I was intrigued by Fionnán Sheahan’s article, ‘Squeeze from Healy-Raes and SF meant Griffin faced a battle for seat’ (Irish Independent, February 1).
Every Dáil deputy will tell you every general election is a blood-letting experience and there isn’t usually an outgoing TD who will say he or she is dead safe because there is always a contender in the long grass.
Mr Sheahan gives us a very interesting battleground as a sample for the next election – the constituency of Kerry. He believes Brendan Griffin would be a casualty in the next election and that all of the other deputies – the Healy-Rae brothers, Pa Daly and Norma Foley – are home and dry.
Well, I don’t think any of the four – especially the last – will appreciate this endorsement. The last thing any candidate wants to hear is that they are home and dry.
I always quote our local TD Michael Ring when he says there is one safe seat in the House and that is the seat of the ceann comhairle. I would like to inform Mr Sheahan that in the past the Kerry people almost dismissed an outgoing tánaiste and gave a red card to a former minister for justice, and there is always a reluctance on the part of outgoing deputies to take on a running mate because they don’t appreciate sharing their votes.
I agree the Taoiseach has a strong candidate to replace – in the last general election he secured 10,296 first preferences and also had a running mate.
If Fionnán Sheahan checks the results of the last general elections he will see Sinn Féin, Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil were almost neck and neck.
Tom Garvey, Claremorris, Co Mayo
It’s great that, as a nation, we are finally celebrating St Brigid with a public holiday on the first Monday of February except on those years when February 1 falls on a Friday: when this happens, the public holiday will be on the Friday.
Why not simply celebrate her on her feast day? St Patrick is celebrated on his feast day every year, while by my calculation St Brigid will be celebrated on her feast day in 2030.
Perhaps the Government could consider a similar decision for the celebration of St Patrick in the interests of gender equity.
Joe Harrison, Spanish Point, Co Clare
It would appear David Ryan prefers subservience to a “greater” power over a modicum of independence (‘Taylor Greene VP ticket could turn White House red’, Letters, February 1).
The steady chipping away of one’s independence has been a hallmark of the US Democratic party over the last few decades, similar to the main parties in Ireland and the UK.
Perhaps Mr Ryan wants to live in an Orwellian society where the individual ceases to exist to any real extent. If he does, he can always relocate to China.
In the meantime, we in the “democratic” west must do all we can to head off the illiberal liberals.
Brendan Corrigan, Bogota, Colombia
I cannot be the only member of the public infuriated by the hugger-mugger procedures of the Government (and its not dissimilar predecessors), as in the case of the levies on electricity charges (foisted on the electorate, it appears, without so much as a by your leave). Taken in conjunction with the 2pc levy imposed on insurance after the Quinn saga, the entire mindset beggars belief.
What is maddening is the ideological inconsistency: in warding off the dread of socialism, right-wing governments in Ireland have baulked at public measures to relieve the worst-off, yet they have no problem in interfering to assist the wealthy (most recently the ESB).
This constitutes an absolute reversal of the ideal of social justice. It is surely the case that this country has finally reached the point where it is beginning to accept that any government that fails to make social justice the core of its ideology should not be elected.
More importantly, the chronic shortage of accommodation and the unending problems in the health service will persist unless the State proactively engages in social welfare provision to an extent so far unseen (or seen sporadically, as in Donogh O’Malley’s education reform).
Have we reached a crossroads? And is the change the electorate have twice in a row clearly demanded at last in the offing?
Or are we condemned to listen passively while again and again a social democrat such as Róisín Shortall speaks truth to power, but to no effect?
Brian Cosgrove, Cornelscourt, Dublin 18