Election 2016 – sharing power?

Sir, – Willie Walker (March 8th) wonders if Lucinda Creighton is the only Irish parliamentarian who forfeited ministry for principle.

Róisín Shortall also resigned, but it was on the principle of establishing a decent health service for all. She was re-elected on the first count, with a surplus that exceeded all the transfers that Ms Creighton was able to gather.

It seems that it depends on the principle. In Ms Shortall’s case it was a principle that the Irish electorate were proud to support; in Ms Creighton’s case, one that the electorate soundly rejected. – Yours, etc,




Dublin 8.

Sir, – I agree with Tony Jordan (March 8th) that the booing of Lucinda Creighton as she was about to lose her Dáil seat was regrettable. Despite being at times a constituency rival, I always found her honest, positive and principled. However, Tony is wrong when he suggests that she was unique in resigning a ministerial post on a point of principle. Frank Cluskey, one of the most underappreciated politicians, resigned as minister for industry on commerce in 1983 as he opposed then government policy on Dublin Gas. – Yours, etc,



Dublin 4.

Sir, – Tony Jordan asks if Lucinda Creighton is not unique among Irish parliamentarians for forfeiting a ministry for a principle?

In fact, she is not.

While the list is not extensive, it includes Joe McGrath who resigned in 1924 because he was unhappy with how the Army was being treated post-Civil War when there was a massive demobilisation. He went on to become one of the founders of the Irish Hospitals Sweepstakes.

Paddy Smith resigned as minister for agriculture in 1964 because he was unhappy at the focus of the government of which he was a member on the unionised workforce to, as he saw it, the detriment of the agricultural sector. He was replaced as minister for agriculture by Charles Haughey.

Kevin Boland resigned in 1970 when Charles Haughey and Neil Blaney were sacked – as did Paudge Brennan who was a parliamentary secretary in the then department of local government where Neil Blaney was minister.

Frank Cluskey resigned in 1983 because of a major policy disagreement on the Dublin Gas Company. While not a resignation, John Kelly declined appointment to Garret FitzGerald’s second administration (1982–1987) because of policy differences. – Yours, etc,


Stillorgan, Co Dublin.

Sir, – In these fractious days of political speculation and intrigue, wouldn’t it be helpful if Jill and Joe Public could open a secret door at the back of a public representative’s head, walk in and wander about? Of course, they may have to knock hard to gain entry. Is it mostly vacant or generally occupied? Would they find there a cavernous hall or a multitude of musty rooms? Or a space fit for purpose and designed for maximum flexibility? Is it in need of some minor refurbishment or serious modernisation? Is it insulated against the winds of change? Are there more than two windows? Has an IQ rating been carried out? It may well be warm inside since usually more heat than light is generated, regardless of energy source. Or will the hearth be full of the cold ashes of high ideals? Is it wired for sound? How many switches can be flicked before something short-circuits? With the passing of time has it remained a solid asset or become a liability?

When Jill and Joe return to their own brain domain they may wish to consider the extent to which the interior shortcomings or even wow factor of what they have seen reflects or differs from their own intellectual space. Many may thereafter wish to contemplate reconfiguring who they are and who we wish to become as a society. If so, detailed plans, hard work and hard decisions will be required. No speculators need apply. All reasonable tenders considered. Commencement urgent and completion date open. – Yours, etc,



Co Sligo.

Sir, – On emerging from their respective talks with Enda Kenny on the forming of a new government, Shane Ross TD pronounced the Taoiseach a “political corpse”, while newly elected TD Katherine Zappone, on the contrary, declared Mr Kenny to be “alive and listening”.

Is there a doctor in the House? – Yours, etc,



Dublin 16.

Sir, – While it makes sense that Fine Gael, as the largest party, will be back in government, it would surely be perverse if Enda Kenny were to be re-elected as Taoiseach.

It is widely accepted that the “keep the recovery going” theme was not accepted by the electorate. But as this slogan was accompanied everywhere by the dead-eyed image of the outgoing Taoiseach, isn’t it obvious that as well as rejecting the message, we rejected the messenger? – Yours, etc,


Clane, Co Kildare.

Sir, – As the leaders of the major political parties negotiate the formation of the new government, I am reminded of Lewis Carroll's The Mock Turtle's Song, also known as The Lobster Quadrille. The lines "Will you, won't you, will you, won't you, will you join the dance" and "Would not, could not, would not could not, would not join the dance" resonate. – Yours, etc,


Dublin 7

Sir, – It might help citizens get to grips with a possible coalition if they visualise Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael as simply two cheeks of the same buttocks. – Yours, etc,



Dublin 15.