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Don't give diaspora a vote - they don't live with the consequences

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Enda Kenny proposes allowing the diaspora to vote in the presidential election. Photo: Tom Burke

Enda Kenny proposes allowing the diaspora to vote in the presidential election. Photo: Tom Burke

Enda Kenny proposes allowing the diaspora to vote in the presidential election. Photo: Tom Burke

Having virtually destroyed local government, Enda Kenny now wants to extend his version of democracy by giving the vote on the presidency to the diaspora.

The issue has been reported as if a) it is a good thing and b) that it has widespread support. Yes, in public discourse, many politicians advocate it and the media do champion it.

However, I do not support the notion of prolonged voting rights for people who do not live here in this State.

I believe that you should live with the consequences of your vote. Dáil Éireann is not a debating society, it is the decision-making parliament of this State. The President is an integral part of our parliamentary process.

Those of us who live here and vote, live with the consequences of the collective vote of the people of the State.

That State consists of 26 counties of the island of Ireland. Whether people agree with the existence of that State or not is largely irrelevant - it is the factual State.

The State is not the nation.

There are many Irish people in many other parts of the world - including on the island of Ireland - who do not live in this State.

However, when asking people to vote in elections, we are electing members to the parliament - not the nation.

Latest estimates available show there are approximately one million Irish-born people living outside the Republic and (conservatively) a further three million approximately entitled to Irish passports.

Given that the electorate here in the State is about three-and-a-half million, allowing those living outside the State a vote would be a seriously disproportionate segment of the electorate.

I very much believe in the democratic process.

I believe in the right of immigrants of reasonable duration to have a vote in the State in which they live and believe that the truly democratic stance would be for Ireland to actively campaign for all people to have voting rights wherever they live.

Now that would be democratic.

Dermot Lacey

Donnybrook, Dublin 4

Extending franchise will help SF

As one who left Ireland with my wife and children in 1987, I find puerile the latest proposal from Enda Kenny on a referendum allowing people living outside of the Republic of Ireland to vote in a presidential election.

It's not just an insult to anyone's intelligence but proof, if it was ever needed, of his absolute lack of nous.

For example, since 1922 Sinn Féin has fostered a strong relationship with innumerable people of Irish descent across the US.

Allowing residents of Northern Ireland to vote in presidential election, along with international residents, could hand a Sinn Féin candidate the office of the president of Ireland permanently.

I, for one, am beginning to despair that there is even one person with an ounce of common sense in the entire Fine Gael party - all they appear to mouth is pure and utter tosh on a minute-by-minute basis.

Declan Foley

Berwick, Australia

Now it's time for Nama chiefs to go

The Public Accounts Committee that examined the sale of Nama's Northern Ireland loan book, known as Project Eagle, has concluded the agency's strategy was "seriously deficient" and involved failures of corporate governance, and the sale led to a recorded loss of £162m (€186m).

I assume Nama chairman Frank Daly and CEO Brendan McDonagh will follow the long-held tradition in Ireland and resign immediately.

Damien Carroll

Dublin 24

Poor treatment of Annie Murphy

It should come as no surprise that Annie Murphy, mother of Bishop Eamonn Casey's son, appears to be mostly staying quiet at this time.

This decent woman was treated appallingly in Ireland at the time the news broke of her and Casey's affair, and the birth of their child.

She went on the 'Late Late Show' and was goaded by Gay Byrne and a handpicked hostile audience. I will never forget the look on her face as she stayed calm and dignified throughout her ordeal, which was a disgrace on our national broadcaster.

She owes this country nothing by speaking now, but memories of its harshness must be forever in her mind.

Robert Sullivan

Bantry, Co Cork

Bishop Casey paid - many didn't

Part of the tragedy of the Eamonn Casey story is that the Irish bishop who was most progressive and caring of the needs of the poor, the emigrant, the marginalised and the stigmatised, was hounded out of this country, forced into exile and ostracised.

This was done by the very leaders of the Catholic hierarchy who then went on to cover-up far more serious misdemeanours and even crimes of abuse committed by other clergy against children. Eamonn Casey paid for his misdemeanours. Some others didn't pay for their crimes. May he rest in peace.

Hugh McFadden

Harold's Cross, Dublin 6

We share in guilt at horse deaths

"Oh! Pray do not whip your good horse any more; I am sure he is doing all he can." So wrote Anna Sewell in her classic novel 'Black Beauty'.

Now, 140 years on, the whipping of horses continues. Once condemned as barbaric and indefensible by racing pundit John McCririck, it can be seen this week in Cheltenham as horses are pushed to their limits and beyond, sometimes resulting in horrific injuries and deaths.

There was shock and disgust this time last year when seven horses died at Cheltenham. Most are unaware, however, that this is only a small fraction of fatalities.

In 2016, for example, at least 136 thoroughbreds (including 76 from Ireland) died at British racetracks. So far this year, 34 have lost their lives (19 of them Irish) - some dying with broken necks, some falling and not getting up and others destroyed after sustaining painful leg, knee or spinal injuries.

Many Clouds is one of the latest Irish victims. In January, he collapsed at the end of a race at the Cheltenham track. According to Animal Aid, which maintains the Race Horse Death Watch website, he was "raced to death".

Animal Aid has documented over 1,500 deaths at UK tracks in the past decade, noting that even more horses are killed due to training injuries.

Those following the Cheltenham Festival should consider another of Anna Sewell's famous quotes - "if we see cruelty or wrong that we have the power to stop, and do nothing, we make ourselves sharers in the guilt."

Philip Kiernan

Mullingar, Co Westmeath

Irish Independent