Monday 23 September 2019

Letters to the Editor: 'Labour needs to ask for forgiveness for the pain it pushed on to its voters'

Under fire: Spokesperson on health Alan Kelly with party leader Brendan Howlin at Labour’s conference in Dublin. Photo: PA Wire
Under fire: Spokesperson on health Alan Kelly with party leader Brendan Howlin at Labour’s conference in Dublin. Photo: PA Wire
Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor

Reading your reports on the Labour Party conference, it was breathtaking to see that a major plank of its new manifesto is to create an Economic Equality Agency, which would try to "understand the causes of poverty and disadvantage".

The notion that those in the Labour Party do not know what it is that creates poverty, distributive injustice, is just not plausible.

It is clear Labour is still trying to create a narrative that muddies the waters regarding its own behaviour when in power.

The party did not, as it would have you believe, just stand idly by as Fine Gael went about axing many of the social supports that had been painstakingly put in place over decades.

Labour ministers implemented policies that pushed those already struggling into "poverty and disadvantage".

Two obvious examples were the gouging of supports for lone parents and the overseeing of the hatchet job on the basic State pension in 2012 -two of the most vulnerable groups in our society were targeted by a Labour minister.

The party should come clean about what it did in power and seek the forgiveness of those it abandoned because those who suffered under Labour-facilitated austerity policies know the reality.

Their anger is exacerbated when they hear the mealy mouthed attempts to justify what they were forced to endure at the hands of a party that claims it is left-of-centre.

That is Labour's only chance of redemption and the possibility of regaining the trust of sufficient numbers of voters to become relevant again in Irish politics.

Jim O'Sullivan

Rathedmond, Co Sligo

Sinn Féin must tip the balance in Westminster

A thousand nationalist signatories from both parts of Ireland published an open letter to the Taoiseach in yesterday's 'Belfast Irish News', calling on him to ensure the rights of Northern nationalists in the wake of Brexit.

In response to a similar letter last year, the Taoiseach in December 2017 gave a pledge to protect the rights of Northern nationalists and all Irish citizens "regardless of their political persuasion or religious beliefs". It is patently obvious to everyone that both the Taoiseach and the Tánaiste have being honouring that pledge throughout the current negotiations with the European Union.

In their open letter these 1,000 signatories quite correctly cite the DUP as the main threat to these rights, given the current dependence of the British government on their votes.

Given this factual assessment can I suggest these same signatories write a similar letter to another political player able to exercise potentially what could be an even more pivotal influence in neutralising the influence of the DUP - this party is Sinn Féin.

In any final vote at Westminster on the Brexit deal, Sinn Féin MPs would have seven votes. The political arithmetic at Westminster for securing the correct political decision which would protect the rights of citizens in both parts of Ireland is on a knife edge.

In recent votes on the Brexit issue the Conservative government was able to secure a majority of only five votes.

These 1,000 signatories should ask Sinn Féin to end its sterile policy of abstention. After all, it has never been an issue of political principle for Sinn Féin.

It operated the policy in relation to other elected institutions including the Dáil and Stormont and ended it when it suited them.

And on this occasion ending its abstention of Westminster and participating in all votes on Brexit would best serve the interest of all citizens in both parts of Ireland.

John Cushnahan

Former Fine Gael MEP and Alliance Party leader

Post-Brexit Border idea isn't one for all seasons

Malachi Maguire's suggestion (Letters, November 2) of a post-Brexit "herbaceous" border is a good one, except for the fact that "herbaceous" plants die back to either just above or completety under ground at the end of the growing season. So Malachi's border would be seasonal.

John Williams

Clonmel, Co Tipperary

Disappointment flares on big day at Aviva Stadium

AS A sportsperson, I decided to attend the FAI Cup Final at the Aviva on Sunday. The game itself was between the two best teams in Ireland and because of good marketing there was a good crowd.

Whilst both teams have played better, it was a good game with the result in the balance until the final whistle.

That's the positive bit, but I was extremely disappointed with other aspects of the day. What sort of sporting occasions need firemen behind both goal areas to extinguish flares? The flares also spoilt the view of the game at times.

Where do you get opposing fans booing the other side as they come out for the second half of a game? There was non-stop people going in and out of their seats, disturbing fans (and it was not to go to the closed bars).

Where I was sitting there were paper planes flying over my head right through the game. Later, when paper ran out, coins were being thrown.

Well done to both teams and good luck in Europe next year.

Donough O'Reilly

Kilmacud, Co Dublin

Hawking forgot to tell us who made laws of physics

Stephen Hawking was positive there is no god or hereafter. I won't argue with that because I do not know. However, I wish he had told us who invented the laws of physics.

P Burke

Douglas, Co Cork

Irish Independent

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