Sir, - If reflecting on the sound advice provided by Colm MacEochaidh (May 31st), the Fine Gael Parliamentary Party would also do well to remember the "act in haste - repent at leisure" achievement of the rainbow coalition in rushing to the country with the penultimate general election.

Perhaps Fine Gael would also give itself time to explore "social liberalism" as described by Professor Harold Hobhouse in his seminal work Liberalism. The values therein have little in common with the economic licence of traditional liberalism and even less with the moral irresponsibility of the modern liberal agenda.

The words "Christian Democracy" have a fine ring to them and are concepts to which many of us subscribe - when used separately! Together they spell "conservative".

Does the country really need another Conservative Party? - Yours, etc.,



Co Kildare.

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Sir, - I have spoken to active and experienced Fine Gael members and supporters here and in other constituencies over the past few days and the unanimous opinion is that the choice of a new leader should be deferred - not to stymie the ambitions of the declared candidates, but to ensure that the best, not the fastest decision is made.

It is widely believed that the parliamentary party was rushed or bullied by the old guard and its leader. Further, it is understood that this group has no intention of considering the views of the membership. Disregard for councillors and the activists has always been a core value in those quarters.

The past decade has seen the active membership fade away. The rest of us are appealing to the parliamentary group to consult and consider. Why the big hurry now? The road we choose could lead either way.

Wait until autumn and we'll wait with you.

Ignore us and we'll. . . - Yours, etc.,



Co Offaly.

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Sir, - In your edition of May 22nd Eamonn Gilmore informed us that Fine Gael was defunct. It seemed he proposed to pick over the corpse in order to salvage the useful bits to build a strong coalition of the left, or something of that nature.

Maybe I cannot read the election reports correctly, but I seem to find that Fine Gael has 50 per cent more Dáil seats than Labour and received more than twice the number of first-preference votes. Maybe there was a printer's error and Mr Gilmore actually meant that Fine Gael should take over the useful bits of Labour.

Be that as it may, I am glad that Mr Gilmore is addressing the task of putting forward an alternative government for the 2007 election. Perhaps he would now explain why this was not possible in 2002. I suspect it was something to do with an unfavourable planetary conjunction, but we really should be told. - Yours, etc.



Wainsfort Road, Dublin 6W.