Aftermath of local and European elections

Sir, – The resignation of Eamon Gilmore from the leadership of the Labour Party must inevitably prompt the question – what is it about that party that draws venom from both political opponents and the media when it is a partner in government? Higher ideals and loftier expectations are held out and when not fully fulfilled the party takes a disproportionate amount of the blame.

Basil Chubb, in The Government and Politics of  Ireland  (1970), commenting on the lack of support for Labour in large swathes of the country, stated: "The party did not from the beginning quite fit into the dominant pattern of Irish politics or appeal to a mass of Irish opinion".

This explains, perhaps, why so often up and down the country, so many  young, public-spirited people work their hearts out for their communities, yet are rejected at the polls under the Labour banner. A little more republicanism and a little less socialism might help!  – Yours, etc,



Co Roscommon.

A chara, – So Matt Carthy has completed Sinn Féin’s remarkable quadruple – a seat in each of Ireland’s European constituencies. For the first time, every person in Ireland is represented by an elected member from the same party – every single one of us, from Antrim to Kerry, has a Sinn Féin MEP. I imagine this fact will cheer some more than others, but it should please the almost half a million voters who gave Sinn Féin their first preference – over 100,000 more than any other party. – Is mise,


Páirc na Cabraí,

Baile Phib,

Baile Átha Cliath 7.

Sir, – The people made the wrong decision. They should resign immediately! – Yours, etc,

Yours faithfully,




Co Clare.

Sir, – The fallout from the European Parliament elections across various EU member states (as felt also in domestic local elections here) requires a robust response from European governing institutions.

In the case of Ireland and other post-bailout member states, the particular ongoing budgetary constraints in operation need to be alleviated to a significant degree. Manoeuvering space should be afforded to allow such governments to reduce taxes and levies in typical household bills. As an example, the property tax rates applicable in Dublin should be considerably reduced to effectively offset the introduction of water rates.

Of course such manoeuvering space cannot be granted without a drastically alternative growth-based strategy. Primary importance is attached to rectifying the difficulties encountered by small and medium enterprises (SMEs) with respect to bank lending, which is a strong factor influencing employment rates. The ECB should avail of the leverage afforded by a low inflation rate to initiate quantitative easing in the form of asset purchasing of securitised SME loans across recovering economies such as Ireland’s. Such a move would be likely to significantly help with respect to the growth-based recovery agenda and go some way to stem the apparent democratic disenchantment with Europe observed last weekend. – Yours, etc,




Dublin 14.

Sir, – Europeans seems to have taken a right turn at the crossroads. We, on the other hand, have taken a left turn. Will Ming lead us down an old bog road? – Yours, etc,


Ballydubh Upper,

Co Waterford.

Sir, – The jockeying for leadership of the Labour Party has begun. The backbenchers who wanted change are getting change. The senior figures, whose arrogance is being questioned, are smarting. And the thing is, none of this makes any difference.

Changing the captain of the Labour ship will have no effect unless the policies of the Labour Party are changed. I say this as someone who was a member of the party until it veered (yet again) towards coalition with Fine Gael, sacrificing policies and principles for a few seats at the Cabinet table and ministerial pensions for the head honchos.

When I hear Labour politicians bemoaning the fact that Independents and the smaller left groups can never find unity, I smile. These are the same people who, in the past decade, not only betrayed the people who voted for them and the party’s roots but also did untold damage to the possibility of a left-wing government in this country. The captain may change, but the ship remains rudderless. – Yours, etc,


Royal Oak,

Co Carlow.

A chara, – Regarding the Labour leadership contest, is it a case of Snow White and the six dwarfs? – Is mise,


Ellensborough Drive,

Kiltipper Road, Dublin 24.

Sir, – I take no joy in the demise of the Labour Party nor do I feel pity, for it was complicit in singling out the most vulnerable in society, in particular children with special needs and children with disabilities.

Labour may consider its best option is a principled stand that would bring about an early election. If it decides to do so, it should recall what happened to the Greens. – Yours, etc,




Co Louth.

Sir, – Your coverage of the elections has been excellent. It is with sadness that I calculate a cumulative total of 69,356 spoiled votes (European election 45,424, local elections 22,045, and byelections 1,887).

While some may have spoiled their vote as a protest, it is more likely that many thousands of voters inadvertently erred and had their choices invalidated. Many candidates could have benefitted from even a few additional votes. – Yours, etc,


The Oaks,

Newbridge, Co Kildare.