Election 2020 – platforms and choices

 

Sir, – So the starting gun has been fired and Election 2020 has begun.

However, voting choice for the electorate is very narrow. On the one hand we have two large centre-right parties that are virtually indistinguishable from each other.

On the other we have a republican party that few want to actually see in power because of its history and recent antics in the Northern Ireland Assembly, a Labour Party that has lost touch with its working-class background and has also failed to convince as a more Blairite middle-ground party, leaving it with an identity crisis similar to Jeremy Corbyn’s problems in the UK. And then there is a rag-tag group of hard-left, protest vote and other ineffective small parties and candidates, with only the upcoming Green wave and maybe the Social Democrats offering some palatable alternatives.

But for voters who want to see real reform of our society, to see demonstrable action on the housing shortage, the annual winter problems of the HSE and its long waiting lists, and even some long-term planning for the future with innovative thinking and achievable goals, the choices will be stark.

I’m off to put up my “No Canvassers”signs. – Yours, etc,

ROBERT CHESTER,

Knocklyon,

Dublin 16.

Sir, – Fianna Fáil had one job for the last four years. To provide opposition. It failed.

Will anyone ask Micheál Martin why the government he supported yesterday should not have his support tomorrow? Probably not. The media which nodded through this subversion of our parliamentary democracy gave Sinn Féin, the party that did the job Fianna Fáil hadn’t the stomach for, only grief. Consistently negative coverage has kept alive prejudices decades out of date. Now an election comes, and the third largest party is being shamelessly and openly sidelined, and no one finds it remarkable. In a way, it’s not. If nothing else, this election will test how far cynicism will get you in Irish politics. – Yours, etc,

AIDAN HARTE,

Donnybrook,

Dublin 4.

Sir, – According to Leo Varadkar, the general election is coming “at the best time for the country”. Try telling that to the homeless, people on hospital trolleys and waiting lists, rural dwellers without broadband, businesses with crippling insurance costs, and communities without post offices or acceptable policing levels. – Yours, etc,

RITA O’BRIEN,

Lucan,

Co Dublin.

Sir, – Please don’t quote statistics over the next few weeks. One person on a trolley is one too many, one homeless person is one too many, and the IMF “fixed” the economy, nobody else. – Yours, etc,

PAT O’CONNOR,

Dublin 2.

Sir, – I turned 60 this week to the news that Ireland is set to go to the polls on February 8th. I was living in Ireland when I turned 50 and now live in Australia and have done so for most of my fifties. Thankfully I’m in a better frame of mind now than 10 years ago when I was on the wrong side of the economic collapse in Ireland – quaintly referred to here in Australia as the GFC (Global Financial Crisis). Ten years on, however, I’m still paying for that economic collapse, sending money home from every pay-cheque to pay for arrears and bills that would not have accrued if my creditors had been able to stay in business.

Sadly neither they nor I survived the economic carnage which occurred under the stewardship of Fianna Fáil.

The Irish electorate seems happy to be fooled twice every decade by promises that can’t be fulfilled and an acceptance of gross incompetence.

I accept that we all make mistakes. If the Fianna Fáil leopard has really changed its spots, it should as a minimum be agreeable to entering coalition with Fine Gael, whose policies and politics are similar. The same goes for Fine Gael. At least then the Irish electorate could go to the polls knowing that the two main parties were committed to the welfare of the electorate rather than the pursuit of the trappings of power. – Yours, etc,

TADHG Ó FOGHLÚ,

Vincentia,

New South Wales,

Australia.

A chara, – I read that Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin would not trust Sinn Féin in government. He trusts them in government in Northern Ireland but would not trust them in the South! What hypocrisy! The sooner Fianna Fáil gets a new leader who respects the democratic wishes of the people the better. – Yours, etc,

Fr JOE McVEIGH,

Enniskillen,

Co Fermanagh.