Letters to the Editor: 'A new, liberal party needed to freshen stale democracy'
Looking at the recent list of TDs who have other business interests outside of their Dáil duties and their professions, it is no wonder the people at the bottom do not matter where health, housing and incomes are concerned.
Fine Gael - to give it its due - pulled us out of a very dark era left to us by Fianna Fáil, and not for the first time let's not forget.
However, it too forgot the people at the bottom. I am an ex Fianna Fáil supporter and will not vote for the party ever again; it should not be given the opportunity to wreck this country once more.
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As for Fine Gael, I have to say it has gone down in my estimation. Labour would do well this time around if it disposed of the following: Joan Burton (the so-called pensioners' friend), Alex White, Aodhán Ó Ríordáin, and replaced Brendan Howlin with Alan Kelly.
Sinn Féin seems to be the only party with no outside interests, maybe it should get more support, although I have never voted for it in my life. It seems we Irish are stuck in a bad place, is it time we had a more liberal party to represent all of the people?
Starting to wonder if our efforts make any difference
The best figures I can get from official sources indicate that there are about 6,000 registered and around 8,000 non-registered charities here in Ireland with approximately 174,000 employees, some quite highly paid. I imagine that many of us have given something to some of them, especially at this time of the year.
However, we still read regularly about the hundreds of homeless people and the increasing waiting lists for treatment in hospitals, among other disaster areas. Many of us are starting to wonder exactly what our many thousands of highly paid government employees are actually doing for the good of the country and whether our vote is ever likely to improve all this.
Maynooth, Co Kildare
Turning tide in North sees a surge in nationalist voting
It's interesting to note that Belfast is now a mainly nationalist city, with Sinn Féin and the SDLP between them holding three of the four seats in Ireland's second largest city. Derry, of course, has always been a mainly nationalist city. The murder of the young journalist Lyra McKee there earlier this year was - I think - one of the factors in Colum Eastwood's landslide victory for the SDLP in Foyle.
It was a shocking reminder to people of the terrible days of the Troubles. Derry has a long tradition of constitutional nationalism which was very much cemented by John Hume. The significance of this election across the North is in its demonstration of just how far the overall nationalist (or at least non-unionist) vote has come over the last 40 years. In the 1983 general election to Westminster, of the 17 seats at the time only two returned nationalists: John Hume in Derry and Gerry Adams in west Belfast.
It's revealing too that the most remarkable Sinn Féin success in this latest election, John Finucane's victory in North Belfast, was achieved by broadening his appeal beyond the republican base. Stephen Farry's success for the Alliance party in North Down was another remarkable achievement. The quality of the candidates in all three cases - Eastwood, Finucane, and Farry - was also a significant factor in their election, as it was in South Belfast where Claire Hanna recorded a second thumping victory for the SDLP.
Hollywood, Co Wicklow
Unionists are questioning if it's worth being in the UK
In last Saturday's Irish Independent Martina Devlin wrote "unionism is no longer the dominant force in the state carved out of Ireland specifically for it almost a century ago". For the first time ever there are more nationalist MPs in Northern Ireland than unionist MPs. As Ms Devlin also states, "unionism's capital city has turned green" on account of just one out of its four MPs being a unionist.
So the question is, what is the purpose of Northern Ireland? The reasons for its foundation were very shaky to begin with and changing demographics mean that nationalists are in the ascendency.
This will only increase in the years ahead. Furthermore the "soft" unionists who never wanted to leave the EU will further question their desire to remain part of a United Kingdom which couldn't care less about them. The changes that Brexit will bring about cannot be ignored without also discussing the raison d'être of the six north-eastern counties of Ireland.
Salthill, Co Galway