European and local elections – the people have spoken

 

Sir, – Yes, an interesting election for the Green Party, and congratulations to it. Although in the end not so much a “Green wave” but more of a “Green splash”! Maybe they didn’t run enough candidates to surf the wave! A total of 5.6 per cent first-preference votes. Up 1.6 per cent since 2014. Underwhelming, I’m afraid, for a national climate emergency! – Yours, etc,

GAVIN HARTE,

Dún Laoghaire,

Co Dublin.

Sir, – So now we all want to save the planet but don’t want to pay carbon taxes. To paraphrase St Augustine, “Lord, make me Green, but not just yet.” – Yours, etc,

RORY E MacFLYNN,

Blackrock,

Co Dublin.

Sir, – It is not a wake-up call or a fire alarm going off when the Conservatives’ share of the vote falls to 8.8 per cent.

The house has burned to the ground. – Yours, etc,

Dr JOHN DOHERTY,

Stratford-upon-Avon,

Warwickshire, England.

Sir, – It is interesting that Leo Varadkar views a strong vote for the Green Party as an indicator that we, the people, are serious about environmental issues. Is Mr Varadkar serious about environmental issues per se or only because there are votes in it? – Yours, etc,

JOE HARRISON,

Spanish Point,

Co Clare.

Sir, – Congratulations to the Irish people for their great good sense as reflected in last weekend’s election results. Not only did they agree with our young school climate strikers that the prospect of catastrophic climate change is the major political issue of the moment, and thus voted Green in droves.

They also withdrew support from Sinn Féin, with its foolish notion that a rapid move to unity – “accelerated reunification post-Brexit”, in party chairman Declan Kearney’s words – is the cure for all our ills. – Yours, etc,

ANDY POLLAK,

Rathmines,

Dublin 6.

Sir, – Mary Lou McDonald may get great kudos from the party faithful when she gives the clenched fist and the “tiocfaidh ár lá” at the Sinn Féin ardfheis, but in middle-class Ireland all this does is remind us of a very murky past. We remember. – Yours, etc,

BRIAN CULLEN,

Rathfarnham,

Dublin 16.

Sir, – There can be little doubt that passion has been a key element in the Green surge, bursting through the many shades of grey of centrist and republican politics. Yet so much more could be achieved on so many more urgent needs if voters of every hue turned out in greater numbers to make their mark, rather than the apathy shown by half of the electorate in not exercising their democratic privilege to generate a just society. – Yours, etc,

DERMOT ASHMORE,

Dalkey, Co Dublin.

Sir, – Permit me to state that the Green wave is only a temporary little realignment by the urban middle classes. Are these the same people who drive large SUVs and have opposed the implementation of a Bus Connects and Metro public transport system through their leafy suburbs? – Is mise,

PADRAIG McGARTY,

Mohill,

Co Leitrim.

Sir, – Leo Varadkar’s response to how well the Green Party polled in the local elections strikes me as pathetic. He asserts that he will listen to and learn from the people on climate change, implying that declaring a climate change emergency would have sufficed otherwise. He fails to inspire confidence and indicates that necessary action will be considered to keep his Government in power rather than to take an essential lead on this vital state of affairs. – Yours, etc,

MARY MEYLER,

Dublin 16.

Sir, – A major factor underlying the election results that have so pleased the middle classes (the surge in the Green vote and the collapse of the Sinn Féin vote) is the low turnout in working-class areas (for example, 30 per cent in Blanchardstown-Mulhuddart).

Perhaps we could regularise such pleasing outcomes by restricting the vote to owners of properties above a certain valuation. – Yours, etc,

ROBERT CARROLL,

Harolds Cross,

Dublin 6W.

A chara, – After the recent green surge in the European and local elections, it seems that Sinn Féin (and indeed all parties) will need to take on board an amended form of Pádraig Pearse’s oration at the grave of O’Donovan Rossa and advocate for an Ireland that is not free merely but green as well! – Is mise,

E DILLON,

Farranshone, Limerick.

Sir, – Leo Varadkar’s reaction to the election result is clearly a case of the “cocktail party effect”, better known as selective hearing.

Did he really not hear the outcry from the electorate about the homeless crisis, the healthcare debacle and the plethora of other social injustices that thrive on his watch? Has he seriously not noticed that the support for Fine Gael/Fianna Fáil neo-liberalism has dramatically dropped?

Selective hearing can be very dangerous in certain contexts, and none more so when there is a failure to hear an alarm bell ringing. Time for the Fine Gael membership to take note – a general election cannot be too far off in which the electorate will eviscerate the background noise and send a message even the selective listeners will hear. – Yours, etc,

JIM O’SULLIVAN,

Rathedmond,

Sligo.

Sir, – The election results just go to show that a real green alternative really would clean up! – Yours, etc,

LOUISA MOSS,

Dublin 7.

Sir, – Global politics in recent years has been a dispiriting business, characterised by populism and narrow nationalist views, and defined by xenophobia, Trumpian nihilism and the Brexit debacle.

Against this backdrop, the Irish electorate has shown inspirational idealism and far-sightedness in supporting Green candidates.

It is not yet clear if we are moving on from the age of civil war political divisions, but perhaps we are seeing “the torch being passed to a new generation”, as President Kennedy said, and even setting an example to the world. – Yours, etc,

BRIAN O’BRIEN,

Kinsale,

Co Cork.

Sir, – Who could have foreseen the swing away from Fine Gael? – Yours, etc,

RITA O’BRIEN,

Lucan,

Co Dublin.

Sir, – Might the success of the Green Party in the European and local elections in the capital tell us something about the voters’ feeling about the ill-conceived Bus Connects plans? – Yours, etc,

M LYNCH,

Rathgar,

Dublin 6.

Sir, – Could I suggest that next time around we adopt the Eurovision Song Contest method of deciding who gets to be on the ballot paper and have a semi-final contest to weed out at least half the candidates, so that no more that 10 (preferably fewer) appear on the ballot paper? – Yours, etc,

LIAM POWER,

Dundalk,

Co Louth.

Sir, – More elections pass by. More plastic ties are abandoned on and below the structures that held campaign posters.

If future election candidates intend burnishing their “green” credentials, this is an issue they might address. – Yours, etc,

ENDATORSNEY,

Glasnevin,

Dublin 11.

A chara, – Una Mullally’s analysis of the local election results might not be very scientific, but at least it is amusing (“Greens harness youthful demand for new direction”, May 27th). From reading it, one would presume that the Green Party attracted a majority of votes.

This is due to “women, young people, and candidates with big ideas, connected”. We are also, apparently, “living in an age where the value of spin is decreasing, and authenticity is lauded” and where “family dynasties are increasingly irrelevant to younger voters”.

The Green Party, in fact, got 6 per cent of the vote. Still, let’s not allow a minor detail like that get in the way of sweeping generalisations presented as reasoned opinion. – Is mise,

DAVE SLATER,

Kilkea,

Co Kildare.

Sir, – Student climate strikers, take a bow. The Green wave is yours.

Politicians, act now, or it will sweep you away. – Yours, etc,

FERGAL COSTELLO,

Monkstown,

Co Dublin.