Voting on programme for new government


Sir, – We elect TDs to make decisions regarding our country. Why then must they revert to their party members for ratification of these decisions? I did not vote for any of these party members, some of whom it is reported do not even live in this State. Surely this is undemocratic!

I suggest that if the TDs feel unable to make a decision, then everyone should be asked their opinion, meaning another general election. The alternative is to do the job they were elected to do without reference to non-elected others. – Yours, etc,


Mount Merrion,

Co Dublin.

A chara, – How fitting that the two centre-right parties that emerged from the Civil War of 1922/23 – Fine Gael via Cumann na nGael in 1933 and Fianna Fáil via Sinn Féin in 1926 – seem destined to be in government together, when the time comes to commemorate that gruesome period in our history.

However it is a pity that Sinn Féin, the party at the centre of the split over the Treaty and most connected to the Civil War, is to be left outside the process of government formation, by the so-called Civil War parties. – Yours, etc,



Co na Gaillimhe.

Sir, – Approximately two-thirds of the Green Party membership live in the Republic of Ireland and one third in a neighbouring country. So if 90 per cent of the membership in the Republic were to vote in favour, but 90 per cent of the Northern Irish members were to vote against, the proposed programme for government of this country would not reach the two-thirds majority required by the Green Party.

And I remember thinking the university panel Seanad elections were an affront to democracy in this country. – Yours, etc,



Sir, – To be or not to be in government? To snipe from the comfort of the opposition benches or to influence positively the governance of the country? To refuse to compromise or to take advantage of the opportunity to lead? To revert to the fringe or to be at the centre?

Are the Greens about to squander a hard-won opportunity? – Yours, etc,



Sir, – As a former Green TD I would like to add my support to Nuala Ahern’s plea to Green Party members to vote in favour of the programme for government. By far the most important issue facing this country is climate change. If the party fails to endorse the programme we may see a Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil coalition supported by a mixed bag of Independents.

While the two parties are committed to the 7 per cent annual reduction in emissions, they could well backslide and prevaricate when the pressure comes on from various interest groups particularly from the farming lobby. If we fail to confront this issue we will undoubtedly see a reduction in our quality of life and the decimation of our flora and fauna. For the sake of future generations I would urge them to please vote Yes. – Yours, etc,


Dublin 14.

Sir, – I share Michael McDowell’s concern about the likelihood of the proposed coalition reaching its projected end date.

The draft programme is a collection of policies some very ambitious, some totally unrealistic and some of which will provide a solid base for Ireland to progress economically and socially – what it is not is an actual workable programme in any sensible meaning of the word.

Much of the content is aspirational, many of the objectives have not been costed, many have implications which have not been considered and many more will only be possible to implement in part.

All this is may be what was necessary to conclude many weeks of tough negotiations and assemble a working coalition. But it would be more realistic to name the document, say “Draft policies for government”. This might give the participants some flexibility to develop working programmes in the various areas without the need to constantly confront rigid deadlines for every “big programme” objective set out in the current draft. – Yours, etc,


Co Cork.

Sir, – The proposed programme for government on the one hand says there won’t be any income tax or USC increases, but then states that there will be PRSI increases “across the board”. PRSI is an income tax so who’s fooling whom?

I expect to pay more tax as a result of Covid-19, that’s fine. But let’s not go down the nonsense route adopted by Trump and Johnson trying to spoof and spin as they go along. – Yours, etc,


Rathfarnham Dublin 16.

Sir, – Power above principles. – Yours, etc,


Tralee, Co Kerry.