Sunday 19 May 2019

Letters to the Editor: 'FG must forget ideology and embrace the common good'

Minister for Finance Public Expenditure & Reform Paschal Donohoe TD speaking to media on the National Broadband plan at the Department of Public Expenditure & Reform, Dublin. Photo: Gareth Chaney, Collins
Minister for Finance Public Expenditure & Reform Paschal Donohoe TD speaking to media on the National Broadband plan at the Department of Public Expenditure & Reform, Dublin. Photo: Gareth Chaney, Collins
Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor

While reading Adrian Weckler’s informative report on the proposed roll-out of broadband (‘All your questions answered about the Rural Broadband Plan”, Irish Independent, May 8), complete with the inevitable State giveaway of taxpayer paid-for infrastructure, I couldn’t help wonder where is all this Government gusto and determination when it comes to dealing with the homeless crisis, for example.

Is it because the latter requires a modicum of distributive justice and putting the common good first? The excuse offered for giving away the family jewels this time (remember Telecom Éireann?) is the people being handed the wealth-making opportunities have pledged to keep the system “up-to-date”. Will the minister step forward and tell us exactly how it will be possible to force a private company to stick to any such pledge should doing so impinge on profits?

Have we really learned nothing from recent times? Privatisation, whether it was via the sale of public assets, the crazy public-private partnership vehicle (PPP) or other outsourcing schemes, has resulted in one spectacular costly failure after another.

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Here’s a novel suggestion – why not retain ownership of the broadband infrastructure and run the service via a semi-State? You never know, such an entity might make the State a few bob that it can then use to build houses for the people – a win-win.

We need someone in Fine Gael, just for once, to ditch the ideology and put the common good front and centre.

Jim O’Sullivan

Rathedmond, Co Sligo

 

Old Ireland rightly criticised – but kinder in some regards

The ‘old’ Ireland is criticised, frequently correctly, for its harsh, uncaring, judgemental (and, dare one say, un-Christian) attitude towards girls with crisis pregnancies.

However, the simplistic narrative that it’s all the fault of ‘the nuns’ is just a bit too convenient. It’s an easy way of salving consciences and letting everyone else involved off the hook. What about the State, the father of the child, the grandparents?

The preferred option then was adoption. The preferred option in modern liberal Ireland seems to be abortion.

Maybe I’m missing something, but it seems to me that the former, for all its imperfections, is the more compassionate approach to the issue.

Eric Conway

Navan, Co Meath

 

Church needs to get back to reality on women in service

Michael Kelly writes that a papal commission, after three years, came up with a paper for the Pope’s reading (‘Damned if he does, damned if he doesn’t – Pope faces conundrum on allowing female deacons’, Irish Independent, May 3).

To me, that is ridiculous. Will it really upset the All-Mighty God if women are in his service?

The Church needs to get back to reality and teach religion instead a belief in a belief.

Ludwig Fingerhut

Clonakilty, Co Cork

 

Brexit fudge could make for sticky EU election count here

The extension of UK membership of the EU and the increasing likelihood of European elections in that jurisdiction presents a conundrum in the Dublin EU constituency.

The European Parliament Elections (Amendment) Act 2019, on the exit of the UK from the EU, provides for the addition of an extra seat (from three to four) to the constituency. The Act provides for declaring the last (fourth) candidate elected, with the technical provisos that the seat is not allocated until Brexit occurs. It also deals comprehensively with the order of election of candidates.

This all points to the constituency being treated as a four-seater with the corresponding attendant quota.

The first three elected candidates would then take up their seats at the commencement of the new parliament.

One could argue that choosing the first three elected candidates does not represent the entire electorate in a proportional sense.

The entire proportionate representation would only come into effect on Brexit with the actual assignment of the fourth seat to the constituency.

Recent media discussion presented the scenario of a ‘three-seat’ count in Dublin, followed by a ‘four-seat’ count. This course of action would guarantee the maintenance of the proportionality of the electorate both before and after Brexit.

However, the vagaries of proportional representation and the closeness of the third, fourth and fifth candidates in the ‘three-seat’ count, could result in the third candidate being in fifth position in the ‘four-seat’ count, thus losing their seat on Brexit.

Surely this is not the case? A similar situation arises in Ireland South. Perhaps elucidation in advance would better inform the electorate.  

Seamus Bellew

Dundalk, Co Louth

Irish Independent

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