Tuesday 19 November 2019

This Government has no moral authority

* In an overall societal sense, the Government crossed the line of decency a long time ago. However, I would imagine that James Reilly's move to review medical cards for non-terminal cancer sufferers will enrage anybody who has ever witnessed a loved one receive a cancer diagnosis, deal with the psychological fallout of that news, suffer from the disease every day and fight to preserve their sense of self as they balance on the threshold.

Yes, there are varying levels of "seriousness", but that is not an acceptable rationale for starting discretionary medical card support at terminal stage. Being diagnosed with cancer is one of the most daunting things a person will ever have to face, and the least one could expect is that the State should have their back. It can be such a dehumanising experience.

If only these self-aggrandising politicians showed a similar level of disdain for bankers and toxic financial institutions. The message from the Irish Government is clear – if you are an arrogant, wealthy banking executive who left the people to foot a bailout costing billions, leading to the loss of our economic sovereignty, then you will be supported to the hilt. In fact, you will be retained in your job and given a nice bonus and a big pension.

However, if you are an ordinary citizen living with cancer, we just might have to remove our support.

The Government may have an electoral mandate, but it no longer has a moral authority to govern the country.

It supports bankers, persecutes cancer patients and then calls its actions "fiscal conservatism", as if the use of such terminology somehow legitimises a philosophical perspective in which the social and economic marginalisation of ordinary people is central.

Darren O'Keeffe

Cork

NO EXCUSE, TAOISEACH

* Abortion involves the taking of an innocent human life. But when taken to task over this issue, Taoiseach Enda Kenny has famously claimed that "the Constitution is my book". At the Nuremberg Trials in 1946, defendants famously claimed that they were "only following orders". This defence was not accepted by the judges who presided at those landmark trials.

Even if Mr Kenny believes that Bunreacht na hEireann says the taking of innocent human life is acceptable or even necessary (which it does not), the inevitable excuse of "I was only following the Constitution" will not wash with me as a voter, much as it would not have washed with those judges at Nuremberg.

John B Reid

Monkstown, Co Dublin

MENTAL RESERVATIONS

* Could not Lucinda Creighton have voted for the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill with "mental reservations"?

As Cardinal Connell helpfully explained, such reservations are useful in "trying to deal with extraordinarily difficult matters".

Dr John Doherty

Gaoth Dobhair, Co Donegal

RESPECT FOR CREIGHTON

* After the passing of the abortion bill through the Dail, we should reflect on the TDs who showed consistency of conscience and those who didn't.

I cannot say I support the stance of Lucinda Creighton on this issue, or many issues for that matter, but I can now say I have the utmost respect for her. This woman who could have been a future leader of Fine Gael and possibly Taoiseach relinquished all that in order to stand by her core beliefs. She was a member of a party that shared those beliefs before the general election, and should not be demonised for having the courage to live and die by a principled sword.

On the other hand, Michelle Mulherin has long been on her conservatively bent soapbox on a range of issues, including abortion. For that deputy to then support the abortion bill in question to remain within a party that was standing opposed to her personal beliefs is deplorable.

Ms Mulherin may seem in a better position within a popular and powerful party, but Ms Creighton can at least pride herself on the power and consistency of her core convictions.

Justin Kelly

Edenderry, Co Offaly

RARE QUALITIES IN A TD

* Lucinda Creighton is a young, well-informed, articulate and courageous woman who was elected on her own merit – all too rare in the political life of our small, struggling country.

Alice Leahy

Rathmines, Dublin

BOORISH BEHAVIOUR

* The incident in the Dail between Tom Barry and Aine Collins speaks volumes about attitudes towards women in the Oireachtas and within political parties, and goes a long way to explaining why politics so utterly fails to attract the sort of people we need to pursue political careers, leaving us with the bottom of the heap.

Not only was the Dail like some sort of spring break frat party with the bar open until 5am, but it is revealing that yet again it was a male Fine Gael deputy displaying unacceptable behaviour that in any other professional working environment in 2013 would be a formal disciplinary matter.

Of course, Ms Collins doesn't want to make a fuss about it.

But it begs the question, if other people in Leinster House have experienced similar behaviour, do they feel the authorities would support them if they refused such advances?

It seems unlikely, which raises the question as to why this issue is left to political parties, and why there isn't an HR department in the Oireachtas that covers all staff and members of the Oireachtas.

Desmond FitzGerald

Canary Wharf, London

BURTON'S STRANGE LOGIC

* Joan Burton defended the cutting of her department's budget by saying that people on welfare were the only people spending money in the economy at the moment.

Wow – another Irish rocket scientist!

K Nolan

Carrick-on-Shannon, Co Leitrim

ACTIONS, NOT WORDS

* As leader of his church, Pope Francis was correct to express his "love-thy-neighbour" views about the refugees, migrants and asylum seekers pouring into Italy from Africa. I'm sure many of them will find solace and comfort from the generous welfare payments at the various Vatican City halting-sites.

Presumably food and clothing are provided at the transit village in St Peter's Square.

Sean Kelly

Tramore, Co Waterford

WATER ALLOWANCE

* I last wrote to your newspaper, on May 21, about the disgrace of not being able to drink the water from the tap. I know from my own experience that the bottled water we buy has tripled in price. At a cost of €2 for a five-litre bottle, the weekly cost of drinking water is around €14 to €16, or around €750 a year.

There are only two people who live in my house. What would it cost a family of three or four?

During the winter, the Government paid a fuel allowance of €20 a week to those on certain benefits. One way the water problem can be sorted out is if the Government makes councils pay a water allowance to cover the cost for families who are already finding it very hard to pay the bills the Government is dishing out.

Water, after all, is a necessity, not a luxury.

Henry Hughes

Castleplunkett, Co Roscommon

Irish Independent

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