In search of a new government

 

Sir, – While watching the nominations for taoiseach, JK Galbraith came to mind: “Politics is the art of choosing between the disastrous and the unpalatable”. – Yours, etc,

JIM O’SULLIVAN,

Rathedmond, Co Sligo.

Sir, – Now that Fianna Fáil’s Seán Ó Fearghail has been elected Ceann Comhairle, how long will it be before we hear Sinn Féin’s Mary Lou McDonald ask during a heated Dáil debate, “Are you for real?” – Yours, etc,

MICHAEL CULLEN,

Sandycove, Co Dublin.

A chara, – I think that most – if not all – people who take an interest in Dáil proceedings will welcome the Taoiseach’s proposal for a new Dáil reform committee and will regard it as long overdue.

That said, one cannot help but be sceptical as to the extent of any changes to the way in which the Dáil operates, not least because any government majority that emerges is likely to be wafer thin.

The toothless and partisan committees, the rigid use of the whip, and the use of guillotine motions have rendered the Dáil one of the weakest parliaments in Europe. I suspect that despite the positive tones aired at election time (as was the case five years ago), we will see little by way of actual reform in the near future. – Is mise,

CHRIS SHEILS,

London.

Sir, – Is Dáil Éireann the only parliament in the world where members enter terrified they may have to form a government? – Yours, etc,

BRIAN FITZSIMONS,

Portmarnock, Co Dublin.

Sir, – While Paul Carroll can certainly speak for many, including myself, when he argues that the people rejected Enda Kenny in his role as the “messenger” behind the crude admonition to “keep the recovery going,” his suggestion that the results of a general election that saw his party win more seats than any other would render his re-election as Taoiseach “perverse” is ludicrous (March 10th). Though I happily join with Mr Carroll in hoping for a new face in the Taoiseach’s office, the choice of a significant number of our fellow citizens certainly doesn’t make another term for Mr Kenny democratically untenable. – Yours, etc,

CHRISTOPHER

McMAHON,

Castleknock,

Dublin 15.

Sir, – A minority Government would enable legislators to do their job more effectively. TDs are legislators who do not have a huge role in actually legislating, a consequence of the distorted separation of powers in this country.

At least with a minority Government, Opposition TDs, Independents and TDs in smaller parties would have a greater role to play in passing draft legislation, as the government of the day would no longer be able to rely on their “majority” status to get Bills through the Dáil.

Indeed, it is my opinion that such a situation would allow for greater scrutiny of Bills and encourage a broader debate of issues raised.

A minority government would enable private members’ Bills, such as the Protection of Life during Pregnancy (Amendment) (Fatal Foetal Abnormalities) Bill 2015, which was proposed by Clare Daly, to be at least given a fair shot in the Dáil. It has been argued that elected representatives never were policymakers but, at best, declarers and legitimators of policy.

Members of the Dáil should not have to be in government before they can have the opportunity to make their mark on the statute books. – Yours, etc,

MICHAEL JAMES

BOLAND,

Cork.

Sir, – People work together in businesses all over the country without liking each other. If Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil want to drive the voters even further into the arms of Independents, Sinn Féin, the Greens, Social Democrats, back to Labour and even Renua, they are doing a pretty good job of it. I, for one, am sick of listening to their problems about working together. What about our problems? Do they have any idea about them? – Yours, etc,

BRENDAN QUINN,

Enniscrone, Co Sligo.

Sir, – The eruditeA. Leavy continues to compare Ireland with Greece and in his latest missive suggests that “this country had just had a lucky escape from its worst calamity since independence, and could have ended up like Greece” (March 9th). He criticises the media for not highlighting during the election campaign “how lucky we are” and blames, yet again, the economic crash on the actions of a few powerful people in government and financial institutions.

The people have spoken and they have, among other things, more than doubled the number of seats of the party that was supposed to have caused all of this calamity and distress in the first place, while dealing a devastating blow to the outgoing coalition.

The Irish people are no fools. They know, as the banking inquiry showed, that the economic collapse was not down to just a few powerful individuals and “the media”.

They also, wisely resisted the contrasts with Greece and some of the threats that were made during the campaign of the consequences of not returning the Fine Gael and Labour coalition. In the end, the voters probably showed a lot more maturity than they are given credit for.

It’s now up to the politicians elected, young and not so young, to show the same level of maturity and form a stable government and deal constructively with the real issues of housing and homelessness, health and rural deprivation, to name but a few.

I hope that the next time Greece is mentioned in this regard it won’t be because of what differences exist between our two countries but rather the similarities between two strong republics. – Yours, etc,

TOM McELLIGOTT,

Listowel, Co Kerry.