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Paucity of rural representation reveals the true nature of this city-centric Government

Letters to the Editor


New order: President Michael D Higgins presents new ministers with Seals of Office. Photo: Maxwells

New order: President Michael D Higgins presents new ministers with Seals of Office. Photo: Maxwells

New order: President Michael D Higgins presents new ministers with Seals of Office. Photo: Maxwells

St Matthew's Gospel tells us "by their fruits you will know them" - and this of course will be the test of the new Government too.

The distribution of Government ministers, however, is not an encouraging first sign. It has to be remembered that under the Constitution (Article 28) the Government consists of the 15 ministers appointed by the President. It doesn't matter how many super-junior ministers you have sitting in on Cabinet meetings, they are still not members of the Government.

It's not just the west and north-west excluded: the south-east and, apart from Offaly, the entire midlands region have also been left out.

The pecking order is six for Dublin (eight, if you include Greystones on the Dart), three for Cork South-Central, two for Wicklow, and one each for Meath, Cavan, Kerry and the aforementioned Offaly.

Exclude Wicklow (two ministers in Greystones) and we are left with only four representing mainly rural constituencies: Offaly, Kerry North, Cavan-Monaghan and Meath East.

It's worth noting that three of these four constituencies are also where we find the women ministers. Conveniently perhaps, these tick the two boxes of gender and geography.

Another unfortunate omission was the failure to include anyone from the North among the Taoiseach's 11 Seanad nominees.

Everyone will wish the new Government a fair wind as it sets sail in such stormy waters but it is unfortunate its first signals are so clearly Dublin-and Cork-centred.

John Glennon

Hollywood, Co Wicklow


Going it alone a tempting option for three counties 

Following the boycott of Limerick, Tipperary and Clare by the troika of Martin/Varadkar/Ryan in ignoring it for a senior or junior minister, should the region now withhold the billions of euro contributed to central government coffers and head for home rule? With our own university, airport and deep sea port, together with a powerhouse of employers in the region, are we better off to go it alone?

Seriously though, it's the "greed grab" by Martin in appointing three full ministers from his own constituency that really adds insult to injury. As for Leo saying any region with a Cabinet minister in the past 10 years shouldn't expect one every time, well in that case Cork and Dublin should have no senior or junior ministers. What a joke.

James Ryan



How to sandwich a holiday into summer

Yesterday when I was young (aged about seven or eight), I enjoyed getting a sandwich from my mum, putting it in a box and taking off with it on my bike for about 10 minutes. I would park and eat my sandwich, then cycle back to the house. In my childish innocence, I was "playing holidays".

Judging by recent top medical advice, it would appear we may all have to play holidays again for a spell.

Sandwich anybody?

Tom Gilsenan

Beaumont, Dublin 9


Hissy fits and squabbles won't help health crisis

Is it just me or is everyone else impatient with our leaders and their version of musical chairs?

We, the people, having been without government for almost five months, require our politicians to hit the ground running. We don't care for hissy fits or internecine squabbles.

We want to physically see the acolytes and minions of Cabinet Ministers fan out, taking the pulse of the horrible situation left by Covid-19. We want their recommendations implemented. Now.

One does fail to see the logic of handing Simon Harris's poisoned chalice to a neophyte. No doubt Stephen Donnelly is capable, but he is inexperienced. Harris has had four harrowing years as health minister. And he seemed to work 24 hours a day. The current political teams are ostensibly on the same side, so why not have health as a joint ministry, using the talents and experience of Harris and the new skills of Donnelly? The aim is to repair our health service, as quickly as possible.

The Government must put the welfare of our most vulnerable citizens ahead of jobs for the boys. Health is, by far, our most important ministry. We must not tolerate a slow learning curve for the minister while our waiting lists grow longer and longer and our beloved relatives suffer in silence in nursing homes, care homes and hospitals.

Our last government handled the Covid-19 crisis almost perfectly. We need to see this talent extended to our new Government.

Patricia Moynihan

Castaheany, Co Dublin


Martin's Government is a betrayal of his party

Micheál Martin has on his first day as Taoiseach incurred the ire of his deputy Dara Calleary and the wrath of the people of the West of Ireland.

Comparisons to Cromwell cannot be good for the leader of the so-called "Republican Party". To be fair, you cannot blame them.

The Greens and Fine Gael both have their deputy leaders at Cabinet with full voting rights and full ministries. Calleary has lost out and so has rural Ireland. Given that rural affairs has also been lumped in with the substantial portfolio that is social protection, it looks like rural Ireland is to be forgotten under Micheál Martin's stewardship.

That is ultimately an acute betrayal of all rural-based Fianna Fáil members and voters.

Killian Brennan

Malahide Road, Dublin 17


A republic in name only as the West left to sleep

The past week has illustrated very clearly the Republic of Ireland is indeed a republic in name only.

Fionnán Sheahan's excellent parody - sorry, report - 'Mr Big's chicken 'n' chips, more refusals than a céilí and choirboys' final chorus: Winners and losers in junior ministers joust' (Irish Independent, July 2) includes this gem from new Education Minister Norma Foley (no relation): "The Fianna Fáil TD declared to 'The Kerryman': 'Well I'm a minister from Kerry, and I was elected by the people of Kerry. I will always work to make sure the interests of Kerry and Tralee are heard at Cabinet.' Out the window goes the Government message about leading for all the people."

Business as usual continues under this Government - by the political class, for the political class.

And if, when all a vigil keep

The West's asleep! the West's asleep!

Alas! and well may Erin weep

That Connacht lies in slumber deep

But, hark! a voice like thunder spake

The West's awake! the West's awake!

Sing, Oh! Hurrah! let the [Party leaders] quake

We'll watch till death for Erin's sake

[Whilst the rest of Erin blindly allows the West to disappear].

Declan Foley

Berwick, Australia


Masks should be made mandatory in shops

Whilst our Government and health officials are spelling out what needs to be done to limit the spread of Covid-19, the implementation is so different.

People are getting on buses and trains not wearing masks, in supermarkets running rampant around the aisles without face coverings and coming in very close contact with compliant people. People queue outside shops at a social distance but it defeats the whole purpose of the exercise once inside.

Can someone please make mask wearing in stores mandatory?

J O'Connell

Co Galway


Home rule a century ago would have sorted Brexit

It is ironic that an Englishman, Dominic Shelmerdine, should advocate "Irish re-unification" (Letters, July 2).

The Border was imposed more than a century ago by the most powerful parliament in the world which at the time was governing a quarter of the population of the globe from London.

That imperial parliament imposed the Border despite the fact it had passed an act giving self-rule to the island of Ireland with the capital in Dublin.

If the most powerful parliament in the world had implemented it then life would have been much simpler since and there would be no need for reunification now.

In addition, Brexit would be much simpler.

A Leavy

Shielmartin Drive, Sutton, Dublin

Irish Independent