Prioritising referendums


Sir, – As politicians consider future referendums, your editorial (December 6th) cautions that we handle constitutional change with care. However, while taking on board the need to avoid political expediency in making changes, there is also an imperative to ensure justice and fairness for all in society.

In this regard, a referendum which makes adjustments to the constitutional protection for individuals who speculate on or hoard land for housing may well be worth consideration.

A former minister for the environment, Alan Kelly, has said that constitutional protection blocked several measures to tackle housing and homelessness, including the tackling of land-hoarding.

In an Ireland where one of our top priorities is to deliver a sufficient supply of affordable houses, any significant barriers to achieving this should be addressed, if necessary through constitutional reform. – Yours, etc,



Dublin 4.

Sir, – A letter-writer suggests that we vote away referendums (December 7th).

Becoming tired of exercising one’s democratic and civic duty is the precise recipe for erosion of a democratic society. Voter apathy is a factor which allows power grabs of extremists and populists. Having to vote on constitutional amendments is a good thing, even when it means you have to go out in the rain. If “running the country” were given over to politicians only, it would quickly descend the quality of that country. Maintaining democracy is the responsibility of all citizens. – Yours, etc,


Valencia, Spain.

Sir, – If the plan is to bore us to tears with referendum proposals, it’s working. – Yours, etc,


Dubloin 8.