Time for a grand coalition?


Sir, – We have just come through an election campaign. Now we are being subjected to endless speculation about a future government. Meanwhile our elected representatives are behaving like petulant children who cannot play together.

On Thursday, we were told that our economy grew by almost 8 per cent. If that is to be maintained, then our economy must be well managed so that all those who are still struggling have the opportunity to enjoy the “recovery”. The problems in our health system need to be addressed. So too does the whole area of homelessness. These things will not happen without a properly functioning government.

If the main parties cannot work together, then we either face another election or we are at the mercy of single-issue Independents who will hold the country to ransom.

I would like to remind our politicians that no single party won this election. No single party was given a “mandate” to govern. What people want is for politicians to find a way to work together for the good of all the people. Surely that trumps party politics. – Yours, etc,



Dublin 13.

Sir, – Martin Luther King Jnr once said, “There comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must take it because conscience tells him it is right.” Can we start from there? – Yours, etc,



Co Wicklow.

Sir, – Given the slow pace of government formation, there is clearly no need to test our politicians for performance-enhancing substances. – Yours, etc,



Sir, – Brian Ahern (March 10th) regards Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil as “two cheeks of the same buttocks”, a very apt description. Indeed, if both parties were to form the next government, might the 32nd Dáil be referred to colloquially as the “rump parliament”? – Yours, etc,



Co Dublin.

Sir, – I for one, am somewhat dizzy at the prospect of a rotating taoiseach. – Yours, etc,



Dublin 9.

Sir, – There is a Freudian explanation for the reluctance of Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil to enter into a coalition government together. It’s an example of the “narcissism of small differences”, and now is the time to send for “the men in white coats” to sort both parties out (if, that is, they are not already beyond redemption). – Yours, etc,



Dublin 18.

Sir, – The secret formula for success in politics has become even more mystifying in this election. Having presided over a government so shambolic that it had  to hand over the steering wheel to the troika, Fianna Fáil shuffled off into opposition where, with very rare exceptions, it was invisible for five years. Now, after a masterly display in a couple of TV debates in just three weeks, suddenly it is atop the moral high ground, and refusing to bend its high principles of fairness by talking to the party with the highest proportion of the popular vote in the country. George Orwell couldn’t make it up. – Yours, etc,



Co Dublin.

Sir, –I have recently returned to Ireland after a period abroad and I feel disheartened by the state of Irish politics. Newly elected politicians are unanimously calling for political reform, but I have little hope that any reform that may occur within the Dáil will have any impact on the ordinary Joe Soap.

Irish people are feeling unrepresented by our political establishment, and there is a widening sense of division between governor and governed. Ireland in the 21st century is still governed by a feudal political class, while our quite educated population remains powerless and ever more disillusioned.

To encourage participation and to modernise our political system, we need to look to those countries that have a tradition of respecting the will and integrity of their own populations.

Switzerland has 26 federal states and they have regular referendums, which enable the public to vote to form laws on everything from tax to gun control.

Our political class should not be our lords but administrators of the will of the people. If this were the case, I expect it would be far more likely to see a political union between our two, not so powerful, political parties. – Yours, etc,



Co Wicklow.

Sir, – Would rotating taoisigh spin? – Yours, etc,




A chara, – Approximately 65 per cent of the electorate voted in the general election. The majority of those elected seem not to want to be in government. Do they want us to join the 35 per cent of the electorate who think that voting is not worth their while? – Yours, etc,



Co Limerick.

Sir, – I looked with despair at the first day of the new Dáil on Thursday. Are we going to go back to the days when Independent TDs could hold the country to ransom? We are a modern republic on the world stage and require a stable government that will have to make hard decisions without the threat of being outvoted at every turn. I suggest that we have another general election in which everyone should state whom they would work with to form a stable government before the votes are cast. – Yours, etc,



Dublin 5.