Election 2016 – forming a government

 

Sir, – We are continuously informed by Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil that the differences that separate the two parties are greater than many of us realise. Let’s call their bluff and ask them to publish the details of what separates them. I’ll supply the back of a postage stamp. – Yours, etc,

W ARTHUR TANNER,

Dublin 2.

Sir, – I cannot agree with your assertion in your editorial (March 7th ) that the election result is a mandate for radical change. To me the result suggests that the electorate, having received no real vision of a better future from any of the main parties, in despair resorted to local politicians. Now that the dust has settled, many people are realising that those they have elected really only have a rightful place in their local councils.

We need political representatives in the Dáil who leave local issues behind them and address the national issues of health, homelessness, education, job creation, infrastructure, and many other external issues which will influence our future.

The 30-plus Independents we have elected, with their long list of conflicting demands and diverse ideologies, and with none focused on the international threats to our economy, are not the way forward.

Let’s be blunt about this. Our collective political environment has failed us. The main political entities that we voted for must cast aside their differences and come together to form a government, with rotating taoiseachs if necessary. If not, let the electorate reflect and go to the polls again. – Yours, etc,

DEREK MacHUGH,

Bray,

Co Wicklow.

Sir, – Who is in their right mind nowadays would want to be a party leader on this island?

The people are generally, I am sorry to say, ungrateful and self-centred. They only want to take at all costs, and not for a split-second do they consider giving back.

Protesters against water charges cause havoc and negativity that cripple the process of forming a new government.

And now another bunch of protesters are demanding we pay back water charges already paid. Where will it end?

And no one in good conscience can make a comparison between Ireland today and what it was 20 or 30 years ago. Things have improved substantially.

Unfortunately, there are elements in politics and media who thrive on fault-finding.

Well, this is where we are now in modern Ireland, but I’m sure the level of human consciousness will be elevated in decades to come, and globally, never mind our beautiful small island of Ireland. – Yours, etc,

ALA S PICKETT,

Waterford.

Sir, – The Labour Party is now irrelevant, Fine Gael is demoralised, and Fianna Fail thinks it is back in 1977.  

It has been suggested that there is an onus on all 158 members of the Dáil to “help” with the formation of a new government. This is not true, as the responsibility rests solely with Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil, as they are the only two parties that can combine to have an overall majority.

Whatever about cultural characteristics, Fine Gael and Fianna Fail are both centre-right parties with no serious ideological differences.

Understandably they do not wish to give up their political duopoly, hence their efforts to rope in others in an attempt to delay the inevitable. Both parties fear Sinn Féin and the radical left becoming the main opposition force. Too late – it has already happened! So they can either deal with it rationally or irrationally. 

There are only three realistic options open to Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil: coalition with each other; a minority government arrangement with each other; or triggering another general election. Any separate voting arrangements with Independents, etc, would be convoluted and unstable. If it is a coalition, then it is obvious that there would have to be a “compromise” taoiseach, which would rule out Enda Kenny and Micheál Martin. The precedent for this is John A Costello in 1948.  

Another possibility is for the 15-member cabinet to be allocated on a 7/7 basis to Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil and for a credible Independent member of the Dáil to be invited to become taoiseach. This would be very different to what has gone before, but it would ensure that there would be serious Dáil reform.  

The need for “stability” has been continuously preached by both parties. If there is political uncertainty now, then it is exclusively down to the self-indulgence of both Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil. Nobody else is to blame. – Yours, etc,

GARY KING,

Ballybane, Galway.

Sir, – Enda Kenny should retire to the back benches. He has served his country for five difficult years. Like all his colleagues in Dáil Éireann, I am sure he did his best, travelling thousands of miles on our behalf.

Now it is time to spend more time among his constituents, more time with his family, and more time improving his golf on some of the beautiful courses to which he has access. – Yours, etc,

BRIGID FLANAGAN,

Dundalk,

Sir, – The electorate is ahead of the politicians. It should have been obvious when the marriage referendum was carried that the people of Ireland were telling Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael that it was time for them to get into bed together and do to each other what they have always wanted to. – Yours, etc,

FRANK LYNCH,

Limerick.

Sir, – A Farrell writes that “Fianna Fail’s refusal to enter coalition with Fine Gael is a clear indication of its unwillingness to put the country’s interests before its own” (March 4th). What part of Enda Kenny’s categorical rejection of a coalition with Fianna Fáil does your letter-writer not understand? – Yours, etc,

E KELLY,

Mount Pleasant,

Waterford.