final say on policy.
The more fuel people use, the more they are on the road which means the more chance of an accident. Hence the insurance cost works out higher.
Sir - In his letter (Sunday Independent, January 22) Pat O'Callaghan claims that backwoodsmen "under the leadership of Neil Blaney" were responsible for electing Des O'Malley to Dail Eireann in 1968. That may be so but Mr O'Malley in his autobiography Conduct Unbecoming argues that the backwoodsmen may have damaged his chances.
Mr O'Callaghan's letter is a response to Mr O'Malley's article on the late Ken Whitaker. Dr Whitaker was a close confidant of Jack Lynch and was instrumental in advising him on what was then an evolving policy on Northern Ireland. At the time in 1969 Ireland stood at a crossroads.
We were dancing towards the precipice when Lynch brought us to our senses and stabilised the situation. His Tralee speech drafted by Whitaker planted the seeds of the Good Friday Agreement. In the perilous period of 1970 to 1973, Lynch had no more loyal a lieutenant than Des O'Malley, his Minister for Justice.
In that time O'Malley faced the most sustained onslaught of intimidation and criticism of any minister in the history of the State. This included a virulent campaign waged against him by such paragons of law and order as Paddy Cooney and Conor Cruise O'Brien. Later they were to implement with great vigour the policies which he initiated to preserve this democratic State. As Minister for Justice Des O'Malley made a greater contribution to the well-being of modern Ireland than did his more famous uncle Donogh in the field of education.
Fr Iggy O'Donovan,
O Connell St,