Letter to the editor: Modern democracy is disarming governments

Letter to the editor: Modern democracy is disarming governments

It is truly ironic that as we approach commemoration and celebration of a century of Irish democratic rule, we endure what must be the most irrelevant government this State has ever experienced.

An election now will appear of little consequence to many; regardless of result, increasing numbers of the big decisions will be taken by the EU while really big ones are taken by multinationals.

Present governance of Ireland consists of both a posturing government and opposition; both appear to have given up on what were once paramount concerns of health, housing and the safety of citizens.

Oireachtas members appear obscenely complacent with keeping each other in lucrative office despite the blatant discovery of vote-rigging, expenses abuse and compensation exploitation.

The holy grail “backstop”, which incidentally after two years of utter prominence is rarely mentioned anymore, was heralded as the reason for confidence and supply agreement collusion.

It was ill-judged and mismanaged to such a degree, that despite 11th-hour capitulation, Ireland’s attitude helped stoke sufficient resentment to bring the hardline political will to the forefront of British politics, which could result in the hardest Brexit imaginable.

Opening salvos from EC President Ursula von der Leyen, Commissioner Phil Hogan and UK prime minister Boris Johnson do not augur well for easy agreement.

To be fair, Ireland is not alone suffering deficiencies of democracy at the moment.

Many democracies have similar and far worse problems; ranging from grave political hostility to simmering and active protest and social strife. Some democracies are acting like dictatorships with an extreme external activity which could be difficult to excuse even in wartime.

Failure to adapt to the vast life enhancement abilities modern technology has brought together with lack of action to distribute benefits to all, result in the perception that democratic governments increasingly favours the rich and powerful.

This is evidenced by the influence of multinationals to dictate prosperity or penury for whole states, and the inability of regimes to prevent predatory exploitation, debt enslavement and increasing economic security into the future.

Winston Churchill was once credited with saying “democracy is the worst type of government; apart from all the others”.

His words appear more applicable at the beginning of the third decade of the 21st century, than at any time before.

Padraic Neary

Tubbercurry

Co Sligo

This reader's opinion was originally published in the letters page of the Irish Examiner print edition on 15 January 2020.

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