Fine Gael’s real policies

 

Sir, – Two of your columnists have weighed in on the recent crisis surrounding Young Fine Gael president Killian Foley-Walsh and his attendance at the conservative Young America’s Foundation conference. On Monday, Una Mullally wrote that Fine Gael should “own its policies” and warned against the rise of fascism in Ireland. On Wednesday, Kathy Sheridan’s article is headlined, “Killian Foley-Walsh should shut up and listen”.

Fine Gael’s website clearly states that the party is “of the progressive centre”. It was Fine Gael that ran the recent referendums on Marriage Equality and the Eighth amendment. It was Fine Gael that gave Ireland its first gay Taoiseach. At the recent local elections, four councillors from migrant backgrounds were elected for the party. If any party is to move towards fascism, it is unlikely to be Fine Gael.

The reality is that Fine Gael wants a more inclusive Ireland, not less. It wants more diversity, not less. I would encourage your columnists to look at the bigger picture and judge Fine Gael for its current policies, not the ones they believe it has. – Yours, etc,

DAVID HIGGINS,

Young Fine Gael Dublin Organiser (2013-15),

Dublin 16.

Sir, – I want to comment on Una Mullally’s article (Opinion, August 12th) in relation to the need for Fine Gael politicians to own their politics. Her observation that the problem with Irish politics is that there is no politics is sadly true. This is reflected in every aspect of Irish life and currently accounts for the dead hand that rests on growing statistics in relation to crucial social issues of poverty and inequality.

A decent democracy depends on the people owning their political agency and activism with others for the betterment of society and public-interest values. It challenges us to live well with people who are not like us and who do not share our worldview or values.

What we have in Ireland for the most part is a rather shallow version of democracy, once elections are over, the people step back and let the politicians get on with the task. We end up with the authoritarianism of majority rule and little or no tolerance for minorities or for critical questioning and challenging authority.

While the western world is currently experiencing a slow suffocation of democracy, Ireland is already well advanced in this regard. The stage is set for continuing to secure privilege for those already advantaged and for scapegoating those who are the most marginalised in our society. I have examples, sadly too many to mention for now. – Yours, etc,

Dr GERALDINE MOONEY SIMMIE,

Senior Lecturer in Education,

Faculty of Education & Health Sciences

University of Limerick.