If Fine Gael director of elections Paschal Donohoe and general secretary Tom Curran believe that Catherine Noone cannot be trusted to represent the party on the public airways (“FG refused to allow Noone to do interviews on autism controversy”, Irish Independent, January 30), could they come back and explain why they think she is good enough to represent the people in the Dáil?
Rathedmond, Co Sligo
Varadkar won’t be clinging on if he takes FG to victory
In his recent article “Shinners now just a twist of history away from power”, (Irish Independent, January 29) Kevin Doyle asserts that if the election were to play out a certain way, ‘Mr Varadkar would be grappling for a way to cling to high office’. I find the use of the word ‘cling’ wholly pejorative and thus inappropriate. In our parliamentary democracy, Mr Varadkar is fully entitled to form an administration if he can command the numbers in the Dáil.
Such an action is totally legitimate within the parameters of our parliamentary system.
Far from clinging to high office, Mr Varadkar would simply be enacting the will of the people, to coin a phrase.
Blackrock, Co Dublin
Pensions fiasco is bitter blow for workers in private sector
It looks like the politicians may have finally pushed ordinary workers too far in their efforts to make an unjust pensions regime in Ireland even more unfair by raising the retirement age to 67 and then 68.
And most workers don’t even know the half of it. Apart from raising the age at which you qualify for the State pension, they are also going to make it more difficult for people to claim the contributory State pension by changing the criteria in relation to PRSI contributions necessary to qualify.
Nobody can deny there is a looming problem with pensions due to decades of bad planning and ignoring the warning signs. But the great injustice is that the Government is determined that it is the ordinary worker who will suffer and not the “golden classes”, by which I mean politicians, civil servants, public servants and company directors with large private pension funds.
There is no mention of raising the age at which politicians can claim their enormous pensions. Guards, teachers, nurses etc will still retire at age 55 on gold-plated pensions.
For workers in the private sector who do try to provide a private pension for themselves it is an uphill struggle.
Portarlington, Co Laois
Brexit spells danger for UK in these times of uncertainty
I am pleased that the divorce between the UK and Europe is finally concluded.
However, democracy dictates that Scottish voters be allowed a second independence referendum as in 2014 leaving wasn’t an option and Scotland voted Remain in 2016. Northern Ireland, too, should be allowed a reunification plebiscite in the near-future.
I voted leave but wanted a second confirmatory referendum for the younger generation and those who’ve changed their minds. The EEC that Britain joined in 1973 was a lot different then as was what Britons chose to remain part of in the 1975 referendum. Brussels must bear a large share of the blame for what’s transpired. That said, I feel a tinge of sadness it came to this. If Brussels learns anything from this historic event, maybe a lot of internal reform may tempt a reversal vote in a few years’ time, if, indeed, there still is an EU. We now enter uncharted waters in dangerous times. I, for one, prefer to be part of Europe than a satellite state of Trump’s America.
With so many unknowns, we can’t be reckless with our votes
The mantra in the current Irish election that we need change is similar to the mantra in the UK election that it needed to get Brexit done. Both mantras ignore consequences. In the UK the consequences of electing Boris Johnson to be PM, when he seems to be risking an immediate Brexit at any cost, could be disastrous. In Ireland the election of people who seem to be promising the sun, moon and stars irrespective of cost, could be equally disastrous.
We in Ireland have less excuse for being reckless as we saw the results of recklessness in the collapse and the bailout less than a decade ago. In addition, many of the people whose decisions caused the country to go broke are still around promising away to their heart’s content.
Caveat emptor is probably a more sensible mantra for us at this stage as, among many other unknowns, the results of Brexit are still to be decided.
Sutton, Dublin 13