Turbulent times in the Dáil


Sir, – It seems that the Green Party has learned something since 2011. Instead of supporting a Coalition government it is collapsing one (“Neasa Hourigan’s future within the Greens hangs in the balance after vote”, Front page, July 31st). – Yours, etc,


Scariff, Co Clare.

Sir, – The recent Residential Tenancies and Valuation Bill 2020 is a shambles and not what the Minister trumpeted it to be. There is clearly a conflict between the Government advice and its actions. It has in the middle of a pandemic told us to stay at home on one hand and allows for evictions with the other. All this is being done as the Dáil shuts down for the summer leaving some of us facing living in over stretched, unsuitable homeless accommodation or on the streets.

No wonder Neasa Hourigan has voted against it, fair play to her.

If things in the Government continue the way they are the Government will fall quickly and the “Tiocfaidh ár lá” brigade may well become the “tá ár lá tagtha” army. – Yours, etc,


Co Cork.

Sir, – Former Green Party politician Saoirse McHugh was recently castigated by our vigilant commentariat for questioning the efficacy of parliamentary politics. This, we were told, represented the slippery slope to some slide into authoritarianism. Such rhetoric is common in Ireland, whenever the public at large attempts to enter the political arena by any other means than ticking a box every few years and hoping for the best.

What, then, are we to make of the increasingly bellicose attitude to the parliamentary opposition employed by the Coalition government and its figurehead, the once and future taoiseach Leo Varadkar? Its latest manoeuvre, delivered via an intemperate tirade by Mr Varadkar, severely curtails the Opposition’s ability to hold the government meaningfully to account. This measure is described, chillingly, as “restoring democracy” by Mr Varadkar, who derides political representatives democratically returned to Leinster House as “microparties”.

Tactics and language of this nature would sit well among certain of Fine Gael’s ideological bedfellows in Latin America, at some of the most tragic periods of that region’s history.

Perhaps it is time for Irish liberals to stop chasing the painted horrors of imminent left-wing authoritarianism that exist only in their fevered imaginations, and apply their avowed principles of liberalism and pluralism to those who actually wield power in this country? After all, with liberals such as these at the reins, who needs authoritarians? – Yours, etc,


Killorglin, Co Kerry.

Sir, – There appears to be an appetite to form de facto new parties in the Dáil. These are inherently one-person ventures. I suggest this be regularised. To form such a party one should be an unexpectedly-elected first timer, and possess a strong narcissistic streak – or, as a minimum, an exceptionally strong sense of self-esteem. What one should not be is a team player, a listener or a person who will compromise.

Such one-person parties would be generically termed “Mé Féin”, and, as they proliferate, “slightly green”, or “red and green” might be used to distinguish between them. (“Mé Féin – green and red”). Allocation of speaking time would be problematic but could be resolved by letting them all speak at the same time. Would your readers agree that the resultant unleashing of talent will ensure our democracy continues to flourish? – Yours, etc,


Blackrock, Co Dublin.

Sir, – What a pity that Stephen Collins is not a Government adviser. He is correct in telling the Government to toughen up, take decisions and stick to them (Opinion, July 31st). It is essential that we have leaders who are resolute, not wavering, regardless of what the alternative government, RTÉ Liveline, is promoting. – Yours, etc,


Newport, Co Tipperary.

Sir, – Stephen Collins (July 31st), warns of very stormy seas ahead for the Government and the need for strong and decisive leadership.

The “shouters” seem to be in charge at the moment. Taxpayers will eventually get fed up with pandering to people who expect to “take” all the time and make no contribution to the society that sustains them.

The system is clearly being abused, and some have even been caught.

There are, of course, many who need our support, and reasonable taxpayers are happy to continue to do that. But we need to see that our taxes are fairly and reasonably spent and the Government should make that clearer. – Yours, etc,


Dublin 3.

Sir, – Stephen Collins makes excellent points about the standing of politicians. Covid-19 has been a challenge to our mental wellbeing. Dealing with the coronavirus crisis is far from over. It has been relatively well managed by those with responsibility.

I despair of the tedious, sanctimonious and opportunistic bickering and recriminations and the deliberately exaggerated anger of anti-government politicians of all hues, aided and abetted by some in the media who seek to create sensational critical stories.

How much easier and undemanding to be the bearer and propagator of trumped-up negativity than to shoulder actual responsibility. – Yours, etc,