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Letters to the Editor: 'By-election 'no shows' have lost their right to complain'


'Democracy in this country was hard won and our past leaders would not have been impressed with the poor turn-out.' Stock image

'Democracy in this country was hard won and our past leaders would not have been impressed with the poor turn-out.' Stock image

'Democracy in this country was hard won and our past leaders would not have been impressed with the poor turn-out.' Stock image

With the poor turn-out of the electorate for the four by-elections, does that mean all the whingeing about the state of the country and the very poor government we (supposedly) have will now end?

As someone who has heard non-stop criticism, some of it totally unjustified, of the Government, I expected a big turn-out to show the Government what we, the poor people of Ireland, thought of it.

But no, we did not get this massive vote.

Instead we got fake reasons about bad weather (it was November in Ireland, what did they expect?) or the ‘Toy Show’ – polling stations opened at 7am and the ‘Toy Show’ didn’t start until 9.35pm. I am sure many of the “no shows” passed by the polling station going to the shops or pub.

Or the reason was the often used phrase, “ah, all politicians are the same, just useless”.

None of those would pass my lie detector test. If you were disillusioned with the candidates offered then go and spoil your vote (in my opinion it’s valid as you are expressing dissatisfaction with politics/parties/the Government/whatever).

The people who stayed away – apart from those with a genuine reason – have lost their right to complain. Democracy in this country was hard won and our past leaders would not have been impressed with the poor turn-out.

Donough O’Reilly

Kilmacud, Co Dublin

Rejecting God in times of pain  denies us of a helping hand

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I was deeply saddened to hear how Vicky Phelan lost her faith in God after the car crash which left her seriously injured and her then-boyfriend dead.

First, the obvious pain that such tragedy brings into our lives; and second, the loss of faith in God. Basically, Ms Phelan raises the old question of how, if there is a good God, such things can happen?

Like many people, I have suffered my own share of tragedy over the years and I would like to offer my perspective, for what it’s worth, to Ms Phelan. After one particular tragedy had really knocked the wind out of my sails, I found myself reflecting on much the same question. Then, at some point, it dawned on me there really is nothing we can tell God about suffering that he doesn’t already know. Few people suffered as much as Jesus. Thirty years of living in poverty (his family circumstances were extremely humble, as we are reminded this time of year) and three years of doing nothing besides selflessly trying to help everyone and anyone who crossed paths with him.

I recall reading one saint asking God in some anger, “Where were you when all this was happening?” and the answer that came back was “weeping alongside you”.

To reject God after suffering is humanly understandable, but a great pity; as He is the one being that can best help us deal with it and make sense of it and it is never too late in this life to hand our pain over to Him.

Nick Folley

Carrigaline, Co Cork

GAA must facilitate an open discussion on professionalism

In many respects, the Gaa is symbolic of Irish nationalism and independence and, as our national game, it is something firmly imprinted into the very fabric of our communities, urban and rural.

However, the necessity for the Gaa to adapt to the unique challenges faced by inter-county players in the 21st century will result in an inevitable and divisive shift towards professionalism. In most sports around the world, the basic practice of financially rewarding elite athletes for the sacrifice they make to play at the highest level of their sport is a pillar of sustainable competition.

While I am willing to concede the Gaa community is not ready for the introduction of professionalism, over the course of the next decade it is critical the Gaa facilitates an open, frank and inclusive discussion on the introduction of professionalism and how it might be managed.

During any discussion we must maintain a respect for the Gaa’s rich history and current status as an amateur game, but also make a genuine and concerted effort to avoid the undemocratic mistakes of the past in only recognising the views and recommendations of county boards rather than those of the wider Gaa community.

Cillian Boggan

St Peter’s College, Co Wexford

Eddie uses the full range of the unique Irish vocabulary

I enjoyed Eddie Cunningham’s use of the word “feckity” in his car review (Review, Irish Independent, November 30). It’s not a word you’d see in too many such reviews.

It occurred to me that anyone who knows exactly what he means could consider themselves to be truly Irish!

Gerard Fahy

Blackrock, Co Dublin

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