Election 2016 – a mandate for change?

Sir, – On Fianna Fáil taking power in 1932, Sean Moylan TD said that the party of the ass and cart was replacing the party of the pony and trap. Our dilemma today is whether the pony will pull the cart or will the ass pull the trap? – Yours, etc,



Co Westmeath.


Sir, – The two main parties say that there are great differences between them. About the same differences as exist between Manchester City Manchester and United. Same game and same rules, but if they changed jerseys, would anyone beyond their fans really notice? – Yours, etc,



Co Westmeath.

Sir, – Peter White has noted that TDs could hold a secret ballot to elect a taoiseach (Opinion & Analysis, March 7th). Could the Dáil also elect the runner-up as tánaiste? (This was the system originally used in US presidential elections to elect a vice-president.)

Second, when debating policies like water charges, surely a multi-party Dáil should consider a multi-option vote.

One obvious option would be to allow water to be free for all low-usage consumers, while others would pay for any usage over and above that threshold.

So, have the debate; let other parties propose their options; and if no verbal consensus is found, move to a multi-option preference vote, so as to identify the option with the highest average preference. As with any other average, no one party can dominate but all can influence. Then, as committed democrats, all TDs should accept collective responsibility for ensuring that the will of the Dáil, this best estimate of the will of the people, is then enacted. – Yours, etc,



The de Borda Institute,


Sir, – Yes, we have at last a full complement of politicians. However, what we really need are statesmen and stateswomen. – Yours, etc,



Co Galway.

Sir, – Noel Whelan hits the nail on the head, writing that Fine Gael "wanted us to believe it was about the economy, stupid" ("Eight points at which it went wrong for the coalition", Opinion & Analysis, March 4th). Perhaps, the eight points could be boiled down to one overarching lesson, "It's the about the people, stupid". – Yours, etc,



Dublin 16.

A chara, – Discussion of Dáil reform will presumably include discussion of Dáil committees, and how they might be given a greater role in influencing government policy.

I think many people would agree that two of the more hard-working committees in the last Dáil were the joint committee on health and children and the banking inquiry committee. Is it purely coincidental that the TDs who chaired these committees, Jerry Buttimer and Ciaran Lynch, have both lost their seats? Or were they both perceived as having spent too much time “above in the Dáil” at the expense of the home patch?

To quote John Horgan, "Clientilism, because it made so many TDs mere messenger boys and girls, has impoverished our national political discourse and turned the Dáil virtually into an irrelevance" ("After reflection, Labour could be the winner in the end", Opinion & Analysis, March 4th). – Is mise,



Rath Gearr,

Baile Átha Cliath 6.

A chara, – The booing when Lucinda Creighton arrived at the count centre at the RDS was most regrettable. Is she not unique among Irish parliamentarians for forfeiting a ministry for a principle? – Yours, etc,



Dublin 4.

Sir, – Considering that our newly qualified nurses, gardaí and teachers start their careers on a reduced salary, is it safe to assume that this will apply to our recently elected TDs? – Yours, etc,



Co Wicklow.

A chara, – I cannot quite understand the growing concern and rising alarm emanating from, and expressed by, the largest parties, and indeed elements of the media, arising from what they perceive as the fractured, chaotic and diffuse nature of the result. I do agree, however, that it may well result in a new form of politics in Ireland. It appears that all of the elected representatives will now have to work constructively together, perhaps for the first time, and reform how they do business and form a working government. I have heard of this before. I believe that it is known as democracy. Would it be so truly awful to give it a chance? – Is mise,




Sir, – A quick perusal of your letters page seems to suggest that, irrespective of the composition of government, the first and most popular piece of legislation would be the one that bans election posters. – Yours, etc,



Co Cork.

A chara, – Could we please have another broadcasting moratorium until a new taoiseach is elected? Failing that, would it be possible to consign Simon Harris and Eoin Ó Broin to a soundproof room, where they could talk at each other without apparently drawing breath? – Is mise,



Co Cork.