A Cabinet of all the talents for all the country?
Sir, – Congratulations to Taoiseach Micheál Martin and his Cabinet colleagues for taking the first steps, in their agreed ministerial appointments, away from the old-style localism and towards government primarily concerned with national policy-making.
The latter served the country well in giving citizens a sense of direct representation, but it is well past its sell-by date and has stultified the principal aim of government and the Oireachtas – to legislate.
This is evident in the poor legislative record of successive administrations and in the shameful sight of half-empty Dáil chambers on our television screens as what passed as national politics was so often reduced to local constituency lobbying.
The new Government has shown courage in taking the inevitable flak from the “neglected” regions on the chin, and deserves the strong (and patient) support of our country for their Sisyphus-task ahead. – Yours, etc,
Sir, – In Mayo we were looking forward to a joyful release from the lockdown. Imagine our dismay, therefore, to discover lockdown has been replaced by being locked out of Cabinet roles. There will be trouble ahead. – Yours, etc,
Sir, – For many years we have had a perfectly good system for selecting Ministers. Some were those who had done sterling work for the party, and others came from regions where we needed to bolster the party vote. Now we’re told they’re being chosen on something called “merit”.
If we’re not vigilant, this could spread to appointments to State boards as well. – Yours, etc,
Sir, – Is this the best we can do? – Yours, etc,
Sir, – With the power balance shifting to Cork and no Cabinet Minister from the northwest or Connacht, should we wave goodbye to the A5 Western Transport Corridor, the Dublin to Derry expressway promised in the 2006 St Andrews Agreement? – Yours, etc,
Dr JOHN DOHERTY,
Co Dhún na nGall.
Sir, – Do we now have a stereo government, Michael in one ear and Leo in the other? – Yours, etc,
A chara, – It is most regrettable, in my view, that the province of Connaught was overlooked by the Taoiseach in the ministerial appointments. The west of Ireland will therefore have no proper voice at the Cabinet table. Its many urgent needs may therefore be overlooked again. It seems that a constitutional requirement is necessary to ensure that each part of our nation is properly represented in Dáil Éireann. – Is mise,
SEÁN Ó CUINN,
An Charraig Dhubh,
Co Átha Cliath.
Sir, – Contemplating the delay since polling day, one might despair of an electoral process that takes four months to yield a result. However, looking at the countries to our east and west leaves me relieved at the quality of our outcome. Worth waiting for. – Yours, etc,
Sir, – Some 25 per cent of Green TDs now hold full ministerial position in Cabinet whereas the corresponding figures of 17 per cent and 16 per cent show the representation for Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil, respectively. If the “super-juniors” are counted, the figures become 33 per cent, 20 per cent and 18 per cent. Surely a good return for the Greens. – Yours, etc,
Sir, – In view of the strength of representation which Cork now enjoys at the Cabinet table, I eagerly await the unveiling of secession talks. – Yours, etc,
Sir, – Could this be the “To Hell or to Connacht” Cabinet? – Yours, etc,
Sir, – Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly made some very harsh comments about his predecessor. We can now look forward to him solving the problems in health – clearing all waiting lists, eliminating the trolleys, managing the pandemic.
No doubt he will do this while facing down the various vested interests.
All this will happen overnight, of course. – Yours, etc,
Sir, – At last we have a new Government.
Who will be the first in the media, as in the first annual report of the arrival of the cuckoo, to report the first crack in the Coalition?
For God’s sake give them a reasonable honeymoon period. – Yours, etc,
Sir, – I am sure that the Minister for Heritage thought how lucky he was to be charged with the honour of protecting for future generations the built and natural heritage of Ireland that we have inherited from our ancestors.
What a privilege, a job you’d give your eye teeth for.
Except for one little thing. What has Micheál Martin – a man we all know to be immensely proud of Ireland’s natural beauty and immensely interested in our historical, archaeological, and architectural heritage – gone and done? He has told the Minister for Heritage that there’s another little job he’d like him to do. He’d like him to build tens of thousands of houses and apartments, as many as possible, as cheaply as possibly, as quickly as possible, and for God’s sake let nothing stand in the way, as this country has a housing crisis.
Now, it should go without saying that there is no greater threat to our natural environment and to our archaeological and architectural inheritance – which the Minister for Heritage is charged with defending at all costs – than the construction industry of which the Minister for Housing must be champion. These two great offices are therefore mutually incompatible. It is, frankly, a grave error on An Taoiseach’s part to ask one person to fulfil conscientiously both roles, even somebody of the talents of Darragh O’Brien TD. – Yours, etc,
SEÁN DUFFY, FTCD
Professor of Medieval
Irish and Insular History.
Trinity College Dublin,
Sir, – Once again I must complement Una Mullally on her unique ability to make words meaningful and, in many cases, insightful, but the logic of her article in Monday’s Irish Times seems somewhat unworthy of her undoubted talent (“Why Martin as Taoiseach is wrong on a number of levels”, Opinion & Analysis, June 29th).
The first sentence in her piece is baffling: “Micheál Martin as Taoiseach makes little sense, and neither does this new Government.”
Fair enough, that’s her opinion, but I doubt it is representative of a majority of public opinion.
It would be both novel and refreshing if, at some future date, Una Mullally would positively identify who, in the absence of the two rotating taoisigh, would be most qualified to lead our country and its people through the maze of upcoming uncertainty and the likelihood of a Europe-wide economic depression.
We are not currently blessed with a large pool of outstanding statesmen and women, and the Opposition, all of it, has rarely been as lacking in brain power. – Yours, etc,
Sir, – It is sad to see the hullabaloo about the regional distribution of Ministers. It goes to show that parish-pump politics is alive and well.
I, in my naivety, would have thought that Ministers are responsible for the whole nation and not simply their constituents.
I believe it is high time we consigned the parish pump to the scrapyard and had a national approach from all ministries. – Yours, etc,
MATTHEW A HARMEY,