Migration and asylum policy

Politicians must do more to engage with concerns

Sir, – Anne Harris is absolutely correct, “This is a national emergency on the scale of Covid-19″ (”Ranting against the far right is not going to put a pillow under a war-weary head”, Opinion & Analysis, February 7th).

But I have to take issue when your columnist says “everyone involved, from the Minister through NGOs to neighbourhoods, is doing their heroic best”.

That might seem the case from on high but in the last four years there has not being a single Zoom conference call invite that I can recall from any of the elected members of my local municipal district council not to mention anything approaching a “townhall”-type meeting. Instead discourse on any issue of local concern usually starts on Facebook.

Why is this? Are our local representatives afraid of the public or is it they don’t want to be seen going on the record? We know what happens when there is a political vacuum in a place like Northern Ireland. Yet we seem surprised when so-called fringe elements of our democracy steal the limelight in the latest emergency to hit our shores.


Of course if councillors and TDs only start communicating when the proverbial hits the fan they will be pilloried, and rightly so. And the only avenue open to them then is usually to be against something or try and deflect it by way of EU laws.

Good and timely communication shouldn’t be all that hard, one would have thought. And there is no shortage of modern and not so modern ways to be of service to the public. – Is mise,



Co Kerry.

Sir, – Sinn Féin is not wrong when it holds successive governments responsible for many of the problems which beset our country. But its leaders struggle when, as happens far too infrequently, they are offered the opportunity to say what specifically they would do differently.

The latest example is Mary Lou McDonald’s offering on how to deal with accommodating refugees (News, February 6th). Sinn Féin would preside over an all-of-government plan, would go and talk to the communities concerned, would listen to communities and would use a thoughtful, structured, planned approach.

I think that’s all admirable. But I do not see anything in it which would produce a single additional bed tomorrow, next month or next year. It does, however, conform with Sinn Féin’s single transferable plan for dealing with everything – it discommodes nobody. – Yours, etc,



Dublin 6.