In Dr Aodh Quinlivan’s extract in the Irish Examiner (January 27) from his new book ‘Cork’s forgotten Lord Mayor - Donal Óg O’Callaghan’; he wrote of the January 30, 1920 election in Cork City Hall of new Lord Mayor of Cork Tomás MacCurtain’s acceptance speech; “...The people do not want speeches. They want the work done and with as little ‘froth’ as possible.
What he said in 1920 is still true and an example of this is Independent TD, Michael Collins (Cork South-West constituency) who took a personal interest in people in Cork West and South West on long waiting lists for eye cataract operations.
He organised hiring of coaches during the last three years to bring people to Belfast where they received treatment and returned home the same day. A straight-forward cataract operation takes some 15 to 20 minutes.
Collins was first elected in 2016 and is a candidate again in the general election on Saturday, February 8.
I think Tomás MacCurtain would applaud how Mr Collins took the personal interest to assist people who were in need. He could see a faster solution.
We need more politicians like him in the Dáil and on our councils who are able to help people in a practical way as well as politicians like Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire (SF) and Michael McGrath (FF) who are both in the Cork South Central constituency.
They put in a lot of work in the last Dáil to introduce good Bills to improve laws, or submitted good ideas towards same.
Cynicism is probably the danger for idealistic people who enter politics. They may end up feeling what is the point? Voters may feel the same about voting, but many of us will try to vote, even when we too feel what is the point.
If major improvements to the HSE, housing, homeless issues etc., are to happen, it may come through how we vote.
But as in most things in life, there are no guarantees. The Irish people in large numbers did vote for a major change in the first Dáil 1919 leaving traditional political parties to parties with new ideas. They made a big leap of hope in those times.
- This readers' opinion was originally published in the letters page of the Irish Examiner print edition on 3 February 2020.