Northern voice in forming a government

 

Sir, – The opposition of so many of the Greens in Northern Ireland to the participation of their party in the proposed new government in Dublin is yet another instance of the tired old syndrome of “Ulster says No.” – Yours, etc,

FELIX M LARKIN,

Cabinteely,

Dublin 18.

Sir, – I suggest that at the next election, which might be sooner than expected, all political parties should declare in advance with whom they are not prepared to share government and let the electorate then decide who should be excluded. – Yours, etc,

EOIN Ó DUNLAING,

Dublin 16.

Sir, – I’m sure the Green Party is looking forward to the support and understanding of your letter writers (June 23rd) and indeed much of the commentariat when it has to support policies it disagrees with if it does coalesce with Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil. – Yours, etc,

SÉAMUS WHITE,

Dublin 1.

A chara, – Senator David Norris (Letters, June 23rd) complains that Green Party members in Northern Ireland have a say on the formation of a government in the Republic when they are not bound by its laws or pay taxes to its exchequer.

But there are several good reasons why this should be the case.

Article 2 of our Constitution states: “It is the entitlement and birthright of every person born in the island of Ireland, which includes its islands and seas, to be part of the Irish Nation.”

We have also exercised considerable influence on the affairs of Northern Ireland through the institutions established under the Belfast Agreement. So why should Green Party members, resident in Northern Ireland and entitled to Irish citizenship, not also have a say in our affairs?

Furthermore, Sinn Féin is also organised on an all-Ireland basis, and its members, resident in Northern Ireland, have long had a say on Sinn Féin policies for the island of Ireland as a whole. Or those complaining really saying that only Northern nationalists should have some some influence here?

Residents of Northern Ireland also take part in our national Gaelic football, rugby, hockey and cricket competitions and teams, and often work and pay taxes here.

The fact that only 195 out of 800 Northern-based Green Party members have registered to vote on the deal may indicate a certain reluctance to involve themselves in our affairs (“Momentum grows in Greens to support coalition with FG and FF”, News, June 18th).

However, they should be encouraged rather than discouraged to do so. Climate change, no less than the Covid-19 pandemic, does not recognise political boundaries.

Indeed it has never been more important for all of us on this island to work together for the common good, as intended by our Constitution and political agreements . – Is mise,

FRANK SCHNITTGER,

Blessington

Co Wicklow.

Sir, – Your letters page has had a lot of correspondence from people exercised by the fact that members of the Green Party living in Northern Ireland might have a decisive influence on the party’s decision to enter coalition and whether this is right or ethical. Excuse my cynicism, but if the prevailing sentiment from the North was that coalition was a good thing, I don’t believe we would be reading a lot of this correspondence. – Yours, etc,

BRENDAN McMAHON,

Naas,

Co Kildare.

Sir– Did Covid-19 cut our great Senator David Norris off from his books? His atlas would confirm that he receives graduate votes from the six counties. – Yours, etc,

DIARMUID Ó GRÁDA,

Clonskeagh,

Dublin 14.

Sir, – Surely there are enough difficulties in trying to form a government without allowing Northern Ireland Green Party members to influence the outcome. They don’t vote in the Dáil elections. They do not live here or pay their taxes here. He who pays the piper calls the tune. – Yours, etc,

PADDY REILLY,

Cork.

Sir, – I had to momentarily check that it wasn’t April Fool’s Day when I read Senator David Norris quoting “no representation without taxation” in relation to the involvement of Northern Ireland members in the Green Party’s governmental deliberations. In relation to Mr Norris’s Senate, I find myself in a position of taxation without representation. – Yours, etc,

KEVIN O’SULLIVAN,

Letterkenny,

Co Donegal.

Sir, – Senator David Norris questions the appropriateness of 800 Green Party members living outside the State having a perhaps determining input on the formation of Government here in the Republic of Ireland. He is right. Mind you, I do not recall Mr Norris ever opposing the Seanad franchise being exercised by people in similar circumstances.

There is a key principle here and we should stick with it. There are many people who do not live in the State but are part of the nation. I respect absolutely their Irishness and their right to so identify. However, the laws and jurisdiction of the Republic only apply in this State. Therefore a vote on our government structures should be held and exercised by those living in the State or who are external to it for short periods.

Extending the right to vote to all those aged over 18, irrespective of nationality, living in the State for a reasonably defined period of time is the truly democratic thing to do and not the tokenism in the programme for government and similar proposals in many party manifestoes about extending same to the presidential elections. Indeed in my view it demeans the office of president by implying that it is a vote of lesser consequence. – Yours, etc,

DERMOT LACEY,

Donnybrook,

Dublin 4.