Regarding the possible entry into government of the Green Party, I implore the leaders of Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil to temper their egos and review their options.
Yes, Leo and Micheál will still get their stint at the top job, but we cannot and should not have a government at any price.
Their proposed 7pc year-on-year carbon reduction will be catastrophic for anyone outside the M50, with fuel hikes, farming constraints and kilometres of meaningless cycle and walking paths built with hard-earned taxpayers’ money.
When will they understand Ireland is not, and never will be, Scandinavia, so get over the utopian dream please.
The reason the Green Party is even in play is because the so-called traditional parties have again conjured up nothing in terms of fresh or innovative policies, driving voters to protest alternatives such as Sinn Féin. The Labour Party has become, and will remain, irrelevant and the collective of so-called Independents offers nothing more than an irritating begging bowl.
The Covid-19 crisis was a perfect and obvious opportunity for a national government, a chance to try something new, a break from the normal staid model.
This country deserves not just a better government but an exciting government. Wouldn’t it be great if the new normal included exciting government?
Milltown Pass, Co Westmeath
Give sixth-year students a fair crack of the whip
Sixth-year students are experiencing the same stress as the rest of us – social isolation, seeing family members lose income and jobs, fear of the loss of loved ones.
On top of that, they have the worry of what is often described as the most influential state examination they will ever sit.
For the last month, they have been advised to carry on as though life was the same, that the Leaving Cert would happen “by hook or by crook”. And now we learn it will happen on July 29, probably. But, hey, they are also looking at plans B, C, D and E.
So, girls and boys, spend the next 13 weeks studying in your bedrooms, sitting rooms and kitchens. Know that your efforts are for the greater good of society, and take comfort in knowing no one is more important than the Leaving Certificate examination.
Also, unlike our neighbours in the North, where there is confidence teachers can assess pupils in an objective manner, no such belief exists south of the Border – or, as the minister put it, there is “too much inherent bias” in the system. Great.
Muine Bheag, Co Carlow
No excuse for slow response to nursing homes at risk
One has to acknowledge the excellent work being done by the HSE, Department of Health and their various experts in our present pandemic.
Without wishing in any way to diminish their excellence, one has to ask a serious question – why, when it became so obvious older people were more at risk, was the focus removed from long-stay and nursing homes?
Despite what the owners and managers of these establishments may say, the medical care is nowhere near that of a hospital.
To be fair, nobody should expect it to be, but very little effort seems to have been made to protect residents or staff in such homes.
Many lives could and should have been saved if proper nursing and medical staff had been made available promptly to these very vulnerable patients, and, in too many cases, staff. One can only hope that lessons have been learned.
Co-ordinated action needed to support global economy
As health officials and scientists deal with this virus, we must look at how it is affecting us globally in economical and financial terms. We hear from the IMF that global GDP will contract by around 3pc.
Central banks have had to ease monetary policy and key lending rates, and provide, where possible, additional liquidity to the financial systems. Some have agreed to reciprocal currency arrangements and they have activated programmes used during the financial crisis, such as buying corporate bonds, which has a risk element.
Mami Mizutori of the UN wrote for the World Economic Forum there are a number of things world economies need to do: “We need to recognise the risk” and “risk-reduction solutions are needed across all sectors”; these solutions must prioritise aid to the most vulnerable; and the world’s richest nations must acknowledge “they ignored the risk of pandemic for far too long”.
While the EU agreed a €500bn rescue package and the IMF approved cash for poorer third-world countries, it seems that unless we see a co-ordinated response all this good work will be for nought.
Letterkenny, Co Donegal