Politics – theory and practice

Sir, – Michael McDowell regards the construction of the motorway system in the early noughties as a miraculous success, albeit with the omission of links to Donegal and Derry (Opinion & Analysis, May 18th).

The people of the northwest will get the roads they deserve, “at some point in the future”.

Now that will be a miracle. – Yours, etc,


Gaoth Dobhair,

Co Dhún na nGall.

Sir, – Michael McDowell’s article “New dynamism needed to overcome Ireland’s long economic Covid” reveals a remarkable lack of responsibility by somebody who once was at the top of Irish politics.

Upon reading Mr McDowell’s criticism of the state of affairs with regards to planning and infrastructure, one might be forgiven for asking what he did in office to address the same while a cabinet member for five years. Did he liberalise the legal profession to make litigation less expensive? Did he overhaul Irish planning laws to make them less cumbersome? Did he strengthen the State’s finances to ensure more funding for long-term planning?

The answer to the last question is obvious to all those who witnessed the State’s finances when the property bubble they were dependent on burst.

The overwhelming majority of Irish people have never had, nor will they ever have, the chance Mr McDowell had to influence the State. The fact that he bemoans the current state of Ireland’s economic performance not only reveals little remorse for what he did in office but also suggests he made little impact while he was there.

If we are to address Ireland’s economic underperformance, perhaps we should start by addressing how those in power (past and present) have underperformed. – Yours, etc,



Co Dublin.