Saturday 25 May 2019

Letters to the Editor: 'Citizens need to march in favour of the common good'

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar. Photo: Alan Place
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar. Photo: Alan Place
Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor

Jim O'Sullivan (‘FG must forget ideology and embrace common good’, Letters, Irish Independent, May 9) poses a number of pertinent questions on the current ethos – if they have any – of the Fine Gael party.

I am surprised Jim overlooks what Fine Gael has morphed into since the 2011 election under Enda Kenny and Michael Noonan.

The common good envisaged by Garret FitzGerald, Declan Costello and Gerry Sweetman, under the working paper ‘Towards a Just Society’, was ditched. Jim’s words echo those of innumerable Irish men and women: “We need someone in Fine Gael [and Fianna Fáil], just for once, to ditch the ideology and put the common good front and centre.”

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Sadly, there is not one person in the current Fine Gael branch of the Cabinet, including Leo Varadkar, permitted to think for themselves or have a vision for the future. They seem to be led by the nose by the unelected (unaccountable) ship of fools in party headquarters, whose unwritten motto seems to be: “The taxpayer has deep pockets to be picked at will.”

Poor Mother Ireland with a Dáil and Senate overloaded with visionless Tweedledees and Tweedledums, apart from the Independent members who are more than capable of thinking for themselves.

The people I question are those citizens who take to the streets on water charges yet remain at home on the failure of all politicians to take urgent humane action on the national crises in health and housing .

Declan Foley

Berwick, Australia

Vote against threat to vital institution of marriage

On May 24, we will be asked to further diminish and discredit what remains of our country’s legal understanding of marriage.

Fine Gael seems determined to entirely erase the concept of marriage from the aspirational landscape of young people, leaving them bereft of this most beautiful, rewarding, fulfilling and necessary institution for human flourishing, happiness and indeed the continuation of the human race.

Marriage is not primarily based upon a commitment to one’s own happiness, as we find in co-habitation and civil-partnerships. What sets it apart is that it involves the couple’s renunciation of their autonomy as individuals in favour of taking on responsibility for creating a home and, where possible as part of this conjugal vocation, founding a family.

During multiple referendums (divorce and same-sex), the Government repeatedly assured us of its commitment to strengthen and support marriage. Yet in the last 12 months it has withdrawn its support from Cork’s local marriage advisory agency (forcing it to shut down) and it threatened the funding of family centres elsewhere.

Unfortunately, our Government is pursuing policies ambivalent to the human cost of their undermining of marriage: homelessness, mental health issues, addiction, even violence, abuse and neglect.

There is no demand for this constitutional change, aimed at eliminating the pause period before issuing divorce proceedings. It can only add to the pain and emotional turmoil when couples are most in need of comfort, clarity and confidence. Legal professionals will be emboldened to advise them to cut this process short and speed down the path of repudiating their spouse. Vote NO.

Gearóid Duffy

Lee Road, Cork

Certainties of life reflected by medical screening tests

Benjamin Franklin once declared that in this world nothing can be said to be certain except death and taxes. Absolute certainty is unattainable in life in general and in screening programmes in particular.

Dr Mary Frances Rogan

Corndulla, Co Galway

Royals disappoint us with their choice of baby’s name

Archie, not Paddy – disappointing.

Joseph Mackey

Athlone, Co Westmeath

Politicians should have skin in the spending game

Governments – and Irish governments in particular – have a very poor history when it comes to spending taxpayers’ money well.

However, I honestly believe it is lazy thinking to brand politicians as incompetent/foolish/wasteful (pick your adjective).

The Americans have a wonderful expression, skin in the game, meaning you have personal equity in the endeavour and stand to lose significantly if you fail.

The entire Government, permanent and transient, has absolutely no skin in the game and therefore nothing to lose from poor choices. How would past politicians feel if, for example, the cost of buying, testing, storing and then dumping voting machines were taken from their pension pot? I seem to remember one politician saying it was “only” €50m.

If only there was some way those who spend our money could have some skin in the game...

Gerry Barrett

Dublin 17

Irish Independent

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