Letters to the Editor: 'Fine Gael’s lamentable record throws down the gauntlet to Martin to prove he can do better'
FIANNA Fáil is in the unenviable position where it has no option but to come up with strong and humane policies to deal with the aftermath of Fine Gael's annihilation of rural Ireland. Failure to do so will be ample evidence it is no different to Fine Gael.
Since 2011, Fine Gael with great glee followed the Troika's directions to the letter when it came to imposing austerity on those least able for it. It ignored the Troika's demands for reform of the legal services, as it continues to ignore the increasing rate of fraudulent insurance claims being thrown out by judges.
First, we had finance minister Michael Noonan extolling the virtues of overseas "vulture funds" buying up Irish properties; today his successor in finance, Paschal Donohoe, is extolling the tax-minimising "cuckoo funds", pricing Irish people out of the housing market. This is happening as the Republic of Ireland is commemorating the centenary years of gaining independence from the British.
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I challenge Fianna Fáil to provide a strategic housing policy for the nation, along with a health policy that will reduce delays.
In regard to housing, there is already a system available to every county council since the 1960s whereby the council develops the sites, the purchaser builds a house to their own design. The State provides the initial funds for purchase and development of the land; whilst housing loans are available from the Department of Local Government via councils.
Alas, in Irish politics in the 21st century, the past is forgotten, and highly paid consultants - who, as James Joyce wrote of Queen Victoria in 'Ulysses', "are not worth a roasted fart to Ireland" - have the ears and minds of governments.
Micheál Martin should study Machiavelli's 'The Prince' and, in particular, heed the advice to the new prince in his first 100 days of government. Direct action. So Micheál Martin, will you take action, or provide lame excuses for inaction?
You could always bank on Maurice to word it right
PERHAPS a tiny, but significant in its own way, achievement of Maurice O'Connell, the former governor of our Central Bank who passed on recently, ought to be on the public record.
It concerns the BCE on our ECB (European Central Bank) euro notes.
Maurice once explained its origin as we bantered during our weekly walks in recent decades.
As the sole speaker of English as a first language at ECB meetings, he was much relied on to ensure that English versions of ECB statements were worded correctly.
Being an outstanding product of Greek and Latin studies - his MA thesis, a copy of which he got me to peruse recently, was about the influence of both languages on the Irish words that were used around the arrival of Christianity in Ireland - he always enjoyed such tasks, including for budget and bank statements.
As three-word acronyms for the list of member central banks were being devised for the euro notes, his colleagues automatically favoured CBI for Central Bank of Ireland.
Maurice insisted, despite much resistance, on our Irish acronym being BCE, for Banc Ceannais Éireann.
The Kerryman also enjoyed the fact that put little Ireland first on the list.
Impact of homelessness on today's children is dire
WHILE reading Anthony McGeough's letter (Irish Independent, April 19) on the mother and baby homes scandal in which he asserts "that the Church, and the Church alone, was responsible for those atrocities", I wondered who will he blame for the atrocities being perpetrated today on children as described in Laura Lynott's harrowing piece, 'It's like living in a prison' - homeless mum staying in family hub with kids' (Irish Independent, April 19)?
Shame over abuse of the past rests with the Church
WHAT an excellent letter by Anthony McGeough. In the mid-1980s, I knew several unfortunate young Irish ladies in their early 20s who came to London for abortions who were absolutely terrified of their local priests back home finding out.
Terrified, too, of voicing a political opinion different from that foisted on them by the Catholic Church.
I found it incredulous this was the reality in Ireland.
Since then, the Emerald Island has had a seismic change of Biblical proportions (no pun intended) with the youth, people and future of Ireland forever free of the shackles of a ruthless, backward, soul-destroying doctrine imposed by Godless priests for their own self-serving agenda.
Ireland, today, is a leader of religious and political freedom, a nation to be proud of.
The shame of abuse of the past with its countless victims - in the name of God - lies squarely, with the Vatican.
The economic 'sweet spot' leaves sour taste for many
I write regarding the article 'Booming economy sees incomes soar to record levels; wages hit record high in economic 'sweet spot'' (Irish Independent, April 17).
This country is not an "economic sweet spot" for many people. For one thing, we still have at least 211,000 human beings who are fully unemployed in this country (neither the Central Statistics Office nor the media seem willing to tell the truth about the real level of unemployment in this country).
Why are all these people being ignored by Government and the media?
Especially given the current skills shortage?
Secondly, there are currently in excess of 10,000 people who are homeless in this country.
At least some of them are currently in employment.
In addition to these people, there are many other "working poor" who are having serious difficulty paying their rent or mortgage and are in imminent danger of becoming homeless.
Thirdly, there are (approximately) 500 people on hospital trolleys, on every single day in this country.
There are also many people in desperate need of drugs and/or other medical treatment, which they can't afford and which the current Government is unwilling to provide, either directly or through reimbursement.
Where, I ask you, is this fabled "economic sweet spot"?
White Street, Cork City
Scourge of Islamophobia is a challenge to us all
NOTRE-DAME Cathedral in the heart of Paris is an iconic treasure, a national and historic landmark and a magnet for tourists.
The feeling of bereavement and loss among those worshippers who are connected to the spirit of basilicas, cathedrals and churches the world over is also palpable.
What is also heart-wrenching is the connection being made between this blaze and the September 11 attacks, and others who rush to blame extremists.
Christians were/are integral parts of Islamic societies.
And Islam and Muslims cherish Jesus and the Virgin Mary as the greatest messengers to humanity.
It is sad that Islamophobia remains a mysterious and enigmatic phenomenon, alive and kicking in today's world, and that it still remains a challenge for all of us.
It is a wake-up call for mainstream media outlets, intellectuals, politicians, pundits and think-tanks to pool resources and stop the vilification, marginalisation and apathy towards Muslims before we slip towards social discord, religious and cultural fragmentation.
Dr Munjed Farid Al Qutob
Census discrimination is a gross insult to adoptees
I NOTICED online that the next census will take place in 2021. My experience of the last census was upsetting as an adopted person.
There was a question that asked how many children did you give birth to?
There was no question that asked how many children did you adopt?
Therefore my adoptive mother could not acknowledge my existence.
Yet there I was in Dublin filling out the form detailing my life and birth.
Having checked online, I see that question has not been altered in any way for the census that will take place in 2021.
Some 100,000 adoptees face a level of discrimination that is very hard to stomach in modern Ireland and that has to change.
Adoption Rights Activist, Terenure, Dublin