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Government's reassurances are like EuroMillions escapism


Taoiseach Enda Kenny Picture: Justin Farrelly

Taoiseach Enda Kenny Picture: Justin Farrelly

Taoiseach Enda Kenny Picture: Justin Farrelly

As I listen to and read about various ministers preaching how responsible they are in granting some of us the most basic financial supports, it occurs to me that it would be better if Enda Kenny's Government were totally prudent and gave nothing away.

Instead, they should be preparing us for Brexit.

The Government reassures us that various financial services will move from the UK to Ireland, that there will be soft borders and that everything will be OK.

It reminds me of the last Fianna Fáil government saying that there would be a soft landing after the crash of the Celtic Tiger.

It was a form of escapism not unlike that enjoyed by EuroMillions hopefuls.

It is clear that we are living in a broken economy. We have entire families living in single bedrooms in hotels. Thousands of families are in mortgage arrears, their debts bundled neatly up and sold to venture capitalists.

A similar situation existed here following the Encumbered Estates Act 1847, when an advertisement in London for the sale of one estate here in Connemara (200,000 acres) stated that all of the pre-famine tenants were either dead or gone to the new world, and that the estate was no longer 'infested with these tenants' and was a blank canvas on which to paint a profitable landscape!

And what is the solution to endless waiting lists for medical appointments - unless one can afford private health insurance?

Hugh Duffy

Cleggan, Co Galway

Leo needs to learn FG's history

Niall O'Connor reports that Leo Varadkar has stated that it would not be "credible" for Enda Kenny to remain as Taoiseach and step down as leader of Fine Gael (Irish Independent, October 17), suggesting that any such scenario would lead to "disagreement or a conflict".

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The minister displays a wretched ignorance of the history of the party he apparently aspires to lead.

The longest serving of the 10 leaders of Fine Gael, General Richard Mulcahy, held this position for 15 years from 1944 to 1959. Mulcahy served as leader of the opposition until 1948, after which his parliamentary colleague John A Costello served as Taoiseach twice and leader of the Fine Gael Parliamentary Party until 1959, while Mulcahy served as minister in those governments under Costello.

Under this regime, the Fine Gael share of Dáil seats in four general elections was 21pc in 1948, 27pc in 1951, 34pc in 1954 and 27pc in 1957.

It is also noteworthy that the candidate Fine Gael fielded in the 1959 presidential election, Seán MacEoin, achieved 43.7pc of the vote in that election - when he was 66 years old.

There was no question in the Mulcahy era of Fine Gael selecting a candidate for a presidential election who would be rejected by 94pc of the electorate, as was the case in 2011. To imply that such a pathetic debacle could be followed with an insinuation that Fine Gael might avoid the subsequent presidential electoral contest altogether - because Mr Varadkar claims the incumbent could secure cross-party support - is myopic and ludicrous.

Mr Varadkar needs to radically re-evaluate the credibility of his own claims on political leadership and ground these in the aspirations and ambitions of those whose votes he will ultimately be dependent on for a licence to lead.

Disagreement and conflict are perpetually at the heart of politics. But vision, competence, courage and worthwhile accomplishments are the characteristics desired at the heart of stable political leadership.

Myles Duffy

Glenageary, Co Dublin

Bruton's dilemma on teachers

As he faces down the teachers, Education Minister Richard Bruton, as I see it, is faced with two options.

He will stoutly defend his corner, or perhaps end up being made to stand in the corner.

Tom Gilsenan

Beaumont, Dublin 9

Martin Naughton's legacy

Disability activist Martin Naughton was laid to rest in his native Spiddal, Co Galway, on Saturday. He was 62 years old. He was a leader in the disability sector and his legacy will have positive impacts long into the future.

Martin was instrumental in Ireland's shift away from the institutional approach. We now have a disability act, however imperfect is it, and Ireland is beginning to adopt the universal approach of personal assistance rather than carers. Ireland is on the cusp of approving Article 19 of the UN Convention for people with a disability. The legislative groundwork is being developed for direct payment to people with a disability which should cover the cost of services such as personal assistance and other essential supports so that people with disabilities can live inclusively in Irish society.

I call on politicians of all parties to go the extra step and ensure these measures urgently go into legislation so that Martin Naughton and many more warriors like him, who sat outside Dáil Éireann on bitterly cold nights, can say their work was fruitful in the end.

Charity has no place in the disability sector.

Dermot Hayes

Ennis, Co Clare

Time to reform the UN

The United Nations is expecting record numbers of displaced people in the wake of fighting in Mosul, Iraq.

Now, when the world is witnessing the largest exodus of refugees in history, is the time to pause and reflect on the trials and tribulations of the UN and its 20 affiliated agencies.

These organisations have been slow to save future generations from the scourge of war; to promote racial, social and religious harmony, to tackle hunger, and to safeguard human rights and freedoms.

It is true that they have been successful in distributing food, vaccinating children, sheltering refugees, seeking the peaceful resolution of raging conflicts around the globe, but hasn't time come to nip conflicts in the bud and avoid them before they actually occur?

Isn't it time to overhaul the UN?

Dr Munjed Farid Al Qutob

London NW2, United Kingdom

Noonan is watering the soup

There's a story about a monastery where the monk in charge of the kitchen went to the Prior in a panic, saying that there was quite an extraordinary number of pilgrims to host for lunch that day, and asking what could he do to feed so many mouths.

"Don't worry," said the Prior. "Add a gallon of water to the soup."

This is exactly what Mr Noonan has done by distributing €5 crumbs to appease pensioners.

It will take more than €5 to compensate what has been taken from them through the last few years.

Concetto La Malfa

Dublin 4

Death of a true Munster legend

Anthony Foley: he came, he saw, and he conquered.

Ed Toal

Galway city

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